The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will support Bangladesh in tackling novel coronavirus outbreak challenges.
This was relayed by ADB Country Director in Bangladesh Manmohan Parkash, who began by saying, "The Bangladesh government has requested the ADB provide assistance to help tackle the challenges of a potential Covid-19 outbreak in the country," said the ADB country director.
"As a long-standing development partner, the ADB is committed to assisting Bangladesh in this difficult time. We initiated the process of quickly exploring the financing modality and other details in close coordination with the government and other stakeholders," he added.
The ADB country director made these statements while speaking to the media after meeting with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the capital on Saturday, read a press release.
The discussions covered the government's preparedness for mitigating a potential outbreak, its economic impact, and possible ADB support following a government request for assistance.
The global public health emergency, which has been characterised by the World Health Organisation as a pandemic, calls for urgent measures to respond to the disease as well as tackle its economic fallout.
The ADB recently announced a $6.5 billion initial package to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries as they respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ADB's previous responses to Covid-19 include $200 million, made available through the ADB's Supply Chain Finance Program, for companies manufacturing and distributing medicine and other items needed to combat the pandemic.
The ADB's response, to date, also includes $2 million, announced on February 7, to enhance detection, prevention, and response in China and the Greater Mekong Subregion; while another $2 million was announced on February 26 to support the response in all its developing member countries.
Another $18.6 million private sector loan was signed on February 25 – with Wuhan, China-based pharmaceutical distributor Jointown Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd – to support the continued supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment.
Another grant of $600,000 was provided to Sri Lanka on 13 March.
The ADB has a strong track record of rapidly responding to provide targeted support to Bangladesh in times of emergencies; including natural disasters like floods and cyclones and other crises like the influx of Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar from Myanmar.
The bank aims to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific; while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, the bank now has 68 members and 49 of them are from the Asia-Pacific region.