The European Commission announced Monday a new aid package worth EUR 232 million to support EU Member States and strengthen international efforts to slow the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19.
The package is to boost global preparedness, prevention and containment of the virus, with part of the funds going to different sectors, and the rest to be released in the next months.
The international community has to work together, said Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, and Europe would play a leading role.
"Our new aid package will support the World Health Organisation and target funding to ensure countries with weaker health systems are not left behind," said Janez Lenarcic, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management. "Our goal is to contain the outbreak at a global level."
Following the recent developments in Italy, the Commission says it will now step up its support to Member States in the context of its on-going work on preparedness, contingency and response planning.
The EU executive added that a joint expert mission of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organisation would be departing to Italy this week to support the Italian authorities."
New EU funding will help detect and diagnose the disease, care for infected people and prevent further transmission at this critical time.
Out of the €232 million aid package:
- €114 million will support the World Health Organization (WHO), in particular the global preparedness and response global plan. This intends to boost public health emergency preparedness and response work in countries with weak health systems and limited resilience. Part of this funding is subject to the agreement of the EU budgetary authorities.
- €15 million are planned to be allocated in Africa, including to the Institute Pasteur Dakar, Senegal to support measures such as rapid diagnosis and epidemiological surveillance.
- €100 million will go to urgently needed research related to diagnostics, therapeutics and prevention, including €90 million through the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a partnership between the EU and the pharmaceutical industry. *
- €3 million allocated to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for repatriation flights of EU citizens from Wuhan, China.