International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh (ICCB) said COVID-19 is both the biggest health crisis and most uncertain threat to the world’s economy.
“It is still too early to properly assess the extent of negative impact the virus will have on the world economy, since the situation is evolving every day, economic estimates can only provide a magnitude of the impact,” it said in its quarterly News Bulletin (Jan-Mar’20) that published recently.
The ICCB said that actual ramification will depend on the extent of the spread and length of the duration of the outbreak and how quickly policymakers can take action to mitigate the health and economic damage.
“Many highly developed countries are taking emergency plans to deal with abruptly surfaced economic disruptions,” it added.
From an economic perspective, the ICCB quarterly bulletin editorial said the key issue is not just the number of cases of Covid-19, but the level of disruption to economies from containment measures.
“There is a lot of uncertainty what will happen in the post-coronavirus world,” it added.It also mentioned that experts think that all will see a new world which is very much different and unknown.
“The world leaders have to come together to save the humanity, agree on spending more resources on health care development and development of medicines to fight such pandemic in the future,” it said.
The ICCB bulletin said world is facing a severe and acute public health emergency and economic threat due to COVID-19 global pandemic, which originated in Wuhan Province of China in last December.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March officially declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) as a global pandemic. With this announcement, the financial markets across the world started to tumble.
The outbreak has also led major institutions and banks to cut their forecasts for the global economy, according to the ICCB quarterly News Bulletin (Jan-Mar’20) editorial.
It mentioned that the COVID-19 is the defining global health crisis and the greatest economic challenge the world has faced since World War Two and the Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, which lasted for 15 months. It infected 500 million people – about a third of the world’s population at that time and death of some 50 million.
“The descendants of the 1918 virus remain today; as endemic influenza viruses, they cause significant mortality each year. The world has made so much of development since then, but unfortunately the health sector has been the most neglected.”
The crisis highlighted the need for urgent action to cushion the pandemic’s health and economic consequences, protect vulnerable populations, and set the stage for a lasting recovery.
For emerging markets and developing countries, it is critical to strengthen public health systems, address the challenges posed by informality, and implement reforms that will support strong and sustainable growth once the health crisis abates.
According to experts, the ICCB Bulletin said the outbreak of the COVID 19 will have devastating economic effect on least and developing countries (LDCs). At the same time, as developed economies slip into recession, it will result in falling commodity prices and causing a double squeeze on these countries’ export earnings.
In the short-term to manage the situation countries all over the world, including Bangladesh are racing to slow the spread of the virus by testing and treating patients, lockdown, carrying out contact tracing, limiting travel, quarantining citizens, and cancelling large gatherings such as sporting events, concerts, and schools, it said.
“The pandemic is moving like a wave–one that may yet crash on those least able to cope.”It said that longer-term consequences of this pandemic may arise from mass unemployment and business failures. Some industries, such as tourism and aviation, will certainly face hardships.
“It has created an unprecedented level of risk, causing investors to suffer significant loses in a very short period of time.”
On the other hand, the ICCB said the necessity for social distancing has led to cancellation of enormous events, ravaged the travel business, closed businesses, restaurants, and shopping malls; resulting in an outsized negative demand shock.