Iran approves $250mln emergency funding to fight coronavirus
Iran Press TV
Monday, 16 March 2020 2:35 PM
The Iranian government has agreed to spend an extra $250 million on imports of drugs and medical gear amid nationwide efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
The official IRNA news agency said on Monday that he Central Bank of Iran (CBI) had given the green light for earmarking the emergency funding after a meeting earlier in the day with health authorities.
It said the CBI would ensure the funds would be available as soon as there is a request by the health ministry and other related authorities for imports of medicine and medical equipment.
The approval comes as Iran is trying to contain a new virus outbreak that has affected nearly 15,000 people since it was spotted in the country on February 19.
Authorities said on Monday that more than 850 people had died and nearly 5,000 had recovered from the illness.
CBI's approval for coronavirus emergency funding comes despite financial difficulties facing the government as a result of the American sanctions.
Authorities say that US sanctions are hampering efforts to contain the new coronavirus in the country.
However, the government has said it would do its best to ensure that vital medical equipment would be available if the country experiences a fresh peak in the number of infections.
Customs authorities said on Sunday that nearly 2,000 ventilator machines had arrived in the country to help hospitals cope with an increasing number of patients who need intensive care due to respiratory problems caused by coronavirus.
The government has said that it would buy medical gear like ventilators manufactured inside Iran in whatever quantity they are produced.
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