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Lebanon becomes first country to receive Covid vaccine aid from World Bank

Lebanon will receive help from the World Bank [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 January, 2021

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The World Bank has approved a reallocation of US$34 million to support Lebanon's vaccination programme.

The World Bank on Thursday approved a reallocation of US$34 million to support Lebanon's vaccination project to beat the novel coronavirus.

The programme will be under the existing Lebanon Health Resilience Project to support vaccines for Lebanon as it faces an unprecedented surge in Covid-19, with record-breaking numbers of around 5,500 daily confirmed cases since the beginning of the year.

This is the World Bank's first-ever financed operation to fund the acquisition of coronavirus vaccines, which will provide immunisation for over 2 million individuals.

The vaccines are expected to arrive in Lebanon by early February 2021.

"Fair, broad, and fast access to Covid-19 vaccines is critical to protecting lives and supporting economic recovery," said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

"This is an important first operation and I look forward to continuing our support to many more countries in their vaccination efforts. Our goal remains to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in order to save lives and improve livelihoods."

The World Health Organization said on Monday that the occupancy rate for intensive care beds in hospitals across Lebanon stood at 87.4 per cent, down from 90.4 per cent last week.

Also on Thursday, Lebanese authorities extendednationwide lockdown to February 8 amid a steep rise in death and infection rates from the new coronavirus.

The rise has come despite a strict lockdown in place since January 11.  

Despite increasing hospital beds, the government has been unable to stop the crisis overwhelming the country's health system.

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