The unravelling spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its socio-economic impacts, continues to make the operating environment highly uncertain. The IMF World Economic Outlook 2020 succinctly summarises the uncertainty for global growth. The economic fallout depends on factors that interact in ways that are hard to predict, including the pathway of the pandemic, the intensity and efficacy of containment efforts, the extent of supply disruptions, the repercussions of the dramatic tightening in global financial market conditions, shifts in spending patterns, behavioural changes (such as people avoiding market places and public transportation), confidence effects, and volatile commodity prices.
The reactions of business and communities will remain uncertain for some time. Social distancing at workplace and at public places will be the temporary new normal, giving rise to new cultural norms and consumption behaviours. Business will redesign business models, develop plans and start to increase investments to build resilience, increasing localisation and reorganising global value chains. Demand recovery could take a long time and will significantly vary between sectors. De-globalisation may gather strength in some sectors and operations, whereas globalisation may increase in some others.