IMF urges poor countries hard hit by COVID-19 to adopt new austerity measures

The International Monetary Fund, (IMF) has recommended that poor countries hit hard by economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic adopt tough new austerity measures.

New research shows that since the pandemic was declared in March, 81 countries have been pressed to implement tighter measures that could result in deep cuts to public healthcare systems and social protection.

It comes after the World Bank projected that up to 115 million more people will fall into extreme poverty this year, the first increase in more than two decades.

Ana Arendar, head of Oxfam's Inequality Policy, said at a time when the progress against poverty is being set back decades, this is the wrong instruction for the IMF to be giving poor countries.

The Oxfam official argued that the IMF is using its power to make life harder for people already struggling to survive.

She noted that millions of people are likely to be left without healthcare or income support while they search for work, thwarting any hope of a sustainable recovery.

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