IMF provides $50 bn to combat CoronavirusMarch 05, 2020 11:16
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is making available about 50 billion dollars through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Of this, 10 billion dollars is available at zero interest for the poorest members through the rapid credit facility.
"We all recognise that the situation with the spread of the coronavirus is very serious and could well get worse. This affects us all," said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday (local time).
"We know that the disease is spreading quickly. With over one-third of our membership affected directly, this is no longer a regional issue -- it is a global problem calling for a global response," she said.Under any scenario, said Georgieva, global growth in 2020 will drop below last year's level.
"How far it will fall, and for how long, is difficult to predict, and would depend on the epidemic, but also on the timeliness and effectiveness of our actions."Georgieva said this is particularly challenging for countries with weaker health systems and response capacity -- calling for a global coordination mechanism to accelerate the recovery of demand and supply.
The number one priority in terms of fiscal response is ensuring front-line health-related spending to protect people's well-being, take care of the sick, and slow the spread of the virus.
"I can't emphasise enough the urgency of stepping up health-related measures -- and the need to ensure the production of medical supplies so that supply is at par with demand," said Georgieva.Second, macro-financial policy actions may be required to tackle the supply and demand shocks.