The United Nations launched a humanitarian appeal of $2 billion to keep the novel coronavirus from "circling back around the globe".
At a joint virtual press briefing, Secretary-General António Guterres along with other top UN officials on Wednesday launched the appeal to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, namely on countries with weak health systems.
The UN chief stressed that a global approach is the only way to fight the coronavirus. "Covid-19 is threatening the whole of humanity. Individual country responses are not going to be enough."
"The plan aims to enable us to fight the virus in the world's poorest countries, and address the needs of the most vulnerable people, especially women and children, older people, and those with disabilities or chronic illnesses.
If fully funded, "it will save many lives and arm humanitarian agencies and NGOs with laboratory supplies for testing, and with medical equipment to treat the sick while protecting health care workers."
However, the amount of money sought by the plan is small compared to the $2 trillion that the US Congress is ready to approve "as a rescue effort for devastated US consumers, companies and hospitals."
The UN plan is designed to last from April to December, suggesting the world body does not see the health crisis abating any time soon.
In response to appeals that UN agencies such as the World Health Organization and the World Food Programme have already made, the exact total of $2.012 billion is supposed to flow in.
In the same vein, Guterres said, humanitarian aid provided yearly by member states to help 100 million people around the world must continue. "Otherwise the coronavirus pandemic could lead to rampant outbreaks of other diseases such as cholera and measles, as well as higher levels of malnutrition."
The money will be used for different purposes: to set up handwashing facilities in refugee camps, launch public awareness campaigns, and set up humanitarian air shuttles with Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the UN said.
The plan names around 20 nations as top priority for aid including – some enduring war or some degree of conflict – Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Yemen, Venezuela, and Ukraine.