The 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at UN headquarters.(AP)
The 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at UN headquarters.(AP)

Nearly 100 world leaders to speak at UN session on Covid-19

Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said when he took the reins of the 193-member world body in September that it would have been better to hold the high-level meeting in June. Nonetheless, he said Wednesday it “provides a historic moment for us to come together to beat Covid-19.”
By Associated Press | Posted by Arpan Rai | United Nations
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2020 07:20 AM IST

Nearly 100 world leaders and several dozen ministers are slated to speak at the UN General Assembly’s special session starting Thursday on the response to Covid-19 and the best path to recovery from the pandemic which has claimed 1.5 million lives, shattered economies, and left tens of millions of people unemployed in countries rich and poor.

Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said when he took the reins of the 193-member world body in September that it would have been better to hold the high-level meeting in June. Nonetheless, he said Wednesday it “provides a historic moment for us to come together to beat Covid-19.”

“With news of multiple vaccines on the cusp of approval, and with trillions of dollars flowing into global recovery efforts, the international community has a unique opportunity to do this right,” he said. “The world is looking to the UN for leadership. This is a test for multilateralism.”

When financial markets collapsed and the world faced its last great crisis in 2008, major powers worked together to restore the global economy, but the Covid-19 pandemic has been striking for the opposite response: no leader, no united action to stop the pandemic that has circled the globe.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent a letter to leaders of the Group of 20, the world’s richest nations responsible for 80 percent of the global economy ahead of their summit in late March as Covid-19 was starting its killing spree urging that they adopt a “wartime” plan and cooperate on an international response to suppress the coronavirus. But there was no response.

The two-day special session will not be raising money to finance vaccine immunizations or taking any political action, and there will be no final declaration, just a summary document from Bozkir.

“The real point of this special is to galvanize concrete action to approach our response to Covid-19 in a multilateral and collective way,” General Assembly spokesman Brenden Varma said Wednesday. He added that there are currently many responses to the pandemic, but what’s needed now is to bring together all countries, UN actors, the private sector and vaccine developers.

Leaders and ministers from over 140 countries will deliver pre-recorded speeches on Thursday after an in-person opening in the General Assembly including speeches by Bozkir and Guterres.

Among the leaders slated to address the session are French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and European Union chief Charles Michel. The United States will be represented by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Friday’s session will focus on three virtrual panels, the first on the UN’s response to Covid-19 and the second on vaccines that will include representatives from producers BioNTech and Oxford University-AstraZeneca, and the World Health Organization’s ACT-Accelerator which is working to get vaccines to the world’s poorest people. The final panel is on recovery from Covid-19. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is expected to participate in all three panels.

Canada’s UN deputy ambassador Louise Blais, who organized the special session with Azerbaijan’s Ambassador Yashar Aliev, said it will be the first time that the UN system is bringing key players together to focus on Cpvid-19′s “myriad impacts.”

“Countries around the world are facing their own internal impacts, but it’s important that the U.N. continue to advocate ... that this crisis impacts us all and the solutions are global,” she told The Associated Press in an interview. “So, we have to work together in order to ensure that all of us get out of this, because until everyone does, no one is really safe.”

Blais said the session is “an important step” and will focus on implementing the three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly on Covid-19, especially the wide-ranging measure approved in September.

The special session “comes at a critical time,” Blais noted, “because we now know that there are a number of vaccines that have proven to be effective.”

“Now, all eyes are on the critical distribution of vaccines,” she said, adding that this is expected to be a key them during the special session and it’s one “where the world is expecting us to work together and make sure that we have an equitable distribution of vaccine globally.”

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said secretary-general Guterres will be focusing on the need for all countries and people everywhere to have access to vaccines.

“The vaccine needs to be treated as a `global public good’ and that will be the basis of the secretary-general’s message” on Thursday, Dujarric said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Japan, the world’s only country to suffer nuclear attacks, also does not support the treaty, even though the aged survivors of the bombings in 1945 strongly push for it to do so.(AP file photo)
Japan, the world’s only country to suffer nuclear attacks, also does not support the treaty, even though the aged survivors of the bombings in 1945 strongly push for it to do so.(AP file photo)

Nuclear powers stay out of first nuke ban treaty

By HT Correspondent, United Nations
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:07 AM IST
The 30-nation Nato alliance is also not backing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which is now part of international law and seen as a historic step to rid the world of its deadliest weapons.
Close
Trump is the first US president to be impeached twice, and the first to be tried after leaving office.(AFP)
Trump is the first US president to be impeached twice, and the first to be tried after leaving office.(AFP)

House to trigger Donald Trump trial process on Monday

By Yashwant Raj
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:04 AM IST
The trial will take place as the Senate is in the conformation process for President Joe Biden’s cabinet members.
Close
Johnson added that all the current evidence showed both vaccines remain effective against old and new variants.(REUTERS)
Johnson added that all the current evidence showed both vaccines remain effective against old and new variants.(REUTERS)

Covid-19 new variant causes higher mortality, says UK PM Boris Johnson

PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:01 AM IST
“We’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant - the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast (of England) - may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” he told a news briefing.
Close
Commuters walk past the Greyhound ticket office at Port Authority Bus Terminal, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in New York. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled a proposal Thursday, Jan. 21, to rebuild and expand the embattled midtown Manhattan bus terminal. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)(AP)
Commuters walk past the Greyhound ticket office at Port Authority Bus Terminal, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in New York. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled a proposal Thursday, Jan. 21, to rebuild and expand the embattled midtown Manhattan bus terminal. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)(AP)

'Want to feel safe again': Americans lament slow pace of Covid vaccine rollout

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:00 AM IST
The United States is the nation hardest-hit by Covid-19, with 24.51 million cases and 409,987 deaths by early Friday morning. More than 4,000 Americans died of the disease on Thursday for the second day in a row.
Close
Outgoing US President Donald Trump addresses guests at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021.(AFP)
Outgoing US President Donald Trump addresses guests at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021.(AFP)

Trump impeachment trial to begin in Senate week of Feb 8: Chuck Schumer

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:55 AM IST
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the trial could begin as soon as Feb. 9 - a Tuesday - and that McConnell was pleased Democrats had given Trump's defense more time.
Close
Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, speaks at a news conference. (AP File Photo)
Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, speaks at a news conference. (AP File Photo)

SpaceX plans to drill for natural gas near Texas launchpad

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:49 AM IST
The billionaire’s SpaceX intends to drill wells close to the company’s Boca Chica launchpad, it was revealed during a Friday hearing before the Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s energy regulator.
Close
The National Guard said in a statement that it would not discuss coronavirus cases, but personnel were following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.(AFP)
The National Guard said in a statement that it would not discuss coronavirus cases, but personnel were following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.(AFP)

More than 150 inauguration National Guard test positive for Covid-19

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:44 AM IST
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the number of National Guard troops who tested positive could rise but was still a small fraction of the more than 25,000 troops deployed in city over the past few days.
Close
Members of the National Guard march towards the US Capitol in Washington, DC(Bloomberg)
Members of the National Guard march towards the US Capitol in Washington, DC(Bloomberg)

Lawmakers angered as US troops guarding Capitol forced to sleep in garage

AFP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:40 AM IST
  • Some members of Congress, noting that many of the troops came from their home states, voiced outrage.
Close
US President Joe Biden speaks about the Covid-19 response before signing executive orders for economic relief to Covid-hit families and businesses in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington.(AFP)
US President Joe Biden speaks about the Covid-19 response before signing executive orders for economic relief to Covid-hit families and businesses in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington.(AFP)

Biden warns Covid-19 toll can cross 600,000, urges Congress to pass rescue plan

AFP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:13 AM IST
  • Biden added that he was looking forward to working with both parties in Congress to "move quickly" on getting people help through his rescue plan.
Close
“I truly appreciate all that you do,” the first lady said. “The National Guard will always hold a special place in the heart of all the Bidens.”(AFP)
“I truly appreciate all that you do,” the first lady said. “The National Guard will always hold a special place in the heart of all the Bidens.”(AFP)

First Lady Jill Biden thanks National Guard members with chocolate chip cookies

AP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 04:34 AM IST
“I just want to say thank you from President Biden and the whole, the entire Biden family,” she told a group of Guard members at the Capitol
Close
The urgency to hold Trump responsible is somewhat complicated by Democrats' simultaneous need to get Biden's government in place and start quick work on his coronavirus aid package. (AP)
The urgency to hold Trump responsible is somewhat complicated by Democrats' simultaneous need to get Biden's government in place and start quick work on his coronavirus aid package. (AP)

Donald Trump impeachment headed to Senate, triggering trial

AP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 04:30 AM IST
Unlike any in history, Trump's impeachment trial would be the first of a U.S. president no longer in office, an undertaking that his Senate Republican allies argue is pointless, and potentially even unconstitutional.
Close
Concerns are that the ambiguous six doses will soon be factored in delivery numbers.(REUTERS)
Concerns are that the ambiguous six doses will soon be factored in delivery numbers.(REUTERS)

Spain discarding thousands of Pfizer vaccine doses for lack of right syringes

ANI, Madrid
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:14 AM IST
The EU medicines regulator said in a guidance update on January 8 that low dead-volume syringes and needles with more effective space than standards ones must be used to get full six doses.
Close
The explosion of Covid-19 has not only overwhelmed staff and facilities but pushed more hospitals into financial distress(AP)
The explosion of Covid-19 has not only overwhelmed staff and facilities but pushed more hospitals into financial distress(AP)

Number of US hospitals and beds dwindled before ‘catastrophic’ pandemic

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:09 PM IST
Research issued late Thursday by the American Hospital Association shows the number of facilities dropped to 6,090 in 2019 -- the most recent year data were available -- from 6,146 the previous year.
Close
Janet Yellen's Republican predecessor, Steven Mnuchin, was not confirmed until three weeks after Trump's 2017 inauguration, and then by a 53-47 nearly party-line vote in a Republican-controlled Senate.(AP File Photo)
Janet Yellen's Republican predecessor, Steven Mnuchin, was not confirmed until three weeks after Trump's 2017 inauguration, and then by a 53-47 nearly party-line vote in a Republican-controlled Senate.(AP File Photo)

Janet Yellen wins unanimous Senate panel vote for US Treasury

Reuters, Washington
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:08 PM IST
  • A full confirmation vote just days after Biden took office would put the 74-year-old PhD economist quickly to work on a deep economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. She broke a similar gender barrier when she became Fed chair in 2014, a role she held until 2018.
Close
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson said all the current evidence showed both vaccines remain effective against old and new variants(AP)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson said all the current evidence showed both vaccines remain effective against old and new variants(AP)

New Covid-19 variant found in UK causes higher mortality, says Boris Johnson

Reuters, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:58 PM IST
Johnson said however that all the current evidence showed both vaccines remained effective against old and new variants.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP