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PRESS RELEASE May 18, 2020

World Bank supports Uruguay in the fight against COVID-19

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2020 – The World Bank approved today 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.

“Uruguay responded to this crisis in a rapid and proactive manner and this allowed us to manage the different levels of such emergency:  urgent aspects of the situation, recovery of the economy, and plans for the medium term. This includes the approval of specific measures, such as this one, to address the virus-related impacts and, just to give one example, ensure early diagnosis of cases. We have also worked to roll out credit lines and grant new loans to mitigate the impact of this pandemic on the society, as we return to normal activities,” said Azucena Arbeleche, Minister of Economy and Finance.

The project is in line with the Uruguayan comprehensive strategy for preparedness and response to COVID-19. It will support activities relative to timely diagnosis and care of COVID-19 patients to minimize disease spread. It will also support the National Integrated Health System to respond in the event of increasing levels of demand. The procurement of medical supplies and equipment for the protection of public health workers is also being addressed.

“These are hard times for us all. The beneficiaries of this loan will be the Uruguayan users of the National Health System, particularly vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and persons with underlying health conditions, infected persons, and frontline medical and emergency staff,” said Jordan Schwartz, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. “At the World Bank we stand by Uruguay in its effort to respond to demands on the health system resulting from this emergency,”

The World Bank activated up to US$160 billion for immediate support to countries that are addressing pandemic-related sanitary and economic impacts.

The COVID-19 Urgent Response Project is financed with a variable-spread loan with an 11-year maturity period and a 4-year grace period.

World Bank Group Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)


The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources in grants or highly concessional terms.

Learn more about the work of the World Bank in Uruguay:



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