SINGAPORE - A fund set up to help people affected by serious infectious diseases, The Courage Fund, has received $550,000 in donations as of Wednesday (Feb 12) to support vulnerable groups amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Of this, the President's Challenge donated $250,000, while CapitaLand Hope Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand, donated $300,000.
Announcing the amount the President's Challenge would be donating on Facebook on Wednesday, President Halimah Yacob said: "It is important for Singaporeans to draw strength from one another as we manage this crisis together."
She said the President's Challenge has been mobilising community resources to divert more help to those who may be more susceptible to the coronavirus disease, which is officially called Covid-19.
The amount donated to The Courage Fund will be used to further support vulnerable groups to help them tide through this difficult period, President Halimah added.
The Courage Fund was set up in April 2003 as a fund-raising effort to provide relief to severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) victims and healthcare workers, and was jointly launched by the National Healthcare Group, SingHealth, Singapore Medical Association, Singapore Nurses' Association and Singapore Press Holdings.
President Halimah is the patron-in-chief of the fund.
Earlier on Wednesday, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said at a media conference on the coronavirus situation that the fund also supports the wider community affected by serious infectious diseases.
And during situations such as the coronavirus outbreak, The Courage Fund will have a role to play, said Mr Lee.
He added that the fund will be used to support patients, healthcare workers and members of the community who may be in need of additional support over and above what the Government and social service agencies can provide.
The fund will be a government-based avenue for people who wish to contribute to support various efforts during the outbreak. Members of the public who want to donate to The Courage Fund can do so at this website: www.comchest.sg/thecouragefund
Mr Lee also said that the Government will also be creating a centralised platform so that various ground-up initiatives can more meaningfully address areas where help is needed.
"Some Singaporeans may want to volunteer or contribute in a bigger way. I will share more details soon," he said.
Some of the funds from The Courage Fund have been put into an endowment fund which supports the annual Healthcare Humanity Awards, which honours and recognises outstanding healthcare workers.
Singapore has reported 50 confirmed cases of the coronavirus so far, with more than half of them have been contracted through local transmissions.
Several cases are linked to The Life Church and Missions in Paya Lebar while nine confirmed cases are linked to the Yong Thai Hang medical shop cluster, associated with a tour group from Guangxi, China.
The Republic raised its disease outbreak response level to orange on Feb 7, which means the outbreak is deemed to have moderate to high public health impact, but the situation is still under control.