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Older people have same rights to life, health amid COVID-19: UN chief
update:May 14,2020
UNITED NATIONS, May 14,2020 -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday that older people, like everyone else in the world, have the same rights to life and health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"No person, young or old, is expendable. Older people have the same rights to life and health as everyone else," the UN chief said at the virtual launch of a policy brief on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older persons.
Noting that the pandemic is causing "untold fear and suffering" for older people across the world, Guterres said the fatality rate for older people is higher overall, and for those over 80, it is five times the global average.
"Beyond its immediate health impact, the pandemic is putting older people at greater risk of poverty, discrimination and isolation. It is likely to have a particularly devastating impact on older people in developing countries," said the secretary-general.
"As an older person myself, with responsibility for an even older mother, I am deeply concerned about the pandemic on a personal level, and about its effects on our communities and societies," he said.
"Our response to COVID-19 must respect the rights and dignity of older people," the UN chief added.
The secretary-general also called on the international community not to treat older people as "invisible or powerless."
"To get through this pandemic together, we need a surge in global and national solidarity and the contributions of all members of society, including older people," said the UN chief.
"As we look to recover better, we will need ambition and vision to build more inclusive, sustainable and age-friendly societies that are fit for the future," he said. 
  • View of Mount Qomolangma
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