A representational image of a previous United Nations Security Council meeting | Photo: Commons
A representational image of a previous United Nations Security Council meeting | Photo: Commons
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United Nations: The United Nations Security Council will hold a closed session on Thursday to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, the first time the powerful UN organ is holding a meeting on coronavirus that has killed more than 74,000 people and infected over 1.3 million globally.

Council President for the month of April, the Dominican Republic, said it has formally scheduled a closed video-teleconferencing (VTC) “regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the issues that fall under the UNSC mandate”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will participate in the session on Thursday afternoon as a briefer. It remains to be seen whether any press statement on the COVID-19 situation is issued after the meeting.

Last week, Special Envoy from Dominican Republic to UN Ambassador Jose Singer and President of Security Council for April said that a Council meeting on the coronavirus situation had been requested by five or six ambassadors and the Dominican Republic was working to schedule the discussion.

The Dominican Republic assumed the rotating presidency of the 15-nation Council for the month of April, taking the baton from permanent and veto-welding member China.

When asked by PTI if any resolution on COVID-19 is excepted when the Council meets to discuss the issue, Singer had said last week “we have not discussed the issue of a resolution… We are first expecting to hold that meeting, and then we’ll see how events play out”.

In the four months since the outbreak originated in China, efforts to discuss the coronavirus situation in the Security Council have stalled mainly due to the bitter stalemate between Washington and Beijing.

The Council’s two veto-wielding permanent members are divided over the origin of the pandemic.

An NBC News report had said that talks among Security Council nations over a joint declaration or resolution on coronavirus remain in stalemate over Washington’s insistence that such a resolution should explicitly state that the virus originated in Wuhan, China, as well as exactly when it started there.


Also read: Coronavirus impact on India’s trade estimated to be $348 million: UN report


Beijing’s diplomats “are enraged” at this and even want to put their own language into the statement praising China’s efforts to contain the virus.

Last week, the 193-member UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution, co-sponsored by 188 nations including India, on COVID-19, calling for intensified international cooperation to defeat the pandemic and stressing that racism and xenophobia have no place in the response to the pandemic.

The resolution titled ‘Global solidarity to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)’ was the first such document on the global pandemic to be adopted by the world organisation.

Even as confirmed coronavirus cases across the the world grew exponentially, the Council under the presidency of China last month did not hold any discussions on the pandemic.

China’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun, as he took over the presidency of the Council in March, was asked whether China plans to discuss the coronavirus emergency. He had said there is no need to panic over the coronavirus epidemic and Beijing does not plan to discuss the situation in the Council during its presidency, even adding that the world is not far from the defeat of COVID-19 “with the coming of spring”.

He added that the issue of coronavirus falls within the concept of global public health while the Security Council’s primary responsibility is dealing with the geo-political security and peace matters.

“So, the public health security issue is not in the scope of the mandate of the Security Council in a narrow concept. But what we do think is important is that the Security Council will also watch the situation very closely. At this moment, we do not have any plan to have a specific discussion on this issue,” Zhang had said.

According to estimates by the Johns Hopkins University, there are over 1.34 million confirmed coronavirus cases across the world and over 74,000 people have died of it. The US has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world at 364,723, followed by Spain (136,675), Italy (132,547), Germany (102,453). More than 10,000 people have died in the US because of COVID-19.


Also read: UNSC in ‘no hurry’ to discuss China role in Covid-19 pandemic as world locks down


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. According to news reports , India has taken a decision around mid-April , 2020 to export critical drugs like hydroxychloroquine , paracetamol as well as azithromycin to about 55 countries to aid the fight against COVID-19. These exports can be humanitarian as well as commercial , which means it may be humanitarian to certain poor countries while to rich , it may be on sale-basis. India has already exported some consignment of hydroxychloroquine to the U.S. in April , 2020. It can be opined that COVID-19 has brought unprecedented pain and some opportunity to serve global community as well. And it goes without saying that the circumstance has potential for India to be a leader in the forefront of global society of nations . India’s efforts to deal with COVID-19 has been acclaimed by WHO and the UN. In this context , it may be apt to refer readers to one of predictions of this Vedic astrology writer in hitherto well-known article – “ Predictions for coming year 2020 by kushal kumar” – published last year 2019 on 10 October , at theindiapost.com/articles/predictions-for-coming-year-2020-by-kushal-kumar/. The text related to the theme being discussed here reads like this in the said article :-
    “ Like the previous year , acceptance by global community of India’s positive role in world affairs may be in news. It seems the said period of second half in 2020 can boost up the ambitious side of the nation. SUCH KNOWLEDGE OR STUFF RELATED THERETO AS YOGA , AYURVEDA , HERBAL AND SPIRITUAL SIDE , ADDRESSING MATERIAL ISSUES LIKE HEALTH”.
    Interpreted precisely , medicine and remedy indigenous to India or manufactured in India have been predicted to address or heal health issues. And spiritual side has also been mentioned to address the health issues. ‘Namaste’ , a symbol of spiritual culture in India , has come to play a big role among the global community , replacing ‘ hand-shake’ , to offer protection from the novel coronavirus. Summing up , it can be opined that the prediction has been pinpointed and meaningful.

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