“The $6.9 billion that was pledged today to support the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities is an incredible next step on our journey out of the COVID-19 era, but there is more still to be done, as no one is safe until everyone is safe,” Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, said after the event on Saturday.
“As we fight this virus, we also need to take care of the most vulnerable people and address the challenges they’re facing right now,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the event.
Speakers also included the leaders of New Zealand, El Salvador, Sweden, South Africa and Barbados.
Organisers said the show was not just a fundraiser, but aimed to draw awareness to the disproportionate impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on marginalised communities.
French President Emmanuel Macron said shared action was needed to defeat the virus.
“Let’s mobilise, let’s refuse an ‘every man for himself’ approach, let’s continue to move forward together. France and Europe take their responsibility today and will do so tomorrow,” Macron said.
Worldwide, 10 million people have been reported infected by the virus, and half a million have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say those figures seriously understate the true toll of the pandemic, due to limited testing and missed mild cases.
About a dozen potential COVID-19 vaccines are in early stages of testing. While some could move into late-stage testing later this year if all goes well, it’s unlikely any would be licensed before early next year at the earliest.