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Mon, 6 April 2020

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Ministers announce new £5m fund to help battle coronavirus in developing countries

Ministers announce new £5m fund to help battle coronavirus in developing countries
2 min read

The Department for International Development have pledged a new £5m fund to help counter the spread of coronavirus in developing nations.

The UK aid cash is being provided to the World Health Organisation's flash fund in order to develop better detection and isolation programmes in countries with less advanced health care systems.

Ministers have also announced a new funding package for British experts to help train medical staff and rapid response teams, boost awareness and help predict the spread of the virus.

It comes after the WHO warned efforts to control the deadly bug would "depend critically on the ability to detect the pathogen quickly."

More than 630 people have died from the virus with the number of confirmed cases soaring above 30,000. On Thursday, the UK's third case of the virus was identified in Brighton. The middle-aged man is understood to have contracted the illness during a visit abroad before being tested on his return to the UK.

Earlier this week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a new £40m investment in programmes aimed at finding vaccines for new epidemics, including three focussed on battling the novel coronavirus.

Announcing the new funding, International Development Secretary Alok Sharma, said: "Diseases are global threats and to save lives around the world we need a fully coordinated international response.

"By supporting developing countries with fragile health systems to properly respond to suspected cases of coronavirus, UK aid can help prevent the spread of the outbreak."

On Thursday, China's ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, criticised the UK's response to the outbreak as he urged ministers to adopt a "objective cool-headed view of what is going on in China."

Mr Lui said: "We advised the British side to take the professional advice of the World Health Organisation...and the British side seems to me the words do not match with these."


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