The Global Health Forum of Boao Forum for Asia held a webinar on June 2 (COURTESY PHOTO)
Globalization will not be brought to an end by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, but may undergo transformation both in structure and substance. Only through multilateralism and international cooperation can global challenges be effectively addressed, Ban Ki-moon, Chairman of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) told a webinar held on June 2 on the preparation of the 2nd conference of the Global Health Forum (GHF) of BFA.
According to Pan, the pandemic is the world’s worst sudden-onset crisis since the Cold War, and the first true global one, which will have major impacts on world economy, security and development landscape, and expedite the evolution of international order and human society.
As a report named The Pandemic and the Changing World released on the webinar suggested, the pandemic has accelerated the penetration and adoption of new technologies and given rise to new work and lifestyle patterns, while it may deepen social inequality for the low-income groups may be overwhelmed by the virus.
The pandemic has also made the lack of an effective governance mechanism for global issues more prominent and may provide sort of so-called ammunition for the opponents of globalization and fuel protectionism, according to Pan.
“However, it sends out an unequivocal warning that humanity lives in the global village. Whether we admit it or not, we are bonded together as a community in which no country can tackle global challenges alone,” he said.
Pan warned that the pandemic is still unfolding globally and the number of cases changes every day. The situation in some emerging economies and developing countries remains concerning with ongoing outbreaks in countries such as Brazil, Russia and Peru. The pandemic also continues to spread in South America and Africa.
As the report pointed out, the United States with advanced healthcare technologies has also exposed obvious vulnerabilities and deficiencies in the current fight against COVID-19. After the first confirmed case was publicly reported on January 21, communitybased infections appeared in the United States in February. But it was still unable to ensure the availability of necessary nucleic acid testing as of March. The U.S. Government did not recommend wearing masks and other personal protective equipment until the number of confirmed cases topped 200,000.
The international community needs to conduct further research on vaccines and promote information sharing to cope with the epidemic more efficiently, Li Baodong, Secretary General of BFA told the webinar.
While different regions of the world are at distinctive stages of pandemic-control, Asian countries excelled at the comprehensive test posed by the epidemic. China, Japan and Korea encouraged and supported each other, setting a good example of crisis collaboration for other parts of the world, according to the report.
“China put life-saving front and center after the epidemic outbreak, mobilized resources around the country and implemented the most stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus,” Pan said.
It was one of the first countries to share pandemic control experience and help other countries in need by sending medical teams and supplies, he added.
Stressing vigilance on the global spread of the epidemic, the report still showed upbeat expectations on the economic performances of countries around the world. As it suggested, the pandemic has given birth to new sectors and business modes. The rapid rise of the Internet economy, the increased adoption of remote work and the successful experiment with shared employees have all provided new sources of growth for post-pandemic recovery.
All countries will experience a faster-than-average economic growth in 2021 if the pandemic is brought under control this year as the International Monetary Fund projected, the report said.
Launched by BFA in 2018 as a platform on public health, the GHF held its first conference in June 2019 in Qingdao, Shandong Province in east China. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the conference this year originally scheduled for March was postponed to October.
Copyedited by Madhusudan Chaubey
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