UN chief urges Africa to take urgent steps to stem coronavirus growth


World, Africa

Guterres said the UN and African countries are working together in fight against the pandemic.

File image of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (ANI)

United Nations: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging stepped up efforts to prepare Africa for the expected spread of the coronavirus pandemic, warning that the continent “could end up suffering the greatest impacts.”

The U.N. chief told a video conference with African ambassadors to the United Nations in New York on Wednesday that COVID-19 “is in no way of Africa's making.” But like the climate crisis, he said, Africa could he hurt most.

Guterres said the United Nations and African countries are working together in the fight against the pandemic, and he commended early efforts by governments to suppress transmission, control the spread of COVID-19 and prepare their economy for the virus' impact.

As examples, the secretary-general cited Uganda's rescheduling social security contributions to support businesses, Namibia offering emergency income grants to workers who have lost jobs, and Egypt expanding it social safety net, reducing taxation for industries and postponing taxation on agricultural land.