|Tourists wear face masks due to the coronavirus outbreak – Photo: Thanh Hoa
The funding, which also aims to improve resilience to this and other communicable diseases, will be available for all ADB developing member countries that are updating and executing pandemic response plans.
These plans include buying emergency supplies and equipment; assessing the health system and any economic impact to improve future resilience; and coordinating more efficiently regionally to prevent, detect and respond to animal and human disease outbreaks.
The work will be conducted in close collaboration with the World Health Organization.
“The severity of the Covid-19 outbreak is escalating, and past disease outbreaks have had significant effects 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 US$2 million in funds to strengthen the immediate response capacity of 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 noted that past epidemics have shown that effects can rapidly extend to all aspects 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,” according to the bank based in the Philippines.