Jim O’Neill
Jim O’Neill | Photo: chathamhouse.org
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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.


Also read: How China’s authoritarianism ‘aided’ its fight against coronavirus


‘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.”


Also read: Situation in coronavirus-hit Italy & Iran a cause of great concern, says S Jaishankar


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55 COMMENTS

  1. What on earth makes the former Goldman Sachs chairman, one of those who helped give us the GFC!, a man who has poor judgement, think he should launch out in these silly opinions? Utter nonsense. China is fully reponsible for Corona Virus occurring, since their animal welfare is the worst record in the world and their food safety standards seem to be ditto. This is at least the 2nd, if not a third time, that China has given the world a deaadly virus. China has consistently lied about its death rate, its infection rate, and even at the start that the medical warnings received were true and valid. Then we have a China politician accusing the US of being the orignator of the virus! Manchester ought to be trying to disown O’Neill, not flaunt him. India’s government is not managing covid 19 well but China did not manage it at all until absolutely forced to take some measures, accompanied by plenty of lies. They are very reliably misinforming the world as I write. 3 flights to Italy every week even after the virus began, to continue Chinese owned factories in northern Italy, and THAT is why the area of Italy least expected to have a sudden new virus crisis became the worst hit area – what have you to say to those facts, Mr O’Neill? China did not warn Italy of the danger of the virus they already knew was spreading rapidly in Chna!! Thousands of funerary urns videoed in Wuhan that blow China’s official death figures out of the water! Theatres in Beijing opened and two days later closed again because the virus has NOT left and it is NOT under control but China IS afraid of bankruptcy , China is desperate to start production and income even if the rest of the world suffers and is stupid – simply stupid – enough to choose to believe them and expose ourselves AGAIN in futire trade.

  2. This man is an idiot and obviously has so much much money invested in China. Unfortunately India is a country that has dealt with most diseases that have actually come from China. India was one of the first countries to take the initiative to get countries to work together, and has so many less cases that the US and has handled testing better than anywhere in the world.
    India of your thinking is not what you think Goldman Sachs, it taught you math, science, astronomy, and even bathing and hygiene. Most of your main companies in the US are run by Indians, the biggest companies around the world are Indian. Do not take us for fools. The West stole from India by killing, we just do what we did best for thousands of years, dominate the world economy. We are rebuilding from our slavery. Idiot. Oh there would have been no US if you were not looking for the wealth of India

  3. Hey douche(Jim), atleast we aren’t the ones who started it ! Well thanks to their ignorance this absolute anomaly was introduced into the world , so yeah they better do everything they can to cut their loses right ? And on what basis are you even making such ridiculous statements ? Currently India is doing brilliantly thank you so much for checking your facts before making your statements . And kindly refrain from making inane remarks towards a country you don’t belong to and a system you have no idea about you pea-brained monger.

  4. Only if the authoritarian Chinese communist government had heeded to the warning signals given by the doctors who first reported the contagious virus, it wouldn’t have been gifted to the world.
    The world’s biggest epidemic diseases have ravaged China. India despite being a colony to exploitative Britain has neck seen a famine as bad as China post Independence.
    Such an irresponsible spectator comment made in an off- hand manner that reflects the racist and colonial mindset!

  5. Mr Jim o Bewakoof,
    At least India is not resorting to Herd immunity like UK, which is a selfish and inhumane at the same time. That shows how capable the NHS is.
    Indian system is doing it’s best instead of waiting and watching it’s citizens to die.
    Please mind your own business.
    India is capable of standing on her own feet and tackling this crisis

  6. What an idiot!!! We have currently two elderly people in critical care unit and they were infection by some who came from Italy. We are trying our best to keep them alive and they are o stable condition. We are giving them a chance to live not let them die. When China is even letting 35 year old doctor die!!! Wake up and understand the reality and make comments!!! Proud to be an Indian!

  7. Are you serious or are you dumb? Have you facts in place first whosoever you are and don’t forget your London is built on the stolen money from India! I am utterly surprised and disgusted at the sheer level of ignorance and stupidity .

  8. A detailed thread to dismantle Jim O’Neill’s bigoted claim “thank god this didn’t start in India”. This will show how India has dealt with the treat of COVID-19 with far greater tenacity and firmness than ALMOST ALL countries.👇

    1. Firstly, despite sharing a border of 3,488 kilometres with China, India has only reported 78 cases and 1 death- compare that with 596 cases and 8 deaths in the UK.

    2. India is the only country in the world to evacuate its citizens 6 times (and counting) and evacuated the most number of foreign nationals.

    3. The Indian Air Force evacuated a total of 723 Indians, 37 foreign nationals from Wuhan. India evacuated 119 Indians and 5 foreign nationals from Japan IAF also evacuated 58 Indian pilgrims from Iran on the 10th of March. Total: 900 Indians and 48 foreign nationals.

    4. India is leading the fight against COVID-19 in the South Asian region, offering diplomatic, humanitarian and medical assistance to its neighbours.

    5. A total of 56 Virus Research Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) have been set up in India to test its citizens as well as foreign citizens in a record time, with a plan to build 56 more VRDLs in the next month. This insane level of efficiency hasn’t caught the eye of the media.

    6. India currently has one of the world’s most efficient and reliable testing systems, reducing the time taken to get test results back from 12-14 hours to four hours. US health officials have admitted that their system is failing and has testing has been very sluggish

    7. As a result, from Iran, Afghanistan up to Timor Leste, countries in Asia have been requesting India to help set up testing facilities in their countries.

    8. India has sent 6 top scientists to set up a make-shift lab and testing facility in Iran to test 6000 of its citizens because Iranian officials refused to test Indians due to their high load. India plans to send 3 more airplanes in the next week to airlift its citizens.

    9. India has provided 15 tonnes of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment to China.

    10. India has sent Maldives a 14 member medical team comprising of pulmonologists, anaesthetists, physicians & lab technicians and also a large composite of COVID-19 medical relief to assist Maldives health authorities.

    11. India has screened 1,057,506 people from 30 airports and 77 seaports.

    12. India has suspended all visas to India as well as visa-free travel facility for OCI cardholders. It has closed its border with Myanmar. The Indian nationals coming from COVID-19 hit nations after 15 February will be quarantined for 14 days. This in contrast with the UK with far more cases but no quick action whatsoever.

    13. India has the world’s biggest state-sponsored health assurance scheme, covering over 500 million beneficiaries (approximately 8 times the size of the UK).

    14. Indian drug prices are among the cheapest in the world. Medbelle ranks India as one of the five countries with the lowest median prices for drugs around the world due to an elaborate price control mechanism for drugs and the government’s Jan Aushadi project to provide cheap affordable medicines to the poor.

    15. China had silenced the doctor who identified COVID-19 and he died 6 weeks later. China let this brew. On the other hand, when Nipah virus was found in India in 2018, 3 doctors identified it and authorities immediately reported it to WHO. 2000 quarantined and 17 died in total.India would have NEVER allowed it to become a pandemic.

    The Indian civilization, being one of the most advanced in the world, has been way ahead of its time with gifting the world the Namaste- which is now propagated by every world leader. Ancient India idealised vegetarianism and expounded Ayurveda, and as a result, did not come in contact with any serious threat from plagues/ diseases in its millenniums of existence. India NEVER created any pandemic in the history of its existence.

    Makes interesting reading

  9. Jim – You have your brain in the wrong place! Indians don’t eat bat’s, rats, snakes and monkey brains like Chinese. Majority of the Hindus are vegetarians. So we don’t start pandemics and export them.
    We understand Covid Cov2 is spreading like wildfire in Europe and your country. Europe is declared as the epicenter of the pandemic… So you are the sick man of the world. Please don’t export it to India… We have only a few cases out of which 16 are Italians!
    We sent IAF plane to rescue our people and shipped tons of medical supplies to Wuhan… We sent test equipment to Iran. Don’t spread canards – after you looters left us we have advanced in science and technology surpassing the not so great Britain! You watch your health and stop talking rubbish. Incase you guys need any help you may contact out MEA we will send medication and masks to save your royal baron %&₹.

  10. Who are you bloody to comment on India governance. How much time you spent in India? So better shut your mouth before commenting on India.

    We as a country stand together to face any situation. And you are comparing with China first of all India never does these shit thing which China has done .

    We 28 states and More than 200 cities will stand as a one nation our own country and for other countries as well.

    In this critical situation instead of giving helping hands you are critisinng the other country.

    Illiterate Economist.

  11. The model will vary from country to country. The model to be adopted depends on the physiology, social conditions, meteorological conditions, demographic, food habits, culture etc. Indian conditions are completely different from other countries. The medical facilities and procedures adopted ate streamlined here. When the emergency arises, not only Govt, organizations like NGOs Charitable organisations private institutions also come Into play. I still remember the outbreak of plague at surat was contained on a war footing basis. So in a communist governance the cader and govt officials only take up the responsibility but in a democratic model like India, ownership is taken up collectively. Therefore Mr. Neels assumption on Indian governance may be wrong.

  12. Does Jim O Neil miss India being a British colony so he can blame it on them? Or is it hard for him to conceive India is no longer the underdog the British expected her to be after looting her of all her wealth, resources and her people of their dignity. Wake up and smell the coffee Mr Neil (no more spit of tea for you). India is and will emerge as one of the next economic powers in the near future. Just you wait Mr. O Neil!

  13. Didn’t the Chinese doctor who disclosed the Corona Virus in CHina to the world die? My intent is not to spread rumors, but, I have heard from Chinese friends that the doctor was eliminated by the Chinese government. Plus India is not an authoritarian country like China which can and does go to extreme measures to stop problems – killing and suppressing information are tools that the Chinese government uses liberally! I would have liked to see your comparison of COVID-19 management by the US vs. India! Why don’t you write a piece on it or give an interview with some advise to poor Trump!

  14. Mr Neill…just to prove your loyalty for one country please do not stoop to this level of defaming other country. This is actualy below belt. U can do better.

  15. Another Dumb Britisher.. give your views on how your country is reacting to COVID19. Despite of border sharing with epicentre of COVID19 India has less than 80 cases so far and in your UK it jas already crossed mark of 550 cases. First give your suggestion to your country.

  16. Fully agree with Jim. Had the virus begun in India, the situation would have been much much worse. India has practically no systems or governance to control such an outbreak. Our evolution to become a responsible nation is largely incomplete. Indians are callous and self centered and our government truly reflects this attitude. Well done China. We need to to learn a lot from you.

  17. Now the brit thief telling us How we’re not capable of controlling? I bet you are right because we don’t eat shit and wipe our ass with paper. Come here we will build your immune system high. And yeah I guess his rich client are more from there, so go on please them.

    • We also need to learn from China that how to Control Radical Inslamic Terrorist by rewriting Quran and Change the islamisation of Uhigar Muslim. We Indian are much capable to deal with Corona and as well as Qurana
      #AppriciabeChina

  18. Have read one news from europen country one old man die with corona cause no body help him out to reach hospital.No neighborhood. And you and your team advocates Human Rights in other country. Same on you. That will never happened in India. You don’t know culture and helping hands in India. You are …cheap…

  19. How can you compare any two countries anyway? Obviously the way every country responds to a crisis will be different and unique. Who is he to make such a sweeping statement? First of all, such a pandemic will never originate in India. Just an ignorant, shallow, and dull personality. No wonder all he did in his life is make money and talk about it. As an emotional human being he is a complete ZERO.

  20. UK deaths related to virus rise to 10.Mr Jim O’Neill ,you no need to consider our (INDIAN’S)health.please check ur motherland statistics about Covid 19.

  21. Another British bluffer!!! If India is so bad then why your forefathers came on their knees here!! And, hey, why don’t you speak about Human Rights now in the way they handled this crisis?Look boy, what India can do and can handle will never be imagined by a british brain😂
    Btw let’s see how your country handles it now..

  22. Think before you speak Jim jam. It is bcoz of China’s carelessness, it has spread so wide. And in India Nipah Virus didn’t even crossed a state boundary of Kerala. And for your information Nipah was more vulnerable and deadly then Corona.

  23. Thank God ..fool like is not born in india. You even don’t know india is more careful handling sure virus that it doesn’t release to public to become pandemic . The situation you expect without knowledge shows ur incompetence in ur field of work

  24. The kind of food diet Indians have, rarest of the diseases will have minimum impact on people.
    And please keep your views with you.
    The Print should think twice before displaying views from jokers, don’t spoil the country’s image.

  25. These paid evangelisers of Chinese are meant to speak that way. If we drill them more, they all could have nicely planned a bio war for China to become the super power, and in the bargain China also gets the advantage of reducing its population. Such morality less unethical people are not even entitled to speak about India!!!

  26. India is so backwards that it has LESS Coronavirus cases than UK, where he is based… Lol, this fellow is a joker.

  27. Keep your views with your self, we donot need any.
    We would appreciate if you comment about your own country.

  28. Ya, this kind of virus would never start in India. Because Indians never do illigal animal slaughter and spread the virus to the whole world. They were the once who discovered it and they should know how to control it.

    • Just ignore this… This Irish paid messenger of China has been paid to review this so. Indeed we are not as shitty as Chinese are anyways.
      Who knows, this could have been a planned bio war by people like them..

  29. Please check your facts before commenting.
    First a fall Indian food habits are far more advanced and scientific so chances of this kinda pandemic is anyway minimal. Secondly,
    Had India would have reacted the same way China did, all pseudo intellects all over the world would have started crying about human rights and humanitarian crisis.
    India was and is a blessed country (so please don not show your frustration). It would have been remained so if robbers (Afghans, Mughals and Europeans) wouldn’t have plundered us.

  30. That’s a stupid comment to make. 2nd largest population in the world, neighbour to the centre of the pandemic and yet less than 100 confirmed cases of the disease. The Modi government and state governments may have many faults but their response to covid 19 has been decent if not great.

  31. ”The Narendra Modi government has also announced that all visas, barring diplomatic and employment, stand cancelled till 15 April 2020.” Typical Indian style, confusion exists.

    (vi) Indians and OCI card holders from Italy and South Korea should carry ‘tested negative for COVID-19’ medical certificate from designated laboratories of Italy and South Korea. OCI card holders of other countries are free from visa restrictions but shall need to undergo mandatory health check upon arrival in India.
    https://boi.gov.in/content/advisory-travel-and-visa-restrictions-related-covid-19-dated-11th-march-2020

  32. Jim ONeil is doesn’t even know the difference between Communist country and a democracy. Poor fellow. His comparison was not needed at this moment. And at least NOT from him.

  33. It’s ridiculous of Jim to speculate that India could not react like China did… On the contrary we should applaud Indian efforts of not letting Corona virus affect India that much.. .

  34. There is not even a single death in India due to coronavirus. And even we got 3 people cured from it. There is a systematic biased against India and the person speaking in this article is no exception.

  35. He is wrong in several ways. For one, China has suppressed the death toll figures. Secondly, Indians are known to have better immunity – through the various melas and other group gatherings where millions have congregated and yet reached home safely without any contagious infections.

  36. I wonder what O’Neil thinks about the wet markets in China and how even after realizing SARS originated from such markets, China decided to re-allow them after banning them in response to SARS. Arguably, nCoV – X will not originate in India, but will in China if it continues to allow wet markets to function. And yes that’s all about governance; how extremely wealthy Chinese people can influence the government to allow a market to become a menagerie.

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