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PRESS RELEASE May 26, 2020

World Bank Assists Serbia with $100 Million to Keep COVID-19 Under Control

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2020 — Two walk-in and up to ten drive-through testing points for COVID-19 will be established in Serbia and the country’s testing capacity will be increased from 7,000 to at least 9,000 tests a day thanks to the new $100 million loan from the World Bank, approved today. This financing aims at assisting the country to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The walk-in testing points will be at the two main airports – in Belgrade and Nis, while up to ten drive-through testing points will be at border crossings.

In addition, two further regional laboratories will be established – one at the Clinical Centre of Vojvodina in Novi Sad and one at the Clinical Centre in Kragujevac—with a capacity of 1,000 samples daily, increasing Serbia’s total SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity to about 130 tests per 100,000 population per day. The World Bank will also support Serbia in procuring additional protective gear, in integrating laboratories testing for COVID-19 into one electronic reporting system and strengthening the diagnostic imaging capacity as well as intensive care and isolation units.

"Serbia’s success in bending the curve of its first wave of COVID-19 shouldn’t lead to complacency in strengthening its preparedness for subsequent waves," says Stephen Ndegwa, World Bank Country Manager for Serbia. "Boosting testing capacity, while strengthening capacity to diagnose COVID-19, intensive care units, and the e-reporting system for COVID-19 will give the Government of Serbia the capability to adjust infection control measures on the basis of lessons learned."

Under this project, known as the Serbia Emergency COVID-19 Response Project, Serbia will strengthen its surveillance system and epidemiological capacity for early detection and confirmation of cases. This will help the country strengthen risk assessment and provide on time data and information for guiding decision-making, response and mitigation activities.

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 supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. We will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans.



Kym Smithies
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Vesna Kostic
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