Global cooperation needed to combat COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic will entail a huge cost to the global economy and could set back the nascent recovery witnessed in some parts of the world.
The world is currently in a Covid-19 lockdown mode. The UK, among the world’s last holdouts, joined much of the rest of the world when Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday ordered a strict nationwide lockdown – to be enforced by the police. A couple of days earlier, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned social distancing and a 14-hour nationwide lockdown into a people’s movement by appealing to his countrymen for a voluntary moratorium on all non-essential activity and contacts with outsiders. This was followed, a day later, with 30 of India’s states and Union Territories declaring legally enforceable and universally binding lockdowns to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The near-global shutdown of factories, offices, schools, malls, cinemas and all social life is unprecedented in history. Not even during the two World Wars were such measures needed to try and restore normalcy, but such is the nature of the beast. These steps, which would be considered draconian in normal times, have, by and large, met with widespread public support and approval.
This, however, will entail a huge cost to the global economy and could set back the nascent recovery witnessed in some parts of the world. In India, where the economic slowdown seemed to have bottomed out, the pain will continue for a few more quarters. But piecemeal, nation-specific solutions may not work in a global crisis of this nature as these often end up as zero-sum games. What is needed is a coordinated global effort to not only combat the medical emergency at hand but also to prepare a contingency plan that will raise the economic tide – and with it, all the boats in the water.