KUALA LUMPUR: The United States (US) is contributing an additional US$800,000 (RM3.3 million) in Covid-19 assistance to Malaysia this month to help the country’s efforts in vaccinating hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities.

According to a statement by the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, the assistance will also be used to support safe quarantine facilities for these communities besides assisting in the protection of Malaysia from SARS-CoV-2 and helping to keep Malaysia’s economic recovery moving forward.

The Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) will implement this assistance in Malaysia, it said.

It added that US Ambassador to Malaysia Brian D. McFeeters, in a meeting with MRCS national chairperson and Tunku Temenggong Kedah Tan Sri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz Almarhum Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and its Secretary General Hakim Hamzah, thanked the organisation for its ongoing work to support Malaysia’s efforts against Covid-19.

“Malaysia is doing a wonderful job at vaccinating its population, and this additional assistance will enhance efforts to assist vulnerable communities and help keep the whole country safe,” McFeeters said.

It also quoted Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz as saying: “As we race to contain Covid-19 once and for all, these USAID funds are critical for our work to help us protect people from this disease, particularly those most vulnerable.

“We are striving to reach the last mile in our vaccinations in all corners of the country and we must remember that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Covid-19 is indifferent to one’s race, religion, ethnicity, or nationality. Thank you to Ambassador McFeeters and USAID for supporting Malaysian Red Crescent efforts.”

This additional assistance builds on more than US$2 million (RM8.3 million) in Covid-19 assistance from the United States to Malaysia since the pandemic first began, the statement added.

On July 5, the US donated one million Pfizer vaccines to Malaysia and also donated medical supplies, Covid-19 test kits, ambulances, and more.

“The United States is committed to partnering with Malaysia to end the Covid-19 pandemic, mitigate its devastating social and economic impacts, and build back a world that is even better prepared for future outbreaks,” it said.

The US business community in Malaysia, through MYAMCHAMCares, has also provided over RM7 million in donations to Covid-19 relief efforts since 2020.

“These efforts build on decades of life-saving work and US leadership in tackling global health crises,” it said.

Over the past 60 years, US assistance has saved millions of lives from diseases such as Ebola, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and now Covid-19.

In Malaysia, USAID and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAD) have funded critical research to help predict and prevent future pandemics for over a decade. — Bernama