UNITED NATIONS, March 23. /TASS/. The United Nations will appeal to its sponsors to allocate $2 billion for humanitarian response to the novel coronavirus spread, particularly for refugee aid, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement on Monday during a video conference with journalists accredited to the organization.
Guterres appealed to the international community to support measures to provide support for refugees that "will be included in a humanitarian appeal that we will launch on Wednesday, asking for $2 billion to allow us to make our humanitarian response more effective." He also added that the funds will primarily be needed to support refugee camps where people are most vulnerable to the pandemic.
In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in more than 150 countries, including Russia.
On March 11, the WHO declared the outbreak a global pandemic. As of now, over 330,000 people have been infected around the world and more than 15,000 have died. Russia has identified 438 cases so far, 17 patients have recovered. The Russian government has launched an Internet hotline to keep the country informed about the coronavirus situation.