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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$20 million loan to help the Government of Palau prepare for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and respond to its impact on the economy.
“ADB’s support will play an important role in strengthening Palau’s health sector to ensure the country is fully prepared in the event of an outbreak of the pandemic,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “At the same time, this support will help strengthen key areas of Palau’s economy that are under duress.”
While Palau remains free of COVID-19 as of 29 July, ADB’s Health Expenditure and Livelihoods Support Program will help the government upgrade the country’s health sector by financing the purchase of ventilators for Belau National Hospital, establishing a COVID-19 hotline for public inquiries, and funding overtime and hazard pay for frontline health workers.
The programme will also help finance the implementation of the government’s economic stimulus package, which includes the provision of concessional loans to local businesses; benefits for the unemployed and assistance finding temporary work in areas such as tourism, the environment, and elderly care; support for free pre-school and childcare for lower income families, which will particularly benefit women; and subsidies for utilities such as electricity and water.
The concessional loan is provided through the COVID-19 pandemic response option (CPRO) under ADB’s Countercyclical Support Facility. CPRO was established as part of ADB’s US$20 billion expanded assistance for developing member countries’ COVID-19 response, announced on 13 April.
This is ADB's second round of assistance for Palau to mitigate the effects of the pandemic following a US$15 million policy-based loan in April.
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