The Secretary-General launched a new report today on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, noting that the world is facing an unprecedent test and that this is the moment of truth.
With societies in turmoil and economies in a nose-dive, the Secretary-General stressed that we must respond decisively, innovatively and together to suppress the spread of the virus and address the socio-economic devastation that COVID-19 is causing in all regions.
The Secretary-General said that the message of the report issued today is clear: shared responsibility and global solidarity in response to the impacts of COVID-19.
He called for a large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive multilateral response amounting to at least 10 per cent of global GDP.
The full transcript is available here.
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today handed over equipment and other accessories to the Naqoura Municipality, which hosts the UN Mission’s Headquarters in south Lebanon. This donation is part of UNIFIL’s broader effort to assist the local population and communities in the common fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col said, “During these trying times, it’s imperative to care for one another.” And he added, “The unprecedented situation requires exceptional measures, maximum cooperation as well as a pro-active approach in assisting the local population that has welcomed us since 1978.”
The donated items today included 750 surgical masks, 10 N95 masks, 300 pairs of ordinary gloves, 30 pairs of heavy-duty gloves, 10 protective suites and 10 shoe covers.
Echoing the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, the UN Mission in Somalia called for a cessation of acts of violence and terrorism so that all resources and support can be channeled to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
For their part, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), are assisting the Somali Government to respond to the first suspected COVID-19 cases.
Other UN agencies and programmes are supporting the implementation of the COVID-19 response plan by providing technical expertise and logistics to the Government. Some of these are training health workers, providing equipment for isolation centres, including testing kits, personal protective gear, expanding early detection capabilities and scaling up hygiene responses.
In addition, the World Health Organization continues to support the Somali health sector by scaling up its operational readiness and response to COVID-19. WHO’s support has been essential to rapidly establish a mechanism for testing and confirmation of suspected cases and isolating suspected cases to prevent onward transmission.
Our humanitarian colleagues say that, in Sudan, there are six confirmed cases of COVID-19 with two deaths.
Humanitarian partners continue to support the Government of Sudan to prepare and respond to the pandemic.
On 29 March, the Humanitarian Coordinator, Gwi-Yeop Son, echoed the Secertary-General’s call for a ceasefire, stressing the need to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on saving lives. She added that health services have been affected the most in conflict areas, stressing the need to create corridors for life-saving aid.
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, briefed the members of the Security Council by video conference yesterday, and he praised the far-reaching measures that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have taken to try and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. He said that the coordination that has been put in place and the joint commitment to tackle the threat to both populations is exemplary and their efforts have been supported by the UN.
Mr. Mladenov also warned that unilateral steps are detrimental to peace. He noted that in recent months, Israeli officials have repeatedly stated their intention to annex Israeli settlements and other parts of the occupied West Bank. If implemented, he said, such steps would not only constitute a serious violation of international law, but they would also effectively end the prospect of the two-State solution and close the door to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO/SECURITY
The UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo helped free 38 civilians, who had been abducted by the rebel group known as the ADF in the vicinity of Mayi Moya, 40 km north of Beni. This happened on Sunday, while the peacekeepers had deployed reinforcements to support the Congolese Armed Forces in an area under attack by the ADF. The civilians, including women and children, had been abducted by the ADF from different locations in North Kivu and Ituri. They were safely transferred to a Congolese Army base.
While the Mission takes all necessary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the DRC, it remains fully committed the core of its mandate, the protection of civilians, in support of the Congolese security forces.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO/HEALTH
UNICEF today reiterated the importance of supporting and strengthening the healthcare system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The COVID-19 pandemic brings another threat to a health system that has battled an Ebola outbreak in the country’s east and is also struggling with several deadly endemic diseases.
In a report released today, UNICEF said that with some 31,000 cases, the measles epidemic that began last year is now the worst in the world and has killed more than 5,300 children. The rapid increase of cases of COVID-19 poses a major challenge to a country identified as one of the most at risk in Africa.
In public health centres, equipment, trained staff and funds are in desperately short supply. Many facilities even lack safe water and sanitation. Immunization rates, already low, have dropped sharply in some provinces over the past year.
An estimated 3.3 million children in the DRC have unmet vital health needs, while across the country, 9.1 million children – or nearly one in five of the under-18 population – require humanitarian assistance.
The agency urges international donors to commit generous multi-year support to the government’s efforts to revamp routine health care services and to reach its SDG goals in water, sanitation and hygiene in order to better protect children against communicable diseases.