Millions could die if virus allowed to spread unchecked: UN chief

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Millions of people could die from the new coronavirus, particularly in poor countries, if it is allowed to spread unchecked, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Thursday, appealing for a coordinated global response to contain it.

“If we let the virus spread like wildfire — especially in the most vulnerable regions of the world — it would kill millions of people,” he said.

“Global solidarity is not only a moral imperative, it is in everyone’s interests,” he said.

The outbreak has infected some 200,000 people and killed 9,000, scorching through populations across the globe after emerging in China late last year. While Europe has become the centre of the battle against the virus, closing borders and sequestering millions of people in their homes, concerns are rising for developing nations with fragile healthcare systems.