UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that overcoming the coronavirus pandemic will require the most massive public health effort in history since it is an interconnected world where “none of us is safe until all of us are safe”.
His remarks came as the world leaders on Monday pledged 7.4 billion euros (approximately USD 8.2 billion) to support the research and development for medicines to fight the COVID-19 which has so far killed over 2.5 lakh people and infected more than 3.6 million globally.
He welcomed the contribution and the launch of the ACT Accelerator — a landmark global collaboration to speed up the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
The UN chief said these new tools can help the world fully control the pandemic, and must be treated as global public goods available and affordable for all.
“Comprehensive, coordinated public health measures are critical to slow transmission and to save lives. But even countries that have taken such steps remain in jeopardy. And the virus is still likely to strike many countries that are least able to cope. In an interconnected world, none of us is safe until all of us are safe,” he said.
Addressing the European Union pledging conference in Brussels, Guterres said that the “most massive public health effort in history” is needed to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 has “spread to every corner of the world, infecting more than three million people and claiming more than 220,000 lives,” Guterres said in his comments which came following a warning in recent days about the lack of sufficient solidarity with the developing countries — both in equipping them to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which risks spreading like wildfire — and to address its dramatic economic and social impacts.
“We have a common vision. Let us now put people first everywhere,” the UN chief added. Apart from the European Commission which organised Monday’s event on behalf of the EU, countries involved in the overall effort include South Africa, Rwanda, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Finland and Costa Rica. Neither of the two largest economies, the US or China, have so far joined the ACT Accelerator drive.