G20 pledges over US$21 bil to close Covid-19 financing gap

A lab technician holds a bottle with Covid-19 vaccine testing results at a research centre in Bangkok last month. (AP pic)

CAIRO: The Group of 20 rich and emerging economies has pledged more than US$21 billion to fight the coronavirus, the group said early on Saturday.

“The G20, with invited countries, has coordinated the global efforts to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“To date, G20 members and invited countries have pledged over US$21 billion to support funding in global health,” the group said in a statement.

The pledges will be directed towards diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and research and development, the statement added.

In April the group called on all countries, non-governmental organisations, philanthropies and the private sector to help close a financing gap estimated at over US$8 billion to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Saudi Arabia, the current G20 chair has pledged US$500 million to support global efforts to combat the pandemic.

It said then it would allocate US$150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, US$150 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations, and US$200 million to other health organisations and programmes.

At least 391,108 people have died globally from Covid-19 and more than 6.68 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus that causes it, following an outbreak that started in Wuhan, China, in early December.