AFP – Sri Lanka will seek an emergency loan of $100 million from the World Bank for a Coronavirus vaccination drive, officials said yesterday, as the country struggles with an acute currency crisis.
The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 12,000 lives and infected in excess of half a million people in Sri Lanka, which is also suffering food shortages because of the cash crunch.
The government said in a statement that the cabinet had “granted approval to the resolution furnished by the Minister of Health for obtaining the relevant supplementary financing facility” from the international lender.
The statement said the World Bank had indicated willingness to provide the money to buy 14 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and finance “other costs pertaining to vaccination”.
Sri Lanka has double-jabbed more than half of its 21 million people, mostly with Chinese vaccines, but has remained in the grip of a major Covid-19 wave since April.
Medical experts say the death toll is much higher than the official figure.
The economy, shorn of its key tourism sector by the pandemic, shrank by an unprecedented 3.6 percent last year.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency on Aug 31 to deal with food shortages, as most banks have run out of dollars to finance imports.
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