UN chief calls coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic 'fight of a generation', urges united response from UNSC

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday (April 9, 2020) called on the Security Council to put up a united front in its fight against the coronavirus COVID-19, even as the world struggles to contain the virus outbreak.

UN chief calls coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic 'fight of a generation', urges united response from UNSC
Reuters file photo

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday (April 9, 2020) called on the Security Council to put up a united front in its fight against the coronavirus COVID-19, even as the world struggles to contain the virus outbreak.

The meeting, a first on COVID-19 crisis was held via video conferencing and was called by Guterres who termed the COVID-19 crisis as "the fight of a generation -- and the 'raison d'etre' of the United Nations itself". 

"A signal of unity and resolve from the Council would count for a lot at this anxious time," he told the group.

The UN chief also appealed to UN Security Council to demonstrate unity in mitigating peace and security challenges posed by the pandemic.

He also pointed out the lack of preparedness during the global pandemic which reveals how non-state actors could access deadly strains to perpetrate a bioterrorist attack.

"Non-state groups could gain access to virulent strains that could pose similar devastation to societies around the globe." Guterres worried that some states might take advantage of the current situation to promote divisions which could result in escalation of violence in conflicted regions.

"The weaknesses and lack of preparedness exposed by this pandemic provide a window onto how a bioterrorist attack might unfold - and may increase its risks," Guterres said.

Further, the people`s trust in public institutions could be eroded if citizens perceive government have mishandled the response or lacked transparency about the scope of the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to the John Hopkins University, the number of people infected with the virus is almost 16 lakhs with over 95,000 deaths reported.

US is the worst-hit nation with over 4,62,000 infections and 16,000 deaths, followed by Spain with 1,53,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 15,000 deaths.

(With inputs from agencies)