WHO Has Just 10% of Funds Required to Fight COVID-19, Says its Chief Tedros

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the World Health Organization was only '10 percent of the way' to provide the necessary funds

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that a "vast global gap" between funds required to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and committed funds exists. He added that the international body was only "10 percent of the way" there.

Referring to the "Access to COVID-19 Tools" initiative", the WHO chief said during a briefing, "The coming three months present a crucial window of opportunity to scale-up the impact of the ACT Accelerator for global impact.".

More Funds Required

More than 19.92 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 729,883​ have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

"However to exploit this window, we have to fundamentally scale up the way we are funding the ACT Accelerator and prioritize the use of new tools. There is a vast global gap between our ambition for the ACT Accelerator, and the amount of funds that have been committed," Tedros added.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Wikimedia Commons

He said the WHO was only "10 percent of the way" to fund the billions of dollars required. "For the vaccines alone, over $100 billion will be needed," Tedros said. This sounds like lot of money and it is. "But it's small in comparison to the $10 trillion that have already been invested by G20 countries in fiscal stimulus to deal with the consequences of the pandemic so far."

'Not Doing Such A Great Job,' Says Ryan

However, he said he saw "green shoots of hope". "It is never too late to turn the pandemic around," Tedros said. The message is to "suppress, suppress, suppress". Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergency program, said the coronavirus was simple, brutal and cruel.

"It's brutal in its simplicity, it is brutal in its cruelty, but it doesn't have a brain," he said. "We have the brains... we can outsmart something that doesn't have a brain but we are not doing such a great job right now."

Ryan said that Brazil is registering 50,000-60,000 cases per day. "Brazil is sustaining a very high level of epidemic, the curve is somewhat flattened, but it's not going down and the system is under great deal of pressure.

"In a situation like that, hydroxychloroquine is not a solution and not a silver bullet," he added, referring to the malaria drug which President Jair Bolsonaro has encouraged Brazilians to take against COVID-19.

(With inputs from agencies)