The World Bank on Thursday approved USD 1 billion as emergency financing for India to tackle the coronavirus outbreak - this the largest chunk of its emergency financial assistance.
"In India, USD 1 billion emergency financing will support better screening, contact tracing, and laboratory diagnostics; procure personal protective equipment; and set up new isolation wards," the World Bank said.
India has over 2000 COVID-19 cases with at least 53 deaths so far.
The World Bank has announced its first set of aid projects, which is geared to assist 25 countries and amounts to USD 1.9 billion.
In South Asia, the World Bank also approved USD 200 million for Pakistan, USD 100 million for Afghanistan, USD 7.3 million for Maldives and USD 128.6 million for Sri Lanka.
The World Bank also said it is now working to grant up to USD 160 billion over the next 15 months to support measures to tackle the pandemic. This amount will be used to focus on the immediate health consequences and bolster economic recovery.
"The World Bank Group is taking broad, fast action to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and we already have health response operations moving forward in over 65 countries," said World Bank Group President David Malpass.
"We are working to strengthen (the) developing nations’ ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery. The poorest and most vulnerable countries will likely be hit the hardest, and our teams around the world remain focused on country-level and regional solutions to address the ongoing crisis," Malpass added.
The World Bank is also helping countries access critically needed medical supplies by reaching out to suppliers on behalf of the governments.