The World Bank said on Friday that it will give Armenia $3 million to acquire medical equipment and supplies needed for containing the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The bank said nearly half of the assistance requested by the Armenian Ministry of Health will be spent on buying 50 lung ventilation devices used for lifesaving treatment of people infected with coronavirus. The ministry will also obtain protective personal equipment for healthcare workers, it said in a statement.
“The equipment will be procured directly through United Nations agencies’ supply channels in view of the current constraints for these types of medical emergency equipment in the global market,” read the statement.
“I would like to recognize the unprecedented dedication of health professionals in Armenia to protect the people,” it quoted Sylvie Bossoutrot, the head of the World Bank office in Yerevan, as saying.
“I would also like to strongly encourage each citizen of Armenia to strictly abide by the requirements of these emergency times and observe social distancing and isolation measures aimed at minimizing the impact of the pandemic,” added Bossoutrot.
The World Bank, which is Armenia’s number one foreign lender, also expressed readiness to provide additional coronavirus-related assistance to Yerevan. It would be provided at the expense of other projects which were due to be financed in Armenia by the Washington-based development bank.
The announcement came the day after the European Union promised 51 million euros ($55 million) in assistance designed to help the Armenian government deal with not only the coronavirus epidemic but also its severe socioeconomic consequences.
The United States allocated last week more than $1 million in similar aid to Armenia. The South Caucasus state has also received medical supplies from Russia and China.
The Armenian Ministry of Health reported on Friday morning that the total number of coronavirus cases in the country rose by over 10 percent to 736 in the past 24 hours. According to the ministry, three more people died of COVID-19 on Thursday, raising to 7 the national death toll from the virus.