LONDON, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The way China tackled COVID-19 is how the epidemic has to be handled globally so that the economic damage can be contained, Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times has said.
The economic damage by the COVID-19 pandemic could be enormous, taking the form of policy changes, trade barriers, as well as the deterioration in balance sheets, the huge increases in debts and the disappearance of companies, Wolf told Xinhua in a recent phone interview.
"If I look at what has been happening, I am very worried that the recession...will be very, very deep, and the world economy will also be very slow to recover," Wolf said.
He believed the rebound of world economy after the pandemic depends on whether COVID-19 can be managed successfully across the world and how long that will take.
"So we have to get control of the disease, and we have to do it quickly," he said, "which to some degree the Chinese authorities have done."
"If we can get through the disease management stage relatively quickly, and start moving at least in the major economies towards recovery within a few months, then I think the economic damage will be manageable, and we can start seeing recovery towards the end of this year and further into next year," he said.
He also warned companies worldwide have to preserve and expect the unexpected, stressing that companies should pay close attention to all the governments' economic mitigation measures, and make full use of the government assistance.
Wolf believes only the authorities can partly resolve the problems facing companies due to the COVID-19 outbreak, just like what the UK and Chinese governments have done.
In his observation, some businesses will do "fantastically well" in such a crisis, mainly because they are virtual businesses. "They don't demand physical activities by people in an office or in a factory," he said, "the big internet companies in western countries as well as in China will do wonderfully." (Contributed by Yang Xiaojing, edited by Gu Shanshan with Xinhua Silk Road, firstname.lastname@example.org)