A municipal worker disinfects the street to stop the spread of the COVID-19 in Cascais, Portugal, March 28, 2020. (Photo by Pedro Fiuza/Xinhua)

The COVID-19 pandemic "represents a threat to everybody in the world and … it has an economic impact that will bring a recession that probably has no parallel in the recent past," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said that the COVID-19 pandemic is the most challenging crisis since the Second World War as it represents a threat to everybody.

The pandemic "represents a threat to everybody in the world and … it has an economic impact that will bring a recession that probably has no parallel in the recent past," Guterres said at the virtual press launch of the UN report "Shared responsibility, global solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19."

"The combination of the two facts and the risk that it contributes to enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict are things that make us believe that this is, indeed, the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War and the one that needs a stronger and more effective response that is only possible in solidarity if everybody comes together and if we forget political games and understand that it is humankind that is at stake," the UN chief said.

Noting that he has been in touch with world leaders about the pandemic, the secretary-general said that "there is a growing consciousness that we are in this together and we need to come out of it together."

"The problem is how to create the practical ways to do so," said Guterres, noting that fast action is critical.

"We are slowly moving in the right direction, but we need to speed up, and we need to do much more if we want to defeat the virus and if we want to support the people in need," he added. 

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