Coronavirus: $90B could support 700M of world’s poor, UN official says

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The U.N. humanitarian chief said Monday that $90 billion could provide income support, food and a health response to the coronavirus pandemic for 700 million of the world’s most vulnerable people — a price tag just 1 percent of the $8 trillion stimulus package the 20 richest countries put in place to safeguard the global economy.

Mark Lowcock told a video briefing most experts agree that the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t reached the poorest parts of the world, but may peak in the next three to six months.

He said about 700 million people — 10 percent of the world’s population — are most vulnerable and concentrated in about 30 to 40 countries which already receive humanitarian assistance and will see a big drop in incomes as the virus spreads and governments impose restrictive measures and lock downs.

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“If you wanted to protect them against that drop in income, then probably for about $60 billion you could do that,” Lowcock said.

And for something like $30 billion, he said, people facing the threat of starvation can get food, and the health response to COVID-19 can be financed.

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