COVID-19 Pandemic

Read Text A carefully and write an argumentative essay of about 600-700 words in response to the following question.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, various countries have implemented lockdown to weaken the potential spread of virus. However, many critics argue that the implementation of lockdown has brought more problems than benefits. To what extent do you agree with this opinion?

Use the information from the text below as well as your knowledge to support your arguments. When using the information from text A, you are expected to acknowledge the source of it.


Text A

‘How Can I Get Through This?’ The Impact of Coronavirus on China’s Economy Is Only Just Beginning

Last year, Bi Chao made an investment that he thought would ensure a comfortable living. He plowed 200,000 renminbi (about $28,000) into buying hundreds of exotic animals—chiefly bamboo rats and porcupines. He planned to breed them on his farm in southwestern China’s Yunnan province, hoping to profit from his affluent compatriots’ penchant for dining on weird and wonderful wildlife.

But then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which experts believe began when a previously unknown virus jumped from an wild creature—possibly a snake or pangolin—to humans at a wet market in the central city of Wuhan. It has since rampaged across the globe, sickening almost 2.5 million and killing around 170,000, and has prompted the Chinese government to ban the rearing and sale of exotic animals.

Bi’s farm is one of nearly 20,000 in China raising rare species, including civet cats, peacocks, boar and ostriches, that have been forced to close. (According to a 2017 report by the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the industry was valued at $73 billion.) The 37-year-old says he has no choice but to keeping feeding his animals at a loss in the hope that the government reverses or relaxes its ban soon. Still, he remains on the verge of bankruptcy.

“My parents’ health is not good, and I have a seven-year-old daughter who has just started school,” he tells TIME. “I thought I was ready for 2020, but now I’m in massive debt. How can I get through this?”

The livelihoods of breeders like Bi are among those most directly affected by coronavirus, though workers across every sector will be asking similar questions as hardships cascade. Even as official infection figures drop to double-digits daily, economic data released Friday reveals China’s economy contracted 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020, during which some 460,000 Chinese firms closed. Registration of new firms fell 29% year-on-year between January and March.

It’s the first recorded contraction in China since before Mao-era collectivization was abolished in the late 1970s. But analysts agree that even the 6.8% figure is extremely optimistic (as Beijing’s official figures tend to be). By comparison, JP Morgan is predicting that the U.S. economy will contract by 40% in the second quarter of the year.

Getting China’s economy revving again is not as simple as flicking a switch. Containment measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 mean hundreds of thousands of workers are stranded far from factories. Production also been interrupted by the shelter-in-place measures that currently apply to half of humanity. Factories that have reopened have been forced to reduce capacity, or even close again, due to cratering demand for Chinese exports.

It’s a dire picture that bodes badly for the global economy. Last week, the IMF estimated that global GDP will shrink 3% this year—compared to its pre-pandemic prediction of a 3.3% expansion—and that contraction may continue into 2021, marking the deepest dive since the Great Depression almost a century ago.

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