With restrictions being relaxed and lockdowns lifted, the world has crossed its collective fingers that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic may be behind us. Although many nations remain in the grip of the virus, large amounts of the global workforce are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel which will allow them to return to their jobs and become earners again.
Confirmed cases and death rates have dropped nationwide in Australia, while it looks like the country may have escaped the worst of the pandemic, the economic turmoil caused by such a global disaster, seems considerably harder to shake off. Despite this, some positives have been highlighted by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Governor, Dr Phillip Lowe in his recent report.
The Governor revealed that the damage caused by the pandemic so far, hasn’t reached the levels that he had previously feared. With large-scale unemployment crisis the world over, it seemed that many Australian industries would be deeply affected. However, despite a predictably large jump in unemployment nationwide, overall working hours have only dropped by 10% as opposed to the predicted 20%.
This news won’t do much for the Australians currently out of work and concerned where their next paycheque is coming from. Though it should be encouraging for the nation as a whole, to see that Australia is outperforming many in regards to its healthcare and economic fronts.
Staying on the bright side for a moment, another positive could be a forced change in previously limiting economic policies. The pandemic will undoubtedly cause countries around the world to strive for fast growth to recover. Just how exactly this growth will occur remains to be seen, perhaps with the state taking a more hands-on approach to industry and make nation-first decisions. Conversely, they could choose to reimagine current regulations and allow private businesses to reinvigorate the economy.
These changes could have very positive implications for the future of the nation and its people but they do depend on certain factors. The most important being that the second wave of COVID-19 doesn’t occur with much severity, which in turn means that Australia can open up to international travel and business before the summer. The other hope is that the ‘survival packages’, created by the government to support workers and businesses through the pandemic, can help stop any further damage to the Australian economy.
With new developments coming every day, on not just how to fight the virus but also how to pay for it, it’s safe to say that nothing is set in stone. It is good to hear some welcome positive news in such a complicated time, although the best-case scenario for economic recovery is estimated to be at least 2 years away. The COVID pandemic’s direct threat to human life may be lessening, but its spectre will continue to menace the globe in the form of huge economic damage for years to come.