Observe And Learn from China’s Reopening after the Outbreak
China’s city of Wuhan is now one of the most famous cities in the world but not for conventional reasons. It was here that the Coronavirus outbreak was first discovered. It devastated its residents before spreading to the rest of China, Asia, and finally to the rest of the world.
Other countries around the world are still under different levels of lockdown. China might be soon looking at favorable economic news, as it has successfully combated the spread of the disease, according to official Chinese government data.
In the hope of salvaging what is left of its economy, China has progressively reopened operations. This includes the disease’s epicenter Wuhan, where the government started lifting lockdown measures in April. However, according to Goldman Sachs’ Chief Asia Economist, Andrew Tilton, China is still far from a full economic recovery.
Although China’s political and economic structures are different from those of many countries in other regions, Tilton maintains that the way Chinese authorities are handling the reopening contains “useful lessons” for other economies around the world.
“I think there are useful lessons there,” Tilton said.
China Is Reopening, but Carefully
Amidst the height of China’s reopening operations, in April, Chinese authorities were forced to shut down gyms in Beijing over fears of a second coronavirus outbreak. This happened one week after experts warned that countries that ease restrictions too early risk the second wave of infections.
“I think having timelines is going to be very challenging. No country is going to want to open up too early. They will want to avoid being the first major country to have a big second wave,” said Ben Cowling. He is a professor at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.
While they are exercising maximum caution in their reopening strategies, authorities in China are not afraid to re-impose necessary measures if need be. According to Tilton, the back and forth advancement strategy is a clear sign that China still has a long way to go before the economic situation goes back to normal and other countries might have to wait until 2021.
“I think the industrial sector probably comes back before the services side- I think that’s one thing we can probably imagine and see in other places. It’s easier to bring the supply side back there.” He added.
Different Economies and Sectors Will Recover At Different Rates
Lockdown measures differ in each country, with others having stricter measures in some sectors than others. Some of these, including the shutdown of border crossings and non-essential businesses, have brought both their economies and the global economy into a standstill.
“This is truly a global crisis as no country is spared. Countries reliant on tourism, travel, hospitality, and entertainment for their growth are experiencing particularly large disruptions,” wrote IMF’s Gita Gopinath. “For the first time since the Great Depression, both advanced economies and emerging market and developing economies are in a recession.
In recent weeks, a few countries, especially in Europe, have started to ease some of their lockdown measures. These include Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Andorra, Norway, Poland, Spain, and even Italy.
These countries, according to CNN, have something in common, as they were quick to respond to the coronavirus outbreak with lockdown measures, and rapid testing.
“They had these things in place, and as a result, they are already past the peak of infections there. The numbers of Coronavirus-related deaths in these nations are in tens or hundreds, rather than the thousands. And they are in a much better place because of proactive action.” Said Dr. Peter Drobac, a global health expert at the Oxford Saïd Business School.
At first, Tilton said countries will experience a quick recovery in some sectors. This is because some companies will be able to quickly assume full operations. However, other sectors, like the tourism sector, will probably take a longer time to restart and recover.
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