Video Duration 25 minutes 00 seconds
From: Counting the Cost

How will countries pay off their debt after COVID-19?

As economies struggle and job losses increase, government debts are headed towards World War II levels.

The full impact of the coronavirus pandemic was laid bare when the United Kingdom became the first G20 nation to release its economic data.

In April, the first full month of the lockdown, the UK’s economy tanked a staggering 20 percent. It is heading towards the worst recession in 300 years. 

The government is expected to spend $60bn from March to October as they pay 80 percent of salaries of furloughed workers. The scheme is currently supporting 8.7 million jobs, or a third of all working people.

Some of the poorest parts of the UK have been hardest hit by the pandemic. Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports from Middlesbrough in northeastern England, where officials are concerned that the town will not cope if the government reintroduces austerity cuts after the lockdown.

And as rich nations spend trillions of dollars to limit the damage on economies and jobs, we speak to Jan Randolph, director of sovereign risk at IHS Markit, who explains how countries may pay off debts in the coming years.

Also on Counting the Cost: The United States has imposed new sanctions against the Syrian government, which are expected to derail the regime’s post-war recovery plans. Meanwhile, in Ecuador, one Indigenous community is successfully tackling coronavirus with strict lockdown measures. Plus, we look at why most global markets have staged a remarkable recovery – totally detached from the economic reality of the pandemic.