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United Kingdom Helps Indonesia in its Fight Against Covid-19

NEWS | 5 March 2021

The UK’s whole response to Coronavirus has been multilateral first and is at the forefront of tackling COVID-19 internationally. Their response is focused on four key areas: strengthening the resilience of vulnerable countries; pursuing a vaccine; supporting the global economy and helping British Nationals abroad. The UK has so far pledged up to £1.3 billion of UK aid to end the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible. By preventing the virus from spreading in the poorest countries, they hope to save millions of lives around the world and reduce the risk of future waves of infection, and are working with all of their international partners, including the G7, G20, the EU, Commonwealth, NATO, the UN, WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, CEPI and others, to deliver a strong global response.

As a force for good in the world, the UK has a longstanding record of supporting countries around the world to prepare for and respond to large disease outbreaks. Since February, the UK has pledged up to £1.3 billion of UK aid to end the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible.  This funding includes:

  • Up to £829 million for the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests, and £5 million for other critical COVID-19 research and development; 
  • £312.3 million to support the global health response and build resilience in vulnerable countries, including support to UK charities and international organisations; and
  • £150 million for the economic response, to the International Monetary Fund’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust.

Disease outbreaks do not respect borders. No one is safe until we are all safe.   A globally accessible Covid-19 vaccine and effective treatments and tests are needed to end the pandemic and start global economic recovery. As the biggest country donor to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) UK are leading international efforts to develop new vaccines, including for coronavirus, and have pledged £500 million for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, which will contribute to a total supply of 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for 92 developing countries in 2021, subject to the successful approval of stringent safety tests and regulations. 

The new support for Gavi Vaccine Alliance will also be used to help lower-income countries meet the challenge of COVID-19 by strengthening health systems and vaccine distribution.  UK being a world science superpower-with at least 21 scientific research projects working on vaccines, treatments, and therapies for Coronavirus. UK ‘Recovery trial’ drug testing network (Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy) – the UK’s gold standard randomised drugs trials – possible only through scale and coordination of NHS & the National Institute of Health Research, that has so far revealed that a cheap inflammation treatment (dexamethasone) saves up to a third of seriously ill patients on ventilators – saving thousands of lives around the world. Also, that two much touted therapies shown to be completely ineffective – Hydroxychloroquine (touted by Trump, Macron, Bolsonaro and others); lopinavir & ritonavir – two anti HIV agents – ineffective.

Facts and figures: The UK has pledged £829 million ($1.1 billion) in new international funding towards the $8 billion goal for vaccines, treatments and tests. This includes:

  • £250 million ($315 million) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the biggest contribution of any country, to support research for a coronavirus vaccine. •  £500 million for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, which will contribute to a total supply of 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for 92 developing countries in 2021, subject to the successful approval of stringent safety tests and regulations.
  • £40 million ($50 million) for the Global Therapeutics Accelerator, a fund for supporting the rapid development of coronavirus treatments. •  £39 million to support the development of coronavirus tests, including £23 million to the Fund for Innovative and New Diagnostics to develop coronavirus tests that can be easily mass-produced, to help identify and slow its spread, and to support rapid testing technology.

In Indonesia, the UK has also been very active with very specific programs to:

  • Save lives by preventing further COVID-19 transmission through public hygiene and sanitation practices - Health and Hygiene projects with UK company Unilever, UK Based NGO Save the Children, and UNICEF–worth Rp 45 billion. 24% of Indonesians do not have access to hand washing with soap.
  • Get the best and most accurate data possible about COVID-19 transmission, so they can understand and better fight against the virus-working with LaporCOVID-19 and local government data projects in East Java, DKI Jakarta…
  • Save lives in some areas most vulnerable to Corona – by getting Public Health Information out in local languages to those who need it: they are working with local organisations to translate public health messages into local languages, print booklets, and distribute to remote areas, working with Common Room.
  • Working together to think about Indonesia’s economic recovery – through our economic modeling with Bappenas.

UK Businesses are also doing their bit in Indonesia:

  • 18 British businesses have either donated or have provided funding for medical supplies, including PPE, hand sanitisers, masks, disinfectant and thermometer-guns.
  • British companies have distributed premium education materials to those affected by school closures, including distance learning tools and free access to online courses.
  • 5 British firms have donated 200,000 packages of staple food, rice, and ready-to-eat meals…

Finally, a quick overview of UK-Indonesia’s strong friendship in science and innovation. There are more than a hundred Newton Fund research projects and 2205 co-authored publications together from 2015-2019.The UK & Indonesia are also incredibly effective research partners–with UK-Indonesian research getting five times more citations than research projects without an international collaborator. Working together achieves more interesting research.