April 13 (UPI) -- The World Bank Group projects that South Asia is on pace for its worst economic performance in 40 years due to hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
In its new outlook, the World Bank said those living in poverty in South Asia could acquire the disease and lose their jobs in a shrinking economy
"They also have less access to healthcare or even soap, are more likely to have lost their job, and are more vulnerable to spikes in food prices," the World Bank said in a statement. "This report estimates that regional growth will fall to a range between 1.8 and 2.8 percent in 2020, down from 6.3 percent projected six months ago.
The World Bank said the region is being harmed by shrinking tourism, disrupted supply chains, a decline in demand for garments and more pessimistic consumer and investor sentiment.
"Public banks ... were at the center of weaknesses in financial sectors that accumulated during recent years," it added. "However, during this crisis, they might be part of the solution by providing countercyclical lending to the most vulnerable parts of the economy."
The report projected that the Maldives economy will shrink by 13 percent while Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh will see significant impacts as well. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are projected to fall into likely recessions.