Upcoming Webinar:Join the webinar on ' Unique ways of participating in agri commodity derivatives' on June 18, 5pm. Register Now!
you are here: HomeNewsWorld

UN chief Antonio Guterres pans countries who ignored COVID-19 facts, WHO guidance

Guterres addressed a special session of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly on COVID-19, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and spread globally, so far infecting nearly 65 million people and killing nearly 1.5 million.

December 04, 2020 / 08:20 AM IST
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who addressed the gathering by video message because of the pandemic, warned that

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who addressed the gathering by video message because of the pandemic, warned that "the only way to totally eliminate nuclear risk is to totally eliminate nuclear weapons".

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday decried countries - without naming any - who rejected facts about the coronavirus pandemic and ignored guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Guterres addressed a special session of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly on COVID-19, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and spread globally, so far infecting nearly 65 million people and killing nearly 1.5 million.

Dozens of world leaders have submitted pre-recorded video statements for the two-day meeting.

"From the start, the World Health Organization provided factual information and scientific guidance that should have been the basis for a coordinated global response," Guterres said.

"Unfortunately, many of these recommendations were not followed. And in some situations, there was a rejection of facts and an ignoring of the guidance. And when countries go in their own direction, the virus goes in every direction," he said.

Close

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more
Show

U.S. President Donald Trump cut funding to the WHO earlier this year and announced plans to quit the Geneva-based body over accusations it was a puppet of China, which the WHO denied. The U.S. withdrawal would have taken effect in July next year, but U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has said he will rescind the move.

"The pandemic underscores the importance of the World Health Organization, an institution that needs to be strengthened," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Long-simmering tensions between the United States and China hit boiling point over the pandemic at the United Nations, where months of bickering between the superpowers has spotlighted Beijing's bid for greater multilateral influence in a challenge to Washington's traditional global influence.

POINTING FINGERS

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar did not name any countries in their General Assembly statements, but both made veiled references.

"The world is braced for a second wave of infection - what lies ahead is a tenuous and uphill battle," said Wang. "Defeating the pandemic requires concerted efforts from all countries. The major ones in particular should play an exemplary role in promoting collaboration."

In a statement due to be broadcast, Azar cited a lack of "necessary information sharing," adding: "This dereliction of duty has been absolutely devastating for the entire globe." Washington has long asserted that a lack of transparency by Beijing worsened the global outbreak, which China denies.

"This is not a time to point fingers," U.N. General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said. "The United Nations must lead on this."

Guterres is pushing for a COVID-19 vaccine to be made available to all and for rich countries to help developing countries combat and recover from the pandemic.

"France proposes a donation mechanism so that a portion of the first doses of vaccines available are used to vaccinate priority groups in developing countries," French President Emmanuel Macron told the General Assembly.

In his statement for broadcast, Britain's Health Secretary Matthew Hancock urged countries to lift export controls and tariffs on vital items needed to combat the virus, such as gloves and thermometers, adding: "We will put this into action ourselves from the 1 January."
Reuters
first published: Dec 4, 2020 08:03 am

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections