Call for pandemic action to save global economy

Coordinated action by governments across the world to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout is being demanded in a letter to G20 leaders signed by a group of 165 global leaders.

A globe encircled by hands with the word Coronavirus superimposed upon it
The letter, whose signatories include 92 former heads of government from every continent as well as prominent statesmen, business leaders and academics, calls for "immediate, internationally-coordinated action to address our deepening global health and economic crises caused by COVID-19".

Global task force and emergency funding urged to prevent a second wave of infection

It urges the establishment of a global task force with executive powers to organise the fight against the pandemic, with $8 billion of emergency funding to prevent a second wave of the outbreak in poor countries, particularly those in Africa, Asia and Latin America.The group also urges the G20 to adopt a $185 billion programme of debt relief for the poorest countries and to increase funds available to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

COVID-19 will persist if nothing is done in African, Asian and Latin American cities

"The economic emergency will not be resolved until the health emergency is effectively addressed: the health emergency will not end simply by conquering the disease in one country alone, but by ensuring recovery from COVID-19 in all countries,” says the letter."All health systems – even the most sophisticated and best funded – are buckling under the pressures of the virus."Yet if we do nothing as the disease spreads in poorer African, Asian, and Latin American cities and in fragile communities which have little testing equipment, ventilators, and medical supplies, and where social distancing and even washing hands are difficult to achieve, COVID-19 will persist there and re-emerge to hit the rest of the world with further rounds that will prolong the crisis."
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Global economic response needed to avoid global economic depression

On the crisis confronting the global economy, the letter says, "Much has been done by national governments to counter the downward slide of their economies. But a global economic problem requires a global economic response."Our aim should be to prevent a liquidity crisis turning into a solvency crisis, and a global recession becoming a global depression. To ensure this, better coordinated fiscal, monetary, central bank, and anti-protectionist initiatives are needed. The ambitious fiscal stimuli of some countries will be all the more effective if more strongly complemented by all countries in a position to do so."Signatories to the letter include former UK prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and John Major; former president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet; former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd; former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon; Shaukat Aziz, former prime minister of Pakistan; and financier George Soros.

Find out more in The Relocate Global Coronavirus (COVID-19) resource centre 


Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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