Developing countries need debt relief, WHO says
Published : Thursday, 2 April, 2020 at 5:08 PM Count : 218
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed deep concern about the rapid growth and spread of coronavirus cases, which has now reached 205 countries and territories.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that his company, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported developing countries to help tackle the social and economic consequences of the epidemic.
Tedros praised India's $ 22.6 billion economic stimulus plan - announced last week after a 21-day lockdown - free food rations for 800 million disadvantaged people, cash transfers for 204 million poor women and free cooking gas for 80 million families for the next three months.
"Many developing countries will fight to implement this kind of social welfare program of this nature," Tedros told a virtual news conference at the agency's Geneva headquarters.
"For those countries, debt relief is essential to enable them to take care of their people and avoid economic collapse. This is a call from the WHO, the World Bank and IMF - debt relief for developing countries," he said.
But debt-relief processes are lengthy, Tedros said.
"In the past five weeks there has been a near-exponential growth in the number of new cases and the number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week," he said.
"In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths worldwide," he added.
China, where the outbreak of coronavirus first emerged in December, reported new infections on Wednesday, and for the first time, a number of asymptomatic cases have been released, which may complicate how the outbreak are read.-Internet