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UN boss: pandemic has exposed gloomy picture of world

December 11, 2020 GMT
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to empty seats in the University Hall, during the digital broadcast of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Oslo, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (Heiko Junge/NTB via AP)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to empty seats in the University Hall, during the digital broadcast of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Oslo, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (Heiko Junge/NTB via AP)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday the pandemic has exposed “long-term fragilities, inequalities and injustices,” as the world faces its biggest recession in eight decades amid a rise in extreme poverty and a threat of famine.

“The social and economic impact of the pandemic is enormous, and growing,” he said. “No vaccine can undo the damage that has already been done.”

Guterres spoke from New York during an online event linked with the Nobel Prize celebrations, a day after the World Food Program was awarded the 2020 Peace Prize.

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He lamented the lack of a joint response to the pandemic from the international community, saying countries had shown a “fragmented and chaotic” reaction.

“We cannot let the same thing happen for access to new COVID-19 vaccines, which must be a global public good,” the U.N. chief said.

Guterres added that global governance must be based on a recognition that “solidarity is not only a moral imperative; it is in everyone’s interests.”