The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has approved a € 300 million loan to the Czech Republic to finance health expenditure to combat the spread and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Czech Republic was quick to undertake COVID-19 protective measures in January before any confirmed cases were reported in the country.
The CEB loan will support the Czech government in furthering its efforts to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19 by covering 90% of the total cost required in the immediate term.
It will enable the acquisition of medical material and equipment, including tests, ventilators, and respirators as well as protective equipment for frontline staff. The loan may also cover the rehabilitation and conversion of spaces, medical units, and hospitals to meet current emergency healthcare needs.
CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “In light of this unprecedented pandemic, the Bank has mobilised additional human and financial resources to ensure that it is in a position to assist its member countries in the best possible way. The loan provided to the Czech Republic is part of a first fast-track package of close to € 1.7 billion supporting projects in health and MSME financing in countries affected by the pandemic. Additional support will be made available in the coming weeks as we are stepping up efforts to curb the impact of COVID-19 on human lives and on the economies of our member countries.”
The Czech Republic joined the CEB in February 1999. To date, the Bank has made available more than € 1.7 billion in financing for a wide range of social investments in municipal infrastructure improvements and for MSMEs, mostly through financial intermediaries.
The present loan is the first loan agreement directly with the Czech government. In addition, the Czech Republic has contributed with grant resources to the Bank’s trust funds.