Coronavirus the worst global crisis since WW II, says UN chief
In this file photo taken on February 24, 2020 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres looks on at the opening of the UN Human Rights Council's main annual session in Geneva. The coronavirus pandemic is the worst global crisis since World War II, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said March 31, 2020, expressing concern that it could trigger conflicts around the world.
AFP/Fabrice Coffrini

Coronavirus the worst global crisis since WW II, says UN chief

(Agence France-Presse) - April 1, 2020 - 8:34am

UNITED NATIONS, United States — The coronavirus pandemic is the worst global crisis since World War II, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday, expressing concern that it could trigger conflicts around the world.

Guterres said that the scale of the crisis was due to "a disease that represents a threat to everybody in the world and... an economic impact that will bring a recession that probably has no parallel in the recent past."

"The combination of the two facts and the risk that it contributes to enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict are things that make us believe that this is the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War," he told reporters.

The New York-based United Nations was founded at the end of the war in 1945 and has 193 member states.

"A stronger and more effective response... is only possible in solidarity if everybody comes together and if we forget political games and understand that it is humankind that is at stake," Guterres added.

More than 40,000 people have been killed so far as the disease spreads across the world, and causes economic devastation.

"We are far from having a global package to help the developing world to create the conditions both to suppress the disease and to address the dramatic consequences," Guterres warned, pointing to unemployment, the collapse of small firms and vulnerable people in the informal economy.

"We are slowly moving in the right direction, but we need to speed up, and we need to do much more if we want to defeat the virus."

The UN on Tuesday created a new fund to help developing countries after last week appealing for donations for poor and conflict-hit nations.

Beyond traditional aid from rich countries "we need to have innovative financial instruments," so that developing nations are able to respond to the crisis, Guterres said.

He warned that the coronavirus outbreak could return from poorer countries, especially in Africa, to hit wealthy countries again, and that millions could die.

ANTONIO GUTERRES NOVEL CORONAVIRUS UNITED NATIONS WORLD WAR II
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 21, 2021 - 8:02am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

January 21, 2021 - 8:02am

The number of US COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday surpassed the country's toll of military fatalities in World War II, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

As of the evening, the tracker showed that 405,400 people have died from the disease caused by the new coronavirus in the United States.

The total number of combat and non-combat deaths in World War II was 405,399, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The figure is a stark reminder of the pandemic's cost as newly-elected President Joe Biden begins his term. — AFP

January 20, 2021 - 8:52pm

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 2,058,226 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources at 1100 GMT on Wednesday.

More than 96,144,670 cases of coronavirus have been registered.

These figures are based on daily tolls provided by health authorities in each country and exclude later re-evaluations by statistical organisations as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain. —  AFP

January 20, 2021 - 6:15pm

Beijing health officials on Wednesday say two cases of COVID-19 found in the capital were the highly-transmissible UK variant of the virus, as five neighbourhoods were locked down in the south of the city.

The cases in Daxing district were "considered to be variants of the new coronavirus discovered in the UK", the head of the Beijing health authority Pang Xinghuo tells reporters. —  AFP

January 20, 2021 - 12:57pm

The UK coronavirus strain has been detected in at least 60 countries, the World Health Organization says Wednesday, 10 more than a week ago.

The South African variant, which like the UK strain is believed to be more infectious, has now been reported in 23 countries and territories, the WHO said in a statement. — AFP

January 19, 2021 - 9:04pm

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 2,041,289 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Tuesday.

At least 95,476,360 cases of coronavirus have been registered.

These figures are based on daily tolls provided by health authorities in each country and excludes later re-evaluations by statistical organisations, as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain.

On Monday, 9,002 new deaths and 512,975 new cases were recorded worldwide. —  AFP

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