Health

China offers $2bn to help tackle Covid-19

Geneva, May 18 (efe-epa).- Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday his government will provide $2 billion over two years to help the countries most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the poorest nations.

He made the announcement by videoconference at the annual meeting of the World Health Organization.

Xi also said that any vaccines developed in China against the disease, which has caused more than 300,000 deaths worldwide, “will be available as a global public good so that they are accessible and affordable for all developing countries”.

The first Covid-19 cases were detected in December in the city of Wuhan in China.

Xi said China will work together with the other G20 nations to suspend debt to the poorest countries as part of measures to overcome the economic crisis caused by the health emergency.

He said via videoconference from Beijing that the world is facing “the most serious world public health emergency since the end of World War Two” and that the pandemic “surprised us all and has spread to more than 210 countries and regions”.

Faced with criticism from some nations, such as the United States, over the outbreak Xi said the Chinese government “has displayed an open, transparent and responsible attitude, sharing information with the WHO and the countries involved”.

Xi added: “The WHO’s leadership has been indisputable and has contributed to the promotion of cooperation against COVID-19.”

He called for more political and financial support for the organisation, which has also been criticised by US President Donald Trump.

The Chinese leader said he is in favour of an objective and impartial comprehensive review of the international response to the outbreak, under WHO supervision, after it has been contained.

Xi also offered to work with the United Nations to build a store of materials in China for the international community to guarantee the supply chain of essential equipment, after shortages in several countries during the pandemic.

He also pledged to establish a sponsorship mechanism between China and 30 African hospitals and to collaborate in the creation of a disease prevention centre on the continent.

“Let us work hand in hand to protect the life and health of peoples around the world,” Xi concluded. EFE-EPA

abc/rb

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