By Cecilia Ologunagba
Abuja, March 13, 2020
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says a new Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Solidarity Response Fund will raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the agency.
WHO, in a statement issued from its headquarters on Friday, announced that the fund would help the agency and its partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund, the first-of-its-kind, enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts.
It will help to contribute to global response efforts and has been created by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with WHO.
“We are at a critical point in the global response to COVID-19 – we need everyone to get involved in this massive effort to keep the world safe,
“We are immensely grateful to the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation for coming forward to help us set up this fund.
“A lot of people and institutions have been saying they want to contribute to the fight against the novel coronavirus.
“Now they can,’’ said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
The fund launches with major support already lined up, including from Facebook and Google who have instituted a matching scheme for funds raised through their platforms, while individual donors are also supporting the fund through www.COVID19ResponseFund.org.
“We cannot ignore the fact that this is a truly global problem – one that requires truly global solutions.
“The case for global cooperation could not be clearer – communities everywhere are affected, and people want to contribute.
“This new fund will create space for people everywhere, together, to fight this virus,” said Elizabeth Cousens, UN Foundation President and CEO.
Funds will go towards actions outlined in the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to enable all countries – particularly those most vulnerable and at-risk, and with the weakest health systems – to prepare for the virus.
It will also outline respond to the COVID-19 crisis including rapidly detecting cases, stopping transmission of the virus, and caring for those affected.
Paris, March 13, 2020
Meanwhile, Interpol has issued a notice to police forces around the world about various scams that have sprung up which take advantage of the Corronavirus (COVID-19).
The Lyon, France-based international policing body also appealed to the public to be vigilant when buying medical supplies online.
Interpol warned that scammers have set up bogus online stores, as well as used social media accounts and email addresses to rip off people who think they are buying face masks and other equipment.
The organisation said: “Monetary losses reported to INTERPOL have been as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single case, and these crimes are crossing international borders.’’
Scams also include criminals, posing as health officials, calling people to tell them that a relative has fallen ill with COVID-19 and seeking payment for treatment on their behalf.
Other victims have received so-called phishing emails, supposedly from health authorities that trick them into providing payment credentials or opening an attachment containing malware.
Interpol secretary general Juergen Stock said: “Criminals are exploiting the fear and uncertainty created by COVID-19 to prey on innocent citizens who are only looking to protect their health and that of their loved ones.’
“Anyone who is thinking of buying medical supplies online should take a moment and verify that you are in fact dealing with a legitimate, reputable company, otherwise your money could be lost to unscrupulous criminals.’’
Interpol said that so far it has assisted national police forces with 30 COVID-19-related scams linked to Asia and Europe.
It said so far it has blocked 18 bank accounts and frozen more than 730,000 dollars in suspected fraudulent transactions.