The United Kingdom said on Sunday it was pledging 200 million pounds (248 million U.S. dollars) to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other charities to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable countries and so help prevent a second wave of infections.
A message and a hand-drawn picture of a rainbow is seen in a window in western London as the spread of COVID-19 continues, London, UK, April 11, 2020. (Photo from CGTN)
The British government said 130 million pounds would go to United Nations' agencies, with 65 million for the WHO. Another 50 million pounds would go to the Red Cross to help war-torn and hard-to-reach areas, and 20 million pounds going to other organizations and charities.
The cash would help areas with weak health systems to quickly identify and treat new symptomatic patients, establish new hand-washing stations and isolation treatment centers in refugee camps, and increase access to resources such as clean water for people living in areas of armed conflict to help slow the spread of the virus, the UK government said in a statement.
UK's International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said boosting fragile health systems overseas would help prevent a second wave of infections hitting the UK.
"The United Kingdom's generous contribution is a strong statement that this is a global threat that demands a global response," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
"We are all in this together, which means protecting health around the world will help to protect the health of people in the UK," Tedros added.