Group says virus could push 500M into poverty

Coronavirus

Big Ben’s clock tower and the London Eye ferris wheel stand in the distance as the area around Royal Festival Hall is very quiet in London, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON — Oxfam is warning that half a billion people in the developing world could be pushed into poverty as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

In the run-up to three key international economic meetings next week, the anti-poverty campaigning group has urged richer countries to step up their relief efforts.

In a report based on research at King’s College London and the Australian National University, Oxfam is calling on world leaders to agree an ‘Economic Rescue Package for All’ to keep poor countries and poor communities afloat. Among the measures it is recommending is the immediate cancellation of $1 trillion worth of developing country debt payments in 2020.

Jose Maria Vera, Oxfam International Interim Executive Director said “for poor people in poor countries who are already struggling to survive there are almost no safety nets to stop them falling into poverty.”

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