WHO says 800 mln USD pledged for fight against COVID-19

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(Photo: Xinhua)

GENEVA, April 8 (Xinhua) -- More than 800 million US dollars has been pledged for the World Health Organization (WHO) to support countries in building their capacity to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.

Speaking at a virtual press conference, the WHO head told reporters that the money includes more than 140 million US dollars from more than 229,000 individuals and organizations raised through WHO's Solidarity Response Fund, "exceeding all our expectations and showing true global solidarity."

"I'd like to thank all donors for their support," he said, adding that to ensure this money is used where it's needed most, WHO has set up an online portal to help partners match needs with funds.

"Through WHO's network of 6 regional offices and 150 country offices, we've worked closely with governments around the world to prepare their health systems for COVID-19, and to respond when cases arrive," Tedros said.

Noting that Thursday marks 100 days since WHO was notified of the first cases of "pneumonia with unknown cause" in China, the WHO chief told reporters that "it's incredible to reflect on how dramatically the world has changed, in such a short period of time."

During Wednesday's press conference, the WHO head also gave an overview of what WHO has done in the past 100 days, including on Jan. 1, just hours after being notified of the first cases, WHO activated its Incident Management Support Team, to coordinate the response at headquarters, regional and country level.