U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Latin America and the Caribbean have become "a hot spot" for the coronavirus pandemic, with several countries tallying the highest per capita infection rates in the world.
During his video briefing report Thursday, Guterres said COVID-19's impact on countries in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to result in the deepest recession in living memory.
Guterres said in the short-term response governments should consider providing people living in poverty with emergency basic incomes and anti-hunger grants.
He said the novel coronavirus is having an especially hard impact on Latin America and the Caribbean's most vulnerable groups, who lag in access to health care services and stable employment.
Guterres said indigenous people of African descent, migrants and refugees are also suffering disproportionately.
In his report, Guterres said some unnamed countries in the region are not prepared to address the health and human crises created by the pandemic.
The U.N. chief said the international community must provide financial help and debt relief for Latin America and the Caribbean.