The Barbados Central Bank reports Barbados’ economy contracted by three percent in the first quarter of the year and could end 2020 with an overall decline of more than ten percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank’s governor Cleviston Haynes in his economic report for the first three months of 2020 states that while Barbados was expected to continue economic recovery this year the pandemic has delivered a severe blow.

He notes that the vital tourism sector has been hard hit with the entire last month of the winter season being lost and the sector contracting by more than 16 percent.

The Central Bank governor confirmed that government has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to adjust the targets set for Barbados under the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program. Additional financial help is being sought from international agencies.

Mr. Haynes also reports a huge rise in unemployment as hotels and other businesses closed with about 30,000 unemployment claims filed over the past month.

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