The European Commission is working around the clock to support EU Member States and strengthen international efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
To boost global preparedness, prevention and containment of the virus the Commission announces today a new aid package worth €232 million. Part of these funds will be allocated immediately to different sectors, while the rest will be released in the coming months.
“As cases continue to rise, public health is the number one priority. Whether it be boosting preparedness in Europe, in China or elsewhere, the international community must work together. Europe is here to play a leading role,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission.
Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, and European Emergency Response Coordinator said: “With more than 2,600 lives lost already, there is no option but to prepare at all levels. Our new aid package will support the World Health Organization and target funding to ensure countries with weaker health systems are not left behind. Our goal is to contain the outbreak at a global level.”
Following the developments in Italy, the Commission is stepping up its support to Member States in the context of the on-going work on preparedness, contingency and response planning.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said: “In view of the rapidly evolving situation, we stand ready to increase our assistance. In this vein, a joint expert mission of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization will depart to Italy this week to support the Italian authorities.”
Today’s announcement comes after the news that the Commission is co-financing the delivery of more than 25 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China after the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated.
An Austrian aircraft departed early 23 February morning from Vienna with protective equipment such as masks, gloves, protective clothing, and disinfectant. This comes in addition to over 30 tonnes of protective equipment mobilised by EU Member States and already delivered to China earlier this month via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
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, out of which up to €90 million Public Private Partnership with the pharmaceutical industry and 10 million for research on epidemiology, diagnostics, therapeutics and clinical management in containment and prevention
- €3 million allocated to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for repatriation flights of EU citizens from Wuhan, China.