COVID-19

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Special Section on Covid-19

 

Message from Co-chairs

Don Campbell 1Su Ge 1On 11 March the World Health Organization made the assessment that the COVID-19 outbreak was a global pandemic. This virus has now spread across our entire region and the world. The impact on human life and economic activity has already been harsh and is likely to continue to be so. The World Health Organization has said that the response must be “a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, built around a comprehensive strategy to prevent infections, save lives and minimize impact”. We have seen APEC member economies are strengthening cooperation and taking measures to combat COVID-19 and stabilize their economies. To contribute to regional cooperation on COVID-19 we have developed this webpage to share information and best practice on how our region is responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Information posted here includes perspectives from our member committees on how their economies are responding to the crises, initiatives undertaken by our member committees, their host institutions and members to the crisis as well as expert opinions which reflect views from the submitting committees and do not necessarily represent those of the Co-Chairs or the Secretariat as a whole.

Last year’s State of the Region report concluded that “At a time when the economies are more interconnected than ever through digital technologies and facing common existential threats such as pandemics and more frequent and harsher natural disasters, the governance systems that facilitate coordinated responses need to be strengthened not weakened.” In this spirit we call on members of the PECC community to come together and leverage our expertise from our various fields and contribute in our way to finding solutions to this crisis and using the PECC as platform to learn from each other as we go through this troubled times together as one community.

 

Australian Response (as at 21 May 2020)

Governance

State and territory governments are mainly responsible for health matters in Australia.

When a major health issue like COVID-19 faces Australia, they work together with the Australian Government, and share information so they can ensure the response is consistent and integrated across the economy.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) coordinates this response. The AHPPC is made up of the Chief Health Officers from each state and territory, the Chief Medical Officer, and representatives from key departments. The Committee meets daily to assess the risk to Australia and recommend public health actions.

Hong Kong, China’s efforts in combating the COVID-19 Pandemic

- The Asia-Pacific region is facing unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts as we grapple with the significant economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are fighting a twin battle and can only win the first one with the pandemic before winning the second one on saving the economy.

Canada and COVID-19: Impact and Response

Along with all others in the Asia Pacific Region, Canada and the Canadian economy has been hit hard by the COVID pandemic. Beginning in mid-March when it became apparent that widespread community transmission of the virus was a real threat, large parts of the economy simply shut down as self-isolation and social distancing measures were imposed by the Canadian federal government and provincial and territorial governments. Since then the health impact of the virus has varied significantly, ranging from zero cases of COVID-19 in the far north territory of Nunavut to, at time of writing, more than 35,000 cases in the province of Quebec, the hardest hit of all Canada’s jurisdictions. Overall, in early May Canada had 63,000 confirmed cases, with just over 4000 deaths. There have been significant outbreaks and disproportionate numbers of deaths in nursing homes for seniors in BC, Ontario and Quebec, but the largest single outbreaks have been in meat-packing plants in Alberta, potentially affecting the food supply chain. While the health impact has varied, what all regions have in common is the major negative economic impact as retail, tourism, travel, personal services and other industries shut down, leading to sudden, widespread unemployment.

New Zealand Policy Response to COVID-19

 

Domestic Policy Response

Monitoring of Covid-19 began in New Zealand during January, with the establishment of a monitoring team in the Department of Health, and Covid-19 testing has since been progressively expanded. New Zealand’s first coronavirus case was reported on 28 February.

Case numbers remained in single-digit figures for the next two weeks, but after the WHO declared a pandemic on 11 March the government and other organisations began cancelling sporting, cultural and other events involving significant numbers of people, and the Minister of Finance alerted the economy to the likelihood of a severe blow to the nation’s economy.

Briefing on China’s Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

Facing the COVID-19 outbreak that caught us all by surprise, the Chinese government and people consistently followed a people-centered approach and put the life and health of all people front and center. China has adhered to the principle of openness and transparency, fulfilled its commitment to global public health, adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous, and thorough measures to contain the spread of the disease, and actively participated in relevant international cooperation. China put up a strenuous struggle and made tremendous sacrifices. China’s fight provided valuable experience and significantly contributed to the global response against the pandemic.

First, in the spirit of openness and transparency, China established a joint prevention and control mechanism in the shortest time possible and mobilized all its people in the war against the disease. To break the chain of transmission, the government made the courageous and momentous decision to suspend outbound travels from the city of Wuhan and Hubei Province. President Xi Jinping has been personally directing and planning China's response efforts. He repeatedly emphasized that people's safety and health are of paramount importance and governments at all levels should act according to the overall principle of shoring up confidence, strengthening unity, ensuring science-based control and treatment and imposing targeted measures, and meet the specific requirements of early detection, early reporting, early quarantine, and early treatment. Under a unified leadership, China has fought and is still fighting an all-out war against the virus.

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LINKS TO OTHER RESOURCES ON COVID-19

 

  • Moody's Microsite on Covid-19  offering research and views on the credit and economic impact of the virus via a dedicated website, available to the public.