UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres renewed his call for a global ceasefire on Friday, calling on all parties to the conflict to lay down arms and enable war-torn nations to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
"The worst is yet to come," said Guterres, referring to countries affected by fighting, such as Syria, Libya and Yemen.
"The COVID-19 storm is now coming into all of these areas of conflict."
Guterres said that some progress had been made since his call for peace on March 23, but struggles are still going on in a number of countries that are affecting officials' ability to make plans to fight the virus.
"The need is urgent," Guterres said at a UN press conference.
"The virus has shown how quickly it can move across borders, devastate countries and change lives."
He said that conflict parties in a number of countries, including Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen, have expressed support for his call .
"But there is a great distance between explanations and actions – between translating words in peace on the ground and in people's lives," said Guterres.
"In many of the most critical situations, we have seen no easing in battle – and some conflicts have even worsened."
Guterres thanked for supporting his earlier call from around 70 countries, NGO groups and religious leaders worldwide, including Pope Francis, and said more concrete work was needed.
"We need a solid diplomatic effort to meet these challenges. To silence the weapons, we have to raise the voices for peace," he said.