Macau pays for economic paralysis. It bet all its chips on the fight against the new coronavirus – and won the first round of public health. However, the pandemic does not go away with the storm; take the rug off to those who wait seated for lost normality; throws to the ground who paralyzes.
The Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, deserves praise for the foreknowledge with which he closed the casinos – and then borders – with a strong pulse, authority and courage. But now he faces a more difficult challenge: the reconstruction game has no definite rules, it does not fall from the sky or announce itself. But there is an urgent need to show signs, have credible plans and recover the energy of doing.
Ho Iat Seng is hostage to the success of the pandemic containment. You can no longer lose what you gained in health, to now gain the economy you lost. Leaders who did not realize the priority of public health in time, are in bad shape, like Trump or Bolsonaro. But those who do not have the nails for economic recovery are at serious risk of imploding politically.
The center of decision is in Beijing. And in this case, it is not worth dramatizing with the loss of autonomy. First, because the pandemic combat only makes sense on a national and global scale; then, because at borders and visas, only the ones in charge can lead; finally, because thinking about economic recovery without regional integration and national support is pure myriad.
The glamor of Xi Jinping himself is increasingly at stake. And if Ho Iat Seng thinks he can wait … he can’t. Many think so, that successful pandemic combat protects them; as others thought months ago that protecting the economy would protect them … It is in balance that the gain is. Tastes, regimes and ideologies aside, Xi Jinping and Ho Iat Seng have to embrace the recovery cycle.