This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
Global trade values fell by three per cent in the first quarter of 2020
It’s been confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted heavily on global trade, with UN economists confirming a three per cent drop in the first quarter of this year. In its latest report, UN trade and development body UNCTAD warned that the downturn is expected to accelerate, with global trade projected to record a quarter-on-quarter decline of 27 per cent.
Commodity prices - which developing countries rely on - fell by a record 20 per cent in March.
This was driven by a steep drop in oil prices, which plunged more than a third in March, while prices of minerals, ores, metals, food and agricultural raw materials fell by less than four per cent.
By way of comparison, during the global financial crisis of 2008, the maximum month-on-month price drop for raw materials, was a little less, at 18.6 per cent.
People living longer, healthier lives but COVID-19 threatens progress: WHO
Some good news now, with confirmation from the UN health agency that people are living longer and healthier lives.
The bad news is the rate of progress is too slow to meet the Sustainable Development Goals to banish poverty and inequality by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
According to WHO’s World Health Statistics, life expectancy and healthy life expectancy have increased -unequally.
The biggest gains were reported in low-income countries, which saw life expectancy rise by a staggering 11 years between 2000 and 2016.
In higher income countries, the increase was three years. In a statement, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that progress could be thrown off track by the new coronavirus pandemic.
He also appealed to all countries to invest in strong health systems and primary health care. This would be “the best defence against outbreaks like COVID-19 and against the many other health threats that people around the world face every day”, Tedros said.
Tuberculosis prevention gains must be protected against pandemic
Staying with WHO, the UN health agency has issued an alert to countries to ensure that progress made in preventing tuberculosis is not reversed by COVID-19.
Every year, 10 million people fall ill with tuberculosis, or TB, according to WHO.
It has issued new guidelines to help countries continue finding and treating people with TB, with additional details on how to manage coronavirus infections.
Despite being a preventable and curable disease, 1.5 million people die from it every year– making TB the world’s top infectious killer.
Most of the people who contract tuberculosis live in low and middle-income countries, but it is present all over the world.
About half of all infections are in just eight countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and South Africa.
About one-quarter of the world’s population is estimated to be infected by TB bacteria.
But only 5 to 15 people in 100, will fall ill with active TB disease.
The rest have TB infection but are not ill and cannot transmit it.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.