ADB doubles funds for measures vs COVID-19 | Inquirer Business

ADB doubles funds for measures vs COVID-19

/ 05:26 AM February 28, 2020

Two multilateral lenders based in Asia have stepped up financial support to their member-countries in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in and out of China.

The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it had green-lighted another $2 million in funds—doubling the initial $2 million it approved early this month—not only to contain coronavirus but also improve Asia-Pacific countries’ resilience against communicable diseases moving forward.

“The funds will be available for all ADB developing member-countries in updating and implementing their pandemic response plans, including buying emergency supplies and equipment; assessing health system and economic impacts to improve future resilience; and coordinating better regionally to prevent, detect and respond to animal and human disease outbreaks. The work will be conducted in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO),” the ADB said in a statement late Wednesday.


The initial $2-million fund covered only six countries—China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.


“The severity of the COVID-19 outbreak is escalating, and past disease outbreaks have had large impacts on social and economic development. The ADB’s funding will help countries catalyze efforts to mitigate further damage to the health of families and economies and position them to better respond to the current and future outbreaks,” said Bambang Susantono, vice president for knowledge management and sustainable development.

“Past epidemics have shown that impacts can ra­pidly extend to all areas of a country’s economy, triggering fiscal shocks with long-term negative consequences that threaten stability and economic growth. Countries and businesses that rely on tou­rism are particularly vulnerable. Trade and supply chains also suffer,” the ADB noted.

Last Tuesday, the ADB also extended $18.6 million in private sector loan to Chinese firm Jointown Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd.

“The local currency loan will support Jointown’s efforts to ensure a continued supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment such as protective clothing, gloves, goggles, face masks and respirators. The financing will also support Jointown’s cooperation with the Red Cross in its efforts to respond to the spread of the coronavirus. Jointown is the largest private pharmaceutical distributor in China and is headquartered in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the ADB said.

Last Monday, ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa met with President Duterte and Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who also serves as lender’s governor for the Philippines.

Dominguez said he and Asakawa had talked about the hosting of this year’s ADB annual meeting scheduled in May in South Korea, which was grappling from the coronavirus outbreak as the country currently hosted the second-largest number of cases after China.


“We touched on the subject but concluded that the ADB will continue to monitor developments before making any announcements,” Dominguez said.

Separately, the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said it had donated $1 million—including money shelled out by its staff, which the lender matched—to the Chinese government for initiatives aimed at controlling COVID-19’s spread.

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“The contribution was used to purchase medical equipment to help frontline health care professionals battling the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan and Beijing,” the AIIB said in a statement.—BEN O. DE VERA

TAGS: (COVID-19) outbreak, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

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