United Nations Bangladesh COVID-19 Situation Report #4 (29 April 2020)



On 23 April, the Secretary-General issued a human rights policy brief titled “We are all in this together”.

The paper sets out the critical role that human rights must play in the design of inclusive and effective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in the future recovery. 1 At the launch of the report the Secretary General noted that human rights cannot be an afterthought in times of crisis, they must be front and centre.

On 24 April 2020, the United Nations Secretary General launched the ‘Statement of Commitment and Call for Support for the Global Collaboration to Accelerate the Development, Production and Equitable Access to New COVID-19 Tools’ Speaking at the event the Secretary General emphasized the necessity for development, production and equitable delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutics and diagnostics.3 He reiterated that a world free of COVID-19 requires the most massive public health effort in history. Health leaders called on the global community and political leaders to support this landmark collaboration and for donors to provide the necessary resources to accelerate achievement of its objectives including equitable global access to innovative tools for COVID-19 for all., capitalizing on the opportunity provided by a forthcoming pledging initiative that starts on 4 May 2020.

The Global Network on Food Crises released ‘The Global Report on Food Crises’ on 21 April that revealed an already dire picture of global acute food insecurity and malnutrition – even before the disease’s spread began to impact food systems. The report confirms that over 183 million people were in stressed food insecurity conditions, at high risk of sliding into acute food insecurity if confronted by additional shocks – which is particularly worrisome considering the anticipated evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.The World Bank Group predicts that global remittances will decline sharply by about 20% in 2020 due to the economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown. This is the sharpest decline in recent history and is largely due to a fall in the wages and employment of migrant workers who tend to be more vulnerable to loss of employment and wages during an economic crisis in a host country.

Remittances to low and middle-income countries are projected to fall by 19.7% to USD 445 billion, representing a loss of a crucial financing lifeline for many vulnerable households.6 The group’s April 2020 Commodity Markets Outlook7 reports that oil demand is expected to fall by an unprecedented 9.3 million barrels per day this year from the 2019 level of 100 million barrels per day. Oil prices are expected to average USD 35 per barrel in 2020, a 43% drop from the 2019 average of USD 61 per barrel.

In this grim context, the United Nations Secretary General issued a global three-point call to action during his remarks to the informal ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development8 in the context of COVID-19 – (a) we must take decisive action to suppress the virus and alleviate suffering, (b) we must adopt a largescale and comprehensive response to tackle the devastating socioeconomic consequences, with a focus on the most vulnerable countries and people, and (c) we must recover better - all our efforts must go towards building sustainable and resilient pathways that enable us not only to beat COVID-19, but to tackle the climate crisis and address the root causes of poverty, inequality and hunger.

As of 25 April 2020, the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) had received USD 697.6 million. Another USD 371.5 million received outside the plan brought humanitarian funding for the COVID-19 response to USD 1.07 billion. The largest contributors were the United Kingdom (USD 101.1 million), Japan (USD 89.4 million), the United States of America (USD 78.2 million), Denmark (42.2 million), Kuwait (USD 40.0 million), and European Commission (USD 35.3 million).9 As of 25 April 2020, WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund had mobilized USD 208.1 million from more than 270,000 donations.10 WHO reported USD 5.5 billion in total support committed or disbursed for the COVID-19 response.