Pope starts fund to help poorer countries deal with coronavirus

Pope Francis holds a palm branch as he leads Palm Sunday mass in St. Peter's Basilica without public participation due to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Vatican April 5, 2020. Alberto Pizzoli/Pool via REUTERS

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis has started an emergency fund to help areas affected by the coronavirus in developing countries, the Vatican said on Monday.

It said in a statement that the pope had designated $750,000 of funds at his disposal as an initial contribution. He has asked Church entities and dioceses to contribute as they can.

The funds will be distributed via the Pontifical Missions Societies, which supports the work of more than 1,100 dioceses mostly in Africa, Asia Oceania and part of the Amazon region.

Last month, Francis donated 30 ventilators to Italian hospitals in areas hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

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