It’s the word of the month, and quite likely the decade – COVID-19. It’s a health crisis on the scale never before seen by our generation – a crisis with far-reaching and profound consequences for the economy, society and the poor.
Economic strain as a result is inevitable. A UN article recently stated that over US$220 billion of income losses are expected in developing countries as a direct result of the virus outbreak. Government funding and energy is being channelled towards COVID-19 response.
Of course, the economic response has social ramifications. Such challenges can lead to severe social dislocation as livelihoods fall, poverty rises and, if left unchecked, civil unrest can flare. In countries like Cambodia, there are also concerns about the health system’s ability to cope if a steep rise in cases was to occur, particularly due to the unpredictability of the situation.