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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Response

The first and among the hardest-hit regions by COVID-19 (coronavirus), the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region could see up to 24 million people not being able to escape poverty in 2021 because of the pandemic. People are missing meals, school, and hospital visits – all this will unfortunately affect future generations. Depressed international demand and domestic lockdowns are leading to large numbers of job losses and bankruptcies. Small and medium enterprises and the informal sector are particularly hard hit.

Since April 2020, the World Bank Group has deployed over $157 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history. The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery. 

In the EAP region, World Bank-supported emergency operations emergency operations are providing emergency financing for the purchase of medical and laboratory supplies, training of medical staff, and strengthening national public health systems. 

The World Bank is working with countries to redeploy existing projects to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by reallocating funds, triggering emergency components of existing projects, and activating Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Options (CAT DDOs).

The World Bank is also helping Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines finance the purchase or distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments. In Vietnam, the Bank prepared a series of policy notes with strategies and recommendations to help contain the spread of COVID-19, protect vulnerable groups from the pandemic’s impacts, and stimulate a broad-based recovery.

To help countries address the anticipated severe economic, social and poverty impacts, the World Bank is working with countries in the region to strengthen social protection measures for the poor and vulnerable, support businesses and safeguard jobs, and advance the reforms needed to shorten the time to recovery and build conditions for broad-based and sustainable growth.

Learn more about the World Bank’s operational response to COVID-19 in East Asia and Pacific here.


Philippines: Vilma Campos lost her job during the lockdown but is hopeful for a quick end to the health crisis now that she has been vaccinated. Watch a video.

In Depth

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Washington DC
Marilene Montemayor