The world is facing an unprecedented test. And this is the moment of truth. Hundreds of thousands of people are falling seriously ill from COVID-19, and the disease is spreading exponentially in many places, Societies are in turmoil and economies are in a nose-dive.
We must respond decisively, innovatively and together to suppress the spread of the virus and address the socio-economic devastation that COVID-19 is causing in all regions. The magnitude of the response must match the scale of the crisis -- large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive, with country and international responses being guided by the World Health Organization.
And it must be multilateral, with countries showing solidarity to the most vulnerable communities and nations. We must see countries not only united to beat the virus but also to tackle its profound consequences. First, for an immediate coordinated health response to suppress transmission and end the pandemic.
A response that scales up health capacity for testing, tracing, quarantine and treatment, while keeping first responders safe, combined with measures to restrict movement and contact. A response that delivers universal access to treatment and vaccines, when they are ready. Otherwise we face the nightmare of the disease spreading like wildfire in the global South with millions of deaths and the prospect of the disease re-emerging where it was previously suppressed.
Second, we must tackle the devastating social and economic dimensions of this crisis, with a focus on the most affected: women, older persons, youth, low-wage workers, small and medium enterprises, the informal sector and vulnerable groups.
Finally, when we get past this crisis -- which we will -- we will face a choice. We can go back to the world as it was before or deal decisively with those issues that make us all unnecessarily vulnerable to crises. Our roadmap is the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy.
Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other global challenges we face. What the world needs now is solidarity. With solidarity we can defeat the virus and build a better world.