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UN: Coronavirus ‘threatens African progress’

UN: Coronavirus ‘threatens African progress’

The United Nations Secretary-General voiced strong concern on lack of Africa’s progress due to coronavirus. On Wednesday, Antonio Guterres called for solidarity with the African nations as an essential part of ending the pandemic.

UN chief insisted in his recent speech that Africa needs urgent support to cope with the coronacrisis. The top world diplomat said the international action is needed to help strengthen its health care systems and food supply and to avoid a financial crisis.

Mr Guterres added he commends the African Union for acting quickly to enforce lockdown and border shutdown and to rely on regional cooperation to try to stop the spread of the novel pathogen.

“But the pandemic threatens African progress. It will aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease. Already, demand for Africa’s commodities, tourism and remittances are declining. The opening of the trade zone has been pushed back – and millions could be pushed into extreme poverty,” Guterres said.

In additional to urging international efforts to support education and protect jobs, Guterres also called for African countries to have “equal and affordable access to any eventual vaccine and treatment.”

Africa suffers from coronavirus

While some European countries are relaxing the restriction caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the African continent experiences the toughest times. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people. The largest numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa are in South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Nigeria.

Meantime, the Netherlands will bring on June 1 the opening of bars, restaurants, movie theatres and concert halls. The EU nation decided to move to a new phase of its easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The country has seen weeks of declining deaths and new infections, but Prime Minister Mark Rutte said people will need to continue observing social distancing measures as businesses resume operations.