Covid-19 Pandemic to Push 115 Million People into Poverty in 2020

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres says that the Covid-19 pandemic could push up to 115 million people into poverty this year. He delivered his message for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2020, observed on 17 October.

He said that the Covid-19 pandemic is a double crisis for the world’s poorest people. First, they have the highest risk of exposure to the virus, and least access to quality health care.

Second, recent estimates show the pandemic could push up to 115 million people into poverty this year – the first increase in decades. Women are at greatest risk because they are more likely to lose their jobs and less likely to have social protection.

In these extraordinary times, Mr Guterres said, we need extraordinary efforts to fight poverty. The pandemic demands strong collective action. Governments must accelerate economic transformation by investing in a green, sustainable recovery.

“We need a new generation of social protection programmes that also cover people working in the informal economy. Joining together in common cause is the only way we will emerge safely from this pandemic,” he suggested.

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Rakesh Raman