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tv   Counting the Cost 2020 Ep 14  Al Jazeera  April 5, 2020 6:32am-7:01am +03

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the effects of the pandemic will likely push millions into poverty and health officials in iran are warning of a 2nd wave of cases of people don't follow advice to stay at home there are nearly 56000 confirmed cases despite the warning a resurgence industrial facilities in iran have been reopened in iraq or for his of imposed a curfew meaning the streets of baghdad remain unusually quiet most public places have been closed soldiers have been deployed to enforce the lockdown the government's reported 820 confirmed cases in iraq and in uganda the 14 day nationwide lockdown measures mean millions of people can go to work for thousands that means there will be no food on the table the government is just debating aid to more than one and a half 1000000 ugandans it sees as most vulnerable 48 confirmed cases in uganda. today with the headlines on al-jazeera counting the cost is next. we understand the differences and similarities of cultures across the. sea.
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and current. al-jazeera. this is counting the cost on al-jazeera your weekly look at the world of business and economics this week. health services in rich nations are struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic so what about poor nations will the world bank's multibillion dollar fund be enough to help developing countries. putting people before a debt crisis argentina gets money into the hands of families to fight the economic
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impacts of the pandemic. and from helicopter money to universal basic income could we see more governments picking up last paychecks to keep the economy and businesses alive. the world bank and the international monetary fund the calling on creditor nations to provide debt relief to the world's poorest nations amid the coronavirus pandemic rich nations have deployed unlimited funding to combat the pandemic and its economic cost the united states and federal reserve of so far pledge 6 trillion dollars but poorer nations don't have the financial firepower of the world's richest nations so the move to ease the pressure on the poorest nations comes at a crucial time health services in rich nations are being stretched by the crisis developing and poor nations will require support the world bank is making available
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$12000000000.00 to support health and primary care services in low and middle income nations and the i.m.f. has made $50000000000.00 available to support emerging markets are rising powers are also under pressure india for example where $1300000000.00 people are on the lockdown spends 3.7 percent of its g.d.p. on health care that's less than china which spends almost 5 percent according to data from the world bank. and the next hot spot for the pandemic could be africa according to the economist more than half of african countries are above the i.m.f. recommended limit for public debt here's prime minister abu ahmed has called on the g. 20 to provide $150000000000.00 in emergency funding for the continent and now south africa is in lockdown for 3 weeks for a country that is in its 2nd recession in as many years it can ill afford to shut
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down the economy the country's health care system is already struggling and people there worry the covert 19 pandemic could overwhelm it entirely how does era's for media miller reports from johannesburg. doctors detected the 1st case of covert 1000 in south africa in early march over the past few weeks hundreds more have been treated for the virus as the government tries to contain the outbreak many are worried 28 year old stepson watter is one of the $7000000.00 south africans with hiv he says with an already compromised immune system his priority is to keep safe it feels like it's another. reload of a sort there actually really ill evolute and something that has got a lot of fear and words people living with hiv it was in their denial of seeing what if i get infected what's going to happen why don't you choose that's what's
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the next steps millions like to pull have no option but to use often overcrowded public transport while private taxi operators have promised to disinfect and provide hand sanitizer many have been slow to implement the new guidelines public hospitals and clinics are normally crowded with people waiting for hours to see a doctor they are concerned the corona virus could easily spread when you come to our part of the world our public health care systems are broken our intensive care units are full even before we get to covert 19 so again there's a real danger and this is why i think we need international support for africa we need a mobilization of resources poor water and sanitation infrastructure in parts of south africa mean that many may not be able to wash their hands as often as they should increasing the risk of contracting 1000 in upmarket suburbs like this
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one homes in spaces a large states a wide it's easier for people to keep apart but for millions of others the reality is quite different thousands of townships across south africa overcrowded dozens of . family she won twilit streets aligned with rubbish and people have little if any space to themselves the government is using t.v. radio and the internet to spread awareness as quickly as possible and as promised quarantine spaces for people who don't have their own it's closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 100 people compared to europe and asia african countries have fewer reported cases of the virus but some experts priory that poorly equipped public health systems are failing to spot the true total and warns the continent should prepare for the worst. al-jazeera of johannesburg south africa . joining us now via skype from oxford is andrew follow he's
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a senior fellow at the oxford martin school at the university of oxford good to have you with us so with health care systems now clearly lacking things like ventilators protective suits even staff has this crisis shown just how wrong past funding policy has been towards the health care systems yes we've known about the risks of this happening for long time the world health organization added to its party watch list what it called disease acts a serious international epidemic caused by a pathogen currently unknown cause human disease and i have covered 1000 turns out to be that the disease acts spread by a virus we've known this for a long time we know that half of the 1400 or so one pathogens have their origins in animals we've had 100 in emerging infections the last century 345 have gone global 3 in what will in plans and next hiv aids we've known about
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this for a long long time the goal well community has been writing reports that it's a long long time there was a report just a few years ago that all it would take to be a pair of out for half 1000000000 a year which is less than a dollar. on the planet to be better prepared what we're talking why aren't we you know what's been lacking money or political ideology and will. erma not well money because of the lack of because of the lack of attention of the political system perhaps i mean we've had. calls from top money to pop out of this for some while now $1.00 of the problems of course is that this is a disease while it is an event it's a small probability has a terrible impact when it happens or sort of political systems perhaps they very well with those sorts of things they d. prioritize them and that the key thing about this it's you know we've had
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opportunity and the resources that would have been the clients be more ready. you know could have been made available and haven't we've invested in in you know antiterrorism that we're talking about something that matches that matches more than that it matches any wars of natural disasters and. there's been calls to deal with the climate under best and in this area for a long time it's political but it's also you know maybe the way in which we deep we don't spot these things we don't climatized not very good globally at dealing with these these sorts of of events or i guess this crisis is also demonstrated the need for more government intervention in public health issues in the private sectors and they can't face this alone do you think that will change attitudes in places like the u.s. towards public funding of health care services it's a curious one because you know i just mentioned that the u.s. is actually on the metrics of preparedness is up at the top supposedly and yet you
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know chuck was on the t.v. the other day preparing the nation for you know several 100000 deaths the trajectory the hopes of the u.s. . over several 1000000 deaths so you know he was tipped to change this is a success for getting that and want to control you know that teaches says that actually being prepared you also need to be prepared and have good political leadership and in coordination at the top. one of the issues with the u.s. system you asked about you know reform of the u.s. one of the issues it has of course is it has vast numbers of its population who want not covered by that system and don't have health insurance so when they get ill or they get suspicion of being ill certainly in the early days of a pandemic there were lots of things in the system operated against them actually doing something about it or going and getting tested going right and heard that it was people trying to avoid getting test because they can't afford the financial
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burden that puts on them right. that's correct there's that plus of course. that's numbers of the population get to live you know fairly low on the breadline you know when we say to them you have to isolate yourself you have to separate yourself you have to basically do everything they your part to get the what we call the base of a production out to get the number of people that you potentially might in fact to get that down low because at the moment it is more than 2 or 3 that means everybody gets infected spreads to 2 to 3 more and that's not the typically more out of that so to break that you have to tell people to do things that are actually to something we can actually damaging to them and eat a system that protects them so in the us the way in which the health system is set up and to some degree the social security system is set up it operates against the very measures that we actually need to see people. taking let me jump on
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a sentence you said you know the need to get people to do things that might be against their immediate economic or financial interests when it comes to developing countries who've got an even bigger problem right if you look at india for example they've got a lock down there a lot of people in the formal economy now are going without jobs i.e. without income i.e. you know without food is that sort you know is the the lockdown in the approach to coronavirus going to become perhaps as big or perhaps even a bigger threat to people than the actual coronavirus yes i mean the problem with lockdowns is that lock downs are not ultimately the end solution they're not the exit strategy bait they keep that the numbers down they stop the exponential growth numbers that if you know if people actually do isolate and under those circumstances the problem that we're facing in
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a lot of developing countries is of course that there are systems to feed. if you don't go out to get a job or if you're you don't go out and do something so developing a 100 trees can't afford to give everyone 12 or $1500.00 right so that's an issue that's that's correct but the thing about the lot down in all it what it's doing is it's buying time line to get ready it's buying time time to get that test test test up and going it's buying time to put interventions in place but think about the lot if it actually works and it's the same in the u.k. as it will be in india if it works and it actually causes the pandemic to subside the critical it sapped of that is going to be how many people are actually immune within that society if it turns out that only 10 or 20 percent in the u.k. ever got infected and that therefore a new removing the lockdown would be quite tough because you're inflicting you know on a population that putting a population back into a situation where they could still get the virus so the key thing about both in
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india out africa brazil i've been interacting with police in these parts of the world all over this week you know the the that they're very afraid that you know even with the lock down there's a whole raft of problems coming along for it to actually achieve its long term aim which is to protect human life right it's been a fascinating discussion thank you so much for talking to us and to follow. the pandemic threatens to wreck the world's most cash strapped countries in argentina 2 years of recession of resulted in almost 10 percent unemployment that's expected to rise significantly after some of latin america's strength this lockdown measures were imposed al-jazeera stories about reports from one side of us. the streets of argentina's capital when a site is are empty these days after the government imposed a look down in the country but soup kitchens like this one cannot afford to shut
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down. constanza says the amount of people coming year has doubled in the past few days and the local guy called mia people used to come here and sit down they could take a shower and spend some time things have changed but the amount of people coming has doubled many can't work and can't survive with the lock down and others live on the streets. here argentina's economy was already struggling with recession and the possibility of default on its sovereign debt before fighting the covies 19 became a priority for this country's government life is difficult for many in argentina his days as a rise of unemployment from poverty and the impact that the lockdown cost revive a coronavirus is having and the economy for many coming to this place is the only chance they have to eat at least once a day job or certainty that he will be out yes but it's not just the poor that i belong affected they must. be going on silas works as
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a taxi driver in the city he says he's worried with the impact over 1000 could have in the country but he's unsure how he will survive if the lockdown continues he's 60 years old and this taxi is the only way he has of making a living. or you're going to get the most big moment situation is very very serious i have to pay a rent and i cannot make any money i'm not sure what is going to happen we are authorized to be on the street but there's more people. even though the lockdown is supposed to last until the end of the month the government might extended for a longer period it has also warned private creditors that argentina's economic recoveries uncertain and that its debt crisis could be prolonged due to the coronavirus pandemic. economy minister meddling old man says the priority right now is. cysteine argentine families with extra income to survive for the next few weeks . you konami character it is minimal because the lockdown in this leaves
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a lot of people with anguish and desperation but we want to make sure that every person that lives in argentina is protective of the situation. president elbereth the fat man there says he's prioritizing saving lives over the economic situation those who need the government's help say it's the only way bill survive in the weeks ahead. and just see that when a scientist. now is more than 2000000000 people go into lockdown many living from paycheck to paycheck gig and informal economy workers us about to lose their livelihoods the number of people filing for unemployment benefits rose to more than 3000000 people in the united states alone and it's the biggest surge on record rich nations have stepped in to cover last paychecks as part of the $2.00 trillion dollars stimulus many americans who receive up to 12 $100.00 plus $500.00 per child
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in the united kingdom the government has offered to cover 80 percent of workers monthly pay up to $2.00 and a half 1000 pounds and in hong kong residents were sent checks for $1200.00 each when central banks print money it's called helicopter money an idea 1st introduced in 1969 by nobel prize winning economist milton friedman the idea to get money directly into the hands of consumers some see it as a better way to revive an economy let's bring in our guest joining us now via skype from london is alfie sterling he's the head of economics at the new economics foundation thanks for joining us so some governments in developed countries and now giving money directly to people rather than to the banks as they did in the last financial crisis is this the right approach do you think. yeah i think you know direct bailout if you like for people is absolutely the key priority in this crisis
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and actually we've probably had too little of it and particularly in the u.k. and other european countries certainly in the u.s. the priorities being actually to turn immediately for the banks it's almost as if governments were expecting to fight the last battle the financial crisis and that they were ready to get money back that we really needed here was to bail out people who are losing their jobs this crisis as a result of social isolation of people not being able to go to work so funneling money directly to people to read people's bank accounts is the correct approach right it is true people are losing their jobs but people are losing their jobs in the last financial crisis too why do you think governments in some of the developing developed countries now more convinced with the direct bailout rather than trickle down economics. it's partly because of the source of the crisis and the immediacy of the crisis as well so last time we know that the source of the problem in 2000 a was that banks wasn't what lending so giving money to the banks was tackling the
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problem at source now i would argue actually not enough was done in 2008 to address other symptoms as well in terms of direct money for families that this time the problem is unavoidable so to give you an example just how much more severe this crisis is in 2 weeks we've had a 1000000 people in the u.k. sign up for unemployment benefit support in 2008 it took 3 years before the unemployment count reached 1000000 so i repeat again 2 weeks 1000000 people so the crisis is on a different level in terms of unemployment this time around which is what's necessitating this much more rapid much more urgent response from government or i but will it create also problems on a much different level i.e. inflation debt. so it all response at the moment from government will have to be financed through debt whether it's loans through the banks whether it's. providing grants to companies whether it's providing income
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support to people it's very unlikely to be inflationary at this moment in time and that's because people have stopped spending people are spending because they've lost their jobs and they've lost their income so boring from government and jet and cash into the economy is replacing that lost income which means it's not going to be inflationary in the medium term if that were to be inflation that's actually a sign of the economy warming up again and recovery and central banks are able to adjust interest rates to absorb ready that but in the short term the real crisis is we don't have enough inflation don't have enough spending pressure in the economy because people lost their incomes is this something that developing countries can emulate in the past developing countries often been told to watch out for inflation when it comes to printing money and putting it in the hands of people right why is it different for developed countries. one of the relevant points here is this concept of fiscal space and how much room governments have to borrow before interest rates start to rise very rapidly on that they're developed economies and
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particularly developed economies have an independent currency have a lot of space to borrow and to issue bonds to markets in a way that doesn't rapidly increase interest rates and that's partly because ultimately the central bank can always step in and step behind government but if you're a developing economy or you're not part where you have an independent currency you might be heavily reliant on the dollar for example then you're not able to issue a fund in your own currency in a way that markets trust and want to lend to you can become more of a problem so there is it is true that different countries are different amount of fiscal space and that will affect the extent to which government can intervene but but right now that such is the scale of the crisis we're facing such and such as the shock to economies that every government in the world will have will have a significant amount of room to pass cash on to families like to pick your brain another if you are government there well it's kind of related to this question are governments in some developed countries now moving towards the concept of universal
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basic income in all but name so i think this isn't happening in most countries united states and clearly gone down a route that looks looks a bit like this and that they passed on $1200.00 i believe to american presidents want us to 100 per person to that is similar to. a universal basic income in some forms but many countries haven't most european countries are actually stepped in to protect jobs directly so the government has stepped in and guaranteed a portion of salaries and that's different to basic income because it's actually saying we want people to keep their job and we'll pay part of salary temporarily so that when the crisis ends the job is still there it's automatically still in place right about growth countries like if they were us can we say that they're moving towards u.b.i. . i would fear that they are not because you tend to see
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u.b.i. in this war situation the most attractive in countries where the social safety net was weakest going into the crisis there was very little in place beforehand which necessitates something very rapid very quick very simple like e.b.i. type payment but of course it's also very easy and quick to reverse as well if you introduce a temporary payment a one off check as a thing in the u.s. there's no reason why that then is retained beyond the crisis period so the temp repayment yes i don't know if this is a permanent strengthening of the united states social security system could it become more this actually leads into another question i mean could it become a sort of new economic model post the coronavirus crisis where at least if not the whole of you could be i but from of the concepts of universal basic income sort of catch on as a new way of doing things. i think that's a really really important question and i think it's really hard for us to know how the politics or lessons learned or the in the future context within which
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policymakers will operates always very hard to predict which lessons to learn during a crisis i would say i would hope that it's inconceivable that countries like the u.k. like the u.s. will go into another crisis was a screw to systems so weak as the ones that both countries went into this crisis with we had very very weak safety nets not enough protection people losing their jobs now that's not the same as saying congress will adopt in about a basic income in future and that's partly because the big question being about a basic income is not is it a solution it's is it the best solution any given point in time and i think many countries will look at it and think well actually given a certain amount of public resources we're better off getting targeted funds for people that need it rather than universal payments to everyone and actually if we want to go down the universal route it's probably better to provide universal services so housing services that are even cheap or free or subsidize potentially food certainly public transport services that provide that reduce the cost of
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living is a mob can often be much more fission and cost effective way for government provides a whole thing interesting talking thanks so much alfie. and that's our show for this way but remember you can get in touch with us via twitter use the hash tag a day c.t.c. when you do or drop some e-mail counting the cost of al-jazeera got net is our address is more for you on line to al-jazeera dot com slash c.t.c. that will take you straight to our page which has individual reports links and the entire episode for you to catch up on. that's it for this edition of counting the cost on sammy's a than from the whole team here thanks for joining us the news and al-jazeera is next. although work does stay with most state where was the rest internment and mass
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