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EU announces €232m aid package to tackle COVID-19

Published : 24 Feb 2020, 23:58

  DF-Xinhua Report

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. File Photo Xinhua.

The European Union (EU) announced a new aid package worth 232 million euros on Monday, to boost global preparedness, prevention and containment of COVID-19.

   The funding will "help detect and diagnose the disease, care for infected people and prevent further transmission," said the EU in a press release.

   Around half of the total, or 114 million euros, will support the World Health Organization (WHO), in particular the global preparedness and response global plan, and 100 million euros will go to urgently needed research related to diagnostics, therapeutics and prevention.

   "As cases continue to rise, public health is the number one priority. Whether it is boosting preparedness in Europe, in China or elsewhere, the international community must work together," said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission.

   Part of these funds will be allocated immediately to different sectors, while the rest will be released in the next months, according to the press release.

   The latest EU action was made public as 219 confirmed cases and at least five deaths were reported in Italy, the heaviest in Europe. As a reaction to the developments in Italy, the Commission said it is stepping up its support to EU member states.

   According to Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, a joint expert mission of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the WHO will depart to Italy this week to support the Italian authorities.