KUALA LUMPUR, 19 Nov 2020:
Countries around the world will continue to experience health and economic trade-offs for at least another two years, even if the Covid-19 vaccine is discovered, said World Bank’s Development, Policy and Partnerships managing director Mari Pangestu.
This means countries would still have to carry on doing the triple ‘T’ – testing, tracing and treatment – while obtaining good data to ensure it is able to monitor people and there will not be any second or third waves.
“Without being able to address that, you cannot open up safely, whether it’s schools, businesses, travel and so on. So it has to be done with these protocols, and I think the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) can play a big role in that, for example like the APEC business card, which is a success for business people.
“So, when we get the vaccines, it will be like the ‘yellow card’ to know that you have vaccinated, and then we start operating safely, do trading safely and work safely,” she said in a spotlight session titled “Asia Pacific’s Time” at the virtual APEC CEO Dialogues 2020 today.
Even when the vaccine is found, Mari said it would likely reach developed countries first, and developing countries have to make sure they too will have a fair and equitable access while also ensuring the relief and recovery of the economy takes place.
She said while there is a new normal of working from home, there will also be the new poor and vulnerable in the M40 and B40 income groups, as the world goes into deep recession.
This, she said, will mainly affect women who are not able to find jobs and children who do not have access to electricity, what more education or even online education.
“While there are more sets of issues, the government or the system is the saviour or the last resort, whether for the livelihood, firms or the economy; and it is a huge task… and governments will run into debts, even for the best managed government that you know.
“So it is important for governments to control the trajectory of the spread… and don’t just hope for the vaccine because it will take a long time to access as well as get vaccinated.
“Take the opportunity to improve your system so that if there is a third or fourth wave or a new virus, you will already have a system that is resilient for the future.”