Germany and France step up aid to WHO

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World agency warns of case outbreak as virus spreads in few populated countries

France and Germany Thursday offered political and financial support to the World Health Organization in its fight against the coronavirus, Berlin declaring that it would give half a billion euros ($ 560 million) in funding. and equipment this year. The tack took place when the WHO warned that several European countries were also facing dangerous increases in new infections.

Visitors wash their hands on arrival to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris on the day it reopens to the public following the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) in France, June 25, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency, criticized by the United States for slowing the fight against the pandemic, was getting the support it needed and talks with members had been ” very productive. ”

“Today we are getting all the support we need, politically and financially. Germany and France are longtime friends of WHO and global health, “Tedros said at a press conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva.

US President Donald Trump said last month that the United States is cutting ties with WHO, but has yet to officially notify the UN agency.

The United States is the largest global donor to the Geneva-based WHO, contributing more than $ 400 million in 2019, about 15% of its budget.

“Isolated national responses to international problems are doomed to fail,” said German Health Minister Jens Spahn as he announced an additional donation of medical funds and equipment to WHO which would carry the Germany’s total support to 500 million euros this year, the “highest amount”. never “, because he assumes the presidency of the EU.

“More than ever, we need a strong, efficient, transparent and accountable WHO,” said Spahn.

France said it would donate 90 million euros to a WHO research center in Lyon as well as an additional contribution of 50 million euros.

“I truly believe that the world needs a multilateral organization more than ever,” said French Minister of Health Olivier Veran. “I believe that the world cannot get rid of its partners. We need a global response (to the virus) and only WHO can provide this response. ”

In Europe, WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge warned that in 11 countries, “accelerated transmission has led to a very significant resurgence which, if left unchecked, will push health systems to the brink chasm in Europe ”.

Poland, Germany and Spain have recently seen a resurgence of COVID-19 clusters in schools, coal mines and food production facilities, according to Kluge.

In Britain, Secretary of Health Matt Hancock warned that the government has the power to close beaches and other public spaces amid growing concern over compliance with the rules of social distancing.

A huge crowd on English beaches on Thursday sparked concern. Trash cans overflowed, additional police were called, and rural roads blocked by bathers now have signs indicating that the area is full.

15,000 deaths in India

Meanwhile, a record daily increase in India on Friday pushed the country’s workload to half a million, and other countries with large populations like Indonesia, Pakistan and Mexico are grappling with large burdens. working and strained health care systems.

India, with the second largest population in the world, has experienced record daily increases. The 24-hour peak of 17,296 new infections reported on Friday pushed the national workload beyond 490,000, including 15,301 deaths. Meanwhile, Indian railways have delayed the resumption of scheduled train services for more than a month until August 12.

In India and neighboring Pakistan, heads of government resisted further restrictions, citing economic concerns.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, registered 50,000 cases on Thursday, with at least 2,620 deaths, the highest number of cases and deaths in Southeast Asia. This represents only two positive cases in early March.

And Mexico has pushed back 25,000 reported coronavirus deaths and 200,000 confirmed cases on Thursday, while the Secretary of the Treasury said he was positive and would isolate himself while working from home.

On Wednesday, the UN labor agency called on governments to support tens of millions of migrant workers forced to return home due to the coronavirus pandemic to cope with unemployment and poverty.

Governments should include returning workers, many of whom lost their jobs overnight, in their social protection measures and reintegrate them into national labor markets, the International Labor Organization said in a report.

There are an estimated 164 million migrant workers worldwide, nearly half of whom are women, accounting for 4.7 percent of the world’s workforce. Many work in health care, transport, domestic work and agriculture.

Their remittances are essential for their families and their savings in their country of origin, said Manuela Tomei, director of the ILO’s Working Conditions and Equality Department, citing a World Bank report that said a $ 100 billion drop in remittances was expected by the end of the year.

Xinhua and Edith Mutethya agencies in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this story.

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