MANILA - The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has pledged millions of dollars of financial assistance to several countries, including the Philippines, to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic.
The Philippines is among 25 beneficiary countries of the $37 million fund from USAID's Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious Diseases, the aid agency said.
The funds will be used to to prepare laboratories for large-scale testing for COVID-19, train and equip rapid response teams and investigate cases and trace the contacts of infected persons, among others.
Financing will be distributed to the World Health Organization (WHO), other multilateral institutions, and programs led by USAID's implementing partners.
"These are the first US Government funds committed from the pledge of up to $100 million announced by the US Department of State on Feb. 7, 2020," USAID said in a statement released Monday.
Other beneficiary countries are Angola, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Africa, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
USAID will also distribute to coronavirus-affected countries personal protective equipment (PPE), such as goggles, gowns, face shields and gloves, that came from many US private-sector entities.
As of Wednesday, March 4, the WHO said the novel coronavirus has infected more than 93,000 and killed nearly 3,200 people -- majority from China.
In the Philippines, there were 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while 39 others are being monitored.