This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Countries and airlines should react to COVID-19 risk proportionally, urges UN aviation organization chief
Member States and airlines should react in proportion to the health risks as laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO) and medical experts, when considering how they deal with the new coronavirus outbreak.
That’s according to the Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Fang Liu, in an interview with UN News.
Some airlines have suspended some or all of their direct flights to China for the coming weeks.
She said it was unfortunate that misinformation surrounding contagious disease outbreaks, often led some industry leaders to overreact, underscoring that “undue restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, but very little in terms of public health benefit.”
The ICAO chief noted that manufacturers, airlines and airports had been taking special precautions to minimize the risk to air travellers, of being infected by the virus and that while ICAO’s core role is to help governments to connect the world, in times such as these “the health and safety of the travelling public must be of paramount priority.”.
ICAO itself has published two public health and travel advisories, and will continue to monitor the situation closely, added Ms. Liu.
The civil aviation body also plans to release a letter reminding countries of their obligation to draw up national aviation plans in the event of any international health emergency.
Libya’s cities ‘re-contaminated’ by months of fighting, warn UN mine experts
Ongoing conflict in Libya has left numerous cities severely “re-contaminated” with unexploded weapons, threatening schools, universities and hospitals, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said on Wednesday.
The warning about the military hardware - often referred to by the acronym UXO - came during a meeting of Mine Action experts at the UN in Geneva.
It follows months of conflict in the suburbs of Tripoli between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, and the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), led by commander Khalifa Haftar, who laid siege to the capital last April.
At UN-led talks earlier this month between the two sides aiming to secure a lasting ceasefire, UN negotiator Ghassan Salamé noted that there were at least 20 million “pieces of ordnance” in Libya.
International Support Group for Lebanon calls for comprehensive reforms
The International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG), which includes the UN, on Wednesday called on the new Government to put in place a “comprehensive set of measures and reforms” to avert the deepening political, social and economic crisis there.
The new administration of Hassan Diab won a vote of confidence from the Lebanese Parliament on Tuesday, after months of political deadlock which saw tens-of-thousands of citizens take to the streets in protest.
The Support Group said the new Government should “swiftly, and resolutely undertake timely, tangible” and credible reforms, “to address the needs and demands of the Lebanese people.”
The ISG consists of the UN, together with China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom, United States, European Union and the Arab League.
In a statement, ISG members called on all political forces to prioritize support for reform, “in the national interest”, and pledged the group’s support for economic and internal stability, and for the right to peaceful protest to be maintained.
Matt Wells, UN News.