SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

The Covid Pandemic in Southeast Asia: An assessment of its severity and economic consequences

Anne E Booth
Prof Anne Booth (SOAS)

Date: 13 April 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 13 April 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Seminar


The evidence which is now available from Southeast Asia suggests that both COVID infection rates and mortality are low in comparison with Europe, and with North and South America. But there is considerable variation within the region. I will try to assess the accuracy of the data from different countries and speculate on explanations for the apparently low mortality. I also examine the data on changes in national income in 2020 and try to explain the very different outcomes across countries. It is estimated that national income in the Philippines contracted by almost ten per cent in 2020, while at the other extreme national income grew by around three per cent in Vietnam. I also examine the impact of the pandemic on poverty across the region. My main conclusion is that the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in public health systems in several countries; the countries which have had the fewest deaths appear to be those where public health systems have seen improvements since the 1990s.

Speaker Biography

Anne Booth has taught at SOAS since 1991, and has had a long-standing interest in economic development in Asia, with a particular focus on Indonesia. Her most recent book, Living Standards in Southeast Asia: Changes over the Long Twentieth Century, 1900-2015 is published by Amsterdam University Press.


This event is free and open to public. If you would like to attend the event please register. Please register via Zoom.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies

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