Norway said Monday it wanted to start a U.N. donors' fund to help poor countries fight the new coronavirus pandemic.
"We are concerned about the way the virus will affect developing countries which have fragile healthcare systems," Norway's Development Aid Minister Dag-Inge Ulstein said in a statement.
"International solidarity across borders is more important than ever. That's why it is important for us to contribute financially to such a fund in the U.N.," he added.
The fund is expected to be set up quickly, "possibly even this week," Norway said, without specifying the amount of its own contribution.
The initiative has been welcomed favorably by U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Oslo said.
On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned "millions" of lives were at stake if the international community did not show solidarity, especially with the world's poorest countries, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The highly contagious COVID-19, which originated in central China in late 2019, has infected nearly 340,000 people worldwide, killing more than 14,000. Some 99,000 have recovered so far.
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