UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on March 24, has appealed on for an "immediate global ceasefire" to protect vulnerable people from the ravages of Coronavirus pandemic, who are currently stuck in conflict zones. In an unprecedented development, COVID-19 has now infected over 3,70,000 and killed over 16,000 people across the globe.
Speaking at UN headquarters in New York, Guterres said, "The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war, that is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now."
Experts worldwide have warned that the Coronavirus could wreak havoc in nations with an ongoing conflict as most of them are already poor and lack proper health care system. The 70-year-old also said that it was time to put all areas in conflict on lockdown and focus together on the 'true fight of our lives'. "Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes," he added. Reports suggest that conflict in these countries are blocking the aid of the United Nations to reach the affected people. This comes Syria recently reported its first case on March 24 while another conflict-hit nation, Libya jas not reported any case yet.
Meanwhile, calling the novel Coronavirus threat as an ‘enemy against humanity’, the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief said that it is an unprecedented opportunity to come together as one against a common enemy. During a press briefing on March 18, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that many countries now face escalating epidemics and are feeling overwhelmed.
“We know the tremendous difficulties you face and the enormous burden you’re under. We understand the heart-wrenching choices you are having to make,” said Ghebreyesus. The WHO chief emphasised the need for physical distancing measures like cancelling sporting events, concerts, and other large gatherings and said that it can help to slow transmission of the virus. Such measures can reduce the burden on the health system and they can help to make epidemics manageable, allowing targeted and focused measures, he added.
Image Credits: AP