May 10, 2020
Opening remarks by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations on the release of the updated COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan [delivered as video message].
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a recorded message, said, “we need 6.7 billion US dollars to protect millions of people and help stop the virus from circling back around the globe. Humanitarian aid is not just a moral imperative, it is a practical necessity to combat the virus. If COVID-19 wreaks havoc in the poorest classes, we are all at risk.”
The $6.7 billion Global Humanitarian Response Plan calls for swift and determined action to stave off the most debilitating effects of the pandemic in 63 low and middle-income countries. While most of these nations have low COVID-19 caseloads, their surveillance, laboratory testing and health systems are weak, according to WHO.
The initial plan has netted $1 billion which has been used to install handwashing facilities in refugee camps and other vulnerable places, and to provide countries with medical supplies such as gloves, surgical masks, N95 respirators and testing kits.
New transport hubs for delivering supplies by air have also been established, while nearly two million people worldwide, including health workers, have been trained in virus identification via an online portal run by WHO.