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Amid pandemic, OECD urges massive aid boost

Agence France-Presse

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Amid pandemic, OECD urges massive aid boost

LIMONADA. General view of the poor Limonada neighborhood in Guatemala City on June 13, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo by Johan Ordonez/AFP

Victory over COVID-19 would not be achieved 'until the last virus case is eliminated from developing countries'

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary General Angel Gurria on Friday, November 13, urged a quadrupling of aid for emerging countries, warning that otherwise those nations would be unable to defeat the coronavirus.

“We have to make a huge effort with developing countries” as they simultaneously face a 700-billion-drop in external private finance while they also have to boost spending to stem the impact of COVID-19, Gurria told French broadcasters RF1, France 24, and Public Senat in an interview.

Although he noted the richest countries have marshaled some $12 trillion to fight the economic consequences of the pandemic, development aid in 2019 totaled $153 billion.

“That means we can double it, triple, quadruple it,” said Gurria.

He added that to provide even a fraction of the $12 trillion would comprise an act of “generosity” but also “wisdom” as victory over the virus would not be achieved “until the last virus case is eliminated from developing countries.”

Reacting to news this week that Pfizer and BioNTech plan to roll out the first doses of a vaccine within weeks, Gurria urged that the vaccine be made “a public good” amid fears developing countries could face financial hurdles in receiving sufficient doses.

Gurria said while he agreed with the need for health workers and the elderly to be treated as priority cases for the first doses, “the great majority of the population will have to be vaccinated or else we are going to have virus explosions in certain countries.” –

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