Wang Huiyao: Steps needed to minimize outbreak's impact on economy
Tuesday,Mar 03, 2020
man wearing a face mask rides a shared bicycle on a bridge over Yangtze
river in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak,
Central China's Hubei province, Feb 27, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]
By Wang Huiyao |
President of the Center for China and Globalization(CCG)
the outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia, both the central and local
governments have taken rigorous measures to treat patients and halt the
spread of the virus.
pace of the epidemic shows some signs of slowing down, and points to
the progress of outbreak prevention and control measures.
it is important to put more efforts into minimizing economic loss
caused by the outbreak, while containing the epidemic's spread.
tertiary sector, especially the tourism and catering industry, has
borne the brunt of the economic impact since January. According to the
National Bureau of Statistics, the revenue of China's catering industry
in 2019 was 4.67 trillion yuan ($666 billion), of which 15.5 percent
came during Spring Festival.
Evergrande Research Institute, a think tank, said the catering industry
incurred a sales loss of around 500 billion yuan over seven days during
Spring Festival this year because of the epidemic. The ride-hailing
industry also suffered huge losses.
to data from Baidu Maps, on the first day of the Spring Festival
holiday, traffic volumes across the country decreased 86.7 percent
compared with the same period in 2019. And the demand for travel
industries employ a large number of workers, and their employment rate
could be significantly affected if the outbreak is prolonged.
Chinese government has implemented multiple outbreak prevention and
control measures, including extending the holiday and delaying
resumption of production. This has put pressure on small businesses,
which rely heavily on cash flows to maintain daily operations.
In addition, a State Council executive meeting on Feb 18 decided to reduce corporate social security burdens in a phased manner.
digital economy, meanwhile, has benefited greatly. The new growth areas
are online shopping, online education, internet medical care,
telecommuting and internet insurance.
the situation improves, resumption of work and production as early as
possible is vital for stabilizing economic development.
The following steps will be essential to get back on track.
quarantine rules should be in line with the corresponding risk levels
in different regions in order to help enterprises in low-risk areas to
resume production and work.
present, many communities have restricted the mobility of their
residents by reducing their outings and gatherings in order to reduce
steps have helped control the outbreak in many areas and made them
relatively safe. In these areas, supportive measures should be taken to
help enterprises and shop owners to resume their business.
health certificates could be issued to people not infected with the
virus, which can avoid panic and boost consumption. Technologies such as
big data should be applied to provide such health documents, which
would allow those with the certificates to attend public events.
Many shopping malls, restaurants and cinemas have shut down. Although some are open, people avoid them out of fear.
we should support e-commerce to boost economic growth. With the real
economy having been affected because of restrictions, it is time for the
internet economy to seize the opportunity.
preventive measures were taken, people began to shop or study from
home, creating a greater demand for online shopping and education.
The need of the hour is for policies that can stimulate the internet industry.
considering that the spread of the virus has been controlled to some
extent, China should promote international exchanges and work to resolve
restrictions imposed by other countries.
Chinese government has made great efforts to contain the outbreak. So
other countries should gradually lift travel restrictions on Chinese.
outbreak is a public health emergency, as well as a warning and a test.
Amid this challenge, we have to learn how to establish and maintain
harmonious relationships, which means adhering to sustainable,
high-quality economic development.
Dr. Wang Huiyao is
president of the Center for China and Globalization(CCG),
the leading non-government think tank in China, with over 100 researchers
and members of staff.