KATHMANDU, March 3: The United States on Tuesday announced a commitment of $37 million in financing from the Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious Diseases at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for 25 countries affected by novel coronavirus COVID-19 or at high risk of its spread.
According to a press release issued by USAID, the U.S. Government is providing the funds to the World Health Organization, other multilateral institutions, and programs led by USAID's implementing partners.
"These are the first U.S. Government funds committed from the pledge of up to $100 million announced by the U.S. Department of State on February 7, 2020. Because an infectious-disease threat anywhere can be a threat everywhere, we call on other donors to contribute to the effort to combat COVID-19 as well," read the press release.
The new US funding will help address the threat of COVID-19 in Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; the Republics of Angola, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Africa, Tajikistan, The Philippines, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe; the People's Republic of Bangladesh; Burma; the Kingdom of Cambodia; the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; the Kyrgyz Republic; the Lao Democratic People's Republic; Mongolia; the Federal Republic of Nepal; the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; the Kingdom of Thailand; the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; and the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The funding will be used by the WHO to help the governments of currently affected or at-risk developing countries prepare their laboratories for large-scale testing for COVID-19, implement a public-health emergency plan for points of entry, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance for influenza-like illnesses, train and equip rapid-response teams, investigate cases and trace the contacts of infected persons, and adapt training materials for health workers on COVID-19.
" Funds that are going through a broad range of other partners will support six broad areas of work: laboratory-strengthening; surveillance for, and rapid response to, infectious diseases; risk-communications and engagement with communities; public-health screening at points of entry; the prevention and control of infections in health facilities; and the management of cases of COVID-19," read the press release.
In addition, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, in the People's Republic of China, USAID has reviewed, and responded to, requests from the governments of affected countries for donations from our emergency international stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE), the USAID stated.
" In close coordination with the WHO and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, this distribution of PPE - such as goggles, gowns, face shields/masks, and gloves- complements previous charitable donations from many U.S. private-sector entities," the press release added.