TODAY'S PAPER
66° Good Evening
66° Good Evening
NewsHealthCoronavirus

UN report urges unified global effort to stem effects of the coronavirus

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in August.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in August.  On Tuesday, Guterres announced the release of a UN report pushing for a global effort to fight socioecomic hardship resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: EPA/Justin Lane

The United Nations calls for a concerted global effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic in a new report, with the secretary-general calling it an "unprecedented test" for the world.

“This is the moment of truth,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Tuesday during a virtual news conference after the 26-page report was released. 

The report, titled, "Shared responsibility, global solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19," predicts dire economic hardship worldwide due to the pandemic unless specific measures are taken.

Guterres said the disease has spread exponentially and the world’s lesser developed countries, particularly those in Africa and the developing world, stand to lose millions of people. His plea for a unified effort to combat the coronavirus repeats his request to G-20 nations last week. Guterres said Tuesday that the richest nations must work together to help themselves and their poorer brethren.

“It is essential that developed countries immediately assist those less developed to bolster their health systems and their response capacity to stop transmission,” he said. “Otherwise we face the nightmare of the disease spreading like wildfire in the global south with millions of deaths and the prospect of the disease reemerging where it was previously suppressed. Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world.”

Guterres said the first line of attack against the pandemic is stepped up and coordinated medical intervention to curb transmission of the coronavirus. The intervention includes testing, tracing, quarantine and treatment, while keeping medical professionals safe with appropriate procedures and equipment.

The second measure, he said, involves lots of money — an infusion of funds to buttress economies and individuals' pocketbooks in countries that comprise as much as 10% of the world's gross domestic product.

He noted during the news conference that the United States, in passing a $2 trillion aid package for businesses and individuals, had earmarked nearly 10% of its economy to fight the disease.

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.

SUBSCRIBE

Cancel anytime

“That means designing fiscal and monetary policies able to support the direct provision of resources to support workers and households, the provision of health and unemployment insurance, scaled up social protection, and support to businesses to prevent bankruptcies and massive job losses,” he said. “What is needed is a large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive multilateral response amounting to at least 10% of global GDP.”

According to the report, the International Monetary Fund has declared a global recession due to the outbreak and the effects could be worse than the Great Recession of 2008.

“The supply chain disruptions halting the manufacturing industry and the falling commodity prices, in particular oil, further compound the economic impact of the pandemic,” the report said. “This has rattled the financial markets, tightened liquidity conditions in many countries, created unprecedented outflows of capital from developing countries and put pressure on the foreign exchange markets, with some countries experiencing dollar shortages.”

The UN’s International Labor Organization estimates that between 5 million and 25 million jobs could be lost, with income losses ranging between $860 billion to $3.4 trillion.

In the education sector, 166 countries have implemented countrywide school and university closures, according to the report. More than 1.52 billion students are currently out of grade schools or universities, representing 87% of the world's enrolled school and university student population. In addition, nearly 60.2 million teachers are no longer in the classroom.

Guterres stressed that the response to the pandemic should look toward cooperation between and among nations through the UN’s 17 anti-poverty and pro-environment bench marks as a way to fend off a future scourge like the coronavirus.

“Our road map is the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” Guterres said. “The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy. 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. What the world needs now is solidarity.”

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.

SUBSCRIBE

Cancel anytime

Health