Coronavirus COVID-19 slows China’s Belt and Road initiative

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China’s Belt and Road initiative grinds to a stark slowdown due to Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19’s grinding slowing effect on China’s Belt and Road initiative

The virus that has now killed more than 1’800 people has brought the world’s second largest economy to grinding slow down. When President Xi expanded the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) at the start of the year to Myanmar there was little sign that the world’s second largest economy was bought to be pinned down by a global health emergency.

Crippling travel restrictions and lengthy quarantine periods mean skilled Chinese personnel are cut off from accessing key sites for the BRI.

Jakarta, Indonesia is a key city for the BRI, however more than 100 skilled workers and managers have been prohibited from entering the city since the outbreak bringing progression to a standstill.

Indonesia is not unique in this predicament, Pakistan’s $62 bn USD China-Pakistan Economic Corridor may be much less severely restricted, however Pakistani officials have said a number of Chinese managers have been effected by quarantines and travel restrictions, slowing progress of the CPEC.

So far 133 countries have COVID-19 related travel restrictions and quarantine measures in place.

Arguably the biggest hit to the progression of the BRI has been the wide scale disruption to the global supply chain.

Bangladesh saw 40% of it’s 2’000 strong BRI Chinese work force unable to return to work following the Lunar-New-Year due to quarantines and travel restrictions.

The restrictions are having crippling effects of national, global and personal financial circumstances with the outbreak already far outstripping the fiscal impact of the 2003 SARS outbreak.

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About the Author

Amy Radclif
Journalist for Al-Sahawat Times