March 26, 2020 / 3:46 PM / 12 days ago

IDB increases money available for Latin America to fight coronavirus to $12 billion

BOGOTA (Reuters) - The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said on Thursday it has increased resources available to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to fight the coronavirus pandemic to $12 billion, up from the $2 billion it had promised a few weeks ago.

The sum will be available to governments and businesses to help meet challenges faced by countries in the region during the accelerating public health crisis.

Resources will be focused on protective measures to help vulnerable populations, support employment and production, and in fiscal policies to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on economies in Latin America.

“We are immediately reprogramming resources to help with this health emergency,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “However, the historic dimensions of the crisis require a multisectoral strategy that anticipates the social and economic impact over the medium and long term.”

Additionally, governments can request that resources earmarked for projects already in development be redirected to meet the needs caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, the highly contagious illness caused by the virus that has infected more than 490,000 people and killed more than 22,000 worldwide.

Of the total sum IDB Invest, the organization’s department that serves the private sector, will make $4.5 billion available to companies hit by the crisis.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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