Ongoing hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan will cause a direct disruption to medical care and an additional burden on health systems that have already been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Stéphane Dujarric reported in his daily meeting with the press that the World Health Organization He warned that both countries have seen recent increases in COVID-19 transmission.
As of October 11, new COVID-19 cases reported in Armenia had doubled in two weeks, and infections in Azerbaijan have increased by approximately 80% over the last week.
“COVID-19 does not respect borders or lines of separation. It will seize any surveillance lapse, any crisis that diverts our attention from the global effort to halt its deadly march.. Escalations in the military conflict will create the environment for the virus to spread and the mobilization of troops for the conflict, together with the displacement of populations because of it, add to the ability of the virus to take hold, the WHO warned, “he said. Dujarric.
WHO, together with all UN teams in Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to support the response to COVID-19 in both countries to save lives and livelihoods affected by the pandemic.
“The Organization is also expanding its operations to respond to the growing health needs that continued hostilities will inevitably incur, this includes preparations for further transmission of COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.
On October 6, the WHO classified the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan as an acute emergency grade 2, that is, an event that affects one or more countries with moderate consequences for public health.
The UN teams in Armenia and Azerbaijan reiterated the call of the General secretary for a global ceasefire, which helps create the conditions around the world for the delivery of vital aid and to bring hope to places who are among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is another clear example of why the Secretary General’s call should be honored. As he has often said, as long as humans continue to fight other humans, the only winner will be the virus,” concluded Dujarric.
Last week, António Guterres welcomed the commitment of Armenia and Azerbaijan to begin substantive negotiations under the auspices of the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Although the parties had agreed to a humanitarian ceasefire on Friday, shortly thereafter the two accused each other of violating it. According to press reports, the clashes continue for the third consecutive week.