The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has released 15 million U.S. dollars from the Central Emergency Relief Fund to aid global efforts to control the novel coronavirus COVID-19, a UN spokesman said on Monday.
Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock designated it for the World Health Organization and the UN Children's Fund, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The money is earmarked for monitoring the spread of the virus, investigating cases and the operation of national labs, among other essential activities, Dujarric told a regular briefing.
Lowcock, who was attending the 2020 Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum on Sunday when he authorized the fund release, said, "We do not yet see evidence that the virus is spreading freely. As long as that's the case, we still have a chance of containing it."
"But swift and robust action must be taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients, and trace contacts," he said.
Lowcock added that the money will help countries with fragile health systems boost their detection and response operations and has the potential to save the lives of millions of vulnerable people.