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Odishatv Bureau

United Nations: The World Bank has announced that it has approved $1 billion in emergency financing for India to fight the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The assistance will support better screening, contact tracing, and laboratory diagnostics, procurement of personal protective equipment, creation of new isolation wards, the bank said on Thursday.

It is the bulk of the first package of $1.9 billion fast-track aid that was approved by the Board of Executive Directors under a fast-track programme, the bank said.

Also Read: COVID-19 Cases To Reach 1 Million In Next Few Days, Toll To Hit 50,000- WHO

The rest of the aid will go to 24 other countries and the bank said that new operations are moving forward in over 40 countries.

Overall the bank said that it "expects to deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery."

In addition, the bank said that it is working to redeploy resources in existing projects worth up to $1.7 billion.

World Bank Group President David Malpass said: "We are working to strengthen developing nations' ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery."

Under the $1.9 billion approved under the fast-track programme, Pakistan will get $200 million for its emergency response in the health, education and social protection sectors.

After the Tablighi Jamaat connection to coronavirus cases in India exploded, India's total active cases reached 1,860 on Thursday evening.

There have been 53 deaths so far while one person has migrated. A total of 155 positive cases have been cured so far. The total number of confirmed cases so far stands at 2,069, as per the data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Maharashtra remains the most affected state with 335 confirmed cases. The national capital has a total of 219 confirmed cases.

According to the Health Ministry update issued on Thursday evening, about 400 positive cases found across 10 states and Union Territories have links to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster in Delhi's Nizamuddin area.

The figures continue to spike as many more are testing positive. By night, between Tamil Nadu and Delhi, the cases are 264 and 124, respectively, showing the highest number of cases. In fact, all the nine deaths in Telangana have Tablighi connection.

Tamil Nadu has seen 234 cases so far with 1 death. Most of these cases are connected to the Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation held in the national capital last month.

On Thursday, in state after state, the trend is that almost all new cases are coming with a Markaz connection. The Tablighi connection has now become the single biggest source of the coronavirus spread despite 130 crore people being put under lockdown in India.

Before this outbreak happened in Nizamuddin, the spike in cases had mellowed and some commentators had even suggested that India may be better off than the other countries.

Lav Agarwal, the Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry, said that additional testing to identify new cases is in progress. The official from the Health Ministry added that out of nearly 2,000 Tablighi Jamaat members in Delhi, 1,804 have been quarantined while 334 have been admitted to different hospitals.

According to the Delhi Health Department, 129 new cases were reported from the Nizamuddin Markaz in a day. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday that the number of positive cases can increase massively.

On the other hand, the global coronavirus toll crossed 51,000 late on Thursday with Italy (13,915) and Spain (10,096) accounting for nearly half the fatalities, while the number of cases were fast approaching a million, with the US having over a fifth of them, as per the Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Centre.

As of midnight, the toll stood at 51,335 and the total number of cases around the world at 998,047.

The US, which had the maximum cases at 234,462, reported the third-highest number of deaths at 5,607, with 1,374 of them in New York City.

France, at 4,503 deaths, was at fourth place and was followed by China, from where the disease outbreak was first reported with 3,322 (3,199 of them in Hubei province, where epicentre Wuhan is located), and Iran at 3,160 deaths.

Also Read: COVID-19 Is Worst Crisis Since World War II, Says UN Chief Guterres

Italy was second in the number of cases, at 115,242, closely followed by Spain with 110,238, while China had 82,432.

Germany reported 81,728, France 57,807 and Iran 50,468.

However, 208,630 people have recovered worldwide, led by China with 76,571, Spain with 26,743, 21,400 recovered in Germany, 18,278 recovered in Italy, and 16,711 in Iran.

(IANS)

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