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  • Guterres urged countries and groups involved in wars and armed conflicts to a ceasefire.

    Guterres urged countries and groups involved in wars and armed conflicts to a ceasefire. | Photo: EFE

Published 23 March 2020
Opinion

Antonio Guterres said an official humanitarian appeal would be launched Wednesday to obtain the US$2 billion.

United Nations (U.N.) chief Antonio Guterres said Monday at a virtual press conference that US$2 billion were needed to assist impoverished countries in their fight against coronavirus, adding that a massive package would also be requested to deal with the social and economic consequences of the pandemic in the world.

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“The package needs to make households be afloat, make businesses be afloat, keep societies being afloat,” Guterres said.

“This will require a double-digit of GDP (gross domestic product) support in the developed world and creating the conditions through the IMF (International Monetary Fund), through the swaps among central banks, through the creation of new facilities,” the U.N. chief mentioned.

The head of the international body added that the leaders of the countries comprising the 'Group of 20' (G20) must make sure “that not only the developed countries can respond effectively to the disease, but that there is a massive support to the developing world not to let the disease spread like wildfire.”

Guterres announced that an official humanitarian appeal would be launched Wednesday to obtain the US$2 billion.

He also urged countries and groups involved in wars and armed conflicts to a ceasefire so the world can concentrate on combatting the pandemic.

“It is time to put armed conflicts on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives,” Guterres said.

The U.N. has been unsuccessfully trying for years to mediate an end to wars in countries including Syria, Yemen, and Libya.

“End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world,” he said. “It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.”

The spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic across the globe drew comparisons with previous catastrophic periods such as World War Two, the 2008 financial crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu.

More than 370,000 people worldwide contracted the virus. Some 100,000 recovered while 16,490 were killed as of Sunday.

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