UK pledges 105 million pounds to help vulnerable nations fight Omicron

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Secretary Truss meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid, in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Wednesday pledged 105 million pounds ($141.7 million) in emergency aid to help vulnerable nations, particularly in Africa, cope with the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant.

The government said the money would go towards measures helping to reduce transmission, increase testing and boost oxygen supplies.

"The UK is providing vital assistance to help tackle the spread of new variants around the world," foreign minister Liz Truss said in a statement. "This is key to securing our freedom and ending this pandemic once and for all."

Britain, along with other wealthy countries, has been accused of not doing enough to distribute stockpiles of vaccines to poorer nations, which some scientists said was key to stopping the emergence of new variants.

The Foreign Office said its latest pledge came on the back of confirmation that Britain had delivered 30 million vaccines to the rest of the world as promised by the end of 2021, part of the 100 million shots it has vowed to donate.

So far, 24.6 million doses have been given to COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing network, to deliver to countries and 5.5 million have been shared directly with countries in need including Kenya, Jamaica, and Indonesia.

"The UK is helping other countries most in need. No one is safe until everyone is safe," Truss said.

($1 = 0.7411 pounds)

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by William Schomberg)

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