FILE PHOTO: Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), speaks at a press conference at the 32nd ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on February 10, 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2019. REUTERS / Tiksa Negeri / File Photo
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, called for a global ceasefire on Monday to allow the world to focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is time to block armed conflict and focus together on the real struggle of our lives,” Guterres said at a virtual press conference.
So far, more than 351.00 people have been infected and over 15,330 have died, according to a Reuters balance sheet.
The spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 respiratory disease caused by the corona virus has drawn comparisons with painful periods such as World War II, the 2008 financial crisis and the Spanish flu of 1918.
“The virus doesn’t care about nationality or ethnicity, faction, or belief. It relentlessly attacks everyone. An armed conflict is now raging worldwide, ”said Guterres.
“The most vulnerable – women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and displaced – pay the highest price,” he said. “They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19.”
The United Nations has sought to end the conflicts in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Libya, while providing humanitarian aid to millions of civilians.
Guterres warned that in war-torn countries, health systems have collapsed and the small number of health professionals have been targeted in the fighting.
“End the disease of war and fight the disease that devastates our world,” he said. “It starts by ending the fighting everywhere. Now. That is what our human family needs now more than ever. ”
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Edited by Jonathan Oatis