UN warns of dire effects of coronavirus

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The UN warned of potentially “dire” long-term effects of the coronavirus outbreak on countries and the global economy and called for greater international co-operation to fight the pandemic.

“COVID-19 is the greatest test we face together since the formation of the UN,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he when launching a report this week to address responses to the crisis. The UN was founded 75 years ago, after World War Two.

The report appealed to countries to follow the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines and for an immediate health response to curb the spread of the virus, including stepping up testing, quarantine and treatment.

“We are still far from where we need to be to effectively fight COVID-19 worldwide and be able to tackle the negative impacts,” Guterres told reporters at a virtual news conference.

He was particularly concerned for Africa and urged developed countries to do more for less prepared nations.

“Remember we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our inter-connected world,” Guterres said.

The report called for a multilateral response amounting to at least 10% of global gross domestic product.

Over 878 000 people worldwide are infected with the novel coronavirus and more than 43,000 people have died, according to Reuters data.