Zambia gets $145 million from lenders for coronavirus fight

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Zambia will get 2.7 billion kwacha ($145 million) from multilateral lenders, Britain and the United States to help fight the coronavirus, the ministry of finance said on Thursday.

The southern African country has confirmed 97 cases of COVID-19 infection and three deaths from the lung disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The World Bank made $57.6 million available to Zambia under its rapid response facility and a further $20 million under its COVID-19 fast track facility, the ministry said in a statement.

The African Development (AfDB) Bank had committed $37.5 million for the purchase of medical equipment other healthcare needs, it said.

“The AfDB will also provide food security packs for approximately 200 000 households in the event of the situation escalating,” the statement said.

Britain had pledged 30 million pounds ($37.5 million) towards increasing the provision of cash grants to the poor and the United States had approved a grant of $14.5 million to Zambia, it said.

Zambia’s budget has been thrown into disarray by the economic blow from the coronavirus outbreak and the government needs to take action to support businesses, President Edgar Lungu said last week.