IMF announces $50 billion program to combat coronavirus

The money which is ready to be disbursed immediately is mainly for low-income countries and will mostly be interest-free

The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday announced a $50 billion aid program to combat the deadly coronavirus. The money will be available immediately, said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, while announcing the package.

The coronavirus outbreak is fast spreading in other countries now. While China, where the origin of the virus was traced, has accounted for more than 2,981 deaths, the toll has also been escalating in countries like Italy and South Korea. IMF's announcement follows coordinated action from global central banks that have been making every possible effort to contain the disease.

IMF announces mammoth program

The International Monetary Fund logo is seen during the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2017.
The International Monetary Fund logo is seen during the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2017. Reuters

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday announced an aid program of $50 billion, saying that the money is ready to be disbursed immediately to fight coronavirus across the world. A message on IMF's official website read: "The IMF is making available about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities."

Georgieva message on the website read: "We know that the disease is spreading quickly. With over one-third of our membership affected directly, this is no longer a regional issue – it is a global problem calling for a global response." Most of the money will be interest free and is primarily for "low-income" and emerging economies.

For the low-income countries, IMF has set up a rapid-disbursing emergency financing of up to $10 billion (50 percent of quota of eligible members), which can be accessed without a full-fledged IMF program. So far more than 90,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed across the globe, with total deaths crossing 3,000.

IMF accelerates fight against coronavirus

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva YouTube Grab

IMF expects the countries to use this money to first equip the healthcare system to combat the deadly virus and then use it in fiscal stimulus programs and help liquidity. IMF has also been closely working with World Bank and is taking initiative that medical equipment like medical masks and respiratory equipment reach these low-income countries.

"The Fund is fully committed to supporting our member countries, particularly the most vulnerable. We have the tools to help and we are coordinating closely with our partner institutions," Georgieva further said in her message. On Monday, the World Bank announced a $12 billion package for low-income countries in a bid to help them equip themselves to deal with coronavirus and its economic consequences.

Related topics : Coronavirus