A COVID-19 vaccine could be the only thing that can restore "normality," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, hoping to do just that 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 that saves millions of lives and billions of dollars," he added during a video conference with some 50 African countries United Nations members.
He called for its accelerated development and accessibility for everyone, adding that it must have "universal global benefits" and "allow us to control the pandemic". "We need to make an ambitious effort to ensure that international stakeholders work through a harmonized, integrated and leveraged approach to maximize the speed and scale of universal use of such a vaccine by the end of 2020," he said.
Guterres said his March 25 appeal for $ 2 billion in donations to a comprehensive United Nations humanitarian response to the pandemic has so far raised about 20 percent of that amount.
Through the World Health Organization, the United Nations has provided 47 African countries with COVID-19 tests, he said.
The UN chief also praised the efforts of several African governments to mitigate the aftermath of the pandemic.
He cited Uganda, which gave companies more time to file their tax returns. Namibia, which provides emergency income for workers who have lost their jobs; Cape Verde, which provides food aid; and Egypt, which has lowered industrial taxation.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)