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China's Economy Grows 3.2% As Virus Lockdowns Lifted

The expansion reported on July 16 was a dramatic improvement over the previous quarter’s 6.8 percent contraction

Jul 16, 2020 / 08:11 AM IST

BEIJING (AP) — China’s economy rebounded from a painful contraction to grow by 3.2 percent over a year earlier in the latest quarter as anti-virus lockdowns were lifted and factories and stores reopened.

The expansion reported on July 16 was a dramatic improvement over the previous quarter’s 6.8 percent contraction — China’s worst performance since at least the mid-1960s. But it still was the weakest positive figure since China started reporting quarterly growth in the early 1990s.

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China, where the coronavirus pandemic began in December, was the first economy to shut down and the first to start the drawn-out process of recovery in March after the ruling Communist Party declared the disease under control.

Manufacturing and some other industries are almost back to normal operating levels. But consumer spending is weak due to public unease about possible job losses. Cinemas and some other businesses still are closed and restrictions on travel stay in place.

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Associated Press
first published: Jul 16, 2020 08:11 am
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