Nearly half of all jobs in Africa could be lost because of the coronavirus, according to the United Nations.
In a report released on Monday, the world body warned that the crisis would disproportionately affect developing countries in Africa and elsewhere, taking a toll on education, human rights, basic food security and nutrition.
“This pandemic is a health crisis. But not just a health crisis. For vast swathes of the globe, the pandemic will leave deep, deep scars,” Achim Steiner, the administrator of the United Nations Development Program, which produced the report, said in a statement. “Without support from the international community, we risk a massive reversal of gains made over the last two decades, and an entire generation lost, if not in lives, then in rights, opportunities and dignity.”
Among the developing nations named in the report were Bosnia, China, Djibouti, El Salvador, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Nigeria, Paraguay, Panama, Serbia, Ukraine and Vietnam. Overpopulation, poor waste management, pollution and traffic were all identified as factors that threatened a developing nation’s chances of recovering from a coronavirus outbreak.
Leaders across the world have tried to balance economic concerns with the need to act swiftly to stop the spread of the virus. Iran has reported among the world’s highest numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths, but President Hassan Rouhani has been severely criticized for not acting forcefully enough to fight the epidemic. And while the illness has been slow to take hold across Africa, the number of confirmed cases and deaths there have risen gradually, raising fears about the continent’s readiness to respond.
The coronavirus lockdown in India has left vast numbers of migrant laborers stranded and hungry, and more than a dozen migrant laborers have died since the measure was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to hospital officials.