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World Bank Declares East Asia Recovery Will Take Longer Due to Delta Variant

Phnom Penh: The World Bank says the economic recovery in Cambodia, as well as other countries in East Asia and the Pacific, might take longer than expected. The biggest reason for its stagnation is the spread of the Delta variant, which has hit countries, companies and families hard.

According to the World Bank, the pandemic has slowed the pace of economic growth and increased inequality in the region. The World Bank's vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, Manuela Ferro, says the spread of the virus followed by the restrictions measures and lockdowns has caused businesses to lose their resources and be potentially more vulnerable. The situation is also causing a suspension of investment.

For Cambodia alone, the battle against Covid-19 has slowed the economic recovery, especially in the construction services and real estate sectors, which have been revised in 2021 from 4% to 2.2% growth. The tourism and travel sectors were projected to provide 2 million jobs and contribute a quarter of Cambodia’s GDP during the pre-pandemic period, but all have been completely downgraded.

The report emphasizes that the region as a whole needs to work hard to find solutions to four challenges: immunodeficiency, increase the levels of vaccine distribution to increase immunization coverage; expand sample testing for tracking the virus and implementing strong measures to control infection. Manuela Ferro also stated that strengthening the health system is necessary to be able to cope with chronic diseases in the future. International assistance remains needed to support national efforts, especially in countries where the health system remains weak.

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