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Coronavirus digest: UN chief warns COVID-19 risks conflict surge

  • August 13, 2020

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the coronavirus pandemic risks exacerbating conflicts or “fomenting new ones.” The UN chief, in a Security Council meeting on Wednesday, referred to his appeal back in March urging a global ceasefire, a call that became a resolution adopted by the Security Council in July. 

“Yet, regrettably, in many instances, the pandemic did not move the parties to suspend hostilities or agree to a permanent ceasefire,” said Guterres.

“I am heartened by some countries’ willingness to think about how we can achieve adequate and predictable financing for peacebuilding — which is the best defense against conflict, and building a more equal and sustainable future for all,” he said, adding that he will share suggestions to that end in September. 


Norway announced it is reimposing 10-day quarantine measures, effective Saturday, on travelers from Poland, Malta, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Denmark’s Faroe Islands, and some parts of Sweden amid rising COVID-19 rates. The prime minister also urged Norwegians to avoid traveling abroad in a bid to stem new infections in the country. 

France has hit a new post-lockdown record for daily infections, tallying 2,524 new coronavirus cases. Despite the spike in infections, the Health Ministry has said there was no strain on hospitals — as the virus has circulated mainly among young people.

Kosovo’s KF Drita soccer club was forced to forfeit its Champions League qualifier on Wednesday after two players became infected with the coronavirus. It marked the first time that UEFA, which organizes the elite football competition, had to make such a ruling during the pandemic. Northern Ireland’s champion club Linfield advances to the next stage of the tournament’s 2020-21 qualifying rounds.

Read more: Coronavirus: EU’s COVID-19 hot spots push up infection rates


Ecuador’s former President Abdala Bucaram has been arrested in an organized crime probe in connection with a scandal involving the suspected illegal sale of COVID-19 medical supplies. The 68-year-old’s arrest is linked to an investigation into the murder of an Israeli man who was jailed for allegedly selling medical supplies illegally. Bucaram, known for his wild antics, was president for only about six months beginning in 1996 — but was removed from office after corruption allegations and mass protests. He went into exile in Panama for two decades.

Peru has banned family gatherings and reimposed a blanket ban on leaving the house on Sundays amid a fresh surge in coronavirus cases. Figures showed a 75% spike in infections among children and adolescents, according to Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra.

Read more: Coronavirus crisis: Airlines make it difficult to get refunds for canceled flights 


Australia marked its lowest rise in new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks on Thursday, one day after the country recorded its deadliest day since the pandemic began. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday said she expected the coronavirus cluster in the country to grow before it slows down. “As we all learnt from our first experience with COVID, once you identify a cluster, it grows before it slows. We should expect that to be the case here,” Ardern said. Auckland — the country’s largest city — went into lockdown after health authorities were unable to trace the origin of the virus that infected a family, ending New Zealand’s highly touted run of 102 days without community transmission.

Middle East

Jordan is to close its northern border crossing with Syria for one week after a spike in COVID-19 cases, officials said Wednesday. The move came after a number of employees at the Jaber land crossing — the only open land crossing with Syria — became infected. 

stb/aw (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

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