COVID-19 crisis to hit hard 220m workers, warns ADB
The COVID-19 pandemic will hit hard nearly 220 million young workers aged 15 to 24 in Asia-Pacific region, according to a report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The report titled "tackling the COVID-19 youth employment crisis in Asia and the Pacific" said the pandemic has triggered a massive disruption of labor markets that has had disproportionate impacts on youth employment.
"Through lockdowns and travel restrictions, demand has slumped and many businesses have been forced to close or cut back operations, with serious impacts on workers," the report says.
The report, a co-publication of the ADB and the International Labour Organization (ILO), said that nearly 220 million young workers in the region are particularly vulnerable given their short tenure on the job, their employment in especially hard-hit sectors, and their tendency to earn livelihoods in unsecured informal jobs. "Youth will be hit harder than adults in the immediate crisis and also will bear higher longer-term economic and social costs," the study warns.
To address the youth employment crisis, the study urges governments to urgently adopt large-scale and targeted responses centered on comprehensive labor market policies, including wage subsidies and public employment programs to minimize the impacts on young students of disrupting their education and training.
It said, "Effective COVID19 mitigation measures will ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable youth are reached and that young people are meaningfully engaged in policy and social dialogue."
Moreover, the report stressed the need to prioritize youth employment and maximize youth productivity in the COVID-19 recovery process, saying these will improve Asia-Pacific's prospects for inclusive and sustainable growth, demographic transition, and social stability.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern slapped down Donald Trump's talk of an out-of-control coronavirus "surge" in New Zealand as "patently wrong". She expressed dismay after the US president exaggerated the new virus outbreak in New
Zealand as a "huge surge" that Americans would do well to avoid. "Anyone who is following," Ardern said, "will quite easily see that New Zealand's nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States' tens of thousands."
"Obviously, it's patently wrong," she added of Trump's remarks, in unusually blunt criticism from an American ally. New Zealand had been hailed as a global success story after eradicating local transmission of the virus and Ardern was lauded as the "anti-Trump". But the recent discovery of a cluster in Auckland forced the country's largest city back into lockdown.
At an election rally in Minnesota on Monday, Trump jumped on that development as evidence his critics- who held up New Zealand as an examplewere wrong. "You see what is going on in New Zealand," Trump told supporters. "They beat it; they beat it. It was like front page ( news), they beat it because they wanted to show me something." Citing a "big surge in New Zealand", Trump added: "It's terrible. We don't want that."
New Zealand, with a population of five million, has around 1,300 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began roughly eight months ago and around 70 active cases. The United States, on the other hand, is the hardest-hit nation in the world with well over five million cases and more than 170,000 deaths.
It is not the first time that Trump and Ardern-a relatively young, centre- left leader-have clashed. Shortly after her stunning election win in 2017, Trump met her at a summit in Vietnam and joked she had "caused a lot of upset in her country".
"You know, no one marched when I was elected," she retorted, referring to the protests that followed Trump's victory in 2016. Both leaders are heading into elections in the coming weeks, and for both, trading barbs is likely to play well with supporters.
Ardern has been forced to postpone the elections by a month because of the latest outbreak, putting her sizable lead in the polls at risk.
Trump is trailing Democrat Joe Biden in the polls and facing fierce criticism over his handling of the pandemic.