MANILA, PHILIPPINES (14 March 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant of $3 million to help the Philippine government's response to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including the buy of emergency medical supplies and the provision of efficient healthcare. The aid, leveraging ADB's most versatile, expeditious procurement methods, allows the government to buy, among others, diagnostic reagents and supplies, resources for improvement hospitals, and personal security for health workers handling extreme COVID-19 cases. "ADB assistance will help our host country, the Philippines, resolve immediate financial and logistical constraints on supplying emergency medical services during this extraordinary public health emergency," ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said. "The assistance will allow government to purchase essential medical supplies and equipment, provide health services, and minimize the social and economic disruption of the Philippine COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first step in what will be a wider program of working with government to address the threat posed by COVID-19 to health and economic activity." On March 8, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared a state of public health emergency and upgraded the warning to its highest level on March 12 based on evidence of community transmission. As of March 14, the Philippine Department of Health reported 98 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the country, including 8 deaths, at least four of them believed to be caused by local transmission. ADB will oversee the grant provided by the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund and work closely with the Health Department, the World Health Organization and other UN technical agencies to ensure timely delivery of medical supplies. The new assistance builds on ADB's previous response to COVID-19, including $200 million made available via ADB's Supply Chain Finance Program to manufacture and distribute drugs and other products needed to fight the pandemic. ADB's response to date also includes $2 million announced on 7 February to improve identification, prevention and response in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Greater Mekong Subregion; another $2 million announced on 26 February to support response by all its developing members; and a private sector loan of CNY130 million ($18.6 million) signed on 25 February to Wuhan, PRC-based pharmaceuticals. Ltd. to continue providing essential medications and personal protective equipment. ADB is committed to a stable, democratic, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while continuing its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Formed in 1966, 68 members—49 from the region— own it.

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