The United States Government on Friday announced its readiness to spend up to $100 million in assistance to China and other countries impacted by the deadly coronavirus.
The Secretary of State, Mr. Mike Pompeo, who announced this in a statement, said the commitment would be met through existing funds.
He said the fund would be spent “directly and through multilateral organisations, to contain and combat the novel coronavirus.”
Pompeo said the Department of State had already facilitated the transportation of nearly 17.8 tons of donated medical supplies to the Chinese people.
He listed the materials to include masks, gowns, gauze, respirators and other vital items, stating that the donations underlined “the generosity of the American people.”
As of Thursday evening, the disease has killed at least 600 persons with more than 30,000 cases confirmed worldwide, most of them in China where it broke out in December.
The respiratory disease has spread to about 25 countries, including the US, Philippines, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Thailand.
China is reported to have earlier refused two direct offers from the US to send infectious disease experts to help fight the virus’s spread earlier, and a third made through the World Health Organisation (WHO).
But the Chinese government later told the WHO it would receive foreign assistance. On Monday, the Chinese government accused the US of “spreading panic” over the coronavirus outbreak by evacuating its citizens from the country and restricting travel instead of offering help.
Pompeo said the US government’s commitment, in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars generously donated by the American private sector, “demonstrates strong US leadership in response to the outbreak.” (NAN)