A Red Cross member sprays disinfectant inside Myanmar Economic Bank curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Yangon, Myanmar Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)
UPDATED 10:17 AM PT — Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Red Cross officials have issued a stark warning to national governments by saying extended economic lockdowns could produce violent unrest in their countries.
A new report from the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) noted the coronavirus panic is expected to produce mass unemployment worldwide. This could lead to an increase in poverty, individual bankruptcies, and suicides among the international working class.
“The risk of suicide is increasing in the area where they are isolating the people,” stated IFRC President Francesco Rocca. “We have a lot of people who are living very marginalized that we use in the so-called black hole of the society.”
Experts have said a recent spike in the U.S. jobless rate may repeat in other countries whose economies heavily rely on the services sector.
Red Cross workers prepare emergency relief kits packed with basic necessities like instant food for delivery to impoverished people experiencing difficulties amid the spread of the new coronavirus at a facility of the Korean National Red Cross in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
As a result, tens-of-millions of people worldwide will be reliant of government giveaways, odd and menial jobs as well as subsistence farming to survive. This may stir mass resentment and a consequential social upheaval could go as far as taking down governments across Europe and North America.
“My only advice to the politicians and those who have the responsibility to run a country is that this is not the time for optimism,” said Rocca. “This is a social bomb that can explode at any moment because they don’t have any way to have an income or to find an income. ”
The Red Cross stopped short of advising governments to reopen their economies, but said every effort must be aimed at stopping panic and fear of coronavirus. Experts noted the full extent of the possible social effects of this latest media scare remains uncertain.