United Nations chief calls for immediate global ceasefire as coronavirus fire rages on

Nellie Chapman
March 26, 2020

This is ahead of a $2-billion appeal he's making to stop the pandemic spreading into refugee camps caused by fighting around the world.

"The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war", he said in a brief speech at United Nations headquarters in NY, mentioning no country by name.

"It is the most vulnerable - women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized, displaced and refugees - who pay the highest price during conflict and who are most at risk of suffering "devastating losses" from the disease", the UN Secretary-General said.

He stated: "This is crucial to help create corridors for life-saving aid, open windows for diplomacy and bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19".

Guterres warned that in war-torn countries health systems have collapsed and the small number of health professionals left were often targeted in the fighting. "That is why today I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world", he added.

It's a quick summary of the essential updates from New Zealand and around the world on Covid-19.

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The question is: "how long it will last and how much damage will it do to the productive capacities of our economies and the livelihoods of our citizens", Guterres said.

Guterres also called on the G20 leaders to establish a coordinated response to suppress the coronavirus everywhere, guided by the U.N. World Health Organization, .

The UN-backed package "needs to. keep societies afloat in these very hard circumstances", he added.

The secretary-general said that given the need to keep countries afloat during this crisis, major industrial countries and organisations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will need to provide support in the developing word that would be equal to more than 10 per cent of GDP for those countries.

"Around the world, the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic are already tangible - schools are closing, already pervasive inequalities are deepening, many countries are unable to respond to the enormous needs of the elderly", he said.

Guterres said he also sent a letter to leaders of the G20 group of major economic powers, who are expected to hold a virtual meeting this week that he will attend, and called upon them for more coordination in their response to the pandemic.

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