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World Bank approves $12B to finance virus vaccines, care

The World Bank has approved $12 billion in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments, aiming to support the vaccination of up to 1 billion people.

The $12 billion “envelope” is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160 billion to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late Tuesday.

The World Bank said its COVID-19 emergency response programs are already reaching 111 countries.

Citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, it said.


“We are extending and expanding our fast-track approach to address the COVID emergency so that developing countries have fair and equal access to vaccines,” said the bank’s president, David Malpass, said in the statement.

“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” he said.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank is investing in vaccine manufacturers through a $4 billion Global Health Platform, the World Bank said.

Researchers are working on developing more than 170 potential COVID-19 vaccines.

Development and deployment of such preventive vaccines is crucial to helping stem outbreaks of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1 million people and sickened more than 38 million, while devastating economies and leaving many millions jobless.

The world’s richest countries have locked up most of the world’s potential vaccine supply through 2021, raising worries that poor and vulnerable communities will not be able to get the shots. Meanwhile, an ambitious international project to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the world’s poorest people, called Covax, is facing potential shortages of money, cargo planes, refrigeration and vaccines themselves.

The World Bank said it will draw on expertise and experience from its involvement in many large-scale immunization programs and other public health efforts.

The funding also is meant to help countries access tests and treatments and to support management of supply chains and other logistics for vaccinations in developing countries, the bank said.

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World Bank Approves $12B to Finance Virus Vaccines, Care | Business News

The World Bank has approved $12 billion in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments, aiming to support the vaccination of up to 1 billion people.

The $12 billion “envelop” is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160 billion to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late Tuesday.

The World Bank said its COVID-19 emergency response programs are already reaching 111 countries.

Citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, it said.

“We are extending and expanding our fast-track approach to address the COVID emergency so that developing countries have fair and equal access to vaccines,” said the bank’s president, David Malpass, said in the statement.

“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” he said.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank is investing in vaccine manufacturers through a $4 billion Global Health Platform, the statement said.

Development and deployment of vaccines is crucial to helping stem outbreaks of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1 million people and sickened more than 38 million, while devastating economies and leaving many millions jobless.

The World Bank said it will draw on expertise and experience from its involvement in many large-scale immunization programs and other public health efforts.

The funding is meant to also help countries access tests and treatments and to support management of supply chains and other logistics for vaccinations in developing countries, the bank said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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World Bank approves $12 bln for Covid-19 vaccines

The World Bank said Tuesday that it approved $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatment.

The financing “aims to support vaccination of up to a billion people,” the bank said in a statement.

The money is part of an overall World Bank Group (WBG) package of up to $160 billion through June 2021 designed to help developing countries battle the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“This financing package helps signal to the research and pharmaceutical industry that citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines,” the statement read. 

“It will also provide financing and technical support so that developing countries can prepare for deploying vaccines at scale, in coordination with international partners.”

Access to safe and effective vaccines “and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said in the statement.

The financing “will also support countries to access to Covid-19 tests and treatments, and expand immunization capacity to help health systems deploy the vaccines effectively,” the statement added.

The financing approval was expected as Malpass had announced the project in late September.

While vaccines have yet to appear on the market, Malpass noted in an interview with the French daily Le Figaro that it was necessary to prepare because of the complicated vaccine distribution process.

The Bank’s approach, according to the statement, draws on its “significant expertise in supporting large scale immunization programs for vaccine preventable diseases, as well as public health programs to tackle infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases.”

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Online fitness stars bank on virtual gyms being more than just a phase

Melas’ move into the world of hybrid in-person and digital fitness is an example of a broader trend, which sees Australians now saying will continue virtual workouts having tried them throughout the pandemic.

New research from fitness class scheduling and booking app Mindbody has found that, while most prefer in-person fitness classes over opening their laptops to get the endorphins flowing, over half (51 per cent) anticipate continuing virtual workouts once a week, and 37 per cent expect to keep working out virtually two to three times weekly.

New features

Earlier this year, Mindbody itself added on-demand and livestream features for use by the 5000 Australian gyms, yoga and dance studios, and other fitness operators that use its software.

Its study found that yoga (32 per cent) was the most popular class to do from home, while pilates (28 per cent) and strength training (26 per cent) had been the classes most Australians had returned to in-person during the July period when restrictions eased in most of Australia.

Mindbody’s 2020 New Normal survey was taken by 702 people across Australia about their pre-COVID-19 and current fitness habits. It was conducted between August 11 and August 20, with respondents aged from 18 to 65.

Mindbody Asia-Pacific vice president and managing director Hema Prakash says more Australians will now expect both the studio and virtual fitness experience to be available post-COVID.

“We’re saying to everyone this hybrid model is not a new normal, it’s going to be your absolute normal,” she says.

Mindbody’s customers – gym owners and fitness operators – are on average reporting revenues down around 25 per cent on the previous year due to COVID-19.

Prakash says the businesses faring best were doing so because of extensive customer surveys and having already built up a strong sense of community.

Sydney-based Pilates instructor Bianca Melas has attracted a loyal base of clients to her online platform. 

“If you are a business person that accidentally came into this world of wellness, and you’ve relied on luck, you may not survive this next six months. If you didn’t build the community aspect of your brand and business, it’s going to be super hard to start from scratch again right now,” Ms Prakash said.

In April, around 800 of Mindbody’s then 3000-strong global workforce were laid off or furloughed. The company has since re-hired some as pre-COVID fitness spending levels have rebounded.

In fact, the Mindbody New Normal survey found that the majority of respondents planned to spend the same amount or more on fitness compared to pre-COVID.

In NSW, 87 per cent of respondents felt this way, in Victoria, that figure was 75 per cent, in Queensland, that figure was 89 per cent, and in Western Australian, that figure was 80 per cent.

Melas says her shift to hosting virtual classes had required her to pay attention to details, like virtual room aesthetics and compiling accompanying Spotify music playlists. She says the snappy 30-minute classes have resonated well with clients.

She launched