Coronavirus News Asia

Covid-19 underscores need for more globalization

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In just a few months, Covid-19 travelled from China to more than 200 other countries, and has now killed more than 200,000 people. Some claim the pandemic sounds the death knell for globalization – but in fact, it reveals the disasters that can arise when nations try to go it alone.

Examining where the world went right or wrong in its Covid-19 response may help mitigate another global crisis: climate change.

In the face of coronavirus’ global sweep, most national governments acted independently from each other, rather than in unison. Just as in global action on climate change, the responses of nations to the health crisis has largely been ad hoc, piecemeal and, in many cases, lethally ineffective.

My recent research as an international business scholar has focused on finding the common threads of national cultures. My research shows that people around the world have many needs and aspirations in common, such as good health, education and employment. These are best fulfilled when world leaders work jointly with a global, rather than a national, mindset.

So let’s look at the lessons Covid-19 has taught the world, and how this might help the global effort to curb climate change.

Locals in Tuvalu, a Pacific island nation vulnerable to climate change. Like coronavirus, global warming does not respect borders. Photo: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Disunity is death

Following the Covid-19 outbreak in China, many countries imposed unilateral travel bans on Chinese arrivals, against advice from the World Health Organization.

The bans mirror the response of many nations during the west African Ebola epidemic which began in 2013. Research has shown that those travel and trade restrictions acted as a disincentive for nations to report outbreaks.

There are undoubtedly legitimate questions over China’s reporting on the coronavirus outbreak. However, travel bans may have made China more defensive and less willing to share vital information with the rest of the world.

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