The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has severe health effects and serious implications for economic growth and social development. It has arrived in Latin America and the Caribbean in a context of low growth —as analysed in the previous special reports on the subject (ECLAC, 2020a and 2020b)— and, above all, of marked inequality and vulnerability, with growing poverty and extreme poverty, weakening of social cohesion and expressions of social discontent. Quarantines and physical distancing measures, which are needed to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus and save lives, are leading to job losses (11.6 million more unemployed in 2020, compared to 2019) and reducing personal and household labour income. The loss of income is primarily affecting the broad strata of the population that are living in or vulnerable to poverty, and people working in activities that are more exposed to layoffs and pay cuts and, in general, those in precarious employment.
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