After 13 comprehensive and exhaustive congressional hearings – the controversial franchise application of ABS-CBN was finally concluded on 10 July.
Every day, the COVID-19 pandemic costs the world thousands more lives and billions more dollars. The most efficient way to bring this crisis to an end – possibly as early as next year – is with a safe and effective vaccine, manufactured in large quantities and distributed globally.
The global toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is enormous: more than a half-million lives lost, hundreds of millions out of work, and trillions of dollars of wealth destroyed. And the disease has by no means run its course; hundreds of thousands more could well die from it.Not surprisingly, there is tremendous interest in the development of a vaccine, with more than a hundred efforts under way around the world.
Some of the Chinese government’s recent policies seem to make little practical sense, with its decision to impose a national-security law on Hong Kong being a prime example.
As many countries progressively relax their COVID-19 containment measures, preventing a renewed spread of the coronavirus from emerging infection clusters will be key to controlling the pandemic. And this will require the world to develop innovative new treatments.So far, policymakers have relied on non-pharmaceutical interventions such as testing, contact tracing, and quarantines to prevent a second wave of infections.
In the Southeast Asian region, the Philippines is one of the countries that has been affected the most by the COVID-19 pandemic. The country is estimated to lose between three percent and four percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) this year. In the first quarter of 2020, its GDP shrank by two-tenths of one percent for the first time in two decades according to Secretary Sonny Dominguez of the Department of Finance (DOF).
S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information will co-chair a new ministerial committee for digital transformation with Chan Chun Sing, the Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry.
As COVID-19 spread from China to Europe and then the United States (US), pandemic-stricken countries found themselves in a mad scramble for medical supplies – masks, ventilators, protective garments. More often than not, it was to China that they had to turn.By the time the crisis erupted, China had become the world’s largest supplier of key products, accounting for half of all European and US imports of personal protective equipment (PPE).
In Indonesia, heart-breaking stories about health care workers who died as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak started appearing in newspapers within weeks of the first diagnosed cases in the country. Doctors, nurses and other frontline health workers without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) were falling gravely ill and in far too many cases, dying. Similar stories appeared across many other ASEAN member states.
The COVID-19 pandemic is entering its second phase as countries gradually reopen their economies and loosen or even revoke strict social-distancing measures. Yet, barring the arrival of an effective, universally available therapy or vaccine, the transition back to “normal” will be more aspirational than real.
The logistics and delivery services sector in ASEAN is booming as an indirect result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The lucrative sector has now attracted players from China like Best Inc. The integrated smart supply chain and logistics solutions provider based in Hangzhou, China, has announced that it has started express delivery services in Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore following its entry into the Thai and Vietnamese markets last year.
The ongoing standoff between Chinese and Indian forces along the two countries’ disputed Himalayan border recently resulted in the first troop casualties there in decades, with some Indian soldiers killed in particularly brutal fashion.