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Sri Lanka digitally signs World Bank credit to fight Coronavirus

A nurse wearing a facemask walks outside the entrance of Sri Lanka’s Infectious Diseases Hospital near Colombo on March 17, 2020. LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has signed a 128.6 million US dollar credit to help its fight against Coronavirus with the country aggressively detecting cases linked to foreigners or foreign returnees, quarantining them, the Finance Ministry said.

A 35 million dollar credit will come from the the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) window through the World Bank Group’s COVID-19 Fast-Track Facility

Another 93.6 million dollars would come from the International Development Association (IDA), concessional credit window for developing countries.

“The project will focus on limiting local transmission of COVID-19 by strengthening capacities of the health system for contact tracing, case finding, confirmation, reporting, and responding to surge capacity,” the finance ministry said.

The loan agreement was signed digitally by S R Attygalle, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Economic and Policy Development and Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, Country Director of the World Bank.

The agreement was digitally signed with the ongoing Corovirus outbreak, limiting travel and contact an official said.

The project will also strengthen National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), establish and strengthen regional emergency operation centers, and set up a Bio-Safety Level (BSL) 3 laboratory facilities at the National Medical Research Institute (MRI).

Sri Lanka has been aggressively tracing contacts of confirmed cases most of whom are related to foreign returnees or those in the travel trade. (Colombo/Apr04/2020)