12:11 GMT23 October 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The European Union has directed 140 million euros ($158 million) in public and private funds for research into coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, treatment and diagnostics, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday.

    The statement was made at a presser following a conference call of EU leaders on the COVID-19 outbreak.

    "We have mobilized 140 million euros of public and private funding for promising research on vaccines, on treatment and on diagnosis", von der Leyen said.

    She added that the bloc would set up a "corona response investment fund" to support healthcare systems, small and medium-sized enterprises, labor markets and "other vulnerable parts" of the European economy.

    "The instrument will be sizable and reach 25 billion euros quickly", she pointed out.

    To this end, the commission’s president is going to propose his week that the council and the European Parliament disburse 7.5 billion euros in investment liquidity. She added that she would create a task force to work with member states and "ensure that the money starts flowing in the coming weeks".

    To date, the number of people who have contracted the coronavirus disease globally has exceeded 118,000, with over 4,000 fatalities.

    The EU and the UK account for nearly 14,900 cases and over 530 deaths, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Italy remains the worst-hit county in the bloc.

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    Tags:
    vaccines, impact, economy, COVID-19, coronavirus, European Union
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