UN chief calls for global cooperation to speed up Covid-19 vaccine

A Covid-19 vaccine could be the only thing that can restore “normalcy,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday, hoping to do so before the end of the year.

“A safe and effective vaccine may be the only tool that can bring the world back to a sense of” normalcy “, saving millions of lives and countless billions of dollars,” he added during a videoconference with some fifty African countries that are members of the United Nations.

He called for its accelerated development and accessibility for all, adding that it must have a “universal global advantage” and “allow us to control the pandemic”.

“We need an ambitious effort to ensure that international stakeholders operate through a harmonized, integrated and optimized approach to maximize the speed and scale necessary for the universal deployment of such a vaccine by the end of 2020 “, he insisted.

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Guterres said his appeal on March 25 for $ 2 billion in donations for a comprehensive UN humanitarian response to the pandemic has so far raised about 20 percent of that amount.

Thanks to the World Health Organization, the United Nations has been able to equip 47 African countries with Covid-19 tests, he said.

The UN chief also praised the efforts of several African governments to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic.

He cited Uganda, which gave businesses more time to file their tax returns; Namibia, which provides emergency income to workers who have lost their jobs; Cape Verde, which provides food aid; and Egypt, which cut taxes on industries.