Solidarity, hope and coordinated global response needed to tackle COVID-19 pandemic, says UN chief

As public fear and uncertainty grow around the COVID-19 pandemic, "more than ever before, we need solidarity, hope and the political will to see this crisis through together," UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday in his first virtual press conference.

Unlike any global health crisis in the 75-year history of the United Nations, the coronavirus pandemic is "spreading human suffering, infecting the global economy and upending people’s lives," he added.

And as country-level responses cannot single-handedly address the global scale and complexity of the crisis, he maintained that "coordinated, decisive and innovative policy action" is needed from the world’s leading economies.

Mr. Guterres said that he looks forward to participating in the G20 leaders’ emergency summit next week to respond to the pandemic’s "epic challenge".

Indicating that "we are at war with a virus", the UN chief stressed that creative responses "must match the unique nature of the crisis – and the magnitude of the response must match its scale".

And although COVID-19 is killing people and attacking economies, by managing the crisis well, "we can steer the recovery toward a more sustainable and inclusive path", he said.

"I call on world leaders to come together and offer an urgent and coordinated response to this global crisis," he said.

"It has been proven that the virus can be contained. It must be contained", he said, advising to move from a country-by-country strategy to a "coordinated global response, including helping countries that are less prepared to tackle the crisis".

"Global solidarity is not only a moral imperative, it is in everyone’s interests", he stated and urged Governments to fully meet the World Health Organization’s appeals, saying, "we are only as strong as the weakest health system".

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