Switzerland to donate over $300m in global Covid fight

Switzerland said Wednesday it would provide over $300 million to help boost access to jabs, tests and treatments in the fight against Covid-19, and to ensure developing countries get their fair share.

The World Health Organisation headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

The Swiss government voiced its commitment “to ensuring equitable access to vaccines, tests and medicines worldwide in order to combat the Covid-19 pandemic sustainably.”

In a statement, Bern said it planned to donate some 300 million Swiss francs ($328 million, 272 million euros) to the Access to Covid Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

The multi-billion-dollar global programme is coordinated by a range of international bodies including the World Health Organisation, the Gavi vaccine alliance, and the World Bank.

It aims to help develop and ensure access to vaccines, medicines and tests against Covid-19 and strengthen healthcare systems.

“While great progress has been made in the development of tests, treatments and vaccines, broad and equitable worldwide access to these resources is lacking,” Bern said.

It voiced deep concern over the “emerging, highly contagious mutations of the virus”, which are complicating the pandemic fight.

“A quick, efficient end to the pandemic is very much in Switzerland’s interest,” it said, stressing that “the virus can only be successfully contained once its spread is curbed worldwide.”

The Swiss government said its main goal with supporting ACT-A was therefore to help developing countries.

It said that more than a third of the 300 million francs earmarked for ACT-A would go to Gavi, which works to improve access to vaccines in poorer countries, while some funding would go towards boosting research and development and access to Covid-19 tests and medicines.

The remaining funds, it said, would be used to strengthen local healthcare systems in developing countries. The Swiss parliament will discuss the required supplementary credit during its summer session, Bern said.

ACT-A is in dire need of additional funds. It has sought $22 billion this year, but by the end of last week, it was still $19 billion short.

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