March 3, 2020 / 9:54 PM / 3 months ago

Lender CAF approves $300 million in credit to help Latin American countries hit by coronavirus

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Latin American development bank CAF has approved a credit line worth $300 million (£234 million) to manage emergencies related to coronavirus in its member countries, it said on Tuesday.

CAF made the announcement shortly after Chile and Argentina confirmed their first cases of the fast-moving virus. Other countries in the region with COVID-19 include Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

More than 90,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, of which more than 80,000 are in China. According to the World Health Organization, 74 countries worldwide have reported COVID-19 infections.

“The aim of this new credit line is to hasten the approval of operations for immediate attention which will safeguard the population and address developments in a timely manner,” the CAF said in a statement.

The bank also approved the possibility of granting technical help of up to $5 million for initiatives related to the outbreak in countries across the region.

Uncertainty caused by coronavirus caused the U.S. Federal Reserve to lower its key interest rate on Tuesday in an emergency decision to protect the world’s largest economy from the impact of the disease.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Dan Grebler

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