Sun, 07 Jun 2020

IMF says world economy not expected to recover until 2021

Voice of America
10 Apr 2020, 16:05 GMT+10

WASHINGTON, DC - International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to the world's worst depression since the 1930s.

Georgieva said Thursday that governments had already poured $8 trillion into programs to keep economies afloat but that more would be needed. She said developing countries and emerging markets would be the hardest hit. A partial recovery may be seen in 2021, she said.

The U.S. automobile and aviation industries are expecting major losses amid travel and movement restrictions. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened about 95,000 passengers Wednesday, a 96% drop from a year ago. With the Easter holiday on Sunday, many Americans normally would be traveling to spend the day with family.

Washington-based Airlines for America said the United States last saw fewer than 100,000 passengers a day in 1954.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that another 6.6 million workers filed for unemployment compensation last week, as companies and businesses shut down or limited their operations. That pushed the three-week total to nearly 17 million laid-off workers, about one-tenth of the country's workforce.

Press briefing

In his press briefing on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed the news that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was able to leave intensive care, although Britain's leader remains hospitalized.

White House correspondents were tested for the coronavirus as a precaution after a member of the White House press corps experienced symptoms on Tuesday.

The number of infected people in the United States surpassed 460,000 on Thursday. Officials warned of a hard week ahead, even though the crisis appears to be leveling.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier that reductions in hospital admissions could be a sign that the situation in his state could soon be brighter. New York state, especially New York City, has had the most COVID-19 infections and deaths in the U.S.

One of the continuing problems for the U.S. COVID-19 crisis is a shortage of protective gear for medical staff.

The Strategic National Stockpile said it was nearly out of N95 masks, surgical masks, face shields, gowns, gloves and other items. It is feared that the shortage could endanger medical professionals at a time when the equipment is most needed.

Global struggle

Countries worldwide continue to struggle with the health and economic fallout from the coronavirus. As of Thursday evening, nearly 1.6 million people across the globe had contracted COVID-19 and more than 95,000 had died, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

In Europe, officials told people to stay at home during the Christian world's Holy Week, normally a time for pilgrimages and vacations.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Netherlands could temporarily close its border crossings with Germany and Belgium over the Easter weekend if there was too much traffic.

In Spain, where more than 15,000 have died from COVID-19, officials have made extra calls on citizens to remain at home rather than heading to the countryside for centuries-old religious processions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed "cautious optimism" about curtailing the spread of coronavirus in her country but described the situation as "fragile."

Germany has imposed shutdowns on many businesses through April 19.

"We must keep this up over Easter and the days afterward, because we could very, very quickly destroy what we have achieved," Merkel said.

In the Mideast, the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen for five years declared a two-week cease-fire starting Thursday in response to U.N. calls for peace as the world battles the coronavirus.

Some leaders have expressed confidence that their countries have seen the worst of the outbreak and are beginning to plan a gradual return to normal life.

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