World Bank vows $12 billion funds to assist coronavirus outbreak countries
The World Bank on Tuesday announced an initial $12 billion in immediate funds to assist countries grappling with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus virus outbreak that has spread quickly from China to some 80 countries.
World Bank president David Malpass said there were still “many unknowns” about the fast-spreading virus and “much more” aid might be required, but he declined to elaborate.
The announcement underscored escalating concern about the economic and human impact of the virus.
The WHO on Tuesday warned of a global shortage of protective equipment to fight the disease as well as price gouging as the death toll from the respiratory illness mounted.
Also on Tuesday, the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates in an emergency move to try to prevent a global recession, and finance officials from the G7 group of rich countries said they were ready to adopt fiscal and monetary measures where appropriate.
Malpass called on countries to coordinate their actions on a regional and international level, saying the speed and breadth of the response would be critical to saving lives.
“We’re announcing today an initial package of immediate support that will make available up to $12 billion to respond to country requests for crisis financing of their immediate needs and also to lessen the tragic impacts of the crisis,” he said.
“The point is to move fast; speed is needed to save lives,” Malpass said during a teleconference with reporters. “There are scenarios where much more resources may be required.”