China can play a crucial role in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic globally and minimising its negative impact on the economy, a Russian scholar has said.

Evsey Gurvich, Head of the Economic Expert Group, a Russian analytical centre on macroeconomic and fiscal policy, made the remarks in a recent interview ahead of a Group of Twenty (G20) extraordinary virtual leaders’ summit on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic scheduled for Thursday.

“Joint efforts of the G20 members can go along several directions: containment of the coronavirus spread, treatment of patients, and minimisation of economic consequences,” said Gurvich, also a member of the Economic Council under the Russian president.

China is the first country to successfully curb the spread of COVID-19, and other countries will pay special attention to its anti-virus experience, he said, adding that China’s experience in overcoming the economic consequences of the outbreak is also important.

“Fast recovery in economic activities in China after a decline in production in the first months of the year will serve as an important signal of optimism for the whole world economy,” he said.

In his view, the solution to most global problems, wherever they originate, is only possible through close cooperation, and the current pandemic is no exception.

“The Chinese idea of building a community with a shared future for mankind is needed as it envisages a space where countries work together on mutually beneficial solutions to global issues,” he said.

“If so far globalisation has been associated mainly with the formation of international production chains and internationalisation of financial markets, globalisation after the COVID-19 outbreak definitely needs to be expanded to include health problems,” he said.

A speedy return to a dynamic development of the global economy requires a shift from acting unilaterally to coordinating measures and following common rules of the game, the expert said.

“Integration proposals can play a positive role. China’s Belt & Road Initiative and the alignment of the initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union are examples,” Gurvich said.