The World Health Organisation has demanded nations “act together and right now” in order to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, today said individual countries could only do so much by themselves and it would instead take a collective global effort to beat the pandemic.
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The plan also comes as the United Nations called on major nations to support the developing world in beating the pandemic and keeping it at bay into the future.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged for governments around the world to prevent the COVID-19 strain from spreading in developing nations and mutating into a form that would be untreatable by vaccines.
He launched a US$2 billion appeal on Wednesday to help vulnerable and war-torn countries deal with the pandemic, calling the amount a “drop in the ocean” and noting the US Senate is seeking “1000 times more” (US$2 trillion) its own economy.
“The worst thing that could happen is to suppress the disease in the developed countries, but let it spread like fire in the developing world, where then millions of transmissions will take place,” Guterres said during a World Health Organisation teleconference.
“The virus could come back in ways that even vaccines, that I hope will be soon developed, wouldn’t be able to stop it again.
“It’s in the self-interests of developed countries to support the developing world in fighting.”
During the conference today, Mark Lowcock, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs, said it was crucial for governments to act early in working the measures into their own national responses.
He kick-started the appeal by announcing a US$60 million contribution from the UN’s emergency relief fund.
“The best approach is to keep the people in the most vulnerable places safe, and we know that if we act early, we will have the best response and that’s why we’re putting this response plan in place now,” he said.
“We’re seeing huge economic stimulus plans being developed around the world and that’s going to help.
“But it would be a smart strategy and an intelligent strategy for every developed country just to spend a little bit of their money on dealing with this problem in the most vulnerable places as well.
“That is part of what you need to do if you want to protect yourself against this pandemic.”
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