This sounds like lots of money and it is but small in comparison to all the dollars that have been invested.
For the vaccines alone, over 100 billion U.S. dollars will be needed to ensure everyone everywhere can access the tools to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.
Speaking at a virtual press conference from Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "This sounds like lots of money and it is. But it's small in comparison to the 10 trillion dollars that have already been invested by G20 countries in fiscal stimulus to deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic so far."
He told reporters that the coming three months present a crucial window of opportunity to scale-up the work of the ACT-Accelerator, a WHO-sponsored global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.
However, he said, to exploit this window "we have to fundamentally scale up the way we are financing the ACT-Accelerator and prioritize the use of new tools."
According to the WHO chief, there is a vast global gap between the ambition for the ACT-Accelerator and the amount of funds that have been committed. "We're only 10 percent of the way to funding the billions required to realize the promise of the ACT Accelerator," he said.
Noting that this week the registered cases of COVID-19 will reach 20 million, with 750,000 deaths, the WHO chief stressed that "behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering." "Leaders must step up to take action and citizens need to embrace new measures," he said.
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