In response to an appeal by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN), Singapore will contribute US$500,000 (S$730,000) to support the organisations to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced in a joint statement on Monday (23 Mar) that the government’s contribution is for the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) for COVID-19 developed by WHO.
In the joint statement, the ministries mentioned that WHO has declared COVID-19 as pandemic on 11 March and advised that all countries are at risk and need to prepare for and respond to COVID-19.
Singapore, hence, will be making a contribution to SPRP which aims to limit human-to-human transmission of the virus as well as support the vulnerable countries in detecting and isolating the cases.
“Singapore is deeply concerned about the growing scale of the COVID-19 outbreak and its enormous public health, social and economic impact, including the loss of many precious lives,” the statement read.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a Facebook post on Monday (23 March) acknowledged the government’s contribution to WHO’s efforts.
“COVID-19 is a global problem, which no country can deal with alone,” said PM Lee. “Instead, they must work together as members of a global community.”
PM Lee also expressed his appreciation to WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and his team for their “tireless” effort in confronting the global crisis.
“Singapore will continue to cooperate with the WHO and the UN to overcome this global pandemic,” PM Lee added.
Some applauded govt move, while some wary of WHO’s slow response to COVID-19
Singapore’s recent contribution to WHO have drawn different reactions from the netizens, with some applauding the selflessness of the Singapore government, while others asserting that the money should be channelled to local citizens rather than to WHO who seem to have mismanaged this global pandemic.
Commenting on the Facebook pages of PM Lee, TODAY and CNA, netizens praised the move of government to contribute as a part of a global community in fighting against the global “common enemy” – COVID-19.
One netizen expressed skepticism over the announcement of the contribution which he says might raise a misunderstanding of “buying the Gold Standard praise” from WHO.
However, some netizens were displeased with the mismanagement of the WHO team in handling the COVID-19 crisis around the world, criticising the organisation’s slow response and delayed judgement of the pandemic. They also questioned the accountability and credibility of WHO’s coordination of the donation received.
“First earn good name with your citizens and after that earn good name with others,” said one netizen.
Netizens also called on the government to spend the money on citizens affected by the economic downfall caused by COVID-19, as well as to frontline medical staff, before contributing to an organisation that has purportedly failed to call for effective measures.
A few netizens also expressed their hope that the budget support measures given by government to locals would be adequate for them in coping with the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Instead of channeling “taxpayers money”, others netizens suggested that the government should provide support in research and development of vaccines as well as the healthcare system.