UN chief calls for action as WHO declares Covid-19 a pandemic

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United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for action on the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease a pandemic.

“Today’s declaration of a pandemic is a call to action — for everyone, everywhere. It’s also a call for responsibility and solidarity as nations united and as people united,” Guterres said on Wednesday in a message, Xinhua reported.

But he warned against panic. “As we fight the virus, we cannot let fear go viral.”

“Together, we can still change the course of this pandemic. But that means addressing inaction,” he said. “The best science tells us, if countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, we can go a long way to mitigating transmission.”

He called on all governments to immediately step up and scale up their efforts, and all people to play their part.

Guterres stressed the need for solidarity. “As we mourn all those who have lost their lives and the many families who are suffering, we must show solidarity with the most vulnerable — the elderly, the sick, those without reliable health care, and those on the edge of poverty.”

“Let’s move forward with resolve and without stigma… Let’s overcome this common threat together,” said the UN chief.

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