UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a news conference at the COP25 summit in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. This year’s international talks on tackling climate change were meant to be a walk in the park compared to previous instalments. But with scientists issuing dire warnings about the pace of global warming and the need to urgently cut greenhouse gas emissions, officials are under pressure to finalize the rules of the 2015 Paris accord and send a signal to anxious voters. (AP Photo/Paul White)

UN chief urges $2 billion for vulnerable nations with virus

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock announced a $60 million contribution from the U.N.’s emergency relief fund

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched a $2 billion appeal on Wednesday to help vulnerable and conflict-torn countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America tackle the coronavirus pandemic and prevent COVID-19 from again circling the globe.

The U.N, chief called the amount a “drop in the ocean,” noting that the U.S. Senate is seeking $2 trillion — “1,000 times more” — for the U.S. economy.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock announced a $60 million contribution from the U.N.’s emergency relief fund to kick-start the appeal.

Guterres said the $2 billion is essential to keep economies in the developing world going so their health systems remain afloat to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the money will also help countries already in the midst of a humanitarian crisis caused by conflicts, natural disasters and climate change.

“The worst thing that could happen,” the secretary-general said, “is to suppress the disease in developed countries and let it spread like fire in the developing world where then millions of transmissions will take place, millions of people will die, and the risk of mutations would be there, which means that the virus could come back.”

The Associated Press

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