New Delhi: Jim O’Neill, the chair of UK think tank Chatham House, Wednesday praised China’s “fast, aggressive” response to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak, and remarked, “Thank God this didn’t start in somewhere like India.”
Participating in a discussion on CNBC show Squawk Box Europe, O’Neill lauded the “Chinese model” to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, and said western countries should emulate it.
Explaining his remark on India, the former Goldman Sachs chief economist said, “…there’s absolutely no way that the quality of Indian governance could move to react in the way that the Chinese have done, that’s the good side of the Chinese model, and I think you could probably say the same about Brazil too.”
Measures taken by India
In India, as an urgent measure to check the spread of coronavirus, the Ministry of External Affairs has appointed Additional Secretary Dammu Ravi as the COVID Coordinator to streamline international as well as domestic efforts of the government to address the challenges.
The 1989 batch IFS officer will work as a point person to coordinate measures taken by the ministry and handle it at a global level.
The Narendra Modi government has also announced that all visas, barring diplomatic and employment, stand cancelled till 15 April 2020.
It has issued a “strong advisory” against foreign travel. Tourists and others coming from or with travel history to China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 will be quarantined for at least 14 days.
In some states, primary schools, anganwadis and cinema halls will remain shut till 31 March. The Karnataka government has “issued temporary regulation which asked all government and private hospitals to have flu corners for screening of suspected cases of COVID-19.”
As of today, India has at least 60 confirmed patients, including 16 Italian tourists. However, state health officials reveal that the number may increase to 65.
‘Best and worst of the Chinese model’
The first coronavirus case was detected in China’s Wuhan in December. The country has since seen more than 3,000 deaths and roughly 1,10,000 infected people. However, new cases have slowed down to a trickle. While senior officials have visited Hubei, the epicentre of the pandemic, President Xi Jinping arrived in Wuhan Tuesday.
Speaking on the CNBC show, O’Neill said the virus had “brought out the best and worst of the Chinese model”, as he pointed out the virus could have initially spread quicker because of the “dominance of President Xi Jinping and the diminished responsibility of officials in Wuhan”.
He, however, added, “…once they realized the scale of it, the system seems to be capable of dealing with it pretty quickly, relative to other places, and pretty decisively.”