by Rafaela Figueiredo Garcia Guimarães (Master’s student in Human Rights at University of Minho)
“We must declare war on this virus”, asserted the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres, when commenting on the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic, on March 13, 2020. On April 23, 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared that “the war against Covid-19 is far from won by the Planet”. By the same token, Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor on Organizational Change to the WHO Director-General, also stated at a press conference on March 26, 2021, that “we are at war with the virus, not against each other, and the common goal is to end the coronavirus”. Josep Borrell, the High Representative on behalf of the European Union (EU), in his declaration on April 3, 2020, proclaimed that “this is a time when we should spend all of our energy and resources in the fight against this common global threat – the coronavirus“. Likewise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her speech to the nation on March 18, 2020, acknowledged that “there has not been a challenge like this since World War II, which depends so much on a joint action of solidarity”, and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, on March 16, 2020, openly declared that “we are at war and that the enemy, although invisible, is here”. “This is a war! It is really a war we are dealing with,” assures the Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on March 18, 2020, in his message to the Portuguese people. Last but not least, the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, on January 21, 2021, stated publicly the endorsement of a “large-scale war effort to fight the pandemic”.
Since WHO’s public announcement, on March 11, 2020, the disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus and on the fact that we were in the face of a pandemic, Covid-19 has been treated as a security issue, with coronavirus being the global enemy that needs to be tackled and eliminated. Thus, the health crisis Covid-19 gave rise to came to be considered a threat to global security.Continue reading “Covid-19: a matter of security”