UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the world to prevent a Cold War between the United States and China, and halt conflicts so it can focus on the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War," Guterres said in an address as he opened an almost entirely virtual UN General Assembly.

"We are moving in a very dangerous direction. Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture -- each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities," he said, without saying the United States and China by name.