DHAKA, BANGLADESH (13 May 2020): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh today signed $100 million loan agreement to support the Government’s efforts to address the immediate public health requirements for mitigating the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Fatima Yasmin, Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Manmohan Parkash, Country Director, ADB, signed the loan agreements remotely, on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB respectively. ADB’s Board of Directors approved the assistance on 30 April 2020.

“As a trusted development partner, we are pleased to offer $100 million to bolster the Government’s efforts in managing this catastrophic pandemic, which challenges Bangladesh’s recent successes in socioeconomic development,” said Country Director Manmohan Parkash.

“Bangladesh has taken decisive actions to manage the COVID-19 outbreak and this assistance will support the Government’s efforts in mitigating the health sector challenges in short and medium terms.” I am confident the challenges will be met successfully through pragmatic policy decisions, and health sector capacity building and reforms,” Mr. Parkash added.

The assistance under the COVID-19 Response Emergency Assistance Project will helpstrengthen Bangladesh’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing urgentlyneeded health equipment, medical supplies, diagnostic systems, and upgrading of the capacity of the health workforce.

This project will support the immediate procurement of equipment and supplies for testing; upgrade of medical infrastructure; and thedevelopment of system and community capacities for surveillance, prevention, andresponse to the pandemic in Bangladesh.

The project will equip 17 medical college hospitals with isolation and critical care units.

Capacity and quality of at least 19 laboratories will be upgraded with COVID-19microbiological diagnostic facilities. At least 3,500 health sector workers, about 50% of whom are women, will be trained in modern skills and knowledge, and the recruitment ofmore health professionals and technical staff will be supported.

The concessional assistance for the project will be sourced from ADB’s ordinary capitalresources with an interest charge at the rate of 1.0% per annum; a term of 40 years,including a grace period of 10 years; repayment of principal at 2% per annum for the first10 years after the grace period, and 4% per annum thereafter.

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