UN chief urges $2 bln for vulnerable nations tackling coronavirus

File photo of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at UN headquarters on January 27, 2020. (AP)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched a $2 billion appeal on Wednesday to help vulnerable and conflict-torn countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America tackle the coronavirus pandemic and prevent COVID-19 from again circling the globe.

The UN chief called the amount a “drop in the ocean,” noting that the US Senate is seeking $2 trillion - “1,000 times more” - for the US economy.

UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock announced a $60 million contribution from the UN’s emergency relief fund to kick-start the appeal.

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Guterres said the $2 billion is essential to keep economies in the developing world going so their health systems remain afloat to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the money will also help countries already in the midst of a humanitarian crisis caused by conflicts, natural disasters and climate change.

“The worst thing that could happen," the secretary-general said, “is to suppress the disease in developed countries and let it spread like fire in the developing world where then millions of transmissions will take place, millions of people will die, and the risk of mutations would be there, which means that the virus could come back.”

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Last Update: 18:55 KSA 21:55 - GMT 18:55
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