IMF Ready To Provide $500 Mln To Lebanon For Fight Against COVID-19 - Reports

IMF Ready to Provide $500 Mln to Lebanon for Fight Against COVID-19 - Reports

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is ready to provide financial assistance to the Lebanese government in the amount of $500 million for the fight against the spread of COVID-19, Lebanese media reported on Thursday, citing an informed source

BEIRUT (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 26th March, 2020) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is ready to provide financial assistance to the Lebanese government in the amount of $500 million for the fight against the spread of COVID-19, Lebanese media reported on Thursday, citing an informed source.

According to the An-Nahar newspaper, Lebanese Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni held a phone conversation with Jihad Azour, the IMF director of the middle East and Central Asia department, and informed him that Lebanon hopes for assistance. Azour later informed the Lebanese government about the IMF's readiness to provide $500 million to help the country combat the consequences of the pandemic.

Earlier in the day, Lebanon's Higher Defense Council, headed by President Michel Aoun, proposed the prolongation of the state of emergency, which was declared on March 15 due to the epidemiological situation in the country, until April 12.

The borders and seaports, as well as places of public gatherings, were shut. The state of emergency also prescribes that residents cannot leave their homes without urgent necessity. All restaurants, cafes and shopping centers are closed as well, and many people in the country have been deprived of the opportunity to earn money.

The COVID-19 pandemic has coincided with Lebanon's most serious economic crisis in 30 years. In February, Lebanon's new cabinet, led by Prime Minister Hassan Diab, adopted a program of measures aimed at preventing the country's economy from collapsing. At the same time, in early March, the government decided not to pay debts on Eurobonds, thus effectively declaring its bankruptcy.

Lebanon has so far confirmed 368 coronavirus cases and six related fatalities.

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