UN calls for global ceasefire as coronavirus rages on

Marje Pelayo   •   March 25, 2020   •   556

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres holding news conference on COVID-19. United Nations (March 23, 2020)

REUTERS – Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday (March 23) called for a global ceasefire so the world can focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives,” Guterres told a virtual news conference.

So far more than 337,500 people have been infected and over 14,600 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

The spread of the the highly contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness has drawn comparisons with painful periods such as World War Two, the 2008 financial crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu.

“The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly. Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world,” Guterres said.

“The most vulnerable – women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced – pay the highest price,” he said. “They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19.”

The United Nations has been trying to mediate an end to conflicts in countries including Syria, Yemen and Libya, while also providing humanitarian assistance to millions of civilians.

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.

“End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world,” he said. “It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.” (Production: Dan Fastenberg)

Philippines includes China, 4 other countries in travel ban list

Marje Pelayo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang announced Tuesday (January 12) that the Philippine government is expanding its travel ban to include China and four other countries amid threats of a new coronavirus (COVID-19) variant.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that apart from China, travelers from Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg and Oman are also not allowed to enter the country starting Wednesday (January 13) to Friday (January 15).

The expansion of travel restriction is part of the country’s measures to prevent the entry of new variants of coronavirus that were initially reported affecting residents in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

With five additional nations on the list, the Philippines so far has banned flights to and from 33 countries.

READ: PH expands entry restrictions, bans travelers from the US effective Jan. 3

However, the government clarified that Filipinos coming from the said countries may be allowed entry subject to a 14-day absolute facility-based quarantine period. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

UN chief calls on world leaders to declare ‘state of climate emergency’

Marje Pelayo   •   December 14, 2020

In his opening remarks at the Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday (December 12), United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a worldwide declaration of “state of climate emergency.” 

Such a declaration, Guterres said, is to address the impact of global warming.

The Secretary General noted that currently the world is 1.2 degrees hotter than before the industrial revolution. 

“If we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees this century. Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?,” he said.

“That is why today, I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached,” he added.

The central objective of the UN in 2021, he said, will be to build a truly global coalition for carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.

The UN official said global economic policies and finance must be aligned with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Thus, it is time to put a price on carbon and phase out fossil fuel finance and end fossil fuel subsidies.

He also suggested ending the construction of new coal power plants and shifting the tax burden from income to carbon, from taxpayers to polluters.

Also, Guterres calls on nations to make climate-related financial risk disclosures mandatory and to integrate the goal of carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal policies and decisions.

On a positive note, the Secretary General commended several countries who have started to reduce carbon emissions while some 38 countries have already declared the state of climate emergency realizing the urgency.

“I urge everyone to show ambition, stop the assault on our planet,” he said.

“Do what we need to guarantee the future of our children and grandchildren,” he said.

UN calls for global ceasefire amid COVID-19 pandemic

Marje Pelayo   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Secretary General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations (UN) is calling for a global ceasefire so that nations can focus on their respective responses to the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

This was the official’s call at the opening of the first virtual UN General Assembly on September 22.

Guterres did not mention the countries concerned but he stressed on the need to stop a potential cold war among nations. 

“Now is the time for a collective new push for peace and reconciliation. And so I appeal for a stepped-up international effort led by the security council to achieve a global ceasefire by the end of this year,” he said.

The UN General Assembly emanates from UN’s general headquarters in New York coinciding with the international body’s 75th anniversary.

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