Coronavirus Updates: UN Security Council Underlines The Need For Unity And Solidarity With Those Affected By The COVID-19

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres attends a press conference following the UNHCRs annual Executive Committee meeting on October 3, 2014 at the United Nations Office at Geneva. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

The UN Security Council underlined the need for unity and solidarity with those affected by the COVID-19 and expressed support for the efforts of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the potential impact of the pandemic, as the powerful UN arm met for the first time to discuss the crisis that has engulfed the world.

The Council, under the Presidency of the Dominican Republic, held a closed video-conference session “in connection with the impact of COVID-19 on the issues that fall under the Security Council’s mandate.” Guterres also briefed the Council. In Press Elements issued following the meeting, the 15-nation Council said Members “expressed their support for all efforts of the Secretary-General concerning the potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic to conflict-affected countries and recalled the need for unity and solidarity with all those affected.”

Briefing the Council, Guterres said the world faces its gravest test since the founding of the United Nations 75 years ago and there is fear that the worst is yet to come especially in the developing world and countries already battered by armed conflict. The Council has been seen as “missing in action” as the coronavirus pandemic across the world has so far left over 1.6 million people infected and more than 95,000 dead. Guterres stressed that the engagement of the Security Council will be critical to mitigate the peace and security implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN Chief said he is particularly concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to further erode trust in public institutions, “particularly if citizens perceive that their authorities mishandled the response or are not transparent on the scope of the crisis.” Efforts to discuss the coronavirus situation in the Council were stalled till now mainly due to the stalemate between Washington and Beijing. The Council’s two veto-wielding permanent members have been arguing over the origins of the virus and how any possible Council statement or resolution should reflect that. Sources told PTI that there was no discussion during the meeting on a resolution on the COVID-19 situation. US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said Washington reiterates the need for complete transparency and the timely sharing of public health data and information within the international community. “The most effective way to contain this pandemic is through accurate, science-based data collection and analysis of the origins, characteristics, and spread of the virus.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has sharply increased to 4,601 with more than 280 fresh infections while the death toll reached 66, the health officials said on Friday. The Ministry of National Health Services, in an early morning update on its website, reported that four patients died of coronavirus in the last 24 hours. The total number of patients who died due to COVID-19 has reached 66. As many as 727 have recovered while 45 were in critical condition, it said. The total tally of COVID-19 patients in the largest province of Punjab was 2,270, Sindh 1,128, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 620, Balochistan 219, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) 215, Islamabad 107 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 33. The official data showed that so far 54,706 tests have been conducted, including 2,478 in the last 24 hours.

Nearly 200 Indian-American organisations have praised the people of India for showing fortitude, discipline and social consciousness in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc across the world and claimed over 95,000 lives. According to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University, there are over 1.6 million cases of the novel coronavirus and 95,000 deaths globally. In India, the death toll due to COVID-19 was 199 and the number of confirmed cases climbed to 6,412, according to the Health Ministry on Friday.

The coronavirus outbreak coupled with the lockdown has triggered an increase in the cases of stress, anxiety and domestic violence in Goa, mental health experts claim. According to counsellors in the coastal state, the number of SOS calls from victims of domestic violence and those suffering from anxiety have risen considerably during these unprecedented times. “The concept of a lockdown is alien to us and we are unable to cope with it,” counsellor Aditi Tendulkar said. Anxiety, frustration, panic attacks, loss or sudden increase of appetite, insomnia, depression, mood swings, delusions, fear and suicidal tendencies, have become quite common during the lockdown, she said.

The Psychiatric Society of Goa (PSG) has started a service called Covidav to provide free online psychological evaluation and treatment to citizens during the lockdown. Consultant psychiatrist Dr Priyanka Sahasrabhojanee, who is part of the PSG’s initiative, said the lockdown has worsened the condition of people who already suffer from psychological ailments.

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