COVID-19 lays bare social inequality, says UN chief

Photo: Shakeeb KPA/Maktoob

The COVID crisis “has revealed how unequal our societies are” said the UN chief in his message for World Health Day released on Monday.

Highlighting the inequalities and injustices that have been apparent throughout the pandemic, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for the day to be marked on Wednesday, that the vast majority of vaccine doses administered so far, have been confined to “a few wealthy countries” or those producing the shots cleared for distribution.

“Within countries, illness and death from COVID-19 has been higher among people and communities that contend with poverty, unfavourable living and working conditions, discrimination and social exclusion”, said Guterres.

Thanks to the COVAX initiative, the UN backed international effort to provide equitable vaccines across the world, more countries are receiving doses, “but most people in low and middle income countries still must watch and wait”, the UN chief added.

“Such inequities are immoral, and they are dangerous for our health, our economies and our societies.”

As of 5 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting that there have been nearly 131,021,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including more than 2,850,520 deaths.

Up to the end of 31 March, there had been 547,727,346 vaccine doses administered worldwide.

To date, COVAX has shipped more than 36 million doses to 86 countries, the UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told correspondents at UN Headquarters on Monday.