A staff member disinfects subway train carriage in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, Feb. 13, 2020. To ensure the safety of passengers, Changsha has stepped up various prevention measures at subway stations to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, such as disinfection in subway stations and subway train carriages, temperature measuring, setting up new observation points and publicity of epidemic prevention information. (Xinhua/Chen Zeguo)
A staff member disinfects subway train carriage in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, Feb. 13, 2020. To ensure the safety of passengers, Changsha has stepped up various prevention measures at subway stations to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, such as disinfection in subway stations and subway train carriages, temperature measuring, setting up new observation points and publicity of epidemic prevention information. (Xinhua/Chen Zeguo)

The economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic is the “most synchronized” in history and its prospects of recovery is quite uncertain, Colombian economist Jose Antonio Ocampo said on Saturday during a virtual conference.

“It is much faster than the Great Depression of the 1930s, but we hope it will not be as long as the Great Depression,” said Ocampo, a former executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Experts from Latin America gathered Saturday to participate in the virtual conference themed “Latin America: The challenges of the pandemic and post-pandemic,” organized by the Chilean Forum for Fair and Sustainable Development.

Ocampo also compared the current situation with the economic crisis of 2008, and warned that the current prospects of recovery are “more uncertain.”

He said the situation in Latin America is “particularly bad” as the region has become the “center of the pandemic” in recent months. The effects of the pandemic will result in a regional contraction of 9.1 percent this year, according to ECLAC.

Ocampo said that regional economic deterioration due to the crisis has been “brutal,” with plummeting employment and an increase in inequality.

A basic income should be “on the agenda of the countries of the region,” he added, explaining that informal workers have been one of the hardest hit groups during this crisis.

The former ECLAC head said that the region needs productive policies that are “much more ambitiously oriented, or intimately articulated.”

On Friday, the forum released a statement in which it stressed the importance of examining how to implement individual economic reactivation plans, as the same model will not work in every situation.

“It must be one that arises from social dialogue, that favors governability, that stimulates public-private dialogue, and shapes social rights to prevent new crises from bringing so much pain to millions of Chilean families,” the statement said. Enditem

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