EU announces $252mn aid package to tackle Coronavirus

Brussels: The European Union (EU) has announced a new aid package worth 232 million euros ($252 million) to boost global preparedness, prevention and containment of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The funding will “help detect and diagnose the disease, care for infected people and prevent further transmission”, Xinhua news agency quoted the EU as saying in a statement on Monday.

Around half of the total, or 114 million euros, will support the World Health Organization (WHO), in particular the global preparedness and response global plan, and 100 million euros will go to urgently needed research related to diagnostics, therapeutics and prevention.

“As cases continue to rise, public health is the number one priority. Whether it is boosting preparedness in Europe, in China or elsewhere, the international community must work together,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission.

Part of these funds will be allocated immediately to different sectors, while the rest will be released in the next months, according to the press release.

The latest EU action was made public after Italy confirmed over 220 cases with seven fatalities, the largest in Europe.

As a reaction to the developments in Italy, the Commission said it was stepping up its support to EU member states.

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