The world is still reeling from the effects of a virus that suddenly jumped from animals to humans and spread globally at an astonishing speed and with tragic results. The COVID-19 crisis has shaken the world, but it has had a particular resonance in Asia and the Pacific. This region has had salutary experiences of other coronaviruses and knows only too well the threat that they pose. Some countries were thus able to react swiftly to contain the danger – though others were less fortunate and the poorest people in particular have been cruelly exposed both to the virus itself and the ensuing economic shocks.

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