The IMF is a leading global financial watchdog. It said that a pandemic would trigger sharp fall in the price of various commodities, tourism and trade would recede and lead to boycotting of work.
The virus is already being detected in domestic fowl in various countries. The IMF said that the business continuity planning will play a very critical component in preventing a crisis in the financial sector.
But not many countries have thought about it. This is due to the reason that avian flu pandemic may appear to be a low-probability event. But countries that had a first hand experience with the disease such as SARS, and those with large, complex financial systems such as the UK are all well-prepared.
The IMF staff are in the process of discussions with central banks, regulators and financial institutions to find out how prepared they were. World Bank, the sister organization to the IMF estimated that a pandemic would result in a loss of about $800bn.
This would also affect transport, payment systems and public utilities and result in risk of bankruptcy. Above all there would be more of a demand and a block in the investments.
All this would have a very bad economic impact resulting in an increase in the pressure on the government's finances. The government would end up spending on health, public safety and social welfare and its tax revenues would begin to dry up. It urged central banks to ensure there was adequate supply of cash in the economy. Once the pandemic was over the economic activity should recover relatively quickly.