United Nations Secretary-General Says World is Starting “War” on COVID-19
The United Nations Secretary-General has declared the world at war with COVID-19 and called for the application of wartime logic to unequal access to the weapons needed to deal with the pandemic.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the ‘tsunami of misery’ caused by the coronavirus crisis in a speech on Monday at the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of the World Health Organization .
He pointed out that since the disease first appeared in China at the end of 2019, 3.4 million people have died and around 500 million jobs have been lost.
Guterres said: “The most vulnerable people suffer the most. I fear this is far from over. He stressed the continuing danger of the “two-tier global response”.
He said: “Sadly, if we don’t act now, we will be faced with a situation where rich countries are vaccinating most people and opening up their economies, while the virus continues to spread and mutate in the poorest countries. poorer, causing a lot of pain. ”
He said: “New peaks and highs could kill hundreds of thousands and slow the global economic recovery.” He insisted, “COVID-19 cannot defeat one country at a time.”
Faced with this grave situation, Guterres called for recognition that “we are at war with the virus”.
He said: “We need the logic and urgency of the war economy to improve the capabilities of our weapons.”
The UN chief called on the Group of Twenty (G20) to set up a working group last week to bring together all countries with vaccine production capacity and other countries that can help promote production. vaccines and other tools to fight COVID-19.
He said: “By exploring all options, from voluntary licensing and technology transfer to patent pools and intellectual property flexibility, its goal should be to at least double its manufacturing capacity.”
The working group is also expected to address the issue of equitable distribution of vaccines, treatments and diagnostic methods around the world.
WHO and other organizations have created COVAX, a global vaccine-sharing program, but the program is severely underfunded and faces severe supply shortages, delaying the introduction of needles to the most vulnerable countries. poor.
So far, in the world’s poorest countries, only 0.3% of the total dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been administered in the world’s poorest countries, which account for almost 10% of the world’s population. .
In addition to tackling COVID-19, Guterres also stressed the importance of preparing for the next pandemic and supported a series of reforms and recommendations aimed at strengthening the WHO and the global health system presented during the conference.
He said: “The world needs political commitment at the highest level to change the existing system.”
“WHO must be at the heart of preparing for a global pandemic. It needs sustainable and predictable resources, and it must be fully empowered to do what it needs. “
Guterres urged member states to decide the way forward in order to “take the bold decisions needed to end this pandemic.”
“COVID-19 must become a turning point.”