Pointing out that the world lacked unity in response to coronavirus, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called for a “massive and combined effort” by all countries to tackle the pandemic.
The UN Chief made the statement while addressing the virtual World Health Assembly in Geneva through videoconference. Despite some solidarity, there had been “very little unity” in the global response to the new Coronavirus so far, he said.
Guterres said that Coronavirus had demonstrated the global fragility, not only in health systems but in all areas. The pandemic must be a wake-up call, he added.
WHO Call Ignored
The UN Chief said that many countries had ignored the recommendations of the World Health Organization. And the virus spread across the world and was now moving into the Global South, he said and added its impact might be even more devastating. Guterres reiterated his call addressing the health impact and economic and social fallout of the pandemic.
He also mentioned that the economy will not recover unless the spread of the virus is controlled. The UN Chief said that support was needed for keeping the households afloat and businesses solvent. He also called for support through International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
The UN Chief also said that the developed nations could somehow come out of the crisis but it was the developing nations that needed assistance.
Responding to the various calls for an inquiry into how the coronavirus threat spread so fast, Guterres said that it was too early for an inquiry. “Now is not that time. Now is the time for unity, for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” he said and reiterated his support for the WHO. He also mentioned that the WHO was “irreplaceable” and that more resources was needed to support at-risk developing countries.
He stressed that the first thing to do was to get through this pandemic together. If not, all will fail, he added.
Infection like Bush Fire
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the infection was spreading like bush fire. He mentioned that the world has seen the loss of more than three lakh people because of the deadly virus. He said that majority of the world’s population remained susceptible to coronavirus.
Proceed with caution
The WHO chief has called for proceeding with caution and said that the organisation supported all the countries in tackling the menace. He also warned that the countries that do not put in in place the public health architecture to detect and suppress transmission are at risk.
Global health risks
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also mentioned that the ongoing pandemic risks were a threat to the “decades of progress” against HIV, maternal and child mortality, tuberculosis, malaria, mental health noncommunicable diseases and polio.
World Health Assembly
The 73rd session of the World Health Assembly is being held virtually over two days. The assembly is the WHO’s decision making body. Normally it holds the assembly for two weeks. But this time it was cut short to two days because of Covid – 19.