On Monday the 23rd of March, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed for an “immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world”.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, which was first reported in China, and has now spread to 198 countries and territories, the UN chief urges countries to “put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives”.
While he writes that the virus “does not care about ethnicity or nationality, faction or faith”, he points out that as in any conflict, it is those most vulnerable in society – women, children, people with disabilities, those marginalised, and refugees – who are most at risk of suffering losses.
A global ceasefire will allow humanitarians to reach areas where health systems have collapsed. The delivery of aid such as clean water and hygiene products could also prevent further spread of the disease.
Read the full letter by António Guterres here.