A post that has gone viral on Zimbabwean social media networks claims that Zimbabwe announced its first positive case of coronavirus after the WHO pledged money for affected countries.
The message was widely circulated after Zimbabwe announced its first positive case of COVID-19 on Friday, March 20.
The message says:
“Three hours after the World Health Org announces that all countries with confirmed cases of #Covid_19 will get an assistance of US$500 million from it, Zimbabwe announces its first case of Covid-19.”
This is false.
The WHO has made no such announcement.
In fact, the WHO has issued a global appeal to raise a total of US$675 million between February and April to fight the outbreak. Launching the appeal on February 5, 2020, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said the funding was necessary to support countries that do not have the resources needed to manage the outbreak.
The WHO’s “Strategic preparedness and response plan” aims to protect the States with weaker health systems.
On February 5, the WHO said it had released US$9 million from its emergency response fund.
On March 13, a new coronavirus Solidarity Response Fund was launched to raise money from donors to help countries respond to the pandemic. The crowd-funding platform is hosted by the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation. On March 19, the WHO announced that the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund had so far received US$45 million from more than 173,000 individuals and organizations.
What US$500 would mean
As at March 21, the WHO had reported that a total of 182 countries, areas and territories had reported positive cases of COVID-19, with 266,073 cases and 11.184 deaths.
If the claim that the WHO was giving out US$500 million to each of these countries were true, then the WHO would have spent over US$91 billion. No such announcement has been made by the WHO. As shown above, the WHO is actually short of money and is crowd-funding for resources to fight the pandemic.
The claim that Zimbabwe only announced a positive case after the WHO announced that it was giving US$500 million to each affected country is false. No such money has been disbursed. The WHO is, in fact, seeking to raise funding to respond to coronavirus around the world.