|Mohammed Ali Berawi||Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia|
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a world health emergency in early 2020. Many governments quickly responded by strategizing their policies to support healthcare facilities, economic sectors, and social safety nets during the pandemic. Those various essential policies and programs must continue to be executed even after the pandemic or in the ‘new normal’ situation.
Improved testing capacity and contact tracing is required both when confirmed cases of COVID-19 are detected and to mitigate new clusters. The governments need to increase the number of health facilities and implement strict health protocols, such as handwashing, physical distancing, using face masks, and staying physically and mentally healthy. To define effective government interventions, it is necessary to gather data on hazards, vulnerability, and healthcare capacity in responding to COVID-19.
The pandemic is negatively affecting global economic growth, slowing down business activities, reducing production, and increasing unemployment and income uncertainty. As the virus continues to spread, restrictions on mobility are curtailing economic activities, which has created an economic shock that is prompting a global recession. Less investment, job losses, and disrupted national and global trade and supply chains have caused many governments to take necessary actions and to collaborate to enable a robust global recovery. Global coordination and cooperation are required to mitigate the spread of the pandemic and its impact on economic and social stability. At the same time, clear and accurate information is needed to maintain public social stability; hoaxes and disinformation can cause public panic and disrupt the process of recovery.
All countries dealing with the pandemic have been refocusing their government funds and programs to tackle COVID-19. We are all hoping that a global economic recovery will start in the third quarter of 2020.
Building Resilience and Adapting to Change
Attempting to revive the economy, many governments begin transitioning to implement the ‘new normal’ during the pandemic. While transitioning to jumpstart industrial sectors, the new normal requires solidarity and self-awareness among the general public to mitigate the spread of the virus. Social cooperation is essential to building resilient health systems, and society’s discipline in carrying out health protocol for COVID-19 during daily activities is key to suppressing transmission of the virus. Following this protocol creates a culture of a healthier lifestyle.
Governments are attempting to reopen businesses by supporting various policies, including the relaxation of taxes, providing bank loans, and increasing financial assistance and incentives to stimulate economic productivity and growth. Companies need to strategize their operational activities to survive and form contingency plans to recover their business by utilizing digital media, sharing cost burden and business operation if necessary.
While there is no vaccine, product and service transactions remain slightly different from before. Businesses should expand their product or services offerings by virtual options and manage remote work using digital platforms. In the new normal, a need for best practices for a cashless society, managing public spaces for social distancing, and protecting population health, such as health testing and digital contact tracing, may become increasingly vital. The use of technology and automation will play a significant role in increasing productivity.
Responses to COVID-19 have also prompted a strong drive to reduce inequal access to and the quality of public education and health facilities supported by government policies to increase the country’s resilience. Furthermore, this drive will prompt stronger support for small and medium enterprises through business incubators and start-up companies to ensure urban economic resilience.
What we will see in the future is a development model with an emphasis on innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability.