Economic and social progress in developing countries across Asia over the past six decades has been phenomenal. The region's share of global output grew to 24% in 2018, from just 4% in 1960, while poverty fell dramatically.

However, the COVID-19 crisis has reversed some of this success. Last year, developing Asia's economy contracted for the first time in five decades.

Without COVID-19, the number of extremely poor people in the region was set to decline to about 100 million in 2020, from 1.6 billion in 1981.

Instead, it is estimated that the pandemic has added another 78 million people to the extremely poor in the region.

In its first year, COVID-19 afflicted more than 80 million people around the world, took 1.8 million lives, and set back global output by more than two years.

The pandemic is now in its second year, with new waves of infections. Estimates indicate that developing Asia's economic losses from COVID-19 may be equivalent to more than 8% of regional gross domestic product last year and 3.6% to 6.3% this year.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 6 2021, of The Himalayan Times.