By Staff The Associated Press

Posted March 25, 2020 1:26 pm

Updated March 25, 2020 1:27 pm

3:02Coronavirus outbreak: UN launches global appeal for $2 billion in aid to fight COVID-19

WATCH: Coronavirus outbreak: UN launches global appeal for $2 billion in aid to fight COVID-19

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched a $2 billion appeal on Wednesday to help vulnerable and conflict-torn countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America tackle the coronavirus pandemic and prevent COVID-19 from again circling the globe.

The U.N, chief called the amount a “drop in the ocean,” noting that the U.S. Senate is seeking $2 trillion –“1,000 times more” — for the U.S. economy.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock announced a $60 million contribution from the U.N.’s emergency relief fund to kick-start the appeal.

Guterres said the $2 billion is essential to keep economies in the developing world going so their health systems remain afloat to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the money will also help countries already in the midst of a humanitarian crisis caused by conflicts, natural disasters and climate change.

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“The worst thing that could happen,” the secretary-general said, “is to suppress the disease in developed countries and let it spread like fire in the developing world where then millions of transmissions will take place,

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