Coronavirus ‘way worse than the global financial crisis,’ IMF says


International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks at a press conference in Washington D.C., on March 4, 2020.

Liu Jie | Xinhua | Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has created a economic crisis “like no other,”  the International Monetary Fund’s top official said Friday.

“Never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy come to a standstill,” said  Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF.

“This is in my lifetime humanity’s darkest hour, a big threat to the whole world and it requires for us to stand united, be united,”  Georgieva said during a World Health Organization press conference.

“It is way worse than the global financial crisis” of 2008-09, she said. “This is a crisis like no other.”

Georgieva said that the IMF is working with the World Bank and other international financial institutions to alleviated economic harm from the virus outbreak, which has infected more than 1 million people.

“We have a $1 trillion war chest,” she said. “We are determined to use as much of it as necessary.”

 More than 90 countries so far have applied for assistance from those funds, she said.

“We have never seen ever such a growing demand for emergency financing,” Georgieva said.

She urged countries who will tap that financing to use the money they get to pay doctors, nurses and other health care workers, and otherwise support health-care needs.

Georgieva said that developing economies have been hardest hit by the outbreak and often has less resources to protect themselves from the economic fallout.

“We know that in many countries health systems are weak,” she said.

Compouding the harm, she said, is “a flight to safety” by investors pulling their money out of countries as the outbreak spreads.

“A lot of capital has left emerging countries,” Georgieva said.

“The same way that the virus hits vulnerable people …. the virus hits vulnerable countries,” she said.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.


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