Local restrictions, rapid testing and rapid tracing key factors, says top IMF official.
China and other countries in Asia like Vietnam have shown that there is a way of dealing with a pandemic even in the absence of a vaccine, allowing the economy to get back on track, according to a top IMF official.
The playbook here is the one that includes local restrictions, rapid testing, rapid tracing and seeing these measures through until the end, until localised outbreaks subside, said Hlge Berger, Mission Chief for China and Assistant Director, Asia and Pacific Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“I think China, but not only China, but other countries in Asia, look, for example, at Vietnam, have shown that there’s a way of dealing with a pandemic even in the absence of a vaccine, that will allow the economy to get back, at least close to normal operating capacity by learning how to deal with local outbreaks,” Mr. Berger told reporters during a conference call.
That’s an important takeaway in a narrow sense from the experience of China that is particularly applicable to low-income countries that are facing pressures for the vaccine, he asserted.
“Other developments that I would stress have to do with digital enhancements of otherwise not online businesses; for example, in many low-income countries you do have well-developed electronic communication networks through cell phones. So, progress along these lines is helpful as well,” he said.
Vaccines, of course, are ultimately what will be needed to make sure so that all economies and the global economy gets back to normal, defined as the pre-pandemic normal, he noted.
“And here, I note that China has pledged to help facilitate the supply of vaccines to low-income countries; together with other economies, of course, it’s not just China. But that is an important endeavour and at the Fund we encourage this, and we think it’s important for the global economy and to help us all to overcome the pandemic, ultimately and go back to normal,” Mr. Berger added.