By Chino Leyco
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a new funding to support efforts to combat the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
In a statement, the Manila-based lender said it allocated $2 million to improve investigation and surveillance of the 2019-nCoV outbreak that already affected at least 28 countries.
The funding also aims to strengthen the region’s health systems’ resilience and capacity for epidemic response, the bank said.
Likewise, ADB said it will support the supply of diagnostic and laboratory equipment for rapid testing to help combat the outbreak.
“ADB has a track record of providing rapid and targeted support to our members in emergency situations,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “We stand ready to provide further assistance as required.”
ADB’s new fund support will supplement an ongoing regional technical assistance and strengthen response capacity in Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
ADB also said that it is collaborating closely with World Health Organization and other regional experts to identify areas for coordinated responses and possible further financial assistance to respond to the 2019-nCoV situation.
“Additional technical assistance is under preparation to help other developing member countries improve key economic and health systems, including disease surveillance, provision of medical supplies, outbreak response plans, and regional cooperation,” ADB said.
“Where needed, support may include the procurement of medicines and medical equipment. Other activities may include economic and health system assessments to improve understanding of the economic impacts and the design of appropriate response measures,” it added.
ADB’s economists are looking at the impact that the virus could have on the region’s economies, including through channels such as tourism, consumption, trade, and supply chains.