Coronavirus: Europe is now epicentre of pandemic

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The World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that Europe had now become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, with more daily cases being reported than at the height of the outbreak in China, where the virus first began. He added that more than 123,000 cases had been reported, with 5,000 deaths.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said that the timing of when the COVID-19 virus would peak globally was not easy to predict, however the trajectory of the coronavirus in each country would depend on how they respond and how they react to their first cases. She also said that the timing of the virus peaking in countries dealing with independent clusters would depend on how they look for the chains of transmission within the clusters.

Tedros also announced anyone could now donate to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, saying they were originally relying on governmental donations, but now the general public can also contribute. He said this would help with co-ordination to combat the virus, purchase more medical equipment, and invest in research and development.

WHO, UN: Launches COVID-19 “Solidarity Response Fund” To Mobilize Private Sector Coronavirus Response

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COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

GENEVA and Washington, D.C. – A new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Solidarity Response Fund will raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund, the first-of-its-kind, enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts, and has been created by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with WHO. 

“We are at a critical point in the global response to COVID-19 – we need everyone to get involved in this massive effort to keep the world safe,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We are immensely grateful to the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation for coming forward to help us set up this fund. A lot of people and institutions have been saying they want to contribute to the fight against the novel coronavirus. Now they can.”

The fund launches with major support already lined up, including from Facebook and Google who have instituted a matching scheme for funds raised through their platforms, while individual donors are also supporting the fund through www.COVID19ResponseFund.org.

“We can’t ignore the fact that this is a truly global problem – one that requires truly global solutions,” said Elizabeth Cousens, UN Foundation President and CEO. “The case for global cooperation could not be clearer – communities everywhere are affected, and people want to contribute. This new fund will create space for people everywhere, together, to fight this virus.”

Funds will go towards actions outlined in the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to enable all countries – particularly those most vulnerable and at-risk, and with the weakest health systems – to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 crisis including rapidly detecting cases, stopping transmission of the virus, and caring for those affected.

WHO and its partners are seeking financing for protective equipment for frontline health workers; to equip diagnostic laboratories; improve surveillance and data collection; establish and maintain intensive care units; strengthen supply chains; accelerate research and development of vaccines and therapeutics;  and take other critical steps to scale up the public health response to the pandemic.

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund is hosted by two foundations, the UN Foundation (registered in the United States) and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation (registered in Switzerland). Both foundations have established relationships with the World Health Organization, allowing for efficient transfer of financial resources to enable COVID-19 response efforts.

Apart from giving online at www.COVID19ResponseFund.org, the UN Foundation can also receive donations via check or wire from around the world by contacting COVID19Fund@unfoundation.org.  

All donations made to the United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by the law, where applicable (U.S. and Switzerland). Additionally, Swiss Philanthropy Foundation has partnered with Transnational Giving Europe to extend tax benefit to certain additional European countries where applicable. LINK

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