Journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao interviews author and journalist Yuan Ling after he got into quarantine in his home province Shaanxi. “The virus has already had a deeper impact on the people than even the  Sichuan earthquake [that killed 69,000],” Yuan Ling tells Ian Johnson on the phone, for the New York Review of Books.
Last week we saw a resumption of economic activities in China, and hoped our speakers’ business would be up to steam before the summer, including a few months for event organizers to get their act together. But recent developments show that the coronavirus crisis might only be starting in the rest of the world, as European countries and the US have started to lockdown their economic activities to stop the spread of the virus. Together with gloomy assessments of the lackluster way those countries deal with the crisis, our first analysis might have been too optimistic.
Shanghai-based business analyst Shaun Rein was with his family on a well-deserved holiday as the fallout of the corona virus crisis caught up with his trip. Panic is spreading over the world, especially now in the US. Rein is back in Shanghai and feels himself more safe than in some of the countries he has been in over the past few months, he tells at CGTN, although there is a lot room for improvement in China too.
China and South Korea might be starting to resume their economies, the rest of the world is getting further into lock-down mode. After Italy, the rest of Europe and the United States are only at the beginning of the corona virus pandemic. And for sure nobody in those countries is in de mood to prepare for a life after the current crisis.
At the China Speakers Bureau, we do start to look ahead, also as more events are cancelled and international flights still seem in a unstoppable free fall. But one thing is sure: even when timing is unclear, this crisis will be disappearing in the months to come, even when experts already predict a second wave of patients after the summer. In our line of business the average lead time between inquiries for speaker’ assignments and execution is on average three months, and we do not want to start for resumption of our business until the pandemic has officially stopped.
The medical magazine The Lancet was one of the first Western media to point out the rest of the world could learn from the way China had dealt with the corona crisis. The severe lock-down of Wuhan and Hubei province, and the extended deployment of medics from the rest of China, was then still seen as too draconian to be used on other parts of the world.
Now Italy is in a lock-down and medical care in Northern parts are in crisis, while the rest of Europe looks surprised. “They are in a crisis,” said a shaken Dutch doctor on Dutch TV last night, after he made a phone call to a colleague in Milan. Displaying confidence in your own capabilities sometimes becomes a handicap.
China, with the exception of Hubei province, might be getting back to normal, the rest of the world is still bracing for a further outbreak of the coronavirus. Northern Italy shows remarkable similarities with the early weeks of the crisis in Wuhan: cramped medical facilities, expanding quarantine measure to stop the spread of the virus, and much uncertainty in countries and regions that still try to control the crisis. In China numbers of new patients are dropping, so – unless you might distrust those figures – its heavy-handed approach seems to be working at this list. But global stress on international economic relations seem far from over.
With all the justified criticism on the way China dealt the with coronavirus in the early weeks, the country did make some right choices later in the crisis as containment of the health issues was more important than keeping up the economy. More surprising it is that countries with a more developed health care system like Italy seem utterly unprepared for a major outbreak of the virus. Even a very solid country like Switzerland sees the number of coronavirus patients going up fast.
The national fight against the coronavirus has also triggered off help in temples, churches and mosques, writes author Ian Johnson of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao in the New York Times, but not all help has been appreciated. Religious groups have been donating large amounts of money, a feature hard to imagine even ten years ago, he writes.
Fighting the Covid-19 virus and saving the economy might not go very well together, says political analyst Victor Shih in Al Jazeera. While there is very little international supply chains can do at this stage, as Chinese governments make decisions, says Victor Shih, the message for the long run is: diversify.
China’s Hubei province shocked the world as the number of confirmed coronavirus patients spiked because it started to use different way to diagnose patients. Political analyst Victor Shih sees it as a proof that the government is using different sets of tools to manipulate the number of patients and deaths, he tells to Reuters.