UN: ‘Whole of humanity’ at risk from pandemic

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that unless the world comes together to fight the virus, millions of people could die. — AFP pic
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that unless the world comes together to fight the virus, millions of people could die. — AFP pic

UNITED NATIONS, March 25 — The coronavirus pandemic is threatening the entire human race, the United Nations warned today as it launched a humanitarian response plan featuring a US$2 billion appeal for the world’s poorest people.

“COVID-19 is threatening the whole of humanity -– and the whole of humanity must fight back. Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough,” Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in announcing the initiative.

Just last week, as the pandemic spread to more and more countries, killing thousands and infecting many more, Guterres warned that unless the world came together to fight the virus, millions of people could die.

“This COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan aims to enable us to fight the virus in the world’s poorest countries, and address the needs of the most vulnerable people, especially women and children, older people, and those with disabilities or chronic illness,” said Guterres.

“We cannot afford to lose the gains we have made through investments in humanitarian action and in the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

The amount of money sought by the plan is small compared to the US$2 trillion that the US Congress is poised to approve as a rescue effort for devastated American consumers, companies and hospitals as the US economy grinds to a sudden halt.

The UN plan is designed to last from April to December — suggesting the UN does not see the crisis ending any time soon.

The exact total of US$2.012 billion is supposed to come from appeals that various UN agencies have already made, such as the World Health Organization and the World Food Program. — AFP

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