Coronavirus has revealed the “fragile skeleton” of societies and could push 100 million people into extreme poverty, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.
Speaking on the 102nd birthday anniversary of the late Nelson Mandela – South Africa’s first black president – Guterres said coronavirus was “shining a spotlight” on global injustice.
“We have been brought to our knees – by a microscopic virus. The pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of our world.”
“Entire regions that were making progress on eradicating poverty and narrowing inequality have been set back years, in a matter of months,” he warned at a virtual memorial lecture organised by the Johannesburg-based Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Coronavirus is an “x-ray” that has revealed “fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built”, he added, citing unequal healthcare provision, unpaid care work, income disparity and climate change as some of the concerns.
He said the world’s 26 richest people hold as much wealth as half the global population.