UN chief: COVID-19 is worst crisis since World War II

Updated: 02 April, 2020 07:55 IST | Agencies | United Nations

Guterres called for a much stronger and more effective global response to the Coronavirus pandemic and to the social and economic devastation that COVID-19 is causing

A volunteer of the nonprofit organisation delivers food for a woman who can't leave her home in the Basque, Spain on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
A volunteer of the nonprofit organisation delivers food for a woman who can't leave her home in the Basque, Spain on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the world faces most challenging crisis since World War II, confronting a pandemic threatening people in every country, one that will bring recession 'that probably has no parallel in the recent past.

There is also a risk that the combination of the disease and its economic impact will contribute to "enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict," the UN chief said at the launch of a report on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Guterres called for a much stronger and more effective global response to the Coronavirus pandemic and to the social and economic devastation that COVID-19 is causing. "We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations, one that is killing people, spreading human suffering, and upending people's lives," the report said.

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General

The secretary-general told reporters: "The magnitude of the response must match the scale of the crisis, large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive, with the country and international responses being guided by the WHO."

He stressed that "We are still very far from where we need to be to effectively fight the COVID-19 worldwide and to be able to tackle the negative impacts on the global economy and the global societies." First, he said, many countries are not respecting WHO guidelines, with each tending to go its own way.

"Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world," he said. "It is essential that developed countries immediately assist those less developed to bolster their health systems and their response capacity to stop transmission."

Europe virus death toll tops 30,000

The Coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 30,000 people in Europe, more than three-quarters of the deaths registered in Italy and Spain, according to an AFP tally using official figures. A total of 30,063 deaths have been recorded in Europe out of 458,601 cases, making it the continent hit hardest by COVID-19.

Death toll in Spain soars past 9,000

The Coronavirus death toll in Spain surged over 9,000 on Wednesday after a record 864 deaths in 24 hours, with the number of confirmed cases passing the 1,00,000-mark, the government said. Spain has the world's second-highest death toll after Italy, with the virus so far claiming 9,053 lives and the number of confirmed cases reaching 102,136.

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First Published: 02 April, 2020 07:18 IST

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