IMF approves $594 million in aid for Guatemala's COVID-19 response

FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., as IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde meets with Argentine Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $594 million emergency assistance package for Guatemala’s response to the coronavirus crisis, the lender said on Wednesday.

Guatemala’s government requested the aid, which was approved by the IMF’s executive board in an effort to help the Central American country pay for urgent costs associated with the public health emergency.

“The funds will provide timely resources to counter the economic and social impact of the pandemic and catalyze additional support from other development partners,” the IMF said in a statement.

To date, Guatemala has confirmed nearly 8,000 coronavirus infections, as well as about 300 deaths attributed to the highly-contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by the virus.

Reporting by Diego Ore and Sofia Menchu; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Chris Reese and Kim Coghill