Members of the ESCRIM unit (Civil security rapid medical intervention element) finalize the installation of a field hospital for the medical staff on the tarmac of the old heliport of the Cayenne hospital center, on June 25, 2020 to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic.
AFP/Jody Amiet
UN chief: COVID-19 signals need for global approach to problems
Philippe Rater (Agence France-Presse) - June 26, 2020 - 8:06am

UNITED NATIONS, United States — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday  called on the world to strengthen multilateral cooperation, saying a global approach has been the key to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Charter, he said the world is in turmoil, struggling with the coronavirus and climate change, as well as widespread racial injustice and increasing inequality — all best solved by a renewed sense of multilateralism.

"We cannot go back to the way it was and simply recreate the systems that have aggravated the crisis," he told reporters.

"We absolutely must come together to reimagine and reinvent the world we share.

"We need an effective multilateralism that can function as an instrument of global governance where it is needed."

Guterres said the United Nations proved its worth in reacting to coronavirus, shipping 250 million items of personal protective equipment to more than 130 countries, supporting children's education and the needs of families and caregivers.

The UN supply chain was also important in moving medical goods around the globe as COVID-19 spread, Guterres said. 

And its support for developing a vaccine, and his own effort in March to bring about ceasefires in various conflict zones to slow the virus's spread, underscore the value of the 75-year-old institution's multilateral approach, he said.

The UN charter was signed in San Francisco on June 26, 1945 at the end of World War II and entered into effect four months later. 

Among people in many countries, the response to the pandemic has eroded their confidence in political establishments and institutions, Guterres said.

The pandemic has bared "severe and systemic inequalities," and world leaders need to acknowledge the value of global cooperation to address these and other, unpredictable crises, he said.

"As we mark Charter Day and look ahead, we must reimagine the way nations cooperate."

"We need to build back better with more sustainable, inclusive, gender-equal societies and economies."

Priorities indicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, are ensuring universal access to healthcare, tightening bonds between people and nations, and rethinking the global economy to reduce inequality.

Guterres said he hoped that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain — would be able to meet in September to smooth over conflicts.

"Nothing replaces personal contact, personal diplomacy... that can generate empathy, consensus, common feeling to work together," Guterres said.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 12, 2020 - 9:17am

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

July 12, 2020 - 9:17am

The United States, the country hardest hit by the coronavirus, on Saturday posted 66,528 new cases, a record for a 24-hour period, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

The country has now recorded a total of 3,242,073 infections, the Baltimore-based university said in its latest data as of 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Sunday).

The death toll stood at 134,729 with 760 additional deaths counted. — AFP

July 11, 2020 - 4:53pm

The Department of Health reports 1,387 additional cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the total number of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines to 54,222.

There are 807 new recoveries and 12 new deaths.

July 11, 2020 - 1:15pm

The United States records 63,643 new coronavirus cases, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

As of 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Saturday), 774 people died of COVID-19 in the country in the past 24 hours, the Baltimore-based university says. 

The worst-hit country in the world by the pandemic, the US has recorded a total of 133,969 deaths out of 3.18 million cases. — AFP

July 11, 2020 - 9:23am

The US welcomes the World Health Organization's probe into the origins of the novel coronavirus in China, its ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva says.

"We welcome the WHO's investigation. We view the scientific investigation as a necessary step to having a complete and transparent understanding of how this virus has spread throughout the world," ambassador Andrew Bremberg tells reporters.

It was an unexpected endorsement, given that the WHO has faced fierce US criticism over its handling of the coronavirus crisis. — AFP

July 10, 2020 - 4:54pm

The Department of Health reports 1,233 new cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the total infection count in the Philippines to 52,914.

There are 286 new recoveries and 42 more deaths. 

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