World leaders pledge $8 billion to fight COVID-19

Video credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on May 4, 2020 - Duration: 02:00s

World leaders pledge $8 billion to fight COVID-19

World leaders and organisations pledged on Monday (May 4) $8 billion to fund research, manufacture and distribution of a possible vaccine and treatments for COVID-19, but the United States refused to contribute to the global effort.

Soraya Ali reports

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World leaders pledge $8 billion to fight COVID-19

World leaders promised $8 billion on Monday (May) as part of a pledging “marathon” to raise money for research into a possible vaccine and treatments for the coronavirus.

Organisers included the European Union, non-EU states Britain and Norway, as well as Japan, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

The United States, which has the world’s most confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease, did not take part.

The EU pledged 1 billion euros, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen kicking off the so-called marathon.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, URSULA VON DER LEYEN, SAYING: "The world has shown it is standing closer together than ever before." German Chancellor Angela Merkel added that her country would contribute 525 million euros.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for any treatment developed to be available to everyone, something the World Health Organization said would be a challenge.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recovered from his battle with COVID-19, had this to say -- (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: (SOUNDBITE SUBTITLED IN ENGLISH) "The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes.

It's humanity against the virus.

We are in this together and together we will prevail." Governments aim to raise funds over several weeks or months, building on efforts by the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and wealthy individuals -- hoping to turn the page on the haphazard initial response around the world.

But -- the conference list of speakers did not include any U.S. officials.

Washington's absence comes after President Donald Trump halted funding to the World Health Organization on April 15.

The 8-billion-dollar target is an initial figure.

Von der Leyen has said more money will be needed over time.

Britain will hold another online donor summit on June 4 for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations also known as GAVI.

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