A star-studded concert featuring Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Hugh Jackman, Usher and hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has helped raise more than $10 billion for coronavirus relief.
The artists, who were dispersed across the world and performed separately, brought a bit of glamour to an international fundraising summit.
Global Goal – Unite for our Future: The Concert saw Cyrus perform The Beatles’ “Help!” in an empty stadium and Hudson performed “Where Peaceful Waters Flow” sailing on a boat down a river in Chicago.
Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson and David Beckham also made appearances.
The concert was part of huge donation drive organised by the European Union and advocacy group Global Citizen.
The summit raised 6.15 billion euros (A$10.05bn) in cash and loan guarantees to assist the poor around the globe whose lives have been up-ended by the pandemic.
Global Citizen said its summit with world leaders, including Britain’s Boris Johnson, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and Canada’s Justin Trudeau, had raised A$2.1 billion to help COVID-19 efforts in poor countries, along with a promise of 250 million doses of a vaccine for those nations if one is successfully developed.
The group said it had secured A$7.8 billion in loans and guarantees from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to support fragile economies worldwide.
“The US$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, chief executive officer of Global Citizen, said after the event on Saturday (US time).
“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.
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, nearly 10 million people have been reported infected by the virus, and nearly a half 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.
Originally published as Astonishing amount raised at COVID gig