While the global economy is expected to shrink by 4.4 percent this year, Latin American and Caribbean economies are likely to experience a GDP contraction nearly twice as high as that, according to the Western Hemisphere Economic Outlook report released last Thursday by the International Monetary Fund.

Latin America, which the World Health Organization declared the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in June, has been hit hard by the health crisis. Despite being home to only about 8 percent of the world population, the region has seen 28 percent of the global COVID-19 cases and nearly one-third of the deaths. Yet, the IMF indicated that containing the spread of the virus and addressing the health crisis should remain Latin America’s key policy priorities.

“Policies should be centered around pandemic containment and helping in the recovery,” IMF Western Hemisphere Director Alejandro Werner said. “We should not draw fiscal support prematurely.”

Watch the video report here: