ISLAMABAD                -               The spread of COVID-19 world over is posing severe challenges to econom­ic development, and it might affect the projects under the CPEC as well.

A report published in China Eco­nomic Net on Thursday says after ar­duous efforts, the Chinese people have just come out of the most diffi­cult period and are accelerating the restoration of normal production and daily life.

What kind of impact will this pan­demic have on China’s economy and Pakistan’s economy is yet to be deter­mined, it said adding it is important to pay attention to this as CPEC is of ex­traordinary importance not only for China but also for Pakistan.

From 2015 till now, there has been a unanimous opinion in Pakistan that CPEC is very useful to Pakistan. There­fore, any adverse impact on such a proven project would be of great con­cern to both the countries.

When the Corona virus outbreak began to spread in China, it was also linked to the operation of CPEC in Pakistan.

As many Chinese citizens working in different places of CPEC travelled to Wuhan, China, to celebrate their New Year’s celebrations, after Wu­han’s lockdown, it was impossible for these Chinese engineers, experts and management people to return to Paki­stan on time.

So it was difficult for many enterpris­es, business centers and factories to run smoothly. This situation was seen by both China and Pakistan with great concern, as 100,000 to 15,000 Chinese engineers, experts and management staff were concerned with the CPEC.

It was necessary to fill this gap as soon as possible. At that time, it was only the beginning of the outbreak in Pakistan, but measures had been intro­duced to prevent it.

China and Pakistan decided that the Chinese engineers and manage­ment staff should be sent to Pakistan and the policy of double quarantine should be adopted. People who were to be sent to Pakistan first were kept in quarantine for 14 days in China and then again in Pakistan.

Later, they went to do their jobs, but despite all of this, these Chinese peo­ple should not have any connection with the locals to ensure that they are kept from the danger of the corona vi­rus. China and Pakistan succeeded in this strategy.

The Chinese people’s arrival in Paki­stan won the hearts of the Pakistanis as they saw that the Chinese were return­ing to their jobs faster and playing their role in advancing the CPEC projects.

In the meantime, the lockdown was announced in Pakistan to keep the citizens away from this deadly dis­ease. The effects will inevitably fall onto the CPEC. An eight-week delay can be tolerated, but if this delay is exceeded, the disadvantages will be even greater.

There can be no other opinion that China and Pakistan should begin pre­paring for a strategy to minimize the negative impact on the CPEC.

The effects of coronavirus can last for months if the effective policy is not adopted and the effects can extend be­yond the months to years, which is very regrettable, the report said.