1127cr project to fight Covid-19

The government formulated a special project involving Tk 1127 crore to combat the growing coronavirus outbreak in the country, said senior official of the Planning Ministry. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday approved the project titled ’Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness’, the official told the Bangladesh Post on Wednesday.

”We have sent it to the Prime Minister for the approval on emergency basis as the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council’s meeting has been postponed, ” he said. Under the project, the government will increase the coronavirus testing facilities in the designated hospitals, procure necessary medical equipment to tackle the virus and ensure proper treatment to the patients.

The PM also instructed the authorities concerned to start implementing the project immediately, said the official, who wished to go unnamed. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will implement the project.  Of the total amount, Tk 850 crore will come from World Bank and Tk 277 will come from the government exchequer, he added.

According to the proposals, the tenure of the project ends on June 2023, but the implementing body is considering completing it by one and a half year. Member of Social Infrastructure Division of the Planning Commission Abul Kalam Azad said the process of preparing the project has been completed on Thursday.

The official that the project was prepared in a short time and its implementation of has already kicked off. According to the Economic Relations Division of the Finance Ministry sources, the World Bank has recently approved a fast-track $100 million (Tk 850 crore) financing to help Bangladesh prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and strengthen its national systems for public health emergencies.

The WB has allocated the loan to Bangldesh from it's $160 billion fast track fund. The credit has a 30-year maturity, including a five-year grace period with 2 percent interest rate. As of Wednesday, Bangladesh reported 3,772 cases of coronavirus and 120 deaths with 390 being tested positive and 10 deaths in last 24 hours.

As of April 22, the outbreak of coronavirus so far has infected 2,573,471 people and killed 178,558 others in 210 countries and territories, according to real-time statistics website Worldomete.