LONDON (AP) – A star-studded virtual concert hosted by Dwayne Johnson has raised nearly $ 7 billion in cash and loan guarantees to help the poor around the world whose lives have been transformed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Global Citizen said the summit with world leaders raised $ 1.5 billion to help COVID-19 efforts in poor countries, along with a promise of 250 million doses of vaccine to those countries if successfully developed.
The group said it had received $ 5.4 billion in loans and guarantees from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to support vulnerable economies worldwide.
The event included a concert hosted by Johnson featuring performances by Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and Chloe x Halle. Cyrus played The Beatles’ “Help!” in an empty stadium and Hudson played “Where Peaceful Waters Flow” from a boat in Chicago.
“The $ 6.9 billion pledged today to support the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities is an incredible next step in our journey from the COVID-19 era, but more needs to be done as no one is safe until everyone is safe, “said Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, Saturday after the event.
“While fighting this virus, we also need to take care of the most vulnerable people and address the challenges they are currently facing,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the event.
Speakers also included leaders from New Zealand, El Salvador, Sweden, South Africa and Barbados.
Organizers said the show was not just a fundraiser, but was intended to draw attention to the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on marginalized communities.
French President Emmanuel Macron said concerted action was needed to fight the virus.
“Let’s mobilize, let’s refuse an ‘everyone for themselves’ approach, let’s move on together. France and Europe are taking their responsibility today and will do so tomorrow, “said Macron.
Worldwide, nearly 10 million people are said to be infected with the virus and nearly half a million have died, according to a note from Johns Hopkins University. Experts say these numbers seriously underestimate the real toll of the pandemic, due to limited testing and missed mild cases.
About a dozen potential COVID-19 vaccines are in an early testing phase. Some may go into late-stage testing later this year, if all goes well, but it is unlikely to be licensed early next year at the earliest.
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