By THE NATION
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 Organisation.
“The severity of the Covid-19 outbreak is escalating, and past disease outbreaks have had large impacts on social and economic development,” said ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bambang Susantono.
“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.”
Earlier in February, ADB provided $2 million in funds to strengthen the immediate response capacity in Cambodia, China , Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Over the longer term, this can be scaled up to focus on supporting pandemic preparedness and building resilience. ADB also provided a private sector loan of up to 130 million yuan ($18.6 million) to Jointown Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd, based in Wuhan city of Hubei province in China, to enhance the distribution and supply of essential medicines and protective equipment.
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.