Since the start of the outbreak of COVID-19, affected countries have felt its impact weighing down on the healthcare system. With more than half a million deaths and over 10 million confirmed cases as of early July 2020, the novel coronavirus pandemic has become a pivotal event of the 21st century. Healthcare systems are now put to the test in terms of their preparedness in handling an influx of COVID-19 patients together with patients with other diseases and conditions. Many uncertainties of how COVID-19 should be treated has left the only option of symptomatic treatment. Aside from the healthcare and biotech sectors, many others have also inevitably been devastated due to this pandemic.
Travel restrictions and lockdowns has greatly affected brick and mortar businesses, as well as the aviation industry; leading to record high unemployment rates. In this increasingly globalised world, many countries are dependent on others for exports of essential goods such a food supply. Food security has become a growing concern for governments as many airlines ground their fleets, limiting export frequency. Border closures and movement restrictions have also affected many farmers with workers not being able to work in the fields. This time have proven to be a pivotal point for businesses to rethink and even restructure its processes. Shifting the focus to adopt innovative technologies to tide over this time as well as make a comeback after the pandemic is over.
Continuing on APBN’s COVID-19 series for this year, we switch gears to look at its implications on food security within the Asia Pacific region. The Global Food Security Index 2019 Asia Pacific regional report released earlier this year on 15 March 2020 explores the challenges and key risks to food security in the region. To dive in further we interviewed Peter Ford, President, Asia Pacific for Corteva Agriscience Agriculture Division of DowDuPont and Priya Bapat, Senior Consultant, Public Policy for The Economist Intelligence Unit. (p. 20)
In our columns for this month we have Justin Chiah, Senior Director, South East Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong/Macau (SEATH) Product Category, Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) Aruba who wrote about the role of a modern hospital’s network in patient care; what are some key factors healthcare systems can lookout for. (p. 16)
Ever wondered how your excrement can save lives and potentially provided answers to diseases? An interview with the founder of Southeast Asia’s first stool bank, Asian Microbiome Library, Associate professor Jeremy Lim, will shed more light on this as he and his team together aim to address knowledge gaps in the understanding of the Asian gut microbiome. (p. 30)
Deborah Emmanuel Seah Qing En