WHO decries ‘vast global gap’ in funds needed to fight coronavirus

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 August 2020

WHO decries ‘vast global gap’ in funds needed to fight coronavirus

  • More than 19.92 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally

GENEVA: There is a “vast global gap” between funds needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic and funds committed, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, and the WHO was only “10% of the way” there.
More than 19.92 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 729,883​ have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
“The coming three months present a crucial window of opportunity to scale-up the impact of the ACT Accelerator for global impact,” Tedros told a briefing in Geneva, referring to the “Access to COVID-19 Tools” initiative.
“However to exploit this window, we have to fundamentally scale up the way we are funding the ACT Accelerator and prioritize the use of new tools. There is a vast global gap between our ambition for the ACT Accelerator, and the amount of funds that have been committed.”
He said the WHO was only “10% of the way” to funding the billions of dollars required.
“For the vaccines alone, over $100 billion will be needed,” Tedros said. This sounds like lot of money and it is.
“But it’s small in comparison to the $10 trillion that have already been invested by G20 countries in fiscal stimulus to deal with the consequences of the pandemic so far.”
However, he said he saw “green shoots of hope.”
“It is never too late to turn the pandemic around,” Tedros said. The message is to “suppress, suppress, suppress.”
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies program, said the coronavirus was simple, brutal and cruel.
“It’s brutal in its simplicity, it is brutal in its cruelty, but it doesn’t have a brain,” he said. “We have the brains... we can outsmart something that doesn’t have a brain but we are not doing such a great job right now.”
Ryan said that Brazil is registering 50,000-60,000 cases per day. “Brazil is sustaining a very high level of epidemic, the curve is somewhat flattened, but it’s not going down and the system is under great deal of pressure.
“In a situation like that, hydroxychloroquine is not a solution and not a silver bullet,” he added, referring to the malaria drug which President Jair Bolsonaro has encouraged Brazilians to take against COVID-19.


Police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in London

Updated 19 September 2020

Police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in London

  • Scuffles broke out Saturday as police moved in to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in London’s central Trafalgar Square
  • Britain’s Conservative government imposed a ban on all social gatherings of more than six people this week in a bid to tackle a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the country

LONDON: Police in London have clashed with protesters at a rally organized by opponents of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.
Scuffles broke out Saturday as police moved in to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in London’s central Trafalgar Square. Some protesters formed blockades to stop officers from making arrests, and traffic was brought to a halt in the busy area.
The “Resist and Act for Freedom” rally saw dozens of people holding banners and placards such as one reading “This is now Tyranny” and chanting “Freedom!” Police said there were “pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers.”
Britain’s Conservative government imposed a ban on all social gatherings of more than six people this week in a bid to tackle a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, but officials are considering even stricter restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Britain is “now seeing a second wave” of the coronavirus, after seeing the same in France, Spain and across Europe.
Britain has Europe’s worst death toll in the pandemic with 41,821 confirmed virus-related deaths, but experts say all numbers undercount the true impact of the pandemic.
In a statement, British police said protesters were “putting themselves and others at risk” and urged all those at the London rally to disperse immediately or risk arrest.