ISLAMABAD          -             World Bank and Asian Development Bank have agreed to provide $ 588 million assistance in support for the COVID-19 emergency response plan and to address the socio-economic disruption associated with it.

The Planning Commission has cleared an amount of $238 million from World Bank funding and endorsed another $350 million funding offered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in support for the project concept titled “Pakistan National Emergency Preparedness and response Plan for COVID-19 and COVID-19 emergency response and to address the socio-economic disruption associated with it, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives here.

A special meeting of Concept Clearance Committee / CDWP was held Wednesday today under the Chairmanship of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan. Member Social Sector Dr. Shabnum Sarfraz, Member Private Sector Asim Saeed, DG Health Dr. Safi, Country Director, World Bank, Illango Patchamuthu, ADB Country Director Xiaohong Yang and representatives from EAD, Finance and health ministry were also present in the meeting.

A source privy to the development told The Nation that under the program the country can deal up to 100000 expected Corona cases. The source said that the World Bank support will include, immediate support of $38 million with financing drawn from existing portfolio of projects, repurposing of $50 million undisbursed funds and access to $100 million COVID-19 fast Track facility that the World Bank has set up. Sources said that World Bank will channel $35million from Water Capacity Building Project to the COVID-19 response through additional financing to NISP and $15 million from Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project(WSIP) would be channeled towards provincial level activities through additional financing to the Sindh Resilience Project. 

The plan was presented and was subsequently approved by the forum.  The emergency project focus on taking measures through additional resources for strengthening the integrated disease surveillance and response system across the country through establishing isolation rooms, ensuring availability of Infection Prevention  and Control (IPC) equipment and protective clothing for the health teams, timely diagnostics and procurement of equipment and ventilators for critical care/case management across the country. It also included establishment of a real time surveillance mechanism for early detection and embedding of prevention and control measures to halt / minimize local transmission.

Country Director, World Bank and ADB elaborated on the various financial instruments that would be made available to support the Government for responding to the COVID-19, both for the emergency response as well as for catering to the socio economic impact of the epidemic on the vulnerable and marginalised population.