efe-epaUnited Nations

The United Nations' secretary-general on Thursday said debt relief must be extended to all developing or middle-income countries that require it as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Antonio Guterres made his remarks at the outset of a virtual summit involving several dozen heads of state and government, an event in which the participants focused on the new development policy financing needs in light of the pandemic.

The UN said collective action is needed to urgently respond to the crisis in six areas, including addressing the problem of sovereign debt.

The Portuguese diplomat warned that the economic consequences of the Covid-19-triggered lockdowns threaten to trigger a wave of debt crises that could complicate the response to the pandemic and halt development progress for years.