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PRESS RELEASE April 2, 2020

West Bank and Gaza: US$5.8 million from the World Bank to Help Palestinians Fight Coronavirus Outbreak

Washington, April 2, 2020: A new US$5 million emergency operation was approved today by the World Bank to help the West Bank and Gaza address urgent health needs from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The operation will support efforts to slow down and limit the transmission of COVID-19 and improve the clinical care and case management of those affected by the disease. The project will be implemented through fast track procedures to help in early detection and proper recording of infected cases as inputs for risk assessment and mitigation. It will support the procurement of essential equipment and consumables for laboratory and diagnostic systems, such as ventilators, Polymerase Chain Reaction (amplification technique for specific part of DNA) machines, and test kits.

The project will not only support the epidemiological surveillance systems, it will also strengthen the overall Palestinian public health system in response to the virus, including establishing and equipping quarantine and treatment centers and hiring short-term health personnel.

This new funding follows a previous reallocation of US$800,000 which the World Bank approved on March 6, 2020 as an immediate support to the Palestinian Ministry of Health under the ongoing Health System Resiliency Strengthening Project to help address urgent health needs and prevent further spread of the virus.

This funding will cover top priorities, including equipment and materials for infection and prevention control, laboratory diagnostics, isolation and case management.

"We hope that our quick response to help the Ministry of Health will help contain the further spread of the virus and in turn minimize the adverse economic impacts," said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.

Both operations are funded through a dedicated Trust Fund for Gaza and the West Bank.


World Bank Group COVID-19 Response:

The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery. The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. The IFC is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. IBRD and IDA are making an initial US$6 billion available for the health-response. As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.


In Washington
Nate Rawlings
In Jerusalem
Mary Koussa