JICA Ogata Research Institute

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[Policy Paper] Resilience to COVID-19 from the “Quality Growth” Perspective: A Proposal of Medical Infrastructure Investment

Resilience to external shocks is one of the pillars of “Quality Growth.”

This paper considers how we prepare for and respond to COVID-19, in particular, how medical recuperation facilities for infected persons with mild symptoms and asymptomatic carriers should be established, from the viewpoint of “Quality Growth.” We specifically focus on “redundancy” which is one of the factors to strengthen resilience and discuss the preparedness of medical infrastructure, referring to example cases in Japan.

Supposing there were no cost constraints, we would be able to prepare for infectious diseases to a maximum extent. However, in reality, there are constraints such as availability of funds and their balanced allocation with other purposes. In this context, preparing the reserve capacity means that available funds are not fully used effectively in normal times, which is negative for growth at least for the short term. Moreover, medical infrastructure by its nature is unlikely to have redundancy, unlike economic infrastructure.

Considering these factors, it is desirable to utilize the facilities, which are used for other purposes than medical care in normal times, as a recuperation places for persons with mild symptoms and asymptomatic carriers to reduce the spread of infection. This promotes multiple uses of facilities. Furthermore, while the construction and provision of temporary recuperation facilities is one effective measure, such facilities can also be prepared and used as a temporary shelter in the times of natural disaster. This is another multiple use of social infrastructure.

In conclusion, this paper proposes that from the “Quality Growth” perspective, people infected with mild symptoms and asymptomatic carriers should be accommodated in stages in the following order: (1) public facilities, (2) accommodation facilities, particularly those owned by the state, (3) temporary facilities, and (4) private homes, in response to the spread of infection. It is desirable to build a system that would make this possible.

This is a translated version of a Japanese policy paper published in September 2020.

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