UN chief says COVID-19 is “the greatest crisis of our age”

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Dec. 17, 2019 file photo, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends the UNHCR – Global Refugee Forum at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. When financial markets collapsed and the world faced its last great crisis in 2008, major powers worked together to restore the global economy, but the COVID-19 pandemic has been striking for the opposite response. The financial crisis gave birth to the leaders’ summit of the Group of 20, the world’s richest countries responsible for 80% of the global economy. But when Guterres proposed ahead of their summit in late March that G-20 leaders adopt a “wartime” plan and cooperate on the global response to suppress the virus, there was no response (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP, File)

BERLIN — The head of the United Nations said Sunday that “the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest crisis of our age.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened an online session of the World Health Summit with a call for worldwide solidarity in the global crisis and demanded that developed countries support health systems in countries that are short of resources.

The coronavirus pandemic is the overarching theme of the summit, which originally had been scheduled for Berlin. Several of the leaders and experts who spoke at the opening stressed the need to cooperate across borders.

“No one is safe from COVID-19. No one is safe until we are all safe from it,” said German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “Even those who conquer the virus within their own borders remain prisoners within these borders until it is conquered everywhere.”

More than 42 million have been infected with the virus and over 1 million people have died of COVID-19.

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