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Recession risk calls for joint response: UN chief

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 24, 2020 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during an update on the situation regarding the COVID-19 in the SHOC room (Strategic health operations centre) at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva. – All United Nations staff at its headquarters in New York were told March 13, 2020 to work from home for at least three weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak unless it was essential for them to be present.<br />Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the plan was “to reduce our physical presence at United Nations Headquarters, while continuing to deliver on our mandates”. (Photo by SALVATORE DI NOLFI / POOL / AFP)

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday urged governments to work together to stop the coronavirus pandemic from plunging the global economy into recession.

“No country can face it alone,” the secretary-general wrote in an opinion article in the Publico daily.

“More than ever, governments must cooperate to revitalise economies, expand public investment, promote trade and ensure that people and communities affected by the disease are supported,” he said.

The virus was “infecting the global economy,” he said.

The pandemic had created a “real and growing risk of a global recession,” the former Portuguese premier said.

The International Monetary Fund, which releases its updated outlook on the world economy next month, has said that the severity of the slowdown will depend on how long the virus outbreak lasts and how governments respond.

In January the fund was still projecting world GDP growth of 3.3 percent, but that was before global disruptions, shutdowns and plunging oil prices.

IHS Markit, an economics research firm, this week slashed its forecast for global growth to 1.7 percent.

Coronavirus has infected close to 160,000 people worldwide and killed more than 6,000, according to the latest AFP tally of official figures.


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