"This pandemic has become a major global crisis. It requires forceful action at national, regional, and global levels. With our developing member countries, we are formulating an aggressive set of actions to combat the pandemic; to protect the poor, the vulnerable, and wider populations across the region; and to ensure economies will rebound as swiftly as possible. Based on close dialogue with our members and peer institutions, we are deploying this $6.5 billion rescue package to meet the immediate needs of our members,” ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said.
Asakawa stressed that ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice down the road whenever the situation warrants, on top of the $6.5 billion package.
The initial package includes approximately $3.6 billion in sovereign operations for a range of responses to the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, and $1.6 billion in nonsovereign operations for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, domestic and regional trade, and firms directly impacted.
ADB will also mobilize about $1 billion in concessional resources through reallocations from ongoing projects and assessing possible needs for contingencies. ADB will make available $40 million in technical assistance and quick-disbursing grants.
To provide the support package to DMCs as quickly and flexibly as possible, ADB will seek adjustment in its financial tools and business processes. Subject to approval by ADB’s Board of Directors, this will include faster access to emergency budget support for economies facing severe fiscal constraints, streamlined procedures for policy-based lending, and universal procurement with flexible and faster processes.
ADB will further strengthen its close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, regional development banks, the World Health Organization, and major bilateral funding agencies including the Japan International Cooperation Agency, as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and private sector organizations, to ensure effective implementation of its COVID-19 response.
The outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan - which is an international transport hub - began at a fish market in late December 2019. The number of people killed by the disease has surpassed 7,900. Over 198,000 people have been confirmed as infected. Meanwhile, over 81,000 people have reportedly recovered.
Some sources claim the coronavirus outbreak started as early as November 2019.
Several countries are working on a vaccine against the new virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11 declared COVID-19 a pandemic.