COVID-19 sparked an economic crisis ‘like no other’ – but these measures can help now: WHO, IMF

covid supermarket

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Linda Lacina, Digital Editor, World Economic Forum


  • The World Health Organization held a media briefing to update the public on the COVID-19 outbreak. Streamed live at 18.30 CET on Friday, 3 April.
  • Guest Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said COVID-19’s economic impact was “worse than the global economic crisis.”
  • The IMF head shared measures the agency was taking to help blunt the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Lockdowns around the world have placed the world’s economies at a standstill, slowing the virus’ spread, but enacting a heavy economic toll.

“This is a crisis like no other,” said Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at a briefing for the World Health Organization (WHO). Georgieva noted that the crisis was like nothing the agency had seen in 75 years and one that would be more severe than the last global financial crisis.

At Friday’s briefing, WHO officials and the IMF Director discussed the global financial measures that will be needed to blunt the economic impact of the current coronavirus crisis, ensuring protections for health systems and the world’s most vulnerable.

Strengthening health systems financially

A fully-funded health system is key to fighting both virus and stemming the economic impact, as explained by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General. He called on all countries to provide the following:

1. Full funding for core public health measures such as: case-finding, testing, contact tracing, collecting data, and communication and information campaigns.
2. Strong financial supporting for health systems and partners, to ensure that health workers are paid their salaries, and health facilities have the reliable funding they need to purchase essential medical supplies.
3. The removal of financial barriers to care. The Director-General noted that several countries had suspended user fees and were providing free testing and care for coronavirus regardless of insurance, citizenship or residence status. “We encourage these measures. This is an unprecedented crisis, which demands an unprecedented response”

“This is an unprecedented crisis, which demands an unprecedented response.”

—Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO

Strengthening the world’s economies

Economic measures must also account for the world’s most vulnerable, said Georgieva, including emerging markets and developing economies. Key to the IMF’s response includes:

1. Prioritized help for emerging markets and developing economies: these countries are hard hit by the crisis, with fewer resources, collapsing commodities export markets, lost capital and weakened health systems.

As a result, the IMF would prioritize resources for vulnerable countries. “The same way the virus hits vulnerable people with medical pre-conditions hardest, the economic crisis hits vulnerable economies the hardest.”

“Saving lives and protecting livelihoods ought to go hand-in-hand,” Georgieva added.

2. Emergency financing. Georgieva said the IMF was mobilizing emergency funding and had doubled the availability of those resources from $50 billion up to $100 billion, funds that could also help emerging markets and developing economies.

A record number of countries, 85, had reached out to the agency for financing at the same time. “The demand for our financing has skyrocketed,” said Georgieva.

“We have a $1 trillion war chest and we are determined to use as much as necessary in protecting the economy from the scarring of this crisis.”

3. Eased debt obligations for the IMF’s poorest members. Georgieva said that the IMF was mobilizing emergency financing assistance to countries and had increased its capability to ease debt service obligations for these members through the Catastrophe Containment Relief Trust. With the World Bank, she said, the IMF was advocating for a standstill of debt service from the poorest countries to official bilateral creditors.

“This is humanity’s darkest hour,” said Georgieva. “It is a threat to the entire world that requires us to stand tall and protect the most vulnerable of our fair citizens of this planet.”

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technology solutions

A Sting Exclusive: “Technology for all, development for all: the role of ITU”, written by the Secretary General of the United Nations Agency

The historical performance of women in human health

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Why the way of loving closes doors of health?

MEPs agree on future regional and cohesion funding

Sakharov Prize 2021: Parliament to announce candidates

‘More time’ agreed for buffer zone, to spare three million Syrian civilians in Idlib

Lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment – and we will pay the price

5 ways cities can use emerging technologies to fight climate change

COVID-19: Commission steps up research funding and selects 17 projects in vaccine development, treatment and diagnostics

Coronavirus: new procedure to facilitate and speed up approval of adapted vaccines against COVID-19 variants

These are the most innovative cities in the world

How COVID-19 revealed 3 critical AI procurement blindspots that could put lives at risk

Indonesian tsunami death toll climbs over 400 as Government-led relief efforts are stepped up

Coronavirus: Macro-financial assistance agreement provides for €80 million disbursement to North Macedonia

Digital Finance Package: Commission sets out new, ambitious approach to encourage responsible innovation to benefit consumers and businesses

Should trade continue to be global after the pandemic?

UN chief applauds Bangladesh for ‘opening borders’ to Rohingya refugees in need

The European Commission and Austria secure COVID-19 vaccines for the Western Balkans

Violent disorder is on the rise. Is inequality to blame?

Storms and snow in Lebanon worsen plight for Syrian refugees

Ditching plastic straws isn’t enough. Here’s how to achieve zero waste.

A call for a new crop of innovators

Planet’s Health is Our Health and the Reverse is True

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €24.9 billion in pre-financing to Italy

EU Digital COVID Certificate enters into application in the EU

EU to pay a dear price if the next crisis catches Eurozone stagnant and deflationary; dire statistics from Eurostat

The results of Finland’s basic income experiment are in. Is it working?

Growing a new coral reef in a fraction of the time with a fragment of the coral

EU elections update: Can the EU voters vote unaffected from fake news and online disinformation?

This plastic-free bag dissolves in water

Canada has high levels of well-being and solid growth but trade tensions and housing market pose risks while inclusiveness could be improved

Global leaders adopt agenda to overcome COVID-19 crisis and avoid future pandemics

Safer roads: More life-saving technology to be mandatory in vehicles

The cuts on 2014 Budget will divide deeply the EU

FROM THE FIELD: Weather reports come to aid of Uganda’s farmers

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

What does reimagining our energy system look like?

Unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Mali revealed in new report

UN Envoy urges Burundi leaders to ‘seize opportunities for national unity and peace’

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: funding for Palestine refugees, families today, tech surveillance

Meeting the crypto regulatory challenge

Business models inspired by nature are the future

Business is a crucial partner in solving the mental health challenge

3 important lessons from 20 years of working with social entrepreneurs

3 ways to ensure the internet’s future is creative, collaborative and fair

UN must bring more women police officers into the fold to be effective – UN peacekeeping official

Getting vaccinated should just be considered a human right?

It’s time for the circular economy to go global – and you can help

Prospect of lasting peace ‘fading by the day’ in Gaza and West Bank, senior UN envoy warns

Does the “climate change” require ombudsman services for environment?

Not a single child spared the ‘mind-boggling violence’ of Yemen’s war

Stakeholder capitalism is urgently needed – and the COVID-19 crisis shows us why

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Climate change and health: a much needed multidisciplinary approach

Desires for national independence in Europe bound by economic realities

Brazil must immediately end threats to independence and capacity of law enforcement to fight corruption

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: