UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Nine countries that contribute troops and police to the United Nations’ far-flung peacekeeping operations are delaying bringing in replacements for three months because of the new coronavirus, the United Nations said Friday.
U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Nick Birnback said the delay in rotating troops and police by three months will enable the missions “to maintain operational strength and execute their mandated tasks.”
The Department if Peace Operations said it will have to suspend or postpone some planned deployments or rotations to peacekeeping operations in Congo, Lebanon and South Sudan and its border with Sudan.
As of Friday, the countries adjusting their troop and police plans are Cambodia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Nepal, South Korea and Thailand, the department said.
As of Jan. 31, the department said, over 95,000 personnel were serving in 13 peacekeeping operations, including nearly 70,000 soldiers, over 8,700 police officers and more than 12,600 civilians.
The department said there are no reported cases of the COVID-19 virus in any of the U.N.’s field operations.
Birnback said all the missions are putting in place “a series of mitigation measures to promote the safety, security and health of all U.N. personnel while maintaining continuity of operations.” These include health and sanitation policies and procedures for all personnel.