BEIJING (Reuters) – Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said on Tuesday it had approved its first emergency assistance loan of 2.485 billion yuan ($352 million) to China in order to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money will fund the provision of emergency supplies and improvements to public health infrastructure in Beijing, where AIIB is headquartered, and Chongqing, a megacity in southwestern China, the bank said in a statement.

The AIIB announced last week it was proposing to its board a $5 billion financing facility to help public and private sector entities navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Beijing and Chongqing have “particularly acute” financial needs in addressing health challenges as a result of their large populations, the statement said.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; editing by Jason Neely)

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