The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is planning to ramp up its investment in public health infrastructure to help countries impacted by COVID-19.

The China-backed bank said it will announce a number of public health, healthcare and information and communications technology infrastructure financing options for its members in the coming days and weeks, “to help build up economic resilience and mitigate the impact of future health crises”.

AIIB said the COVID-19 virus has exposed the critical need for countries to also ensure preparedness for the needs of an ageing population.

Lower-income countries are particularly vulnerable as they are already struggling to keep up with their infrastructure needs.

“The support that a bank such as AIIB can provide its members is invaluable, reducing risks, absorbing longer-term exposures and cushioning the impact from increases in borrowing costs.”

Jin Liqun, AIIB president and chair of the board, said there has never been a greater need for a multilateral and truly global coordinated effort to ease the economic burden experienced by all.

“We have a responsibility to our members who face tremendous pressure to maintain the health and safety of their citizens while managing the impact of an economic downturn.

“It is our duty to be flexible and responsive in a time of crisis so our members can continue investing in sanitation, healthcare and technology-enabled infrastructure.”

Headquartered in Beijing, AIIB began operations in January 2016 and has now grown to 102 approved members worldwide.