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Terrorists might use coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to launch bio-terror attack across the world: UN chief

Terrorist outfits, he said, may see a window of opportunity to strike while the attention of most governments was turned towards the current coronavirus pandemic, UN Chief said.

The Secretary-General of United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres cautioned the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on April 9 (Thursday) that the Coronavirus pandemic is threatening international peace and security as terrorists might use this opportunity to launch a bio-terror attack. The UN chief listed pressing risks to the world due to the pandemic as he spoke via video conference at the UNSC meeting on the Coronavirus impact. It was the first discussion of the UNSC on the pandemic.

Guterres in a short press statement said that the Coronavirus pandemic has provided a “window” into how a bio-terror attack might unfold across the world. He warned that that non-state groups could gain access to “virulent strains” that could pose similar devastation to societies around the globe.

Describing the battle against Coronavirus as the “fight of a generation – and the raison d’etre of the United Nations itself,” Guterres furthered: “While the COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, its implications are much more far-reaching. The pandemic also poses a significant threat to the maintenance of international peace and security, potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease.”

Read: USA calls for an analysis of the ‘origins’ of the Wuhan Coronavirus in UNSC meet, China says nobody should be made ‘scapegoat’

Terrorist outfits, he said, may see a window of opportunity to strike while the attention of most governments was turned towards the current coronavirus pandemic. “The weaknesses and lack of preparedness exposed by this pandemic,” the UN chief said, adding: “Provide a window onto how a bio-terrorist attack might unfold and may increase its risks.”

“Non-state groups,” he cautioned “could gain access to virulent strains that could pose similar devastation to societies around the globe”.

Guterres said that in some conflict settings, the uncertainty created by the pandemic may create incentives for some actors to promote further division and turmoil.

“This could lead to an escalation of violence and possibly devastating miscalculations, which could further entrench ongoing wars and complicate efforts to fight the pandemic,” he added.

Owing to the devastating effects of the coronavirus and the global efforts to combat the pandemic, the UN chief had on March 29 called for an immediate global ceasefire, urging all warring parties in conflict zones to suspend violence.

On Thursday, the UN chief said the engagement of the Security Council will be “critical in mitigating the peace and security implications of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

There are over 1.6 million positive coronavirus cases around the globe and over 95,000 people have been killed so far due to the deadly virus.

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