Through the advanced application of technology, the solution to COVID-19 pandemic could be easily solved. The use of cell phones to identify individuals through their blood samples, and hence prevent the spread of the virus was an innovative technological solution that could act as a guide in managing other crises, especially healthcare emergencies.
Effect of Covid-19 on Globalization
The ongoing phase of globalisation hasn’t fully recovered from systemic shocks given by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008-09. However, the spread of Covid-19 pandemic presents a challenge of a different magnitude.
Global Economic Crisis: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in its annual Economic and Social Survey, held that the Covid-19 crisis is a challenge never seen before and it is going to be a bigger shock for the world economy than the GFC.
This may act as a severe blow to liberal world order dominated by globalisation.
Problem faced by Emerging and Developing Economies: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development held that emerging and developing economies which rely on export-led growth, will now be severely impacted as the global economy contracts and the world opts protectionism policies.
Disruption of Global Value Chain: Covid-19 crisis is having devastating repercussions for corporations and businesses that have benefited from economic interdependence supported by cross-border supply chains.
China is the world’s largest production base and lies at the heart of many supply chains. Since the outbreak of this coronavirus, many companies that had come to depend on China were hard hit.
Bringing Back Import Substitution: From a risk analysis perspective, we could at the very least see a rapid trend towards moving from globally dispersed production bases back in favour of domestic facilities.
Countries are reconfiguring their economies to look at import substitution with greater clarity now, as the perils and pitfalls of overdependence on foreign supplies become clear.
Restriction on People to People Movement: National governments will have to weigh the risks of contagious diseases against the benefits of ease of travel or may have to consider stronger safeguards. In the short run, the World’s Tourism industry will get affected even after the crisis gets over.Prospects of Globalisation after the Pandemic
- For the global growth patterns, the key lesson is that international flows tend to swing dramatically with macroeconomic cycles. In good times, they usually grow faster than GDP, and in bad times they shrink faster, too, as people and firms hunker down behind borders.
- Thus, after the pandemic as the economies grow, the trade patterns and globalisation will again become near normal.
- Although there may be some challenges in the global Supply chain, after the pandemic smooth business and transaction will again make a stronger supply chain with some changes in it.
- To make globalisation work even better, advanced economies like the United States can consider donating or lending (on concessionary terms) to a trust fund dedicated to helping poorer countries.
- At the same time, there is a need to work towards eliminating problems such as social and economic disparities caused by globalization.
- Once the world recovers from the crisis, it is crucial to create mechanisms to respond to disease through effective international cooperation.
Digital technology for COVID-19 response and WHO
- Introduce WHO’s Digital Health & Innovation efforts for COVID-19 and seek support from interested technology companies in the design and execution of those initiatives.
- Build on WHO’s COVID-19 efforts through new collaboration and knowledge sharing, to deliver targeted solutions through a coordinated effort to support countries facing stages of this epidemic in different ways and different times.
- Share and explore known gaps and areas that lack focus. Topics include user-focused solutions, combating misinformation, supply chain management, applications supporting health workers, community engagement platforms, support knowledge management capacities, research and development support, recovery planning work.
- Secure volunteer and pro-bono resources from global tech companies to design and execute response initiatives with WHO.
- Bernardo Mariano Junior, director of WHO’s Department of Digital Health and Innovation, called for unity in response efforts, “The world needs to be well prepared and united in the spirit of shared responsibility, to digitally detect, protect, respond, and prepare the recovery for COVID 19. No single entity or single country initiative will be sufficient. We need everyone.”
The management of the pandemic pays particular attention to the processes of dealing with and controlling it. Various technological interventions in this regard are:
- The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is a pioneering international teamwork to fast-track development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
- ‘Aarogya Setu’, a mobile app utilising Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence, was developed to bring the people of India together in a determined fight against COVID-19 and for tracking COVID-19 patients.
- Co-WIN or the Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network, which is an extension of electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN), is a digitalised tech platform for effectively rolling out and scaling up of the COVID Vaccine Distribution System mechanism at national level to reduce wastage and make the most effective use of vaccine supply and cold chain network.
- The Tata CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) test is considered the world’s first diagnostic test to bring into effective action a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully identify the virus causing Covid-19.
- The Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) encouraged Bangalore based start-up to bring out mobile app for detection of possible infection in an asymptomatic individual and risk assessment of COVID 19 infected individuals. It is called Lyfas COVID score.
- AI enabled MyGov Corona Helpdesk helped improve our outreach and engagement during the pandemic and made a marked difference to society.
Furthermore, implementable technologies related to searching of potential metabolite biomarker signature for COVID infection, developing antiviral surface coatings to prevent the spread of infections and development of antibody-based capturing of COVID-19 were other sought-after initiatives.
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