Chartchai Parasuk, PhD, is a freelance economist.
Everybody is waiting for the arrival of a Covid-19 vaccine. News has been encouraging on that front as the whole world is making every effort to finding a cure --159 candidates to be exact. Some promise to deliver the vaccine as early as August, while others claim they have successfully tested it on humans. The vaccine will bring an end to this horrific pandemic and put the world economy back on its feet, they say.
At the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, there emerged an outbreak containment option called "Hurt and then ending" which in Thai is jeb tae jop. The complete lockdown of Wuhan was a prime example of that. In Thailand, the lockdown measure was first implemented in Buri Ram before it become a standard practice nationwide. The effectiveness of the measures varies across the globe -- from a seemingly complete success story in Wuhan to a not-yet sustained success in Spain, to a success and then failure in Singapore. I do not think anybody doubts the effectiveness of the lockdown on controlling the outbreak, but many, including myself, are starting to come out and question the cost of lockdown, which I have previously mentioned.
All economists, including myself, predict the spread of Covid-19 will put a big brake on economic growth through reductions in spending, particularly on travel. Assuming the virus outbreak lasts for about six months, the lower spending will likely last until the fourth quarter. Countries like Thailand, which depend heavily on foreign tourist revenue, will be hurt the most.