As COVID-19 keeps on spreading throughout the world, the question that keeps popping up on everybody’s mind is when and how the global economy would get back to normal. With most of the countries on either partial or full lockdown, the economy is badly hit. Even though some countries are opening some of their factories and workplaces like China and Austria, they have to take each step cautiously to minimize the chance of further outbreaks. Handy examines when it’s time to reopen the global economy.
1.The precursor to reopening the economy – As the world is taking a step towards reopening its economy, each country should take a few steps before it deems fit to lift up the lockdown.
Almost all the governments worldwide have rolled out a rescue package where the workers who were suddenly out of their jobs and income are supported economically. Governments are also buying stakes in a few companies which they do not want to shut down owing to loss of business in this pandemic.
Committees should be created to formulate the phases of easing out the restrictions and measures should be taken to carry them forward. Employees who can manage to work from home should be allowed to do so. The industries that offer most to the economy should open first with necessary precautions in place.
Schools and childcare centers can also be opened as it is found that young kids are least likely to contract the virus. Also, there are many employees who depend on these institutions for the safety of their children as they go to their work. Opening them would provide relief to these employees.
- Need for balance – Lockdowns and stricter measures of social distancing being enforced is the call of each country. This is required to contain the spread of the virus. But if this is continued for a long period of time it may have a negative impact. People are dependent on the chain of supply and demand. If this is broken for a long period, not only will it harm the physical condition of people but also the mental stability. It is important to strike an appropriate balance by opening in phases.
- Lesson from China – China is one of the first countries to open up its economy. Countries can look to its model and learn the pros and cons of it. It is also important to launch policies and campaigns to boost the business confidence of employees and protect as many companies as possible from its downfall. Travel restrictions should be lifted gradually in places that have become corona free.
- Strengthening of medical resources – Before any country thinks of reopening the economy, they must do rapid testing of people at coronavirus hotspots to rule out any case of infection. Governments should be ready to spend a large amount of its resources towards improving the medical infrastructure and buy more supplies. More incentives should be given to frontline warriors. This would ease them to fight the pandemic.
Handy feels that this problem cannot be solved in the short-term or at once. The need to develop a viable vaccine and antiviral drugs is crucial to winning this war. Until then, we have to lift lockdown in short periods to monitor the situation and be ready to impose it again.