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Covid comeback raises scythe over Asia’s recovery

TOKYO – Western economies and populations were hammered far harder than East Asia as the world struggled to contain Covid-19 in 2020. But in the vaccination era of 2021, the region’s luck is running out.

“The contagious Delta strain is sweeping through Asia and hurting Asia’s economic recovery,” says Katrina Ell at Moody’s Analytics.

Numerous economies, Ell says, are “dealing with fresh outbreaks and restrictions this week with Indonesia the most problematic and likely to be the hardest hit. Japan, South Korea, Australia and Vietnam will also be adversely impacted to varying degrees by fresh restrictions suppressing domestic demand.”

These recent developments represent a grim about-face. This year was supposed to be Asia’s year, led by China’s powerful revival. Overcoming – and avoiding the worst of – the pandemic was expected to be a uniquely Asian triumph.