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ASEAN Policy Brief: Economic Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak on ASEAN


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Mon, 18 May 2020

    The ASEAN Secretariat

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) finally declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic on 11 March 2020, lives have been upended and economic activities disrupted around the world. As of 9 April 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, has reached 203 countries, affecting 1,476,819 persons, with 87,816 deaths (84,477 of which are outside China). In ASEAN, the numbers too are rising, with more than 15,532 confirmed cases and more than 529 deaths reported by 9 April.

All ten AMS have confirmed cases and the number of expected infections is feared to increase manifolds in the coming days (Figure 1). Without a doubt, the coronavirus will have a negative impact on ASEAN’s economy and that of the rest of the world in 2020. Key sectors have been affected, particularly travel and tourism, and retail and other services sectors; business operations hence supply chains disrupted; employment and livelihood put at risk; while consumer confidence has declined. The COVID-19 outbreak has diminished prospects of economic recovery from a broad global slowdown last year. While initial pronouncements estimated a brief and limited impact on the global economy, the exponential spread of the outbreak to other regions including Europe, US, and also ASEAN, set off the tapering of growth prospects.

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