IMF says coronavirus crisis requires ‘wartime’ policy response

The seal of the International Monetary Fund(IMF) is seen outside of the headquarters building in Washington, DC on April 8, 2019.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Global policymakers must enact “wartime” measures for households, businesses and the financial sector to fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to a blog post published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Tuesday.

The IMF said governments should approach the pandemic as if it is war by providing key supplies to the health care sector, cash transfers to individuals who lost their jobs and “exceptional support” like wage subsidies to private companies.

“If policies ensure that workers do not lose their jobs, renters and homeowners are not evicted, companies avoid bankruptcy, and business and trade networks are preserved, the recovery will occur sooner and more smoothly,” the IMF said.

The IMF said “greater intervention from the public sector” is warranted while the pandemic lasts. The Fund predicts the “war” phase of the pandemic will endure “at least” one to two quarters.

Governments around the world are taking extreme steps to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in more than 40,000 deaths globally as of Tuesday according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Last week, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to fight the pandemic in the U.S. Some economists warn additional stimulus could be required as hundreds of millions of Americans remain on lockdown.

The IMF said the magnitude and success of policy measures from governments will determine how quickly the economy can recover once the spread of the virus is contained.

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