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Coronavirus: Impact on Chinese Economy and BRI

Maj Gen Rajiv Narayanan, AVSM, VSM (Retd) states that the major epidemic of Coronavirus that has been spreading in China is going to have severe impact on Chinese global economy, It originated from Wuhan, a major logistics and road-rail junction that directly impacts three land corridors of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — Central Asia & Iran, Pakistan and Nepal.

The major epidemic of Coronavirus that has been spreading in China, with over 4700 cases and over 130 deaths and over 18 cities in lockdown has already spread to 14 countries, and counting. Its epicenter, Wuhan, is a major logistics and road-rail junction that directly impacts three land corridors of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — Central Asia & Iran, Pakistan and Nepal. Indirectly it impacts all the corridors of the BRI, considering the large numbers of Chinese workers deployed along it for the various projects. These workers would have travelled to China for the Chinese New year and could be potential carriers along the BRI, impacting vast majority of countries in the world. This has the potential to become a pandemic, much worse than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Concurrently, with the spread of the epidemic along the Eastern Seaboard of China, it has the potential to slow down Chinese Economy even further. The Chinese Eastern Seaboard is the heart of the Chinese economy and the major hub of global supply chain. The factories and ports would need to be shut down as part of the plans to prevent the spread and control the epidemic, thereby, impacting Chinese global economy.

It doesn’t appear that president Xi Jingping has grasped the enormity of this disease. He needs to ensure more transparency and let other countries join hands in searching for antidote for it. The earlier the better, since the clock is ticking on this medico-economic pandemic.

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