Covid-19 update: IMF makes $50bn available to fight the outbreak, while Flybe collapses

The IMF is making the funds available to help poor and middle-income countries deal with the outbreak, while the virus continues to affect air travel and UK airline sinks

                                

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is making available a $50bn (£39bn, €44bn) package of emergency financial support for countries hit by the coronavirus.

The organisation also warned that the outbreak had forced it to cut its global economic growth forecast to below the 2.9 per cent rate recorded last year. However, no specific figure was mentioned.

The emergency measure came after the virus has spread rapidly outside China to more than 70 countries.

The IMF said it is making the money available to help poor and middle-income countries with weak health systems respond to the epidemic. It stated that it wanted to ensure “that people are not going to die just because of lack of money”.

The lender said that $10bn in emergency funding would be available for low-income countries through a rapid disbursement programme for zero-interest loans.

A further $40bn would be available to other middle-income members through a different rapid financing programme.

The virus is also causing disruptions with air travel. Flybe is the latest airline to go into administration, putting 2,000 jobs at risk, after it failed to secure a crucial £100m loan.

The UK carrier said the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on demand for air travel was partly to blame for its collapse.

European markets have also dipped on the back of increasing coronavirus cases.

Frankfurt and Paris fell 0.3 per cent and Milan, which is at the heart of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak, and London slipped 0.5 per cent as evidence mounted of the damage the coronavirus outbreak was having. The number of coronavirus cases in the UK now stands at 90.

Globally, the coronavirus has now infected more than 94,000 people and killed at least 3,200.

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