The world is “at war” against Covid-19, the UN chief said Monday, calling for the application of wartime logic to the inequitable access to the weapons needed to fight the pandemic.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decried the “tsunami of suffering” sparked by the coronavirus crisis.
Addressing the opening of the World Health Organization’s main annual assembly of member states, he pointed out that more than 3.4 million people have died and some 500 million jobs had disappeared since the disease first surfaced in China in late 2019.
“The most vulnerable are suffering most, and I fear this is far from over,” Guterres said, stressing the ongoing dangers of “a two-speed global response.”
“Sadly, unless we act now, we face a situation in which rich countries vaccinate the majority of their people and open their economies, while the virus continues to cause deep suffering by circling and mutating in the poorest countries,” he said.
“Further spikes and surges could claim hundreds of thousands of lives, and slow the global economic recovery,” he said, insisting that “Covid-19 cannot be beaten one country at a time.”
Faced with this dire situation, Guterres urged recognition of the fact that “we are at war with a virus.”
“We need the logic and urgency of a war economy, to boost the capacity of our weapons,” he said.