WHO asks for $675 million donation to fight coronavirus in countries ‘at risk’

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(CNN Philippines, February 6)— The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for $675 millions in donations as an investment to combat the 2019 novel coronavirus especially in countries “at risk.”

"We are requesting $675 million to fund the plan for the next three months. $60 million of that is to fund WHO’s operations – the rest is for the countries that are especially at risk,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press briefing at Geneva, Switzerland.

The 2019-nCoV, which originated from Wuhan in Hubei, China, has already spread in more than 25 countries with 191 infected.

Ghebreyesus pointed out that the amount needed is part of the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, which aims to help countries prevent, detect, and diagnose transmission.

“Our message to the international community is: invest today, or pay more later,” he said. "$675 million is a lot of money, but it is much less than the bill we will face if we do not invest in preparedness now.”

The WHO also said that it has released a total of $9 million from its own contingency fund for emergency situations such as this coronavirus outbreak.

Further, the organization will be sending half a million masks; 350,000 pairs of gloves; 40,000 respirators; and almost 18,000 isolation gowns to the countries affected by the outbreak.