The United Nations has reportedly asked nine countries to delay the rotation of their peacekeeping forces in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. According to media reports, the countries including India, China, and South Korea were asked to delay the rotation to maintain operational strength.
Often referred to as Blue Helmets or Blue Berets, peacekeeping forces include military, police, and civilians and currently 13 peacekeeping active operations around the world led by Department of Peace Operations (DPO) of which majority are deployed in the African continent. The decision to delay the rotation is aimed at keeping the forces healthy while maintaining the continuity of operations.
Coronavirus epidemic has become a major concern around the world as the more than 100,000 cases have been confirmed globally. The worst affected countries are China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy with around 3,500 deaths due to COVID-19.
According to the latest report, 28 new deaths in China due to coronavirus infections have been confirmed, taking the total death toll because of the deadly virus to 3,070. While most of the cases are from Hubei province of China and the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, other countries, including the United States, Iran, Italy, and South Korea, have also reported deaths related to COVID-19.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that they are continuing to recommend that all countries make containment their highest priority. Speaking at a daily media briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that they are encouraged by accelerated research as part of the response. WHO has received applications for 40 diagnostic tests, 20 vaccines are in development and many clinical trials of therapeutics are underway.
“Even as we test therapeutics, we need to ensure that supplies of those medicines are available should they prove effective. WHO has been monitoring the potential risk of a disruption to medicines supplies as a result of the COVID19 epidemic,” said Ghebreyesus.
(With agency inputs)