International efforts to Fight Coronavirus
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- IR
I. Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, G20 summit was held through video conferencing, recently.
- G20 nations pledged a united front in the fight against coronavirus.
- They also committed to inject $5 trillion into the global economy to ensure the situation of deep recession doesn’t arise.
- G20 leaders also pledged to work with bodies such as the International Monetary Fund to deploy a robust financial package to support the developing nations which do not have access to capital markets or adequate health facilities.
- Other affected countries also joined the virtual summit including Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland.
- Leaders also agreed to contribute to the WHO-led COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund on a voluntary basis.
- G20 was criticised recently for being slow to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
- It is a global fund for supporting the work of the World Health Organization in containing the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic.
- It was launched in Geneva, Switzerland.
International Monetary Fund
- It is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.
- It works to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world
II. The UNICEF recently appealed to the governments worldwide to not to ignore life-saving health interventions such as immunisation in their efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- The children from the poorest families in countries affected by conflicts and natural disasters will be at the greatest risk.
- It is also feared that critical life-saving services, including immunisation may be disrupted, especially in Africa, Asia and the Middle East where they are essentially needed.
- The UNICEF also announced that it would increase support to all countries so that children continue their learning despite schools being shut.
- Initial sum of $9 million had already been allocated to help governments and education partners develop plans for alternative learning programmes and ensure access to remote learning.
United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) (PT SHOT)
- It is a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.
- It is among the most widespread and recognizable social welfare organizations in the world.
- UNICEF’s activities include:
- Immunizations and disease prevention
- Administering treatment for children and mothers with HIV
- Enhancing childhood and maternal nutrition
- Improving sanitation
- Promoting education
- Providing emergency relief in response to disasters
- UNICEF relies entirely on contributions from governments and private donors.
- Its Headquarter is in New York City, US.
III. US’s historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package
- It is a $2.2 trillion economic package to contain the damage caused to the country’s economy due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
- It is far bigger than the $800 billion assistance provided in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
- The package intends to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and provide direct payments and jobless benefits for individuals, money for states and a huge bailout fund for businesses.
What does the US’s $2 trillion package aim to do?
Quarantine orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic in many parts of the US have caused a serious downturn in the country’s economy.
- The deal aims at sustaining businesses and workers that have been losing income, as well as enabling the economy to recover once the quarantine orders are lifted.
Main provisions of the $2 trillion package
- The package will provide direct financial support for low and middle-income families, and payments for companies that have lost a majority or all of their customers due to the pandemic.
- The support for companies is aimed towards ensuring that they keep paying wages to their employees through the crisis, despite losing business activity. The deal also provides increased support for workers who have been fired or who have had their remuneration reduced.
1.Individuals and Families
- The package has earmarked $250 billion for individuals and families. Workers with annual incomes of up to $75,000 will receive $1,200 in direct payments, which will increase to $2,400 for couples, as well as an additional $500 per child. The benefits will phase out for those with higher salaries.
- At least $260 billion will be provided for emergency unemployment insurance, which will include an extra 13 weeks of coverage for those who have already used up existing benefits.
- Self-employed and gig economy workers will also be covered, and weekly benefits will be increased up to $600.
- $350 billion have been earmarked for small businesses to pay salaries, rent and utilities. These benefits will extend to businesses having 500 or fewer employees, as well as nonprofits, self-employed persons and hotel and restaurant chains having not more than 500 workers per location.
- It has also provided $17 billion to help small businesses repay existing loans, and $10 billion for grants up to $10,000 for small businesses to pay operating costs.
- The companies benefitting from the stimulus package will not be able to buy back outstanding stock, and have to maintain employment levels as of March 13, 2020, as far as possible.
- The companies in which top administration officials, members of Congress or their families have 20 per cent stake will not be able to avail the schemes.
- A disaster relief fund of $45 billion will be created to reimburse state and local governments for the purposes of providing community services, medical services among other safety measures.
- The package has assigned $31 billion for education, which will include $13.5 billion for local schools and programmes, and $14 billion for assisting universities and colleges.
- Student loans have been suspended, and no interest will be accrued over the next few months.
- Allocations have also been made for social programmes, such as child care, aid for heating and cooling, homeless assistance, as well as money for evacuating US citizens and diplomats stuck overseas, international disaster aid, and money for organising the 2020 general election.
- Lastly, coronavirus testing will be free for all citizens.
Jai Hind Jai Bharat