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Covid-19 will leave behind a long-lasting trail of discontent and unrest: Report

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on October 23, 2020 Published on October 23, 2020

Latest International SOS report highlights impact on economy, job losses to sustain social unrest

The Covid-19 pandemic will leave behind a long-lasting trail of discontent and social unrest across the affected countries, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Thailand, a latest report on global trends revealed.

In its report on “Covid-19 & Global Security Implications”, International SOS, a leading medical and security services provider, has revealed that as the movement restrictions start easing globally, the long-lasting impact on the economy, including the mass job losses, will sustain a momentum of social unrest across the affected nations.

The report noted that the socio-economic grievances have risen since the global pandemic brought challenges related to disrupted supply chains, movement controls and high unemployment. This is specifically seen in most economies across the region in the Asia Pacific region.

From the travel perspective, International SOS states that the pandemic has caused many complexities to managing travel, it has also diversely impacted security environments. By “presenting new challenges for companies’ risk managers and other stakeholders looking after their workforce’s resilience, both while travelling internationally and at their domestic location,” it said.

Udit Mehta, geopolitical and security expert and Executive Vice-President for International SOS, India, said: “The global economic downturn has particularly hit export-dependent economies in the region, fuelling socio-economic grievances which will likely underpin high levels of social unrest in the short-to-medium term.”

“These uncertainties have led to concerns about the safety and security of employees based in their home countries, as well as those in foreign locations, making it vital for organisations to map out policies and strategies focussing on employees and business continuity,” Mehta added.

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Socio-economic impact

In India, the report noted, the factors driving public discontent and associated protests have constantly shifted since the onset of the pandemic.

“The main grievances are linked to socio-economic issues, contentious government decisions such as recently-adopted legislations for agriculture sector, as well as long-standing issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Act, which critics regard as discriminatory from a religious and ethnic standpoint,” the report stated, adding that these are unlikely to be resolved in the short-to-medium term.

It also expressed fears that these factors may “prompt demonstrations over the coming months. Labour unions and farmers’ groups have been taking to the streets, while political parties have also called demonstrations. Protests have the potential to become more structured and organised, thereby growing in size and focusing on main urban centres.”

The report has also highlighted threats and concerns regarding travel and safety of organisations and its employees in the regions of Europe, MENA, Asia, America and Africa.

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Published on October 23, 2020
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