Iran will reportedly receive $90 million from the World Bank for measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, a spokesperson for the organization has said.

The World Bank approved the aid on December 21 because Iran is "the epicenter of Covid-19 infections in the region" and mitigating “the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country” would reduce the contagion of the disease beyond its borders that benefits the neighbors, particularly as the Omicron variant is causing a new wave of cases.

The spokesperson told AFP that the loan "will be utilized only for procuring additional lifesaving, essential medical equipment to strengthen Iran's pandemic response", emphasizing that "This funding will not go to the Iranian budget and all loan proceeds, as well as procurement and disbursements, are being managed by the World Health Organization”.

“Distribution and installation of equipment will take place at health facilities approved by the World Bank and will be subject to independent monitoring and verification," added the spokesperson.

In May 2020, the World Bank granted Tehran $50 million via the Iran Covid-19 Emergency Response Project "on an exceptional basis" due to the pandemic.

Iran, which confirmed the first Omicron case on December 19, is the worst hit countries in the Middle East by more than 132,000 deaths since February 2020.

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