Adam Schrader – Riskline:

1. Severity of natural disasters:

Due to climate change, the effects of natural disasters, such as tropical and winter storms, wildfires and monsoon rainfall in 2021 will continue to be more severe and emergency services personnel will be unable to respond to them in a timely manner in countries grappling with a new wave of COVID‐19 infections.

The trend will be similar when natural disasters hit countries this year, as emergency services are still understaffed and stretched thin and most resources have been allocated towards tackling the COVID‐19 outbreak. Countries particularly at risk from natural disasters amid an outbreak during 2021 include the United States, Italy, Kazakhstan and Russia, during the winter‐storm season (January to March); the U.S., Brazil, Greece and Indonesia (April to August) and Australia and New Zealand (January to April) during the wildfire season; and India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, China and Pakistan during the cyclone and monsoon seasons (May to November).

2. Overburdened health systems:

The COVID‐19 pandemic has pushed most health systems to their limits, exposing long‐standing gaps in public health infrastructure and healthcare in many countries.Even the most thorough assessment of a future pandemic could not have anticipated the consequences of the decisions made by so many governments, public health officials and individuals last year.Adam SchraderShare this quote

A World Health Organization study from 105 countries indicates that some 90% of countries experienced disruptions to essential healthcare services, with low‐ and middle‐income countries reporting the greatest difficulties during the COVID‐19 pandemic.

Routine immunization, diagnosis and treatment of non‐communicable diseases, cancer and malaria, as well as family planning, contraception and treatment for mental health disorders, have been the most affected. Distressingly, emergency services also experienced disruptions in many countries.

3. Social unrest caused by anti‐austerity measures/COVID‐19 restrictions and vaccine deployment:

In October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that the global economy will shrink by approximately 4.4% in 2020, due to the COVID‐19 pandemic. The effects of this recession will continue to be felt this year, even with the deployment of a vaccine. Lower tax receipts and ballooning public deficits are likely to force governments across the world to implement painful austerity measures, including cuts to social programs and unemployment benefits.

These actions carry with them the potential to trigger popular unrest led by activist organizations such as the Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) movement in France and the People’s Assembly Against Austerity in the United Kingdom.

Extremist organizations in particular have increased their visibility and membership in the U.S., Canada and Europe, while political climates continues to sow unrest and discord – fueled by our current rising epidemic of disinformation and widely divisive elections. The post-Brexit landscape is also creating mounting uncertainty – while Middle East tensions continue to escalate.

4. Rise in violent crime:

An increase in crimes, such as carjacking and burglary, is expected in developing and semi‐developed countries – and in some developed areas – whose governments are unable to provide adequate financial aid and other forms of relief amid the economic downturn triggered by the COVID‐19 pandemic.

5. Continued impact of COVID‐19 on global travel:

The desire for countries to limit exposure to COVID‐19 will put pressure on travelers to obtain mandatory documentation relating to insurance, testing, pre‐approved accommodation and, eventually, vaccination, prior to travel, which imposes additional cost burdens on travelers. Entry and exit restrictions imposed by governments or their assessment of the COVID‐19 situation in a traveler’s country of origin change at short notice, further complicating global travel.

Travelers in most countries should continue to expect measures such as health screening, quarantine and testing, socially distanced seating arrangements and contactless check‐ins or transactions at airports, major public transport hubs, hotels and other facilities. Expect renewed lockdowns in high‐risk areas and a reduction in capacity for transportation services of all kinds to be the new norm in 2021.