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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

COVID-19 – A Year Of Global Records

We’ve seen the global pandemic grip the world with the huge numbers of confirmed cases, and unfortunately deaths that have followed in such a short time. As experts suggest that this could continue, even as far as summer, we’re seeing global records across the world for many different reasons, good and bad. This is a look at how different countries are responding to the virus, and the impacts that are coming as a result of this for both the countries themselves, and the businesses that operate within them.


India – As India prepares to weather the storm, we see perhaps the biggest measure to prevent the spread we’ve seen yet, and with that a record we haven’t seen before. The PM of India recently announced that the country would issue a 21-day lockdown for all 1.3 billion of its citizens – we’ve seen many countries restrict the movement of its citizens and in more severe cases such as Italy, a soft lockdown where people are only able to move for essentials. In the case of India, however, this is the first we have seen on this scale.


Pakistan – On Saturday 28th March, it was confirmed that Pakistan had 1,408 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, with most of the infections in travellers returning home from Iran, which neighbours the country. As a result, the value of the PKR vs the USD has fallen from 0.0064 to 0.0059 in just two weeks, as both countries battle to fight the pandemic. Whilst Imran Khan has refused to quarantine the country, there are significant restrictions – all entertainment venues, restaurants, banks and conferencing facilities have been ordered to close. Pakistani nationals have been left with little to do, outside of their houses, as these closures have hit the country hard. The entertainment industry has seen a massive hit, and the once popular and thriving race tracks, of which there are 4 in the country, have closed, leaving individuals unable to participate in tote betting, in this particular instance. Whilst the offline industry has ground to a halt, the online industry is believed to be thriving – there are reports of hundreds of online casinos which can be accessed from Pakistan seeing an upsurge, as nationals shift their activity from one product, to another. Whilst the Pakistan rupee may be struggling, the trends in cryptocurrency transactions are likely to have seen an upsurge, as these electronic payments are widely used in the nation, for anonymity purposes.


USA – We have seen numbers of confirmed cases increase across the USA as they also try to impart stricter measures on social distancing to reduce infection rates – but one figure that causes some level of uncertainty is the huge spike in unemployment. As employment protection is limited across many states within the US, we’ve seen many stories of those made unemployed as businesses have to close their doors – a previous high of 650,000 in 1982, the new record of 3.3 million unemployed really puts the current pandemic into perspective.


Business Ups, Business Downs – We’ve also seen a mix in how businesses have been able to respond to the global epidemic. We’ve seen thousands of flights across the world grounded as airlines struggle to stay afloat as borders close and flights are cancelled, we are also seeing the hospitality industry take a huge hit as restaurants and hotels also find themselves forced to close as the advice for self-isolation and social distancing is being encouraged further. There are those that have found some strong footing however, as those who operate online have found an increase in market share. Digital streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney+ and similar such as Twitch.tv have managed to hit their stride as many are stuck at home.


Climate Crisis – One of the areas of change that we see being explored now is that climate change impacts that are coming from these. With reduced air traffic as flights are grounded, with fewer cars on the roads during the lockdowns – we may see the carbon emission impact of this as time goes on and as lockdowns are extended. We will see many push for a behavioural change to follow once the impacts are truly known. With images coming from cities known for heavy pollution such as Beirut, showing clear skies – and in places such as Venice in Italy showing the canals running clear as sediment isn’t being kicked up by gondolas – we may yet see a change in attitude toward the ongoing climate crisis. 


Stories are now coming in from across the world showing the huge changes that are being put in place as people are adapting – from acts of kindness as those looking to help others or those at risk have been doing things such as shopping and delivering to those who are unable. We’ve also seen a global shift in business operations as millions are now required to work from home which may cause a shift in the way people work in the future. Experts will be keeping a close eye on many facets of how this is being handled across the world as the months go on, as we could see a permanent shift in the way we operate our day to day lives, from our work habits through to the way we handle climate change.