Coronavirus: Half a billion people could be pushed into poverty, says UN study

The wave of pandemic that has brought the world to its knees is causing an uncontrollable rise of new poor people.

Oxfam International is calling on world leaders "to agree an 'Economic Rescue Package for All' to keep poor countries and poor communities afloat".

"The need of the hour is to bring together development agencies, national governments, civil society and the private sector in a global effort to protect the livelihoods and lives of the poorest of the poor in the Global South," said Kunal Sen, Director of the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNI-WIDER), which published the research.

Last week, the IMF said it was aiming to double the availability of emergency funding for emerging market and developing countries from $50 billion (€45.85bn) to $100 billion (€91.7bn).

"The demand for our financing has skyrocketed. In fact, never in the 75 years history of our institution have so many countries found themselves in need," IMF head Kristalina Georgieva told a joint news conference with the World Health Organization (WHO).

The two bodies issued a reminder that the global health crisis and the health of the global economy were intertwined -- and called for policies that protected both lives and livelihoods.

Last month the IMF and World Bank called for debt payments from poorer countries to be suspended.

More than 100 global organisations and charities called for this year's debt payments for dozens of the world's poorest countries to be cancelled immediately, and for debt burdens to be reduced in the coming years.