As 2021 begins — not soon enough for most of us — we take one last look at the year that was.
For Thailand, 2020 was a year of turmoil, disruption and contrasts. Simmering discontent boiled over for some in the form of protests, and the coronavirus pandemic impacted all. The nation escaped the horrific numbers of Covid-19 deaths seen by other countries, but the economy was not spared. The resurgence of coronavirus deepens economic gloom.
Worst year: Asia’s Poorest
As in too many places, it is the poorest and most vulnerable in Asia — the forgotten men, women and children, of the region — who have been hit hardest by Covid-19. The World Bank reports that Asia’s most vulnerable have borne the brunt of a “triple shock” — the pandemic itself, the economic fallout from the containment measures, and the ensuing global recession. In Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, migrant workers in particular have suffered the consequences of economic lockdowns. The diversity of victims of the coronavirus’s economic impact has ranged from seafood workers from Myanmar in Thailand’s seafood industry to medical glove factory workers from Nepal in Malaysia.
CURTIS S CHIN & JOSE B COLLAZO