Call for swift development of vaccine and accessibility to all
A COVID-19 vaccine may be the only solution that can help life return to normal, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said.
Economic and other activity has ground to a halt or slowed down drastically in many countries around the world as governments implement lockdowns to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus which first emerged in China last December.
“A safe and efficient vaccine could be the only method that can bring the world back to a sense of ‘normality’, saving millions of lives and countless trillions of dollars,” Guterres said on Wednesday during a video conference on the pandemic.
As reported by real-time data website Worldometer, there were nearly 2.1 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide as of April 16, with 134 669 people having lost their lives while 510 690 had recovered from the virus.
The data showed Africa accounted for 13 052 active cases, 913 deaths and 3 862 recoveries.
Guterres said a comprehensive strategy was required to ensure that the global community worked in a balanced and unified manner to enhance the pace and scale for the universal implementation of such a vaccine by the end of 2020. He called for its swift development and accessibility to all.
The UN has been able to provide 47 African countries with Covid-19 tests through the World Health Organization.
Guterres said an appeal he made on March 25 for $2 billion in donations for a comprehensive UN humanitarian response to the pandemic had so far raised about 20 percent.
The UN chief also applauded several African governments for their efforts to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak in their countries.
Guterres referenced Uganda, which has given companies more time to file tax returns, Namibia, which provides emergency income to workers who have lost their jobs, Cape Verde, which provides food assistance and Egypt, which has lowered taxes on industries.
– African News Agency (ANA)