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G20 pledges more than $21 billion to fight coronavirus

CAIRO (Reuters) – The Group of 20 rich and emerging economies has pledged more than $21 billion to fight the coronavirus, the group said early on Saturday.

“The G20, with invited countries, has coordinated the global efforts to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, G20 members and invited countries have pledged over US$21 billion to support funding in global health,” the group said in a statement.

The pledges will be directed towards diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and research and development, the statement added.

In April the group called on all countries, non-governmental organizations, philanthropies and the private sector to help close a financing gap estimated at over $8 billion to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saudi Arabia, the current G20 chair has pledged $500 million to support global efforts to combat the pandemic. It said then it would allocate $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, $150 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations, and $200 million to other health organisations and programmes.

At least 391,108 people have died globally from COVID-19 and more than 6.68 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus that causes it, following an outbreak that started in Wuhan, China, in early December.

Reporting by Marwa Rashad and Nayera Abdallah; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler

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