UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against Covid-19.
“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war”, he said in a statement on Monday, March 23. “That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”
The ceasefire would allow humanitarians to reach populations that are most vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19, which first emerged in Wuhan, China, last December, and has now been reported in more than 180 countries.
As of Tuesday, March 24, there have been more than 382,000 confirmed cases of people with the virus across the world. More than 16,500 people have died while almost 102,000 have recovered.
The UN chief called on warring parties to pull back from hostilities, put aside mistrust and animosity, and “silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes”.
This is crucial, he said, “to help create corridors for life-saving aid. To open precious windows for diplomacy. To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to Covid-19.”