As World Wages War on COVID-19, U.N. Troops Fight on the Front Lines

CountryMiddle east

One year on since COVID-19 laid siege to an unsuspecting world, it's not only countries that are battling to keep the coronavirus at bay, but also tens of thousands of international troops waging war against the disease under the blue and white banner of the United Nations.Tasked with defusing tensions in some of the world's most precarious regions across the globe, U.N. peacekeepers were forced a year ago to recalibrate their duties to include protecting both themselves and local populations from an ominous invisible specter, while simultaneously fulfilling their original missions to prevent the outbreak of potentially devastating conflicts.The initial reaction of U.N. officials, however, was like that of much of the world: uncertainty."I had this anxiety," U.N. Under Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix told Newsweek.

"Are we going to be able to just continue? Aren't we going to be paralyzed by COVID-19?"Lacroix oversees the vast network of U.N. Peacekeeping Operations, comprising more than 85,000 personnel from 121 nations deployed to more...