Pak launches $595m funding appeal to meet COVID-19 challenge

Islamabad, April 24 (IANS) Pakistan has launched a $595 million funding appeal, in collaboration with the UN and its partner organisations, for meeting the countrys urgent needs in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and tackling its socio-economic impact.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while speaking at the virtual launch on Thursday, said Pakistan was requesting its bilateral and multilateral partners to help it strengthen its healthcare infrastructure and create a fiscal space to deal with the challenge and its implications, reports Dawn news.

The requirements for which the funding appeal was launched were identified in the multi-sectoral Prepa­redness and Response Plan to combat COVID-19.

The primary objective of the plan is to deal with the immediate and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on Pakistan’s health sector.

Qureshi said COVID-19 was a “common en­­­e­­my” dealing with which required a “com­mon agenda and common strategy”.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza, on this occasion, said that the forecast for the disease in Pakistan was “quite terrifying” for the coming weeks and months.

He said the plan identified the immediate gaps till the end of the current year.

The Foreign Office said that the World Bank had immediately made available a $240 million package to help Pakistan take effective and timely action to respond to the pandemic.

The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has increased to 11,155 with 237 deaths.