Libya announces 10-day Covid-19 lockdown, France pushes for ceasefire talks

The UN-backed Libyan government, based in the capital, Tripoli, has announced a lockdown that will last 10 days from Friday to slow the spread of Covid-19 in this war-torn country. Meanwhile, France is pressuring the United Nations Security Council to discuss the implementation of ceasefires in the world’s worst conflict zones to prevent the deadly virus from taking root.

The besieged Tripoli administration has ordered the closure of all major non-essential markets and shops on its territory and has banned cars from the roads.

Citizens wearing masks can venture on foot from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the statement said. Banks, the main source of overcrowding in recent weeks, would also close their doors.

The government, which governs a narrowed corner of the west of the country, initially left it to local authorities to impose most restraining orders. But as confirmed infections rose to 35, including one dead, he accepted a proposal from the National Center for Disease Control to take tougher action.

UN appeal for ceasefire

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he hoped the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – could “in the coming days “discuss and endorse UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ call for a ceasefire for all conflicts around the world, including in Libya, to fight the Covid-19 pandemic .

António Guterres warned that the deadly virus was threatening international peace and security and that it could potentially lead to “an increase in social unrest and violence which would significantly undermine our ability to fight the disease”.

Macron, who spoke at FRANCE 24’s sister station, Radio France Internationale (RFI) in an interview on Wednesday said he had lobbied for the five permanent members to hold a videoconference and that he is now only waiting for Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept the invitation.

“When he does, we can have this videoconference and therefore approve it (Guterres call) with great solemnity, force and even more efficiency,” he said.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)