Bekasi (ANTARA) - As a leader in global health and humanitarian response to COVID-19, the United States (US) has acted swiftly to support ASEAN partners in combating the spread of the virus.

Since the outbreak occurred, the US government has offered approximately US$18.3 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to ASEAN member states, according to a statement from the U.S. Mission to ASEAN received in Bekasi, Wednesday.

Globally, as of March 26, 2020, the US has offered an initial investment of nearly $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to help countries in need, over and above the funding already provided to multilateral organizations, such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

This total to date comprises nearly $100 million in emergency health assistance from USAID’s Global Health Emergency Reserve Fund and $110 million in humanitarian assistance from USAID’s International Disaster Assistance account, to be provided to up to 64 of the most at-risk countries facing the threat of this global pandemic.

Through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) will receive $64 million in humanitarian assistance to help address the threats posed by COVID-19 in existing humanitarian crisis situations for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The US funding to ASEAN countries on COVID-19 supports the goals of preparing laboratories for large-scale testing for COVID-19, preventing and controlling the infection, enabling risk communication, implementing public-health emergency plans for border points of entry, activating case-finding and event-based surveillance for influenza-like illnesses, training and equipping rapid-responders in investigation and contact-tracing, and updating training materials for health workers.

The US government agencies spearheading the international response, such as The Department of State, USAID, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are working closely to allocate funds based on the COVID-19 hotspots and vulnerabilities.

The US is also coordinating with other donors to complement assistance and avoid duplicating efforts.
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Reporter: Azis Kurmala
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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