Publish dateSunday 12 April 2020 - 12:22
Story Code : 207548
UN chief urges religious leaders to unite in fight against COVID-19
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called on religious leaders of all faiths to join forces, work for peace promotion across the world and focus on the common battle to contain the deadly new coronavirus, known as COVID-19.
Guterres made the request in a special appeal issued on Saturday and at a time when Christians are celebrating Easter, Jews are marking Passover and Muslims will soon begin the holy month of Ramadan.
"We have always known these occasions to be moments of community, of families coming together, of hugs and handshakes and the gathering of humanity. But this is a time like no other," the UN chief said.
The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world stands at over 1,700,000 cases with more than 106,000 confirmed deaths.
The pandemic has confined billions of people to their homes and pushed the world into a recession.
Guterres further said that the new coronavirus disease has ushered in a "strange and surreal world" and noted that streets are silent, storefronts are shuttered and places of worship are empty in efforts to contain its spread.
It is also a world where "we are worried about our loved ones who are equally worried about us," he said and asked, "How do we celebrate at a time like this?"
The UN chief encouraged people everywhere to use this holy period as a time for reflection, remembrance and renewal.
"As we reflect, let us spare a special thought for heroic health workers on the frontlines battling this awful virus and for all those working to keep our cities and towns going," he said.
He added that this is also time to remember "the most vulnerable of the vulnerable around the world" such as people in war zones, refugee camps, slums and other areas least equipped to fight the coronavirus.
"And let us renew our faith in one another and draw strength from the good that is gathering in troubled times as communities of diverse faiths and ethical traditions unite to care for one another," he said.
"Together, we can and will defeat this virus with cooperation, solidarity and faith in our common humanity," Guterres pointed out.
Amid the call for unity, the United States stoked up yet another coronavirus row earlier this week, accusing the World Health Organization of being “China-centric” and “biased” towards Beijing.
Speaking at a White House press conference Tuesday, US President Donald Trump blamed the WHO for getting every aspect of the coronavirus "wrong," threatening to pull back funding from the international organization.

Trump said that “they did give us some pretty bad play calling ... with regard to us, they’re taking a lot of heat because they didn’t want the borders closed, they called it wrong. They really called, I would say, every aspect of it wrong.”
The WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hit back at the US president over his handling of the coronavirus crisis, saying Trump is politicizing the virus.
"Please don't politicize this virus. It exploits the differences you have at the national level. If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don't want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it. My short message is: Please quarantine politicizing Covid. The unity of your country will be very important to defeat this dangerous virus," Tedros said at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
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