LONDON: Britain announced Sunday hundreds of millions of pounds in additional aid to groups including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Red Cross to help prevent a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The government said £200 million ($249 million, 228 million euros) would go to British charities and international organisations to assist developing countries fight Covid-19.
It hopes tackling the virus, which first emerged in the Chinese city Wuhan in December, in the world’s poorest countries will prevent future waves of infection coming to Britain.
The country has recorded tens of thousands of cases and thousands of deaths from coronavirus since it spread beyond China in recent months.
“Our ability to protect the British public will only be effective if we strengthen the healthcare systems of vulnerable developing countries too,“ International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in a statement.
“Our new UK aid support will help stop the virus from infecting millions of people in the poorest countries, meaning we can end this global pandemic sooner,“ she said.
The funding will see £130 million given to United Nations agencies including £65 million for the WHO after they made an urgent appeal for financial support.
Some £50 million will go to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, while another £20 million is earmarked for other international NGOs and British charities.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the “generous contribution” as “a strong statement that this is a global threat that demands a global response”.
“We are all in this together, which means protecting health around the world will help to protect the health of people in the UK,“ he said.
In the United States a principal donor of the WHO President Donald Trump has threatened to cut funding, accusing it of pro-China bias during the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said on Friday that he will make an announcement next week on the US funding. -AFP