Virus could push half a billion people into poverty

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The economic fallout from the coronavirus could increase global poverty by as much a half a billion.

This bleak warning comes from a United Nations (UN) study into the financial and human cost of the pandemic.

It will be the first time that poverty has increased globally in 30 years, according to the report.

The findings come ahead of key meetings of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and G20 finance ministers next week.

The United Nations University study was written by experts at King’s College London and Australian National University (ANU).

“The economic crisis is potentially going to be even more severe than the health crisis,” said Christopher Hoy from ANU.

The report, which estimates a 400-600 million increase in the number of people in poverty across the globe, says the potential impact of the virus poses a real challenge to the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ending poverty by 2030.