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US announces $274m in aid to 64 countries, including Vietnam, to battle COVID-19

Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 16:59 GMT+7
US announces $274m in aid to 64 countries, including Vietnam, to battle COVID-19
People wear protective face masks while riding motorcycles along Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 16, 2020. Photo: Reuters

The United States has earmarked US$274 million in financial assistance to 64 countries, including nearly $3 million to Vietnam, to help them combat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s announcement on March 27, the $274 million includes nearly $210 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to be provided for up to 64 of the most at-risk countries facing the threat of the global pandemic.

“U.S. government agencies are working together to prioritize foreign assistance based on coordination and the potential for impact,” the announcement reads.

The announcement said the U.S. is providing nearly $3 million in health assistance to help the Vietnamese government prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, risk communication, infection prevention and control, and more. 

According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States has invested more than $706 million in health assistance and more than $1.8 billion in total assistance for Vietnam over the past 20 years.

Many other Southeast Asian countries will also receive the U.S. financial assistance for fighting against COVID-19.

Particularly, Cambodia will receive approximately $2 million, Indonesia $2.3 million, Laos nearly $2 million, the Philippines nearly $4 million, Thailand about $1.2 million, and Timor Leste $1.1 million.

In a January 30 report, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that developing countries will need $2.5 trillion to deal with the “unprecedented economic damage from the COVID-19 crisis.” 

The total amount includes $1 trillion in liquidity injection, $1 trillion in debt forgiveness, and $500 billion for emergency health services and related social relief programs.

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