...Surprisingly, there are a few tech companies in the country not only surviving but thriving in the midst of the current lockdown.
They are worth studying because their use cases point to examples of how businesses in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia can potentially become more impactful and integral to the lives of their users.
Basic needs go on-demand
When the community quarantine took into effect in Manila on March 15, few people were prepared. As in other countries, there were absurdly long lines at groceries as people stocked up – or in some unfortunate cases, hoarded – essentials such as food, water, and sanitation items. But not everyone was able to get what they need.
Many Filipinos have since turned to the on-demand services platform, MyKuya.
According to founder Shahab Shabibi, MyKuya has seen triple the requests compared to the week before, with many people turning to the app for help with basic needs, such as getting a kuya (Filipino for “big brother”) to help deliver take-out or do personal shopping for necessities such as sanitation items.
Employed through MyKuya’s enterprise partners, these kuyas are themselves working completely voluntarily. For many Filipinos at the bottom-of-the-pyramid, the economic impact of not working during the COVID-19 lockdown – “no work, no pay” is a commonly heard refrain – is the worst part of the pandemic.
Read more: e27
Taipei, March 24 (CNA) An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening new coronavirus pandemic.
"We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dr. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Thanks to Dr. Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design," Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook Monday.
The Antipolo Doctors Hospital is located in Antipolo City, about 25 kilometers east of Manila.
Legaspi's Facebook post came with several photos of the box and a short demonstration video that was shot in the hospital. As of Tuesday morning, his post was shared more than 60 times.
The "Aerosol Box" designed by Lai, an anesthesiologist with Mennonite Christian Hospital in Hualien, Taiwan, is a transparent cube made of acrylic that covers a patient's head during endotracheal intubation, a necessary procedure for patients with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) who suffer respiratory failure.
It has two holes on one side through which physicians can insert their hands to perform the procedure while being shielded from the patient's respiratory droplets.
Lai shared his design on Facebook and gave permission for its use for non-commercial purposes on Saturday. His invention was reported by CNA and several other media outlets in Taiwan.
As to Legaspi and his sister, an emergency room doctor, they learned of the device on Sunday night through shared posts on social media and came out with the prototype the next morning, overcoming challenges brought by the ongoing lockdown in Metro Manila, Legaspi told CNA in an interview Tuesday.
"We were lucky enough to get a supplier who had available stocks of raw materials. The workers at the shop live at the factory, so we were able to make it," Legaspi said.
His sister asked Legaspi if he could make such a box because it was needed at the hospital as supplies of personal protective equipment in the Philippines are running low, he said.
As of Monday afternoon, there were 462 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, with 33 deaths and 18 patients who have recovered.
In Legaspi's version, the holes of the aerosol box were made bigger to accommodate bigger arms. Other suggestions he got from people in the medical field include making a small flap on the open side, for additional maneuverability and protection, according to Legaspi.
Donors and acrylic suppliers have pledged support for the production of the device, which will be donated to public and private hospitals around the country, he said.
The cost of making each aerosol box is estimated at 1,500 pesos (US$32), lower than Lai's estimated cost of roughly NT$2,000 (US$66).
"It would be nice to have it mass produced to cater to many more patients. It may still be used even after the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
(By Emerson Lim)
read from source: Focus Taiwan
03/24/2020 02:06 PM
MANILA (REUTERS) - The Philippines is stopping the issuance of visas to foreigners, banning all nationalities from entering the country to halt the spread of coronavirus, its foreign minister said on Thursday (March 19).
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said on Twitter that he had signed an order stopping the issuance of visas domestically and in all foreign posts. He did not give a timeframe for the measures.
"This goes one imperative step forward: a total ban on incoming foreign visitors of all nationalities no exceptions," Mr Locsin said, adding that outgoing foreign visitors will be allowed to leave.
The Philippines has recorded 217 coronavirus infections and 17 deaths, mostly of which were reported in the past two weeks.
More than half of the country's 107 million population is under a month-long quarantine.
Read more: The Straits Times
Taipei, March 18 (CNA) Taiwan will bar all foreign nationals from entering Taiwan starting Thursday, with some exceptions, as it intensifies efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who serves as the CECC head, announced the new restrictions at a CECC news conference Wednesday, and said it was necessary after seeing a spike in confirmed cases among Taiwanese who had traveled abroad recently.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said some foreign nationals will not be subject to the ban.
Foreign nationals who hold Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs) or documents proving they are in Taiwan for diplomatic or other official purposes or to fulfill business contracts, as well as those who have received special permits, can enter the country, Wu said.
The restrictions on entry into Taiwan for foreign nationals will be subject to change based on CECC directives, Wu said.
Read more: Focus Taiwan
We are sharing this US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Recommended Action Plan on #COVID-19 Preparedness. Please feel free to share to as many of your contacts as possible.
NEW YORK, March 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Finastra has crowned Team 'WonderTech' the grand prize winner of its largest ever global fintech hackathon on its open development platform, FusionFabric.cloud. The Manila-based team was selected for the top honor for its 'Agree Farm App' from among five category winners at Finastra Universe New York. The app, which aims to connect rural farmers in the Philippines with access to bank loans, was chosen by an audience of senior professionals representing financial institutions. The team's app was built using open APIs on FusionFabric.cloud, Finastra's open development platform.
Team 'WonderTech' consisted of four young professionals and university students in Manila: Michael Puzon, Vaniza Dagangon, John Robert Tubale and Clyde Palattao. Using Finastra's payment APIs, in combination with third-party industry APIs, the team built the working prototype in just a few weeks, proving the speed and simplicity of FusionFabric.cloud.
Read more: Markets Insider
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 11) - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has ordered a price freeze on all basic necessities following the proclamation of public health emergency amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Citing the Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, DTI said that prize freeze on basic goods is implemented after a declaration of state of emergency, state of rebellion or war, and martial law.
Goods covered by the price freeze are:
. Rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh or dried marine products, fresh eggs, fresh meat (pork and beef), vegetables, root crops, sugar, and fresh fruits.
. Canned seafood, processed milk, coffee,laundry soap and detergent, candles, bread, salt, potable water in bottles and containers, locally-manufactured instant noodles.
. Firewood and charcoal
. Liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene
The prize freeze on basic goods will take effect for 60 days and 15 days for household LPG and kerosene.
Read more: CNN Philippines
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Academia Sinica on Sunday (March 8) announced that a team of scientists has developed antibodies that can identify the protein that causes the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) in just 19 days, paving the way for a new test for the virus that can provide results within 15 minutes.
On its Facebook page at noon on Sunday, Academia Sinica announced that Dr. Yang An-suei (楊安綏) and his team at the Genomics Research Center had developed monoclonal antibodies that can identify the protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, within a "record-breaking" 19 days. Specifically, Yang said that the first monoclonal antibodies to bind the nucleocapsid protein (N protein) have been successfully tested and generated.
Yang said that if these antibodies can be successfully manufactured and validated, they could be used to create a rapid test for COVID-19 that could yield results in as little as 15 minutes, similar to rapid influenza tests. He added that these antibodies do not bind to the N proteins of the other fives strains of coronavirus, avoiding the problem of cross-reactivity.
Read more: Taiwan News
ABOUT PTIC TAIPEI
The Philippine Trade & Investment Center in Taipei is the Commercial Affairs Section of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office and the representative office of the Philippine Department of Trade & Industry in Taiwan