COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (13 March 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated a $600,000 grant from the Health System Enhancement Project to the Government of Sri Lanka to finance preventive and response efforts to fight a potential novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.

The global public health emergency, which has now been characterized by the World Health Organization as a pandemic, calls for urgent measures to respond to the disease in Sri Lanka.

“ADB has a track record of providing rapid and targeted support to the country in times of emergencies,” said ADB’s Social Development Officer in Sri Lanka Herathbanda Jayasundara. “We are in constant contact with the Ministry of Health and all related development partners and stand ready to provide assistance as required.”

The grant will fund disease surveillance as well as the provision of medical supplies and equipment for the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Mulleriyawa and 17 hospitals identified by the Ministry of Health throughout the island for quarantine purposes. In addition, personal protective equipment and other laboratory equipment will be supplied to the Medical Research Institute. The grant will also support the renovation and refurbishment of the Port Health Office and isolation rooms at both the Colombo and Trincomalee ports of entry, as well as the renovation of the current isolation facilities of the Epidemiology Unit of the Infectious Diseases Hospital. In addition, laboratory facilities and equipment to test high-risk samples will be funded under the medium-term plan of the government.

The first batch of supplies, worth 2 million rupees ($11,250), was handed over to the relevant institutions on 13 March 2020.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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