IDB says monitoring coronavirus, annual meeting still on track

IDB says monitoring coronavirus, annual meeting still on track

Latin America People Economy & Policy

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said on Wednesday it is maintaining the schedule of events for its annual meeting later this month in Barranquilla, Colombia, even as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank curtail their annual meetings next month in Washington DC.

"The [Colombia] event is still on as of now," an IDB press officer told LatinFinance. On Tuesday, the IMF and World Bank announced they would move their meeting to a virtual format due to the spreading coronavirus, COVID-19.

"So far it is business as usual and everything is moving forward," the press officer said, noting the fluid nature of the situation as cases of infections grow. The IDB is scheduled to hold its meeting from March 18-22.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the IMF and World Bank said that they would move to a virtual format and added, "With this adapted format, we are confident that our member countries will be able to effectively engage on pressing global economic issues at these Spring Meetings."

The IMF on Wednesday said that in light of the fast-spreading coronavirus it would "make $50 billion available through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support."

Latin American development bank CAF said late on Tuesday that it will make available a $300 million line of credit to its members to combat the coronavirus.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the coronavirus will push global economic growth below levels seen in 2019, but she declined to give a specific estimate during a news conference in Washington DC. The forecasts for growth will likely be revised lower again in the next few weeks.

Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 are currently over 93,000 in 77 countries with 3,199 deaths, according to the latest data available from the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the WHO says seven cases have been confirmed in Ecuador, five in Mexico, two in Brazil and one each in Argentina, Chile and the Dominican Republic. No deaths have been reported in the region.

The vast majority of cases are in China, the epicenter of the outbreak, with 80,422 confirmed cases and 2,984 dead.