Omicron could slow down global economic growth, says IMF chief

Omicron could slow down global economic growth, says IMF chief

Due to the dangers of the quickly spreading Omicron variant of Covid19, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to lower its global economic growth estimates, the global lender’s chief said at the Reuters Next conference on Friday.

After being first reported in South Africa in the last week of November, Omicron has spread rapidly to at least 40 countries, including India.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told the conference that a rapidly spreading variant can dent confidence, and in that sense, the monetary fund is likely to see some downgrades of its October projections for global growth.

Most of Europe and the US is still grappling with a wave of infections caused by the Delta variant. The new strain will only destabilise the economies. While the Delta variant still accounts for 99.9% of the 90,000 to 100,000 new cases of Covid cases daily in the US, Omicron has also reached about one-third of US states.

As of now, there is no strong word on the severity of the virus, but it has been understood that it is highly transmissible. Some countries have imposed Covid restrictions again, which include no entry of foreigners into their land without a negative pre-departure RT-PCR report, or a week-long isolation post arrival.