UN chief warns world facing ‘generational catastrophe’ over COVID-19 school closures
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned countries that disruptions of education amid the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to cause a global catastrophe for the entire generation. The safe return of students to the classrooms must be the world’s top priority, he stressed in a video statement published on the UN website.
The UN chief said that as of mid-July, schools were closed in nearly 160 countries, affecting one billion students, while at least 40 million children have missed out on preschool education. Even before the global pandemic, 250 million children had no access to education and three quarters of secondary school students from developing countries left school without basic knowledge.
“Now we face a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities,” said Guterres.
According to the data from Johns Hopkins University, as of August 5, reported cases of COVID-19 infection worldwide exceeded 18.5 million. The global coronavirus death toll exceeded 700,000. More than 11 million people have recovered from the disease.
At the beginning of the week, India has set a new record single-day increase of more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases. To date, there are 1,855,745 coronavirus cases in India. The nationwide death toll exceeds 39,000.
Meantime, the United States remain the hardest-hit country in the world in terms of the number of coronavirus cases. The COVID-19 infected 4,770,273 people in the country. 1,528,979 patients recovered; 156,782 died.
Brazil is the second worst-hit country in the global pandemic with 2,801,921 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 2,157,484 patients recovered; 95,819 died.