UK gifts €5M to Caribbean for COVID-19 assistance

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The United Kingdom has made a contribution of five million Euros to help contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Caribbean.

In a statement on Thursday, it was stated that three million of the funding would be channelled through the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) for the provision of essential medical supplies and management support to help public health systems around the region combat the virus.

The other €2 million will be used to scale up assistance for the most vulnerable households, and to help counter domestic violence against women and children.

UK Minister for the Caribbean Baroness Elizabeth Sugg stated that this donation was a testimony to the country’s commitment to supporting countries throughout the Caribbean region. She also recognised that there were many vulnerable healthcare systems, which would be targeted.

“We all face unprecedented challenges with COVID-19, and UK assistance is supporting vulnerable health systems in the Caribbean and across the world – to save lives, protect vital services and reduce the risk of future waves of infection globally. In addition to our multimillion funding to UN agencies and the WHO that benefits the Caribbean, this direct regional support will help Caribbean countries to cope with the coronavirus crisis, mitigate the wider social and economic impacts and protect the most vulnerable,” she shared.

As part of its wider response to COVID-19 in the Region, the UK is also reallocating these resources from its £400 million development programme to support countries that are facing high risks. It has supported the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Regional Response Mechanism (RRM), which includes COVID-19 modelling and surveillance products.

Pledges were made that the UK Government would continue to work with existing partners that were well-placed to coordinate the regional and international response to the disease and help reduce the negative impacts on economies and people.

So far, they have supported eight Caribbean territories namely Jamaica, Guyana, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda; and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Other notable efforts in their books are the international efforts being generated to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Some £250 million of UK aid has been provided to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to rapidly develop a coronavirus vaccine, the biggest donation of any country.

Another £200 million was allocated to help global organisations and charities tackle coronavirus in vulnerable countries. This includes £130 million for UN appeals, including £65 million for the World Health Organisation (WHO); £50 million for International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals; and £20 million for international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including UK charities, to tackle the virus.

Meanwhile, another £150 million has been contributed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Catastrophe Containment Relief Trust (CCRT) to help developing countries meet their debt repayments so that they can focus their available resources on tackling coronavirus.