The pandemic represents a severe challenge for policymakers in Asia. They need a response that will help economies achieve a more efficient and fairer allocation of resources in the economy, enhancing productivity, economic growth and employment.
Making it easier for people and goods to cross borders has been clearly shown to provide widespread economic benefits. But countries on both sides need to be prepared to take advantage of the new opportunities created.
The tradeoff between lost lives during the pandemic and lost livelihoods is often viewed as an all-or-nothing choice between complete lockdown versus zero restrictions. In reality, a balance can be struck.
Without the right policies and programs, Asia’s poorest people could suffer needlessly as economies bounce back after the pandemic.
The pandemic is challenging policymakers across Asia. The shape of the economic recovery is uncertain but pro-active government and central bank policies can improve outcomes.
Governments in Central and West Asia must commit to reforms and get them right, or face a downward spiral. The costs of the crisis are already obvious in rising deficits and debt. There is no room for complacency.
An analysis of global responses to the virus indicate that expanding the capacity to test, trace, and isolate potential carriers is effective, as is the expansion of paid sick leave benefits.