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Coronavirus: World Bank's India chief Junaid Ahmad endorses 21-day lockdown approach to curb spread of Covid-19

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 3 April 2020, 16:31 IST
World Bank’s India chief Junaid Ahmad

World Bank’s India head Junaid Ahmad has thrown his weight behind nation’s 21-day lockdown policy to prevent the spread of coronavirus and stated that a three-pronged line of action to curb the spread of the virus, succeeded by creating a social protection system in the form of Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna and stabilising the economy, is exactly what the government of India is doing.

In an interview with Times Nerwork’s Group Editor, Navika Kumar Ahmad stated that the World Bank’s ruling to offer aid to India is a partnership with New Delhi to 'arrest the disease and ensure that the epicentre of the disease does not arrive in India'.

"Three important steps that need to be followed in this case - health attack, second to create social protection system which is indeed embedded in the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna to enable that the vulnerable of the society are able to manage this crisis until health is addressed and imparting stability to the economy, so that when it lifts off, it lifts off correctly and this is exactly what the government of India is doing.. And in putting 21-days, is precisely to allow the health impact to take forward and to learn from it," he said.

The World Bank India chief stated that unlike 2009 when the crisis was a ‘financial shock’ prompted by an attack on the demand side of the economy, the present backlash is a supply and health shock. So while 'stimulating the economy' was the panacea in 2009, Junaid Ahmad stated that currently, the approach could be to ‘hold back’ the economy, "If you don't hold back the economy, you cannot practice social distancing, you can't address the health issues. The balance between addressing health issues, slowing down the economy and bringing it back again after you have dealt with health crisis..." he said.

Emphasizing the fact that this is an unprecedented circumstances, which is being administered in a different way by every nation, Junaid stated that India has done a lockdow across the country. "1.3 billion, unprecedented, unheard of. We have followed India's lead and put our billion-dollar into the health infrastructure," he said.

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First published: 3 April 2020, 16:09 IST