By Sidra Tariq Jamil
Islamabad, April 20 (newsin.asia): The corona pandemic, a nightmare for nations, is ravaging every country coming in its way. It started in Wuhan city in China and then spread to other parts of the country and then on to the world at large. The virus is now causing havoc in more than 100 countries. The world seems to be completely helpless against this invisible “monster”.
Casualties are piling up with every passing day, and things are getting from bad to worse. As of now, 2 million people have been found COVID-19 positive the world over, and the death toll has reached 126,681. People are terrified because now, there is no cure for the disease. Researchers all around the globe are working tirelessly, but there has been no significant advancement as far as a medical treatment is concerned.
Those who are being diagnosed are being treated with supplementary and supporting medication. The good thing is that patients are recovering, but many of them are losing the battle.
The fact that things are getting out of hand despite extreme precautionary measures is even more depressing. Many countries have imposed emergency lockdowns, and people are strictly advised to stay at home unless there is utmost urgency to go out. But, every single tactic or strategy is failing miserably. Moreover, the death count and the number of infected people are rising day by day, and by the looks of it, it seems that there is no stopping it.
Global Economic Disaster
At first, it was only which suffered casualties as well as an economic downturn. Nobody would have thought that this “minor” epidemic will soon turn into a pandemic and that too so quickly. Needless to say, the Chinese economy suffered terribly during the outbreak. China is the second-largest economy in the world. It is losing billions of dollars, and that is not a good sign for the global economy. China saw a significant increase in unemployment levels during this tragic period. Its financial market received grievous blows while its real estate sector also felt the jolt. China is one of the largest importers of crude oil as well as one of the largest exporters of batteries and many other commodities. Those who import from China and export to it are also facing the music. Besides, China is known as the “world’s factory”, and that factory is toiling hard to meet its targets.
Top World Economies Go Under
The United States of America is the largest economy of the world and India stands third in the list. The UK, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy are also included in the world’s top economies. Unfortunately, all of them have been debilitated economically by this outbreak. Not only this, these countries have also witnessed thousands of casualties as well with the United States at the top of the list. Now, it doesn’t need a genius to understand that the global economy cannot do well if these “financial giants” have gone under.
Many economists are already comparing this financial crisis with the infamous 2008 global recession, but some industries are considering this as the worst economic blow in their history.
Everybody, every business, every industry, no matter how small or large it is, is facing the heat of the pandemic. But, the aviation industry is at the top of the list. Governments have imposed bans on unnecessary “road travelling” while air travelling is not even in the picture. In fact, most countries have totally sealed their air space to keep the virus at bay. The aviation industry is virtually crippled. Many airlines, including the famous ones, are seeking assistance from their respective governments.
Alex Cruz, the CEO of British Airways, has said that the company has never witnessed a financial disaster like this. He further said that it had got through global crisis like 9/11 or the SARS outbreak, but it is safe to say that Covid-19 is way more severe than any other financial catastrophe.
Reeling Real Estate Industry.
The real estate industry is one of the leading industries in the world. It has been hit badly by COVID-19. Due to the lockdowns, people are bound to stay at home, and social distancing is being maintained very strictly. People are not willing to invest in real estate because of uncertainty about the future. It is evident that people have gone on a “survival mode” and buying a property is at the bottom of their priorities’ list.
There are those who are willing to buy, but sellers are not ready to sell. Tenants are finding it difficult to pay rent while owners are suffering massive financial losses. Under-construction properties are waiting for the lifting of the lockdown, so are contractors and realtors.
International Trade And Oil Industry
The global economy is reeling badly. The oil industry is facing significant and continuous financial problems. Revenues and prices have gone down. Manufacturing units have been closed. Bans have been imposed on air, rail and road travel. These sectors are the primary consumers of oil. Oil prices are falling consistently, down by almost 50% during this year.
The US-China trade war was a hot topic in the recent past, but the pandemic has enforced a “mandatory” ban on imports and exports. As China is the “home” of COVID-19, countries are avoiding trading with China. Understandably, prices of commodities have gone up, and if this goes further than expected, things can get very gloomy.
“Shocked” Stock Markets
People have forgotten about the great economic recession of 2008 because the COVID-19 generated one is the worst in this century. Stock markets are portraying the same dismal picture. People are pulling out their investments and companies are facing a severe financial threat, even facing bankruptcy. Small or medium businesses may be forced to “wind-up”. Even blue-chip corporations have suffered tremendous financial losses.
How can one forget rising unemployment across the globe? More than 6.6 million Americans reported unemployment till the 31st of March and America is the largest economy of the world. It is hard to imagine what other countries are going through currently.
What Is Expected?
There is no question of returning to normal life unless this plague is wiped off the planet. Some businesses are working under “work from home” option, but that is no solution. There has to be a full solution, a cure. However, though human lives are way more important than any other thing, the importance of finances and financial resources is undeniable. If things get worse, people may die of hunger and not coronavirus.
(The photo at the top shows thousands of Indian migrant workers desperately trying to board buses to go back to their villages after a nation-wide lockdown was announced)
(Sidra Tariq Jamil is a Ph.D scholar in Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. She can be contacted at: [email protected])