UN Secretary General says funding of WHO, humanitarians should not be cut amid COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic requires an unprecedented global response, and reducing the funding of the World Health Organisation, which champions that response, is untimely, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an interview.

"Once we have finally turned the page on COVID-19, there will be time to look back fully and understand how such a disease emerged and spread its devastation so quickly across the globe, and how all those involved reacted to the crisis. The lessons learned will be essential to address similar challenges effectively, as they may arise in the future.

But now is not that time. Nor is it the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organisation or any other humanitarian organisation in the fight against the virus", Guterres said.

He described the coronavirus pandemic as "unprecedented in our lifetime" and therefore requiring an "unprecedented response."

"The World Health Organisation is leading our response to the pandemic by supporting countries to prepare and to address the virus, with special attention to the most vulnerable countries", the UN chief said.

Guterres reiterated his call for a global ceasefire amid the pandemic, saying that the United Nations was working with more than 100 governments and armed groups which had pledged commitment to a humanitarian truce to turn their endorsements into action.

In April, US President Donald Trump ordered that his country's funding be halted for the WHO over negligence, claiming that the UN health agency had impeded the global response to the pandemic and let it spread by covering up the true scale of the COVID-19 initial outbreak China.

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