BRICS development bank approves $ 1 billion loan for frontline health workers in Russia


FILE PHOTO: A man receives a dose of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in a wagon of Academician Fyodor Uglov’s medical train at a train station in the city of Tulun in the Irkutsk region of Russia on March 16 2021. REUTERS / Evgeny Kozyrev / File photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The New Development Bank (NDB) approved a loan of up to $ 1 billion to support healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients in Russia, he said on Monday.

The NDB was created by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, a group of emerging economies known as the BRICS. It set up an Emergency Assistance Mechanism in April 2020 to provide up to $ 10 billion in crisis assistance to its member countries.

“The loan will provide financial resources to meet one of the most critical needs of Russia’s health response to the COVID-19 outbreak and improve the capacity and resilience of the country’s public health sector,” the NDB said in a statement.

The NDB said its board of directors approved the loan on March 25 to support incentive payments for frontline health workers, including doctors, nurses and medical staff.

Russia stepped up borrowing in 2020 to fill budget holes amid the COVID-19 pandemic and low prices for oil, its main export. The finance ministry said the loan and other resources would help offset budget costs.

“With the loans for financing the fight against COVID-19 being provided by the NDB on favorable terms, the finance ministry considers it appropriate to attract credit from the NDB,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that ‘he would submit a proposal to the government for consideration.

Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Alexander Marrow; Edited by Gareth Jones

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