Not easy striking good balance in the new normal, says MPP Deepak Anand

The coronavirus pandemic has compelled over half the world’s population to stay at home and gear up to embrace the new normal.

A halt on activities is exerting tremendous strain on economies globally, and although the impact is distributed asymmetrically among countries, the novelty of the highly contagious virus and lack of an industrialized vaccine have caused a consensus on a swift lockdown approach.

Adverse effects of economic slowdown are clearly evidenced through the soaring unemployment rates, businesses filing for bankruptcy, and losses of income, leading to immense financial distress and insecurity that is engendering pressure on the government. Leaders of nation states will be faced with the inevitable dilemma on how they will protect their citizens’ financial health whilst safeguarding their physical health.

While public policy measures are temporarily absorbing the economic shock waves to a certain extent, gradual reopening of activities is going to determine long-term economic stability.

Several factors are going to put a country in the path toward successful containment and recovery, including the prevention of potential resurgence.

Continued physical distancing measures would surely be a longer phenomenon, but the level of stringency and duration would depend on the varying degrees of transmission in different countries and collective compliance will be imperative.

The health-care system, availability of personal protective equipment, and robust testing will curtail rapid spread and confine infected individuals in appropriate quarantine facilities or within their homes. Organizations have extended the work-from-home policy indefinitely, and it is expected others will follow suit, at least limiting the employees who would go back to the office.

Lastly, we must preserve the interests of the most vulnerable, such as senior citizens and those with a compromised immunity.

While epidemiologists, policy-makers, economists are responding by vigilantly watching out for the consequences of the evolving pandemic and working on a recoupment strategy, we can do our bit by following guidelines, protecting our employees and consumers, and promoting local businesses.

We are certainly witnessing an extraordinary crisis, and the post-pandemic world will strive to create a better balance between globalization and self-reliance.