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OECD Expects Huge Reduction of GDP, Insists G20 Must Rebuild Global Health System

April 6, 2020 (EIRNS)—Not widely reported is OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Secretary General Angel Gurría’s statement presented at the March 26 G20 Videoconference Summit on COVID-19 pandemic, where he presented the stark reality of the economic consequences of the pandemic. A chart was presented that forecasts a tremendous reduction of Gross Domestic Product for the world’s leading economies, including a 30% reduction for Germany and 26% for the United Kingdom, Italy, and France; 25% for the U.S.; and slightly lower percentages for South Korea, Canada, Brazil and China, which would have an 18% reduction. The “tourism sector alone faces a decrease in output anywhere between 50% to 70%.”

Nonetheless, he said, this “is a cost that has to be paid today, in order to avoid much higher costs and even more serious consequences tomorrow.”

Gurría said the only way forward for the G20 countries is “to massively ramp up the production of medical infrastructure, equipment, and supplies, and to ensure that affordable vaccines and treatments are widely and swiftly available.” He underscored, “Special attention must be dedicated to the most vulnerable in our societies, considering the high inequalities in many of our countries. We also have to make sure that the health systems in the world are properly staffed. Our success in this war, on the health and human dimensions, will not only reduce the pain to our families and societies, it will also define our capacity to keep the economy afloat.”

While calling for action on several fronts, including “people and workers; businesses, particularly SMEs” (small and medium-sized enterprises), and in lifting trade restrictions, he particularly focused on aid to “developing and low-income countries,” saying “We should think of a Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative ‘on steroids.’ ”

He concluded: “We must learn the lessons fast. We need to ‘recapitalize’ our health and epidemiologic systems beyond narrow cost-benefit considerations so they have the necessary resilience to withstand such shocks. We need to double down on investment in the research and development of vaccines. We need to inoculate our citizens from any future shocks.”

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