Helping Governments guard against Pandemics

The financial aspects of a national pandemic are huge.

The World Health Organization has identified that Airports are a likely gateway for an outbreak of global pandemics.

In an article published for the World Bank, Milan Brahmbhatt discussed the possible economic cost of a flu pandemic.

He wrote: “ Interestingly, the most immediate economic impacts of a pandemic will arise not from actual death or sickness but from the uncoordinated efforts of private individuals to avoid becoming infected.

This at least was the experience during SARS, when people tried to avoid infection by minimizing face-to-face interactions, resulting in a severe shock for the services sectors such as tourism, mass transportation, retail sales, hotels and restaurants, as well as workplace absenteeism, disruption of production processes and a shift to more costly procedures.

This led to a an immediate economic loss of around 2% of East Asian regional GDP in the second quarter of 2003, even though only about 800 people ultimately died from SARS. There is no reason to believe that a future pandemic wouldn’t wind up costing Government’s significantly more than 2%.”

The GDP of Singapore is US$259.8 billion. Therefore a pandemic could cost a country like Singapore US$5.1 billion in loss to its GDP.