The World Health Organization needs $31.3 billion over the next year to develop and distribute tests and treatments in its fight against COVID-19, the agency said Friday.
The United Nations-backed organization has received $3.4 billion to date and said that of the nearly $28 billion it seeks, $13.7 billion is “urgently needed.”
The call comes just one day after Germany announced a record contribution of more than $500 million to the WHO, and France pledged $140 million across two WHO research centers.
The backing marked a stark contrast to a recent move by President Trump, who threatened to withdraw from the WHO and permanently cut off all funding to the group after lodging a series of complaints that the agency mishandled the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. has long been the organization’s largest funder.
The announcement quickly saw pushback from European allies, who urged Mr. Trump to reconsider the withdrawal.
The WHO says the substantial uptick in necessary funds will go toward distributing 500 million tests and 245 million treatments to low and middle-income countries by this time next year, Reuters reported.
It also seeks to deliver 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.
More than 9.6 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, have been reported around the world. According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, nearly 490,000 have died from the virus, and 4.8 million have recovered. The global population stands at 7.8 billion.
• Lauren Toms can be reached at email@example.com.
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