<h4><a href="https:\/\/www.imf.org\/en\/About\/senior-officials\/Bios\/geoffrey-w-s-okamoto" target="_blank">Geoffrey Okamoto<\/a>, IMF first deputy managing director and acting chair, warned Wednesday that the coronavirus <a href="https:\/\/see.news\/?s=coronavirus" target="_blank">crisis<\/a> is lasting longer than expected and it will take some countries years to return to growth.<\/h4>\r\nThere are nearly 31 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide and over 937,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.\r\n\r\nThe Fund has financed some $90 billion to 79 countries, including 20 in Latin America, since the beginning of the health crisis.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt is continuing to work with member countries on how to contain the pandemic and mitigate its economic impact,\u201d Okamoto told an online event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.\r\n\r\nHe added: \u201cWe\u2019re trying to preserve our financial firepower. We are talking about a return to growth that is going to take a few years, and many countries along the way that are probably going to need assistance.\u201d\r\n\r\n[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1600"]<img src="https:\/\/www.imf.org\/external\/pubs\/ft\/fandd\/2020\/09\/images\/okamoto-1600.jpg" alt="Geoffrey Okamoto" \/> Geoffrey Okamoto[\/caption]\r\n\r\nOkamoto stated that Fund officials were in talks with the G20 about extending a temporary halt in official bilateral debt service payments by low-income countries\u2014 under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), and how to kick start private sector participation.\r\n\r\nThe G20 initiative approved in April expires at the end of the year, but experts and government officials in many countries have backed extending it into 2021, with a decision expected in the coming weeks and months. In August, the ministers agreed to consider extending the DSSI.\r\n\r\nUnited Nations officials and others have urged the G20 to expand their efforts to include middle-income countries and island nations hit by the collapse of tourism. Okamoto stated that DSSI is giving the IMF more time to assess the full debt picture for these countries.\r\n\r\nHe added that the Fund continues to ask rich countries to fund two specific Fund programs that lend to poor countries.\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter wp-image-141140 size-full" src="https:\/\/see.news\/wp-content\/uploads\/2020\/08\/download-4.jpg" alt="" \/>\r\n\r\nIt is worth mentioning that the novel coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China, and has infected more than one million people and killed over 234,139 worldwide. It also hit several celebrities and top political figures around the world.\r\n\r\nThe virus is a new member of the Coronaviruses group, which was never identified in humans. The viruses\u2019 family also includes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), which cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.\r\n\r\nIn December 2019, an outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China. On 31 December 2019, the outbreak was traced to a novel strain of coronavirus, which was given the interim name 2019-nCoV by WHO, it was later renamed SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.\r\n\r\nOn March 11, WHO declared coronavirus a <a href="https:\/\/see.news\/who-declares-novel-coronavirus-global-pandemic\/" target="_blank">global pandemic<\/a> as the new virus has rapidly spread to more than 800,000 people from Asia to the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.\r\n\r\n<img class="wp-image-141044 size-large" src="https:\/\/see.news\/wp-content\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Iran-Coronavirus-1024x512.jpg" alt="People wearing face masks in Iran " \/>\r\n\r\nTransmission of viruses between humans happens when someone comes into contact with an infected person\u2019s secretions, such as droplets in a cough.\r\n\r\nCoronavirus can also be transmitted by coming into contact with something an infected person has touched and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.\r\n\r\nIt is known that older people appear to be more vulnerable to the effects of the emerging virus.\r\n\r\nThe virus caused complete paralysis in all activities and events with large gatherings worldwide due to concerns over the spread of the virus.\r\n\r\nPeople across the globe partake in self-isolation for 14 days as an effective precautionary measure to protect those around them and themselves from contracting COVID-19.