With health and economic losses continuing to grow as the word enters the third year of COVID -19 pandemic, economists from across the world have called for new policies to manage both the uncertainty and the long-term risks of the pandemic.
In the IMF Working Paper – “A Global Strategy to manage the Long-Term Risks of COVID-19“, the authors put forth four policies.
“First, we need to achieve equitable access beyond vaccines to encompass a comprehensive toolkit, Second, we must monitor the evolving virus and dynamically upgrade the toolkit. Third, we must transition from the acute response to a sustainable strategy toward COVID-19, Balanced and integrated with other health and social priorities. Fourth, we need a unified risk-mitigation approach to future infectious disease threats beyond COVID-19,” the authors said.
Ruchir Agarwal (IMF), Jeremy Farrar (Wellcome), Gita Gopinath (IMF), Richard Hatchett (CEPI), and Peter Sands (Global Fund) are the authors of the working paper. They point out that international community should recognize that its pandemic financing addresses a systemic risk to the global economy, not just the development need of a particular country.
“Accordingly, it should allocate additional funding to fight pandemics and strengthen health systems both domestically and overseas. This will require about $15 billion in grants this year and $10 billion annually after that,” they stressed.
PANDEMIC NOT OVER
The authors note that the sharp rise in cases and deaths in some countries in Asia and the resurgence of cases in Europe are a stark reminder that the pandemic is not over. Moreover, the challenges the global economy faces, such as supply disruptions, inflation, and persistent uncertainty, also show that the world is still in the pandemic’s grip. COVID-19 is expected to leave lasting imprints on the economic potential of many countries. They noted that 86 countries did not meet the 40 percent vaccination target by the end of 2021, which showed that disparities in vaccine access and uptake remain significant. Under current trends, over 100 countries are unlikely to meet the 70 percent vaccination target set for mid-2022- and several may never reach it. On tests, the daily target was set at 1 per 1,000 people, and about two in three developing economies continue to test below this target despite the Omicron wave. Meanwhile, high-income countries are testing 80 times more than low-income countries (Figure 3). There are similar gaps in access to oxygen, treatments, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
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