The World Bank on Tuesday said that global economic growth will be hindered due to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of coronavirus. Covid-19 cases are increasing rapidly across major regions of the planet due to the Omicron variant leading to labour shortages and supply chain disruptions.
The World Bank also cut its forecast for global economic growth for 2022 to 4.1% after the 5.5% rebound in 2021. The forecasts were released in the latest Global Economic Prospects report by the Washington-based lender.
“Various downside risks cloud the outlook, including simultaneous Omicron-driven economic disruptions, further supply bottlenecks (and) a de-anchoring of inflation expectations,” the World Bank report highlighted. The World Bank president David Malpass said that the pandemic will leave a permanent scar on development.
“We’re seeing troubling reversals in poverty, nutrition and health. The reversal and education or scope from school closures will have a permanent impact. I’m very worried about the permanent scar on development,” Malpass was quoted as saying by AFP.
The World Economic Forum highlighted that lower rates of vaccination in lower-income nations could also exacerbate the economic woes stemming from the pandemic and urged to decrease the widening gap.
Europe at risk
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that half of Europe’s population will get infected due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The remarks by WHO came soon after the World Bank warned that the global economy could ‘decelerate’ due to Covid-19.
The global health body’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told AFP that a ‘west-to-east tidal wave’ of infections is sweeping across Europe. “The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) forecasts that more than 50% of the population in Europe will be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks,” Kluge said.
He highlighted that out of 53 nations in the European region, 50 of them have cases surging due to the Omicron variant.
The WHO also said that repeating boosters cannot be part of the strategy to combat the spread of the Covid-19 across the planet. “A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable,” the WHO said in a statement.
The European Union’s medical body European Medicines Agency (EMA), however, said that Omicron could be pushing Covid towards being an endemic disease with which people have to learn to live.