ROME (AFP) – The IMF has proposed a $50 billion plan to end the Covid-19 pandemic, aiming to expand global immunization drives, while vaccine firms pledged to supply billions of doses to poorer nations by the end of next year.
In Washington the International Monetary Fund proposed a $50 billion recovery plan with the aim of having at least 60 percent of the world’s population vaccinated by the end of 2022.
The amount pales in comparison to the massive stimulus rolled out by rich nations.
“One of the key messages of this proposal is that the amount that’s needed is not very big,” said IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath.
In Rome, the Global Health Summit -- part of the G20 talks -- saw the leading Covid vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson promise 3.5 billion doses at cost or discount to middle and low income countries this year and next.
And the World Health Organization (WHO) said the real number of dead from the pandemic could be two to three times higher than official statistics suggest.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, the coronavirus continued to wreak havoc as the continent’s death toll climbed toward the grim one million milestone.
Since the coronavirus was first detected in the region in Sao Paulo in late February 2020, AFP has recorded over 1,001,400 deaths -- almost 30 percent of the global total -- and more than 31.5 million cases.
Nearly 90 percent of the fatalities have been notched in just five countries, which represent 70 percent of the region’s total population: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Peru.
“Right now the situation is terrible. We’ve never had something like this in our country,” Jacil Farias, an 82-year-old pensioner from Brazil, told AFP a few days ago.
Brazil is the second-worst affected country in the world by Covid-19 deaths after the United States and has the highest overall death rate in Latin America.
Daily fatalities have dropped by a third since passing 3,000 in the first half of April, though.
Mexico, the second-worst affected country in the region, has seen daily Covid deaths fall even more precipitously from 1,300 at the end of January to just 170.
The capital Mexico City will re-open schools from June 7 following in the footsteps of two states that have already done so and four more that will do so at the start of June.
The opposite is happening in Colombia, though, where unprecedented daily deaths of 500 combined with mass anti-government street protests have left the country with two simultaneous crises, on top of already extant poverty and violence.