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25 Mar, 2020 15:04

‘Whole of humanity’ at stake in Covid-19 pandemic, UN chief warns in urgent plea to ‘fight back’

‘Whole of humanity’ at stake in Covid-19 pandemic, UN chief warns in urgent plea to ‘fight back’

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that the “whole of humanity” is in danger of the coronavirus crisis, and we must all fight against it.

“Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough,” Guterres said on Wednesday.

The secretary general said the Covid-19 crisis is unlike anything the UN has faced in its 75-year history and is pleading with the developed world to raise trillions of dollars to help poorer countries fight off the deadly viral scourge.

The UN is launching a $2 billion program to help the world’s poor fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Guterres has repeatedly called for aid from G20 nations this week as the global pandemic worsens and threatens to reach what he described as “apocalyptic proportions.”

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He also called for a ban on tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions, as well as the waiving of sanctions which might impede countries from getting much needed food and medical supplies.

Guterres also suggested the G20 should create a mechanism for dealing with future pandemics, though he did not specify what form this would take. He said that a “two-digit” percentage of the global economy should be allocated to improving response to pandemics.

Meanwhile, the IMF and the World Bank have called for governments to suspend debt payments owed by the world’s poorest nations to free up resources to fight the pandemic.  

According to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the global number of infected has reached over 438,000, with more than 19,500 deaths worldwide. Both Spain and Italy’s death tolls have surpassed that of China, where the crisis first began late last year. 

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