MANILA, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday said it is providing a 1.5 billion U.S. dollars loan to support the Thai government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said the loan will "help reduce the pandemic's social and economic impacts" on this Southeast Asian country.
"Our budget support will help fund the government's relief packages, which aim to better prepare the country's health care system for possible future waves of COVID-19; protect the vulnerable; support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in industries most affected by the outbreak such as tourism and manufacturing; and provide overall economic stimulus," he added.
The Manila-based bank said Thailand has one of the more developed health care systems in Southeast Asia, but the country remains highly vulnerable to the pandemic due to its deep integration with regional and global economies.
ADB forecast Thailand's economy to contract 6.5 percent in 2020, down from its December 2019 projection of 3.0 percent growth.
The ADB said the loan to Thailand is funded through its COVID-19 pandemic response option (CPRO) under ADB's Countercyclical Support Facility.
CPRO was established as part of ADB's 20 billion U.S. dollars expanded assistance for developing members to respond to COVID-19, announced on April 13. Enditem