Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

Caring for the Poor and Vulnerable
Publication Year : 2020
Author: Nasir Iqbal

The COVID-19 pandemic, which by March 20, 2020, had infected almost 0.24 million people in more than 165 countries, resulting in over 10000 deaths, has the potential to infect 40-70 percent of the world’s population1. By this date, more than 447 people have been confirmed infected in Pakistan, resulting in three deaths2. The country is at its initial stage of this epidemic and the number of expected infections is feared to increase manifolds in the coming days. Anyone can be exposed to the virus, but the poor are most vulnerable because they do not have the means to cope on their own. The recession, which is most probable to follow this outbreak, is expected to affect the economically vulnerable group the most. Poor workers, especially those dependent on a daily wage with no reserves, would not be able to cope with any possible lockdown as a response to the pandemic. We have to evaluate the economic cost of this pandemic from the vulnerable group’s perspective and propose policy options to minimize its impact.