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Pandemic Pushes 80m People in Asia Into Extreme Poverty, ADB Data Shows

The global pandemic has undone decades of economic improvement in some nations.

Nikkei Asia reports that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed up to 80 million people in developing economies across the continent into extreme poverty.

The ADB's latest research covered 35 economies and defined extreme poverty as living with less than US$1.90 per day.

Back in 2017, around 203 million people in Asia — 5.2% of the region's population — were under this line. The ADB believes that, without the pandemic, these figures would have fallen to 104 million and 2.6% in 2020. Instead, tens of millions of people continue to face dire situations, while efforts to alleviate hunger and improve access to healthcare and education have stalled.

The overall economy of developing nations in Asia contracted by 0.1% last year, the first time this figure had fallen in almost 60 years, the news source adds. Some countries witnessed particularly pronounced recessions, including the Philippines (9.6%) and India (7.3%). These dramatic economic losses had huge knock-on effects throughout society.

The ADB had predicted a rosier economic picture this year, with regional growth of 7.2% forecast, but ongoing Delta outbreaks across numerous major economies is putting this in peril.

Just today, the World Bank lowered its 2021 growth forecast for Vietnam from 6.8% to 4.8% amid the country's severe COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing social distancing regulations.

[Photo via Blue Dragon Children's Foundation]