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Amidst surging COVID numbers, WHO chief urges: ‘take heart and take action’

The sheer scale of the numbers involved in the COVID-19 pandemic can “make us numb to what they represent”, the UN health agency chief said on Monday, reminding journalists in his latest briefing, that each one stands for “a person, a story”. As of late Monday, confirmed cases were nearing 99 million, and yet another grim milestone as 100 million cases looms. 

In Davos speech, UN chief highlights private sector role in pandemic recovery

The private sector has a key role to play in lifting countries out of both the COVID-19 and climate crises, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told international business leaders on Monday. 

New COVID-19 strains ‘poised to unleash’ more severe infections – Security Council hears

Since September, the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened, infecting close to 100 million people, costing more than $3 trillion in lost wages and intensifying obstacles for peace and security around the world, the UN political chief told the Security Council on Monday. 


 

Sri Lanka: ‘Forced’ cremation of COVID victims’ bodies must stop - UN rights experts

The Sri Lankan Government should end its policy of compulsorily cremating victims of COVID-19, independent UN human rights experts said on Monday.

COVID’s led to ‘massive’ income and productivity losses, UN labour estimates show

Job losses or reduced working hours due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic cost the world the equivalent of 255 million jobs in 2020, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday, noting that the “massive impact” was nearly four times the number lost during the 2009 global financial crisis. 

Syria: 18 children killed since the start of the year, UNICEF reports

The brutal fighting in Syria continues to exact a terrible toll on children, with at least 18, including a one-year-old killed in incidents involving explosive weapons and unexploded ordnance, since 1 January, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Sunday. At least 15 others were wounded. 

Pandemic disruption to learning is an opportunity to reimagine, revitalize education

To mark the third International Day of Education on Sunday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres paid tribute to the resilience of students, teachers and families in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic that, at its peak, forced almost every school, institute and university to close its doors.

FROM THE FIELD: The microscopic creatures helping build Africa’s Great Green Wall

A young woman scientist in Burkina Faso is researching the role of micro-organisms in fighting desertification in the Sahel Region, as part of a UN programme to restore degraded land in Africa.

Economic and Social Council turns 75; President reaffirms mandate to tackle pandemic, development challenges

Marking its 75th anniversary amid the most serious economic and health crisis the UN has ever faced, the Organization’s Economic and Social Council “has the mandate and the responsibility to respond to these challenges,” the body’s President, Munir Akram, said on Saturday.

Healthier world means ‘safer America’ Tedros stresses, as UN-led vaccine initiative announces deal for 40 million doses 

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday announced the signing of an advance purchase agreement securing up to 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine, under the UN-led COVAX equitable vaccine supply programme.