World Bank says about 11 mn could be driven into poverty in E Asia and Pacific

Updated: Apr 01, 2020, 08:38 IST | Agencies | Washington

Countries in East Asia and the Pacific that were already coping with international trade tensions and the repercussions of the spread of COVID-19 in China are now faced with a global shock, said Victoria Kwakwa

Healtcare workers applaud patients who have recovered from the COVID-19 at a temporary hospital in Madrid on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
Healtcare workers applaud patients who have recovered from the COVID-19 at a temporary hospital in Madrid on Tuesday. Pic/AFP

About 11 million people could be driven into poverty in East Asia and the Pacific as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has impacted over 7,80,000 people and killed more than 37,000 globally, the World Bank has warned.

The Washington-based global lender, in a report released on Monday, said that prior projections had estimated that nearly 35 million people would escape poverty in East Asia and the Pacific in 2020, including over 25 million in China alone.

"If the economic situation was to deteriorate further, and the lower-case scenario prevails, then poverty is estimated to increase by about 11 million people," it said in its April 2020 Economic Update for East Asia and the Pacific ahead of the annual spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Noting that the COVID-19 shock will have a serious impact on poverty, the bank said the report estimates that under the baseline growth scenario, nearly 24 million fewer people will escape poverty across the region in 2020 than would have in the absence of the pandemic (using a poverty line of $5.50/day).

Countries in East Asia and the Pacific that were already coping with international trade tensions and the repercussions of the spread of COVID-19 in China are now faced with a global shock, said Victoria Kwakwa, Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific at the World Bank.

COVID-19 far from over’ in Asia and Pacific, warns WHO

The WHO warned that while attention has shifted to Western Europe and North America, COVID-19 epidemic is ‘far from over’ in Asia and the Pacific. WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Takeshi Kasai said, "This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard. We need every country to keep responding according to their local situation."

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