The Methodist Church has urged a ceasing of global conflict as the Covid-19 virus continues to spread across the globe, following similar calls from the United Nations last month.
In a statement, Rev Dr Barbara Glasson and Prof Clive Marsh, president and vice-president of the Methodist Conference said:
"The Covid-19 pandemic brings home to us our common humanity. While in the UK we have struggled with being locked down, we are thankful that we have an excellent health service with tremendous staff. Our thoughts also go out to those living in war zones where health systems are unreliable and intensive treatments are often unavailable. Those whose lives have been disrupted by war now have to protect themselves from this new deadly threat. That is why we are supporting the UN Secretary General's call for a global ceasefire.
"A global ceasefire will enable medics and nurses to access conflict areas and concentrate on the battle against Coronavirus. We urge that all parties to conflict give immediate priority to life and health and respond to the Secretary General's call for a ceasefire. We ask our own government to work urgently, including within the UN Security Council, to make this call a reality."
At the end of March, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged warring parties to cease fighting during the outbreak, declaring that the "fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war."
"That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world," he added. "It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives."