As life comes to a standstill for millions, Mediterranean states have been hit heavily with regard to both lives lost and money lost.

Europe is the region worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic so far with more than half of the global death toll coming from the continent.

Italy has the second highest death toll of all countries to date, with more than 27,682 deaths, followed closely by the UK with just over 26,000.

Healthcare systems have struggled to cope across the area with countries facing particular difficulty trying to secure stocks of protective equipment.

While hospitals feel the strain, the fear of further spikes in cases is keeping much of the economy under lockdown at great cost.

Given the great disparity between the economies of states, even within the EU, some will be better prepared to handle the fallout of the crisis than others.

According to data collected by The Economist, southern European countries are more vulnerable economically to the coronavirus compared to those in the north.

The graphic shows some European countries's vulnerability to lockdown amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The graphic shows some European countries's vulnerability to lockdown amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (TRTWorld)

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Eurozone economies will contract by 7.5 percent in 2020, with Italy suffering from a fall in GDP of 9.1 percent and Spain suffering from an 8 percent contraction.

The disparity is down to the starkly different ways in which the states were struck by the pandemic, as well as the nature of their economic activity.

Some countries, for example, have economies that rely more heavily on face-to-face interactions, such as retail or the service sector, or manufacturing, than others, where the technology industry may dominate.

This is illustrated by the fact that 68 percent of jobs in Greece cannot be done from home while in Sweden the same measure lies at 56 percent.

Data compiled by The Economist magazine indicates that countries in southern Europe are less flexible because they do not have as many jobs that can be done from home.

In these countries, retail, hospitality, and transport sectors make up a greater proportion of the overall economy than their northern counterparts.  

The three sectors, which by and large require physical attendance for most jobs, constitute 24 percent of Spain’s GDP, while it was about 23 percent for the Greek and 21 percent for the Italian economies. 

In comparison, the three sectors made up just 16 percent of Germany’s GDP and 18 percent for each of Sweden and France.

The economic fallout does not just stem from people not being able to do their jobs due to the pandemic but also from the drying up of people who use those services.

Greece, Spain, and Italy are among Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, and the tourism sector alone provides a significant contribution to their respective economies.

Of special concern is Greece, which was already suffering from economic malaise before the pandemic. Unemployment in the country is expected to reach 22 percent due to the crisis, according to the IMF.

Source: TRT World