Pandemic gainers should pay | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 14, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:04 AM, April 14, 2021

Pandemic gainers should pay

UN chief pushes tax on world’s richest who gained $5 trillion during crisis; WHO urges halt to sale of live wild mammals in food markets

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged governments on Monday to consider imposing a "solidarity or wealth tax" on the rich - who made money during the coronavirus pandemic - in a bid to cut extreme inequality.

"We must make sure funds go where they are needed most. Latest reports indicate that there has been a $5 trillion surge in the wealth of the world's richest in the past year," Guterres told a UN meeting on financing for development.

"I urge governments to consider a solidarity or wealth tax on those who have profited during the pandemic, to reduce extreme inequalities," he said.

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Guterres again said the Group of 20 rich nations and big emerging powers should extend debt service suspension into 2022 and to expand it to help both developing and middle-income economies recover from the pandemic.

"But we need to go beyond debt relief," Guterres said. "We urgently need to strengthen the international debt architecture to end the deadly cycles of debt waves, global debt crises and lost decades."

Guterres also repeated his call for Covid-19 vaccines to be made available to all countries and appealed for more money to fully fund the COVAX vaccine sharing facility.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization called on yesterday for a halt to the sale of live wild mammals in food markets to prevent the emergence of new diseases such as Covid-19.

The WHO said because traditional markets play a central role in providing food and livelihoods for large populations, banning the sale of live wild mammals could protect the health of market workers and customers alike.

The call came in fresh guidance drawn up in conjunction the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The three agencies said wild animals were the source of most emerging infectious diseases in humans and recommended measures to reduce the potential risk.

Europe passed the grim milestone of one million coronavirus deaths on Monday with coronavirus has already killed more than 2.9 million people and infected nearly 136 million across the world.

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