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The coronavirus (COVID-19) challenge will hit emerging economies hard – including those in the Asia-Pacific region neighbouring Australia. While problematic for those nations, new complexities in the region could also drive a number of economic and societal concerns for Australia. 

While China looks to have made headway in both fighting the virus and economic recovery, other countries in the region are in very different situations. The degree to which they will be impacted, and how soon they recover, depends on many factors, including the strength of their underlying healthcare system.

However, in some developing Asian countries, under-funded public health systems, high population density, limited access to clean water and sanitation, and high levels of informal employment and poverty could limit the success of efforts to contain the virus.

COVID-19 could place enormous strain on the ability of governments to offer social safety nets, particularly at the size and breadth that Australia and some other nations have implemented. In some Asia-Pacific countries, the relationship between society and the state is leading to different responses to government measures. Different geopolitical objectives are also affecting how different nations are responding.1

With all these variables, even optimistic scenarios could see many Asia-Pacific countries struggling with the social, economic, and political fallout of COVID-19 for many years to come.2

These health and economic impacts are a cause for concern in their own right. They also have implications for Australia in both how it manages the crisis, and how it rebuilds the economy once the virus is contained.

KPMG's COVID-19 and the Asia-Pacific region: Implications for Australia report looks at Australia’s relationships in the region in terms of trade, supply chain consequences, and what Australia can do amid these headwinds to still emerge in a strong position.

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