Coronavirus outbreak biggest challenge since World War II, says UN Secretary General

File photo courtesy: Twitter/@antonioguterres
File photo courtesy: Twitter/@antonioguterres

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe is the biggest challenge the world has faced since World War II.

Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York at the launch of a report on the potential socioeconomic impact of the outbreak, Guterres said, "The new coronavirus disease is attacking societies at their core, claiming lives and people's livelihoods".

With many countries in some form of lockdown and restrictions, businesses have been forced to close. 

The UN report estimates that up to 25 million jobs could be lost around the world as the result of the outbreak. It also projects up to 40% "downward pressure" on global foreign direct investment flows.

"Covid-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations," Guterres said. 

The UN leader also called for "an immediate coordinated health response to suppress transmission and end the pandemic", urging industrialised nations to help those less developed.