By Dr. Tanya Unni

Health Chair, AIBC

Editor – Newsletter, AIBC

The whole world is reeling under the attack of the deadly Corona Virus. With around 30 countries in the affected list, the outbreak has been declared as a public health emergency of international concern. The virus dubbed as 2019-nCoV has taken a heavy toll on human lives. In the world’s largest-known quarantine, China has locked down the entire Hubei province to contain the spread of the virus to the rest of the world. But the damage has already been done.

Ranging from Europe and America to Australia, the virus has found its way through the entire world. Australia has 15 confirmed cases of corona virus. The government of Australia has acted pro-actively and over 240 Australians evacuated from Wuhan are now quarantined and stationed at Christmas Island. Two Australians were confirmed to have the corona virus on board the Diamond Princess Cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Yokohama in Japan. In India, though over 5000 people are kept under home surveillance, only three people were tested positive for Corona virus. The condition of these three patients has been stable. World Health Organization is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus and to track the spread of the virus. 

The economic cost of the disease is also mounting up. The outbreak of the corona virus in the world’s second largest economy is badly affecting global economy as well. It has disturbed the global manufacturing supply chains, affecting especially the global motor industry and electronics sector.  Shipping companies that carry goods from China to the rest of the world have reduced the number of vessels and air cargo has also been reduced. Airlines have stopped services. International retailers have closed operations in China. International hotels are not offering their services. China’s growing share in international trade will leave everyone bruised including Australia and India.

For Australia, the corona virus outbreak has further hurt an economy already suffering from bushfires and drought. The tourism industry has also taken a severe blow. If Chinese students are not able to enroll for the next six months it will cost the Australian education industry around $8bn. China is the biggest exporter to India and exported goods worth $90.4bn to India in 2018. India will experience a major impact on imports and exports in various industries including pharmaceuticals, electronics, mobiles, and auto parts.

Uncertain times call for unexpected moves. Australia and India could try to mitigate the setback by relying more on bilateral support and trade. I am confident that the esteemed members of AIBC could come up with mutually beneficial, smart solutions which will help revive the affected sectors of both countries. I also urge all the members of AIBC to take heed of the advisories issued by The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia. 

On a positive note, the world is united in its fight against the disease and we shall hope that it is brought under control at the earliest. The global public health sector has a lot of learning to do and the global economy has a lot of unlearning to do.

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