COVID-19: We Will Come Through This Together - UN Secretary General

COVID-19: We Will Come Through This Together

by António Guterres

The upheaval caused by the coronavirus – COVID-19 – is all around us. And I know many are anxious, worried and confused. That’s absolutely natural.

We are facing a health threat unlike any other in our lifetimes.

Meanwhile, the virus is spreading, the danger is growing, and our health systems, economies and day-to-day lives are being severely tested.

The most vulnerable are the most affected—particularly our elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, those without access to reliable health care, and those in poverty or living on the edge.

The social and economic fallout from the combination of the pandemic and slowing economies will affect most of us for some months.

But the spread of the virus will peak. Our economies will recover.

Until then, we must act together to slow the spread of the virus and look after each other.

This is a time for prudence, not panic. Science, not stigma. Facts, not fear.

Even though the situation has been classified as a pandemic, it is one we can control. We can slow down transmissions, prevent infections and save lives. But that will take unprecedented personal, national and international action.

COVID-19 is our common enemy. We must declare war on this virus. That means countries have a responsibility to gear up, step up and scale up.

How? By implementing effective containment strategies; by activating and enhancing emergency response systems; by dramatically increasing testing capacity and care for patients; by readying hospitals, ensuring they have the space, supplies and needed personnel; and by developing life-saving medical interventions.

All of us have a responsibility, too – to follow medical advice and take simple, practical steps recommended by health authorities.

In addition to being a public health crisis, the virus is infecting the global economy.

Financial markets have been hard hit by the uncertainty. Global supply chains have been disrupted. Investment and consumer demand have plunged – with a real and rising risk of a global recession.

United Nations economists estimate that the virus could cost the global economy at least $1 trillion this year – and perhaps far more.

No country can do it alone. More than ever, governments must cooperate to revitalize economies, expand public investment, boost trade, and ensure targeted support for the people and communities most affected by the disease or more vulnerable to the negative economic impacts – including women who often shoulder a disproportionate burden of care work.

A pandemic drives home the essential interconnectedness of our human family. Preventing the further spread of COVID-19 is a shared responsibility for us all.

The United Nations – including the World Health Organization – is fully mobilized.

As part of our human family, we are working 24/7 with governments, providing international guidance, helping the world take on this threat.

We are in this together – and we will get through this, together.

António Guterres is Secretary-General of the United Nations.

corona virus

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Great words. I think Namati csn be involved with this serious problem.

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I agree that we must all rally together at this unique moment in history. We as a global community are well placed to support those most in need and to care for each other. I wanted to share this great note that was circulated by one of our members, the ILF, about some of the most vulnerable populations in jails and prisons. As we know, in times like these it is often the most vulnerable who suffer the most and we must strive to support these populations. I’d be interested to hear from everyone on what challenges you are facing and how you are overcoming these right now— i know others would be keen to share and learn. I’m in lockdown in San Francisco so it can feel hard to know how best to help, but I managed to do grocery shopping for my friend, a public lawyer working through the night to get non violent criminals with asthma And other underlying health conditions out of jail to ensure they are protected from this outbreak. Stay healthy and well.

As the threat of this global pandemic rises, so too does the threat to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, including the millions of people held in jails and prisons around the world. In times like these, our communities are most in need of strong legal advocates, and we at the ILF intend to be there.

In times of crisis, detainees are particularly at risk. In our global struggle to contain this virus, we must not sacrifice our commitment to justice by allowing these men, women, and children to be forgotten.

The ILF has two decades of experience advocating for detainees impacted by infectious diseases, natural disasters and conflict. We have defended our clients in the face of disasters like the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, during which we advocated for detainees to be removed from damaged detention centers. In 2016, we fought to get detainees to safety as the Taliban were invading Helmand, Afghanistan, and we continue to defend clients in some of the most conflict-affected areas of the country. Now, we are mobilizing to defend our clients’ rights in the face of a global pandemic.

Without a doubt, we all must take precautions to ensure the health and safety of our communities. However, even well-intentioned actions like closing courthouses can threaten the basic rights of people in detention—including the right to liberty, the right to a fair and speedy trial, and the right to health, given limited access to hygiene items and medical care. Meanwhile, there are solutions to limit the spread of infection while also upholding the human rights we all value. An effective approach during the Ebola outbreak included the release of pretrial detainees and people who weren’t a danger to society. Governments should be taking similar steps during the current crisis.

In this rapidly evolving environment, we are remaining vigilant to changes that impact vulnerable, detained populations.

We are in discussion with our teams on the ground in Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Palestine, and Tunisia to understand the specific challenges they and their clients are facing. We will do everything in our power to safeguard human rights and ensure due process in coordination with justice stakeholders.

The health and safety of our incredible frontline staff and volunteers is our top priority. We are taking appropriate precautions, but we will continue to be fierce advocates for justice.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Smith

Executive Director

3 Likes

So far in Uganda we haven’t found any cases of the virus but a few people in some societies are not taking this so seriously they are failing to follow the measures given by the government of Uganda. Most families have no sanitizers and this is putting our country at a risk. Schools have been closed as well as social gatherings have been banned. But we still wake up n go for work just worried for my country this isn’t a joke covid19 is deadly… so kindly follow all measures given to stay safe

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