[CNBC] reports the International Monetary Fund is starting a relief program to help in the fight against the coronavirus. Most of the money will be interest-free, and countries do not need to have a preexisting program with the IMF to participate, Kristalina Georgieva said “We’re in an early stage of engagement, but I can assure you that we will act very quickly as requests come,” There are more than 90,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, and the outbreak has spread to six continents.  The epidemic has led to severe travel restrictions in key economic hubs in China and Italy.

Supporting access and delivery of screening tools and medical care.

The IMF supports increased health-care delivery and expansion of services utilizing funds along with targeted fiscal stimulus packages to keep assets available as countries need the funding.  A collaboration with the World Bank to buy medical equipment, masks and respiratory equipment to combat the virus has been undertaken to get the necessary supplies to areas of need in the World. There will be health and economic consequences due to the epidemic and The World Bank has earmarked $12 million dollars as of Monday for poor nations to navigate through this crisis.  Creative and effective distribution of funds to businesses may be helpful as individuals are out of work staying home, due to fears of catching the virus.

Coordinating efforts to react to changes in “demand.”

Georgieva said earlier Wednesday at an event in Washington, D.C., that, “We are faced with a generalized weakening in demand, and that goes through confidence and through spillover channels, including trade and tourism, commodity prices, tightened financial conditions. The $50 billion dollar program announcement comes amid coordinated action from global central banks. The U.S. Federal Reserve announced a 50 basis point cut Tuesday and the Bank of Canada followed up with a move of the same magnitude Wednesday.

Economic impact.

According to the World Bank, the annual global cost of moderate to severe pandemics is about $570 billion (about £440 billion) or 0.7 per cent of the world’s income. By comparison the Sars outbreak in 2002-03 – which only infected about 8,000 people – caused about $50 billion in damage to the global economy.  Although its mortality rate is lower, the coronavirus could be even more destructive because of the world’s greater reliance on China than 17 years ago.

Controlling the virus.

Preventing the spread of the coronavirus varies depending on a number of factors, including its virulence, healthcare provision and being able to detect the spread. The coronavirus can be spread by carriers who have minimal or no symptoms, making it harder to track and contain. For example, among the passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive for the virus, about half had no obvious symptoms and it has been hypothesized that the incubation period is considered at 14 days.

Impacts to daily life are increasing.

Declarations of “states of emergency” are starting to pop up and travel is tenuous because people do not know if they will be disallowed from re-entry to the United States after travel abroad.  While the disease seems to be targeting the older population, simple measures such as proper hand washing, nutritous eating and resting can be instrumental in decreasing the spread of the disease in America. It is still uncertain how the financial losses due to quarantines will be handled for U.S. travelers when they return to America.

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