U.N. Chief rallies support for "fight of our lives"

The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has made an extraordinary appeal for a “global ceasefire in all corners of the world” in a bid to strengthen the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the pandemic having already killed 16,349 people from 374,490 confirmed cases as of Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Guterres referred to COVID-19 as the “common enemy.”

“That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world,” he said in a statement released by his office. “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”

The deadly spread of COVID-19 and the fact the world is still searching for a cure is something everyone should be alerted to.

“The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith.  It attacks all, relentlessly,” Mr. Guterres said.

“The most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price. They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19.”

The UN chief did not name any particular conflict in his message except to say that he was referring to all “armed conflicts” around the world.

“Let’s not forget that in war-ravaged countries, health systems have collapsed. Health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted.  

“Refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable. The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.”

The call from the United Nations Secretary General comes as Samoa enters the fourth day of a National State of Emergency declared by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi in response to the crisis.

All sports events, churches and any gatherings of more than five people have been stopped. Bars, theatres and other places people use for social gatherings have also been closed.

During the weekend, Samoa announced eight suspected cases. Six of those cases have since been declared negative while the outcome of the remaining two cases is being awaited.

According to the United Nations chief, all countries around the world must come together to fight COVID-19.

“To warring parties, I say: Pull back from hostilities, put aside mistrust and animosity, silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes. This is crucial,” he said.

He called for provision of life-saving aid and diplomacy to bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.  Among them are Italy, Iran and China.

“Let us take inspiration from coalitions and dialogue slowly taking shape among rival parties in some parts to enable joint approaches to COVID-19.  But we need much more.

“End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.”



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