As more cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) keep rising globally and Nigeria recently announcing a first confirmed case in Lagos Nigeria, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have shown concern and preparedness in assisting member countries to deal with the challenges posed by the life threatening virus – coronavirus (COVID-19 virus).
The two international bodies made this known in a joint press statement issued by the Managing Director of the IMF, Ms Kristalina Georgieva and the President of the World Bank, Mr David Malpass in Washington DC, United States of America.
According to the release, the IMF and World Bank will employ all necessary and available instruments including emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance to assist nations, especially poor countries in handling the outbreak.
The statement read: “The IMF and the World Bank Group stand ready to help our member countries address the human tragedy and economic challenge posed by the COVID-19 virus. We have engaged actively with international institutions and country authorities, with special attention to poor countries where health systems are the weakest and people are most vulnerable.
“We will use our available instruments to the fullest extent possible, including emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance. In particular, we have rapid financing facilities that, collectively, can help countries respond to a wide range of needs. The strengthening of country health surveillance and response systems is crucial to contain the spread of this and any future outbreaks.
“International cooperation is essential to deal with the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 virus. The IMF and the World Bank Group are fully committed to providing the support that people in our member countries expect from us.”
Recall that the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had on Friday 28 February 2020 announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Lagos, Nigeria. The index case according to the release was an Italian man who flew into the country on 24th February 2020 aboard Turkish airline from Milan, Italy. He traveled on to his company site in Ogun state on 25th February. On 26th February, he presented at the staff clinic in Ogun and there was high index of suspicion by the managing physician. He was then referred to Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba, Lagos where he is receiving treatment and is said to be clinically stable. All those who he made contacts with are reportedly on watch and quarantined.
Global Stats/Impact of Coronavirus
As of Tuesday, 3 March 2020, there were over 92,000 cases of coronavirus globally with over 3000 deaths caused by the virus. The highest case is recorded in Wuhan, China where the outbreak began. Outside China, coronavirus COVID-19 is presently affecting 76 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan). Nigeria as of today has only 1 confirmed case.