New York – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Thursday that a global recession "is a near certainty" and current national responses to the coronavirus pandemic "will not address the global scale and complexity of the crisis."
"This is a moment that demands coordinated, decisive, and innovative policy action from the world’s leading economies," Guterres told reporters via video conference. "We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply."
"A global recession – perhaps of record dimensions – is a near certainty," he said.
The world’s wealthiest nations poured unprecedented aid into the traumatised global economy on Thursday as coronavirus cases ballooned in the current epicentre Europe even as they waned at the pandemic’s point of origin, China.
So far there have been almost 219 000 infections and more than 8900 deaths.
"Our world faces a common enemy. We are at war with a virus," Guterres said. "I call on world leaders to come together and offer an urgent and coordinated response to this global crisis."
Guterres called on countries to scale up health spending and to help countries less prepared to tackle the crisis, including by supporting the efforts of the World Health Organisation.
He said that when it came to the global economy the liquidity of the financial system must be guaranteed and that banks must use their resilience to support their customers.
"G20 leaders have taken steps to protect their own citizens and economies by waiving interest payments. We must apply that same logic to the most vulnerable countries in our global village and alleviate their debt burden," he said.