Addressing the largely empty General Assembly Hall in New York, the UN chief characterized the pandemic from the podium as "not only a wake-up call" but "a dress rehearsal" for challenges to come.
"In an interconnected world, it is high time to recognize a simple truth: solidarity is self-interest. If we fail to grasp that fact, everyone loses," he said.
Guterres underscored the need for solidarity at this moment, particularly as countries least capable to address COVID-19 have received far too little assistance, and urged the UN's 193 member states to move forward in humility and unity in the face of the disease.
"We must be guided by science and tethered to reality," he said, adding, "populism and nationalism have failed. Those approaches to contain the virus have often made things manifestly worse."