Tuesday May 19, 2020
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday approved a $300mn emergency assistance loan to boost the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic, as Pakistan has reported more than 43,000 cases of the virus so far.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant detrimental impact on the health and economic prospects of the people of Pakistan,” a press release from the ADB quoted its Vice-President Shixin Chen as saying.
"Financing through this project will fast-track ADB’s assistance to strengthen Pakistan’s public health capabilities, provide immediate support to vulnerable women and their families, and facilitate knowledge sharing with Pakistan's neighbors and other countries in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation region," it said further.
The ADB said that the loan will be used to purchase medical supplies and personal protective equipment for hospital staff and their training, purchase of emergency vehicles, and strengthening COVID-19 awareness among marginal communities with limited television or internet connectivity.
The ADB said that it would provide direct cash assistance to for the benefit of women in poor households via the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Assistance Package, launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These payments are designed to meet the basic food needs and necessary living expenses of poor and vulnerable women and families, which are the bedrock of Pakistani society,” said ADB’s Project Administration Unit Head and co-team leader of the project Zheng Wu. “Unconditional cash transfers help improve the nutritional intake of poor households and boost women’s economic empowerment. This project will build Pakistan’s capacity to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and other health emergencies.”