People wait for their turn to buy medicine outside a pharmacy during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Amritsar on March 28,2020 Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: The World Bank has offered $1 billion in emergency financing to help India increase its screening, contact tracing, and laboratory diagnostics to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The country of 1.3 billion people will receive the largest chunk of the $1.9 billion (Dh6.97 billion) support offered by the World Bank to 25 developing nations, according to a statement. South Asian neighbours Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will receive $200 million, $128.6 million and $100.4 million as immediate assistance, according to the statement.

India, which entered the ninth day of a three-week national lockdown, has been struggling to contain the pandemic. The World Bank funds are to help procure personal protective equipment apart from setting up new isolation wards, according to the statement.

The World Bank Group is prepared to deploy as much as $160 billion over the next 15 months to help countries respond to the pandemic and bolster economic recovery, according to the statement.