ADB fast tracks 3 mln USD grant to help Philippines fight COVID-19

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Saturday that it has approved a 3 million U.S. dollars grant to support the Philippine government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the purchase of emergency medical supplies and the delivery of effective health care services.

The Manila-based bank said the assistance, incorporating ADB's most flexible, expeditious procurement approaches, allows the government to purchase diagnostic reagents and equipment, materials for makeshift hospitals, and personal protection supplies for health workers managing severe COVID-19 cases, among others.

"ADB's assistance will help the Philippines address the immediate financial and logistical constraints on the provision of emergency medical services during this extraordinary public health emergency," ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said in a statement.

"The assistance will allow the government to purchase key medical supplies and equipment, deliver health services, and minimize the social and economic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines," he added.

"This is the first step in what will be a broader program of working with the government to respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 to health and economic activity," Asakawa said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency in the country and placed the entire Metro Manila under "community quarantine" after raising the public health alert level to the highest Code Red Sub-Level 2.

As of March 14, the Philippines' Department of Health reported 98 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country, including 8 deaths. A number of cases are believed to be caused by local transmission.

ADB said it will manage the grant, which will be financed by the Asia-Pacific Disaster Response Fund, and work closely with the DOH, the World Health Organization, and other United Nations technical agencies to ensure timely delivery of the medical supplies.

The ADB said the new assistance builds on ADB's previous response to the COVID-19, including 200 million U.S. dollars made available through ADB's Supply Chain Finance Program for companies manufacturing and distributing medicines and other items needed to combat the pandemic.

Source: China ASEAN Business Council