Pope Francis backs UN chief’s call for global ceasefire amid coronavirus pandemic

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Pope Francis on Sunday backed a call by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire so the world can focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at his weekly blessing, delivered from the official papal library instead of St. Peter’s Square because of the lockdown in Italy, Francis specifically mentioned the appeal Guterres made in a virtual news conference on Monday.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — UN chief calls for global ceasefire in conflicts to fight COVID-19

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Saying the disease knows no borders, Francis appealed to everyone to “stop every form of bellicose hostility and to favor the creation of corridors for humanitarian help, diplomatic efforts and attention to those who find themselves in situations of great vulnerability.”

More than 662,700 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus across the world and 30,751 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

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About a third of the deaths have been in Italy, where the toll passed 10,000 on Saturday, a figure that made an extension of a national lockdown almost certain.

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Confirmed cases in Italy stood at 92,472, the second-highest number of cases in the world behind the United States.

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