Only a COVID19 vaccine will allow return to normalcy: UN

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres/ File photo
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres/ File photo

A COVID19 vaccine may be the only thing that can bring back "normalcy," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said today, hoping for just that before the end of the year.

"A safe and effective vaccine may be the only tool that canreturn the world to a sense of 'normalcy,' saving millions of lives andcountless trillions of dollars," he added during a video conference with the 50or so African countries that are members of the United Nations.

He called for its accelerated development and accessibilityto all, adding it must have a "universal global benefit" and "allow us tocontrol the pandemic." "We need an ambitious effort to ensure thatinternational stakeholders operate through a harmonized, integrated andleveraged approach to maximize the speed and scale needed for the universaldeployment of such a vaccine by the end of 2020," he insisted.

Guterres said his appeal on March 25 for $2 billion indonations for a comprehensive UN humanitarian response to the pandemic had sofar raised about 20 percent of that amount.

Through the World Health Organization, the United Nationshas been able to equip 47 African countries with COVID-19 tests, he said.

The UN chief also praised the efforts of several Africangovernments to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic.He cited Uganda, which has given businesses moretime to file their tax returns; Namibia, which provides emergency income forworkers who have lost their jobs; Cape Verde, which provides food aid; andEgypt, which has reduced taxation on industries.

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