The managing director of the World Bank has told Sky News that the coronavirus could wreak devastation on populations in the developing world.
Axel van Trotsenberg says poorer countries urgently need financial support to fight the pandemic – and that the job losses crippling the US economy will be felt across the globe.
More than one million cases of coronavirus have been reported around the world, but the figure is likely to be much higher.
Over 10 million people in the US have already applied for unemployment benefits.
Mr van Trotsenberg told Sky News’ US correspondent Amanda Walker: “The concerning part is in the poorest countries where health systems are very weak.
The World Bank has said it is prepared to spend $160bn (£129bn) in emergency aid to help developing nations cope with the challenges they face as COVID-19 spreads further.
India, the third largest economy in Asia, will receive the largest share of the initial funding – $1bn (£800m) – to support better screening for the virus, contact tracing and laboratory diagnostics; pay for personal protective equipment; and set up new isolation wards for those infected, the bank said.