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World

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

Agence France-Presse
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

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: August 11, 2022 - 9:01am

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

August 11, 2022 - 9:01am

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declares a "shining victory" over COVID-19, after officials reported no new cases of the virus for nearly two weeks.

Presiding over a meeting with health workers and scientists, Kim announces a "victory... in the war against the malignant pandemic disease," according to the government news agency KCNA.

The isolated country, which has maintained a rigid coronavirus blockade since the start of the pandemic, announced an Omicron outbreak in the capital Pyongyang in May and activated a "maximum emergency epidemic prevention system". — AFP

July 30, 2022 - 12:45pm

North Korea reports zero fever cases on Saturday for the first time in more than two months since it confirmed its first COVID-19 infections in May.

"There were no new fever patients reported" over a 24-hour period from Thursday evening, the state-run Korean Central News Agency says, marking the first time the isolated country had reported no new cases since it began tallying numbers in May.

While it has maintained a rigid coronavirus blockade since the start of the pandemic, experts have said that massive Omicron outbreaks in neighbouring countries meant it was only a matter of time before Covid snuck in. — AFP

July 27, 2022 - 5:46pm

According to a pair of new studies in the journal Science that claimed to have tipped the balance in the debate about the virus' origins, an animal market in China's Wuhan really was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answering the question of whether the disease spilled over naturally from animals to humans, or was the result of a lab accident, is viewed as vital to averting the next pandemic and saving millions of lives.

The first paper analyzed the geographic pattern of COVID-19 cases in the outbreak's first month, December 2019, showing the first cases were tightly clustered around Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. — AFP

July 17, 2022 - 2:01pm

Macau is set to begin another working week of partial lockdown, after the city extended the closure of its casinos and non-essential businesses to try and eradicate its worst coronavirus outbreak yet. 

Authorities had announced a week of "static management" starting June 11 after recording more than 1,500 infections in the previous three weeks despite multiple rounds of compulsory mass testing of the city's population.

The restrictions had been due to lift on Monday, but cases have continued to climb, with the Macau government saying Sunday there had been 1,733 cases recorded since the start of the outbreak. 

Daily case numbers are comparatively small by global standards, but authorities have moved quickly to stamp out transmission as they adhere to mainland China's strict zero-Covid policy. 

On Saturday the government announced that the "static management" period would be extended through Friday.  -- AFP

July 12, 2022 - 4:58pm

Hundreds of thousands of people were under lockdown in a small Chinese city Tuesday after just one case of Covid-19 was detected, as Beijing's strict no-tolerance virus strategy showed no sign of abating.

China is the last major economy glued to a zero-Covid policy, crushing new outbreaks with snap lockdowns, forced quarantines and onerous travel curbs despite mounting public fatigue and damage to the economy.

Authorities in several regions have imposed a range of restrictions as they struggle to tamp down fresh flare-ups driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

After reporting a new domestic infection, the steelmaking hub of Wugang in Henan province announced Monday that it would implement three days of "closed control" in response to "the needs of disease prevention", according to an official notice.

None of the city's 320,000 people are allowed to set foot outside their homes until midday Thursday, the notice said, adding that basic necessities would be delivered by local authorities. -- AFP

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