The Latest: UN chief cites pandemic's 'unprecedent toll'

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A man wears a face mask as he walks past the Old Opera in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations chief says the COVID-19 pandemic has taken “an unprecedent toll” especially on the economies of many developing countries and the world has not responded with “the massive and urgent support those countries and communities need.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that in the United States, Canada, Europe and most of the developed world, governments have adopted packages valued in double-digits of GDP to help tackle the coronavirus crisis and its impact.

“The problem is to mobilize the resources to allow the developing countries to be able to do the same,” he told a joint press conference Tuesday with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who have been jointly spearheading high-level meetings to try to raise the resources.

Guterres urged the international community to increase resources to the International Monetary Fund, including through a new allocation of special drawing rights and a voluntary reallocation of existing special drawing rights. He said many countries urgently need debt relief and called for the current debt suspensions to be extended and expanded to all developing and middle-income countries that need help. The private sector, including credit-rating agencies, also “must be engaged in relief efforts,” he said.

The U.N. chief said he is encouraged to see over 40 world leaders and the heads of the IMF, World Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the African Union “coming together around these bold policies.”

He urged the international community to provide $35 billion -- including $15 billion immediately -- to fund “the ACT-Accelerator to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, treatments and vaccines” for all countries.

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