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Lessons from Pandemic: Asia-Pacific Nations Emerge Triumphant in Tackling COVID-19

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Covid 19

The novel Coronavirus pandemic started spreading across the Asia Pacific region in January since its outbreak in China’s Wuhan city. It has affected the lives of billions of people directly and indirectly with the worldwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of transmission. Economy and businesses started shattering throughout the Asia-Pacific countries with governments taking all possible measures to mitigate the impact of the global health crisis.

After several weeks of shutdown and suffering high rates of infection, many nations in the region are beginning to ease the restrictions after achieving potential success in controlling the outbreak.

With over 31,000 infected cases, Singapore has been one of the hardest-hit Asia-Pacific countries. However, through its remarkable preparedness and response against the pandemic, the Singapore government was able to earn the trust of its citizens for protecting their rights. The country reportedly provided financial assistance worth 160 billion Singapore dollars (approximately $112 billion) to the citizens supporting them in the crisis. 

Thailand, with just almost 3000 cases now, recently opened its economy to businesses after seeing single-digit daily increases in its infected cases. The government has been consistently monitoring the rate of infection as part of a four-phase plan to easing its restrictions to ensure that the disease transmission stays in control. New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has earned praises in the international community for her handling of the pandemic. Recently, she touted the idea of a four-day work week to encourage domestic travel in an attempt to boost the tourism industry in the country.

Furthermore, the Australian government formed a group of ministers gathered from both federal and state administrations to boost the response against COVID-19. To sustain the employee affected by lockdown, Australian PM Scott Morrison pledged spending worth more than 10 percent of GDP, including a 130 billion Australian dollar ($83.6bn) wage subsidy aiming to tackle unemployment in the wake of the health crisis. 

Ensuring strict quarantine policy, Vietnam became the first South-East Asian country to lift its lockdown in April. Not only the country was able to contain the outbreak, the effective response by Vietnam government has reassured that the businesses and economy will bounce back post-crisis. 

Notably, Asia Pacific countries with more than four billion population on Thursday adopted a UN resolution declaring “profound solidarity” to contain, mitigate and defeat the pandemic throughout the region. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) adopted the resolution calling for consolidated action in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders across the regions have echoed the hope for a better future.

Through regional cooperation, these countries are focusing on three key areas of concern in their socio-economic recovery agenda: protecting and investing in people and enhancing resilience; supporting sustainable and inclusive economic recovery, and restoring supply chains and supporting SMEs (small and medium enterprises).

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