The UN said economic fallout from COVID-19 was likely to get “much worse” before it gets better for some six billion people living in developing economies.
UN Conference on Trade and Development director of globalisation and development strategies, Richard Kozul-Wright, said the health crisis was still to come in many developing countries.
“Now, if that crisis comes as these countries have been significantly weakened by the economic shockwaves from the crisis,” he said.
“And that is a … very vicious combination of an economic crisis and a health crisis. So we’ve got to find ways of strengthening the healthcare system and services in developing countries and building up resilience on that front very quickly.”
The UN has called for the immediate release of political prisoners and detainees in war-ravaged Yemen to help avert a nationwide outbreak of COVID-19.
Analysis from aid organisation CARE listed 15 “very high risk countries”, most of them in the Middle East and Africa — Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and Haiti.
It found they had three times higher exposure to epidemics and six times higher risk in terms of accessing healthcare.