Antonio Guterres called on countries to use “wartime logic” to fight the virus that has killed 3.4 million people.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations said the world is at war with COVID-19 and called for wartime logic to be applied to the unequal access to weapons needed to deal with the pandemic.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the “tsunami of misery” caused by the coronavirus crisis in a speech at the opening ceremony of the World Health Organization’s annual assembly on Monday.
He pointed out that since the disease first appeared in China at the end of 2019, 3.4 million people have died and about 500 million jobs have disappeared.
Guterres said: “The most vulnerable people are suffering the most. I worry that this is far from over.” He emphasized the continuing danger of the “two-speed global response.”
He said: “Unfortunately, unless we take action now, we will face a situation in which rich countries vaccinate most people and open up their economies, while the virus continues to spread and mutate in the poorest countries, thus Caused a lot of pain.”
He said: “Further peaks and climaxes may claim hundreds of thousands of lives and slow down the global economic recovery.” He insisted, “COVID-19 cannot defeat one country at a time.”
Faced with this severe situation, Guterres urged the recognition of the fact that “we are at war with the virus.”
He said: “We need the logic and urgency of the war economy to improve the capabilities of our weapons.”
The head of the United Nations called on the Group of Twenty (G20) to set up a working group last week to convene all countries with vaccine production capacity and other countries that can help promote vaccine production and other tools to fight COVID-19.
He said: “By exploring all options from voluntary licensing and technology transfer to patent pools and intellectual property flexibility, its goal should be to at least double its manufacturing capacity.”
The task force should also address the issue of equitable distribution of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic methods across the globe.
WHO and other organizations have created COVAX, a global vaccine sharing program, but the program is seriously underfunded and faces severe supply shortages, delaying the introduction of needles in poorer countries.
So far, in the world’s poorest countries, only 0.3% of the total COVID-19 vaccine dose has been carried out in the world’s poorest countries, which account for nearly 10% of the global population.
In addition to fighting COVID-19, Guterres also emphasized the importance of preparing for the next pandemic and supported a series of reforms and recommendations to strengthen WHO and the global health system put forward at the conference.
He said: “The world needs political commitment at the highest level to change the existing system.”
“WHO must be at the core of global pandemic preparedness. It needs sustainable and predictable resources, and it must be fully empowered to do what it needs.”
Guterres urged member states to decide the way forward in order to “make the bold decisions necessary to end this pandemic.”
“COVID-19 must become a turning point.”