The White House sent to the United States Congress its US$2.5 billion supplemental budget proposal to fight the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
“Today, the Administration is transmitting to Congress a US$2.5 billion supplemental funding plan to accelerate vaccine development, support preparedness and response activities and to procure much-needed equipment and supplies,” Rachel Semmel, a spokeswoman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement.
The funding request is much smaller than the U.S. response in 2014 to the Ebola outbreak when a US$6.2 billion budget was requested by the administration of Barack Obama.
According to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, over US$1 billion dollars will be used for vaccine development, and the other funds will be spent on supporting preparedness and response activities as well as procuring needed equipment and supplies.
Politico reported that U.S. public health groups had pushed the White House to ask for emergency funds.
This comes as the World Health Organization has said that the coronavirus outbreak has “pandemic potential” but it’s not there yet.
As of Tuesday, the virus has now infected more than 80,000 globally, killing at least 2,700.