The richer countries in the Asia-Pacific region are likely to recover quickly from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic than their poorer counterparts because of variation in degree of immunity, healthcare system and vaccine roll-out, according to a report. Referring to the much-talked-about K-shaped recovery, which means some groups or countries recover much faster than others, the report said most countries will take years to attain pre-pandemic income levels.


  1. A K-shaped global economic recovery...appears plausible. Most countries will take years to attain pre-pandemic income levels," said a joint report 'Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Leaving no Country Behind' by the ADB, UNDP and the UNESCAP.
  2. Reflecting back to the economic recovery process after the 1997-98 financial crisis, the report said the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be "worse".
  3. The report said that while income equality fell in most of the regions globally during 1995-2015, it rose over 5 percentage points in Asia and Pacific.
  4. In some 40 per cent of countries in the region, income inequality increased. Worryingly, the market income Gini coefficient soared in China, Indonesia, Bangladesh and India, which are among the five most populous countries in the region and account for over 70 per cent of its population, the report said.
  5. The region's most-affluent countries are likely to recover more quickly than the poorer countries, said the report.
  6. There is a fear of multispeed access to vaccines. Developed countries, together with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, China, India, Russian Federation and Turkey, may achieve herd immunity within 2021; while for other developing Asia-Pacific countries, inoculations are likely to have a significant impact on immunity only in 2022, as per the report.
  7. The report underlined the immense promise digitisation holds in unlocking new paths to sustainable development.
  8. Explosion of e-commerce platforms and digital payments solutions during the pandemic has enabled many businesses not only to survive but also pivot their operations to online platforms to thrive.
  9. Further, the report added that the Asia-Pacific region is already off-track to meeting its sustainable development goals (SDGs), the pandemic has been a massive setback to achieving the SDGs by 2030.


  1. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations, promotes cooperation among the 53 members and 9 associate members in Asia-Pacific.
  2. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is owned by 68 members, 49 from the region, that works towards development and resilient economies through policy dialogue, loans, equity, investments and grants, among others.
  3. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the leading organisation of the UN fighting to end poverty, inequality and climate change.