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Factsheet

World Bank’s Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) In Latin America & Caribbean

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*Given the urgency of the pandemic, we are working with member countries to accelerate our support. This page will be updated as we approve resources.*

*Last update May 27, 2021*

What is the World Bank doing to support the region’s response to COVID-19?

  • The World Bank is swiftly supporting the efforts of Latin America and the Caribbean to address COVID-19-related impacts, through new operations and by redirecting funds from existing projects.
  • Over the next 15 months, the World Bank’s assistance to developing countries will reach US$160 billion globally. Much of this will benefit LAC government to better deal with the emergency.
  • The World Bank delivered US$4.6bn in COVID-related IBRD/IDA operations since April. These will enable countries to minimize loss of life, strengthen health systems and disease surveillance, mitigate the pandemic’s economic impact, and work with partners and the private sector to address supply chain issues and delivery.

Which operations are being deployed to respond to COVID-19 in LAC?

  • Specific projects have been approved to support response against COVID-19 in several countries
  • Additional responses include the activation of Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Options (CAT DDO), the rellocation of funds from existing projects or using the Contingency Emergency Response Components (CERCs) in projects.
  • Work on COVID-19 programs has also been initiated in several other countries; these will be announced in due time.

Specific projects

Argentina

  • Argentina’s operation of US$35 million will support detection and government’s response efforts against COVID-19. Specifically, it aims to: help quickly identify new cases, provide timely care, minimize the disease spread and prepare the health system for increasing levels of demand. Additionally, it will strengthen Argentina’s public health lab network and overall epidemiological capacity for early reporting and diagnosis of cases, and minimize risks for frontline health workers,  among other actions. Press Release

Bolivia

  • The project “Emergency Safety Nets for the COVID-19 Crisis” seeks to reduce the economic consequences of the health emergency and support the ability of households to implement social distancing to avoid further loss of life and human capital. A loan and two credits (one of which is concessional) totaling US$254 million were approved for Bolivia. This financing will be used to help the country fund temporary cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households with school-aged children, people with disabilities, elderly members and informal workers affected by the measures adopted tocontain the COVID-19 pandemic. Press Release

Colombia

  • On June 26, the World Bank approved US$700 million to support Colombia’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The operation will help strengthen the health care system, provide income and nutritional support to the poorest, most vulnerable households, and maintain businesses’ liquidity and access to financing. Press Release

Dominica

  • On March 18, 2021, the US$25 million First COVID-19 Response and Recovery Development Policy Credit was approved. This financing aims to support Dominica’s COVID-19 response to save lives, livelihoods, and jobs, while laying the foundation for longer term economic recovery. It includes measures to support the eventual reopening of the tourism sector, while protecting public health, as well as initiatives to protect jobs, and policy reforms to strengthen recovery. Press release

Ecuador

  • Ecuador’s operation of US$20 million will help respond to COVID-19 by boosting national public health systems. The project will finance medical supplies and equipment to enable a greater number of Intensive Care Units and isolation rooms. Additionally, it will contribute to financing a national communication strategy on the pandemic and dissemination of prevention and protection messages. Press Release
  • On April 5, 2021, the World Bank approved US$150 million in additional financing for the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project in Ecuador. This is the first World Bank- financed operation in Latin America and the Caribbean for COVID-19 vaccine procurement. The new resources will be used to purchase and distribute vaccines and to support pandemic management in the country. Press Release

El Salvador

  • The US$20 million “El Salvador COVID-19 Emergency Response Project” aims to help prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen the national public health system. The Project will allow El Salvador to invest in: hospital equipment, medical supplies (including medicines, vaccines and supplies for the protection of health personnel), training for health personnel in public hospitals, and communication and health education efforts for citizens and health personnel, including culturally appropriate educational materials for vulnerable populations. Press Release

Grenada

  • On December 17, the US$25 million Grenada COVID-19 Crisis Response and Fiscal Management Development Policy Credit was approved. This financing will support the government to strengthen the country’s health systems and protect livelihoods through financial assistance to the tourism sector, the agriculture sector, and small businesses. The operation also supports medium-long term structural forms to improve fiscal management and debt transparency, enhance climate resilience, and strengthen public accountability. Read more: Press release

Guatemala

  • On June 26, the World Bank approved a US$20 million project for Guatemala to strengthen its capacity to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The country will be able to acquire medical and laboratory equipment and supplies and to strengthen the early identification, monitoring, notification, and control of outbreaks. This project will also finance prevention and education activities, taking into account the linguistic and cultural diversity of the country, in addition to training activities and the procurement of protection supplies and equipment for health personnel. More information

Guyana

  • The World Bank approved the US$7.5 million Guyana COVID-19 Emergency Response Project to support the country in tackling the current pandemic and strengthening the country’s health system.The project will strengthen laboratory capacity, support screening and surveillance capacity, improve contact tracing, and equip healthcare facilities for more effective treatment and care of COVID-19 patients. Read more: Press release

Haiti

  • Haiti’s US$20 million grant operation will help the country prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 while strengthening national systems for public health preparedness. More specifically, this IDA grant will provide Haiti with immediate support to minimize COVID-19 transmission through boosted testing for early detection and rapid response teams to contain outbreaks. It will also mobilize additional health staff and provide equipment to improve care of patients who do become ill. Press Release
  • On June 29, the World Bank approved US$20 million to support the COVID-19 response and longer-term resilience in Haiti. The financing aims to increase Haiti’s capacity to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and enhance resilience to natural hazards and health-related shocks. Press Release

Honduras

  • The US$20 million “Honduras COVID-19 Emergency Response Project” aims to help detect and respond to the COVID-19 threat in Honduras. This project will will allow the country to invest in hospital equipment and for intensive care units, medicines and medical supplies (including protective gear for health personnel, hygienic and biosafety materials, and equipment for laboratories, isolations units and international sanitary offices in the country), technical assistance and training for health workers on standards and protocols for case management, patient care and infection prevention, and operational support for rapid response teams to investigate and contain contagion. Press Release

Jamaica

  • The US$150 million Jamaica COVID-19 Response and Recovery Development Policy Loan, approved March 18, 2021, supports the government to protect poor and vulnerable Jamaicans, support sustainable business growth and job creation, and strengthen policies and institutions for resilient and sustainable recovery. Press release

Paraguay

  • Paraguay’s operation of US$20 million focuses on bolstering the national health system for emergency preparedness and response to COVID-19. More specifically, it will strengthen the country’s overburdened health system -currently dealing with a dramatic Dengue outbreak- to limit COVID-19 local transmission. Additionally,  the financing will support laboratory equipment and technology systems for prompt case finding and contact tracing; strengthen clinical care capacity; equip primary health care facilities and hospitals for the delivery of critical medical services. Press Release

Saint Lucia

  • On January 14, the US$30 million Saint Lucia COVID-19 Response, Recovery, and Resilience Development Policy Credit was approved. This financing will help the government to enhance the capacity of the health sector and provide short-term relief to the poor, small businesses, and severely affected workers. The operation also supports measures to ensure business continuity and save jobs. It supports medium-term resilience through structural reforms to improve public financial management, procurement, debt transparency and management, financial resilience to natural disasters, and education sector policies. Read more: Press release

Trinidad and Tobago

  • The World Bank approved US$20 million for a project that aims to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness. The financing will support procurement of key medical supplies needed for testing and diagnosis, inputs for infection prevention and control in health facilities, and personal protective equipment for staff. Support will also be provided for the health system to bolster capacity to manage future infections and provide training on appropriate clinical care and safe waste disposal. Financing for this project is from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as part of the COVID-19 Fast-Track Facility offered to help countries worldwide face this pandemic. Press release

Uruguay

  • The World Bank approved an emergency loan for US$20 million to support the Uruguayan Government’s efforts to minimize impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on the health system. The funding will help improve testing capacity, early detection and treatment of positive cases of COVID-19, and contribute to the procurement of medical supplies and equipment for frontline public health workers. Press Release

Additional responses

In addition to the above, the following countries are getting support as part of COVID-19 response activities: 

Bahamas

  • On May 25, the World Bank approved US$100 million to support the country’s efforts to provide COVID-19 relief and lay the foundation for a resilient economic recovery. This financing, provided on an exceptional basis, aims to help The Bahamas enhance COVID-19 relief, strengthen financial stability and the business environment, and improve fiscal sustainability and resilience. Press release

Belize

  • The World Bank activated US$12.4 million to provide social protection support to poor and vulnerable households affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The financing will support poverty reduction social protection programs to assist over 13,000 households in need. This response particularly targets households with pregnant women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. These funds were mobilized under the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) of the Climate Resilience Improvement ProjectPress release
  • In August, US$8 million in funds were reallocated through the CERC component of the Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project to support Belize’s agricultural sector and improve food security in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will benefit more than 8,700 agricultural households in the country. Read more

Bolivia

  • Through the restructuring of the Healthcare Service Network Project, the World Bank has made US$170 million immediately available to strengthen the capacity of the healthcare system’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The resources are being used to purchase supplies, equipment and materials for COVID-19 prevention, screening and treatment, as well as for the protection of healthcare professionals. Press Release

Colombia

  • Colombia has also received funding to address COVID19-related impacts in the form of a CAT DDO operation totaling US$250 million. This contingency loan is part of the country's disaster risk finance strategy, which enables it to be prepared in the event of a disaster or health emergency, such as COVID-19. It is immediately disbursed. Press Release

Dominican Republic

  • To address COVID-19, the Dominican Republic has activated a Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan with a Deferred Drawdown Option for Catastrophe Risks (CAT DDO). This $150m contingency credit line will help the country implement emergency measures to contain the spread, and manage health and economic impacts. Additionally, this financing will support increase testing, and broaden social welfare programs. Press Release
  • One June 18, the World Bank approved US$100 million to support the response to the COVID-19 emergency in the Dominican Republic. This financing will help improve the capacity of the health system, support the most vulnerable population, and reduce the financial burden on businesses and poor households. Press Release

Dominica

  • The World Bank activated on April 15 US$6.6 million to provide immediate funding for Dominica’s emergency response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, focusing on enhancing health system capacity and strengthening food security. US$5.1 million will be used to bolster the capacity of Dominica’s public health system to manage COVID-19. Funds will be available to purchase drugs, medical supplies and equipment, and laboratory supplies to boost testing capacity and for minor retrofitting of isolation units. Another US$1.5 million will be used to support agriculture and strengthen national food security during the pandemic. The intervention is targeted to reach an estimated 3,200 farmers to ensure that the local food supply chains are better able to meet the needs of the island. More information: Press Release
  • On June 26, additional financing of US$3 million was approved for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Regional Health Project in Dominica. This replenishes funds that were redirected for emergency purposes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Press Release
  • On June 30, additional financing of US$3.6 million was approved for the Dominica Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project, to restore funds that were used in the COVID-19 emergency response and support food security and climate resilience objectives. Press Release
  • In August, the World Bank activated US$5.2 million in funds through the CERC component of the Dominica Housing Recovery Project to provide income support to people economically affected by the COVID-19 crisis who meet set criteria. Grants will be distributed to over 7,000 Dominicans under the Government’s Livelihood Support and Social Protection Programme. Press release

Grenada

  • The World Bank has activated US$2.5 million to support the COVID-19 response in Grenada. The financing will be used to increase testing capacity, equip health facilities, strengthen isolation capacity, and bolster surveillance activities.These funds were mobilized under the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) of the ongoing OECS Regional Health Project. Press release
  • On June 26, additional financing of US$2.5 million was approved for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Regional Health Project in Grenada. This replenishes funds that were redirected for emergency purposes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Press Release

Haiti

  • The World Bank activated US$9.5 million to support food security in Haiti in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The financing will be used to safeguard production for the next two cropping seasons, maintain purchasing power of the rural and urban poor, and preserve the food markets and value chains. This funding will allow 21,500 farmers to finance inputs and materials such as seeds and fertilizers, and will support plowing and land preparation. These funds were mobilized under the Haiti Resilient Productive Landscape Project using the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC). Press release

Honduras

  • The World Bank approved a US$119 million credit for Honduras to allow the country to mobilize immediate financial resources to respond to the emergency caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The main objective of the Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Credit with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat DDO) is to strengthen the financial and institutional framework of Honduras to manage risks from adverse natural events and health emergencies. Press Release

Panama

  • In support of the Panamanian government’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health emergency, the World Bank authorized the disbursement of US$ 41 million of a development policy loan that strengthens the disaster risk reduction agenda nationwide. Panamanian officials declared a national State of Emergency on March 13 to address the health crisis, which enabled the disbursement made on March 25 through the mechanism known as the Development Policy Loan with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT DDO), a contingent financing to address shocks related to disasters and/or health-related events.
  • Within the project to support the National Indigenous Peoples Development Plan, this year the Annual Operational Plan was modified to address the COVID-19 emergency in indigenous territories. Component 2 of the project includes financing for the health sector. So, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and in consultation with the Council of Indigenous Peoples, medical supplies were evaluated and validated to finance as part of the project with a disbursement of US$ 2 million, which became effective in early July 2020.

Peru

  • On August 20, the Peruvian government received a disbursement of  around US$1.8 billion of a Deferred Drawdown Option from the World Bank to partially finance cash transfers and other exceptional expenses to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on poor and most vulnerable households. Between May and July, the World Bank conducted three rounds of phone surveys to assess the impact of the crisis on Peruvian households. The results showed that the loss of employment and sources of income was very high in Peru, and steeper for the independent, informal and non-educated sectors of the population. 

Saint Lucia

  • Saint Lucia will benefit from US$10.5 million activated from World Bank projects to support the country’s COVID-19 response. This financing, which was released on April 29, will strengthen Saint Lucia’s efforts to address the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. The financing for the healthcare system will help increase testing capabilities, build isolation units, and enhance public information campaigns to assist with awareness and prevention. It will also support the rehabilitation of Victoria Hospital and other medical facilities, creating employment through the associated labor-intensive civil works that will also enhance infrastructure resilience. These funds were accessed under the Contingency Emergency Response Components of the Saint Lucia Health System Strengthening Project and the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project. More information: Press Release
  • On June 26, additional financing of US$5 million was approved for the Health System Strengthening Project in Saint Lucia. This replenishes funds that were redirected for emergency purposes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Press Release

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

  • The World Bank activated US$4.5 million on April 17 to provide immediate funding for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, aimed at strengthening the capacity of the health system. The financing will be used to improve the ability to isolate patients, increase testing capacity, and purchase critical supplies, including personal protective equipment, mobile isolation units, testing equipment, reagents, gloves, and masks. It will also support preparedness and response capacity for other public health emergencies by increasing access to medical equipment and expanding the capacity of hospitals. These funds were mobilized under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Regional Health Project using the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC). More information: Press Release
  • On June 26, additional financing of US$4.5 million was approved for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Regional Health Project in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This replenishes funds that were redirected for emergency purposes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Press Release

Suriname

  • The World Bank activated US$412,000 on May 4 to purchase essential medical supplies in Suriname for emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Suriname responded rapidly to procure key supplies in advance, which are now being retroactively financed. The funds were mobilized under the Saramacca Canal System Rehabilitation Project using the Contingency Emergency Response Component. Press Release

Last Updated: Mar 26, 2021