World Bank reallocates $33.6 million to help Iraq’s fight against COVID-19
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Tuesday, the World Bank announced the allocation of $33.6 million as part of its Emergency Operation for Development Project (EODP) in emergency response to assist Iraqi health sector to better fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The outbreak coincides with economic challenges caused by spiralling oil prices on one hand while the nation also faces insecurity as the result of resurgent attacks of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and a renewed wave of protests that World Health Organization (WHO) officials in Iraq warned could have a potentially dangerous impact on the future spread the virus.
The plan will be implemented in two phases, according to a statement by the international organization.
“The World Bank initially mobilized US$7.8 million from resources that were immediately available under the EODP to help finance the supply of essential medical equipment and supplies,” the statement read, referring to vital resources such as ventilators, ICU beds, ECG machines, mobile X-ray machines, and defibrillators.
Upon a request by the Iraqi government, the World Bank decided “to re-allocate an additional US$25.8 million under the project to supply additional quantities of equipment and consumables and support the training of health workers and front-line responders on their use,” the statement read.
The EODP, initially, approved $350 in 2015 to financially to assist and increase projects liberated from the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
World Bank official Saroj Kumar Jha said that the organization “stands ready to support Iraq’s efforts to contain the rapid spread of the virus and strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Health to address the additional strain the pandemic poses on the Iraqi health system.”
On Wednesday, Iraqi health authorities in Baghdad reported a total of 119 new coronavirus infections across the country in the previous 24 hours while their counterparts in the autonomous Kurdistan Region announced only a single new case in areas under its jurisdiction.
The combined figure sets new daily high in the nation for a second day running, just as the total tally calculated by both the federal and regional governments tops 3,000.
An Iraqi Health Ministry statement said that the results came as the results of 4,200 new coronavirus tests were registered. Baghdad and Basra provinces were the worst-hit, with 82 and 32 new cases, respectively. Additionally, Nineveh and Muthanna provinces each had two infections and Diyala had one.
Three more people passed away in Baghdad province and 63 others recovered nationally. Iraqi authorities have conducted 132,457 tests so far, saying they have recorded 3,032 cases in full. Close to 1,100 active cases remain.
The first Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) coronavirus update Wednesday afternoon said there had been no new infections over the previous 24 hours, but the regional Health Ministry later reported one new infection in a brief follow-up statement.
Editing by John J. Catherine