United Nations chief says COVID-19 outbreak is the worst crisis since WWII

United Nations chief says COVID-19 outbreak is the worst crisis since WWII

Some 12,428 people have died from the disease in Italy, the world's most seriously affected country.

UN Headquarters on the East River, New York. Wealthy countries with strong health systems are buckling under the pressure.

The UN chief launched on Tuesday a new plan to counter the potentially devastating socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling on everyone to "act together to lessen the blow to people".

The report additionally cites the 2020 estimates of the International Labor Organization, in line with which 50 lakh to 25 million jobs are anticipated to be created.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) projected a 30 to 40 per cent downward pressure on global foreign direct investment flows while the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) saw a 20-30 per cent decline in worldwide arrivals.

Launching the latest study report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN trade and development body titled 'The Covid-19 Shock to Developing Countries: Towards a 'whatever it takes, ' Guterres said that the pandemic is one of the most challenging crises that the world has seen in a long time. This will be possible when all countries forget politics and come together and realize that it threatens humanity.

Corporal Mathias Jahn at a drive-through COVID-19 testing centre in Gera, Germany.

The secretary-general told reporters: "The magnitude of the response must match the scale of the crisis - large-scale, co-ordinated and comprehensive, with country and global responses being guided by the World Health Organization".

"Guidelines from the World Health Organization were not respected in many countries of the world and there was a tendency for each one to go its own way".

The economic pain of lockdowns is especially acute in the developing world.

If the developing world does not have the resources ... then we have the risk, and Africa is for me the main concern, we will have the risk of the virus spreading like wildfire in the global South with the tragic consequences ... millions of people will die. In places where it has been stopped, there will be a possibility of the infection rising again. "This is a moment for solidarity, not only because of generosity, but because of the enlightened self-interest of everybody".

Debt alleviation must also be a priority, Guterres said, noting that the United Nations is "fully mobilised" and is establishing a new multi-partner Trust Fund for the Covid-19 Response and Recovery to respond to the emergency and recover from the socio-economic shock. Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and the many other global challenges we face.

Guterres believes the world "will face a choice" once the crisis is over, and argued that the recovery should lead to a "different economy".

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