UN chief says coronavirus worst threat since WWII

UN chief says coronavirus worst threat since WWII
© Getty Images

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday called the coronavirus pandemic the body’s “greatest test” since its inception.

“COVID-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations,” Guterres said Wednesday, according to The New York Times. His comments came the same day a U.N. report was released recommending a “large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive multilateral response” to the pandemic.

“This is the moment to dismantle trade barriers, maintain open trade, and re-establish supply chains,” the report stated. “Tariff and nontariff measures, as well as export bans, especially those imposed on medicinal and related products, would slow countries’ action to contain the virus. Import taxes or restrictions on medical supplies need to be waived.”


The response, the U.N. report states, should amount to at least 10 percent of global gross domestic product.

The U.N. report calls for a coordinated, urgent preparation, particularly in nations that still have few or no cases, and for the protection of essential health care workers as well as knowledge-sharing in the effort to develop new diagnostics and treatments for the virus.

“It is crucial to learn from other countries, constantly assess and regularly update national strategies and guidelines to new knowledge,” the report states.

It further calls for the international community to “learn from this crisis and build back better,” adding that more progress in the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change would have better prepared nations to address the challenge due to stronger health care infrastructure, less extreme poverty and gender inequality and a healthier natural environment.

“We must seize the opportunity of this crisis to strengthen our commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” the report states. “By making progress on our global roadmap for a more inclusive and sustainable future, we can better respond to future crises.”