Covid-19 Archives — LIRNEasia


Education was hard hit due to the COVID-19 crisis. A year into the crisis, some educators, students and caregivers are still grappling to find ways to provide continuity in education while minimising COVID-19 outbreaks. Online learning was seemingly a silver bullet. The adoption of digital technologies for educational purposes increased significantly as a result. However, the experiences of all students were heterogeneous, differing between countries and socio-economic groups.
Chair Rohan Samarajiva was interviewed by Roar Media on the implications of using drones for identifying those violating curfew orders.
This policy brief details guidance on making decisions in a pandemic.
On Friday, 26 June, 15:00-17:00 Central European Time (1830-2030 IST), the International Telecommunication Union is convening leading economic experts to discuss COVID19 and the Digital Economy: James Sullivan from J.P. Morgan, Mayssaa Issa from Delta Partners, Matt Yardley from Analysys Mason, Germán Cufré from IFC – International Finance Corporation, Shaun Collins from CCS Insight, Steve Brazier from Canalys, Paul Lam, CFA, FRSA from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Tim Kelly from The World Bank, Alison Gillwald from Research ICT Africa, Alexandra Rehak from Omdia, Audrey Plonk from OECD – OCDE, Rohan Samarajiva from LIRNEasia and Guy ZIBI from Xalam Analytics will explore emerging research on: (a) COVID19 impact on Digital Economy; and (b) Impact of Digital Infrastructure on recovery. Panel will be opened by ITU SG Houlin Zhao and Telecommunication Development Director Doreen Bogdan-Martin. The rapporteur is Raul Katz.
Both high and low trust may have a role to play in effective pandemic response.
Today I participated in a Zoom meeting organized by the Nightwatchman Society attended by around 200 participants where the above question was discussed by a panel of four, including myself. The recording of the discussion is here. I talked about COVID-19 as having offered us an opportunity to appreciate the importance of building resilient food supply chains. There will be more epidemics and pandemics. There will also be shocks caused by climate change.
Senior Research Fellow Sujata Gamage‘s op-ed in today’s Daily FT concludes thus: Sri Lanka and most developing countries have come a long way from a situation where owning a phone was a luxury to where, for example in Sri Lanka, 97% of households have access to a mobile phone. However, access to the internet is available for less than 50% of households in Sri Lanka. If parents see the benefits of their children learning to learn using supplementary content and note that children with better access to the internet have more and better content, those parents will go the extra mile to secure internet access for their children. According to the 2016 Household Income and Expenditure Survey of Sri Lanka, parents in Sri Lanka already spend 50% of their education expenditure on tuition. If the need for tuition is reduced through fewer number of examinations to be faced by children and students are required to learn on their own supplementing textbooks with e-content, it could well be that education will be the driver of digitalisation of Sri Lanka.
I was hoping we’d get more reports about congestion caused by changing use patterns caused by people confined to their homes. Here is a report on India. Despite the impact on their business, India’s operators have complied with regulatory requests aimed at encouraging subscribers to stay at home. These included providing free voice minutes as well as making prepaid accounts valid for a longer period. While subscribers are evidently topping up their airtime less under the lockdown, they do not appear to be using their devices any less – quite the contrary.
This short note allows for easy comparison of the options available to policy makers considering the introduction of remote voting in the context of the current pandemic conditions. 
Coronavirus (the virus causing the disease Covid-19) has two universal problems: no vaccine or drug has been developed as yet, and the diagnostic tools are scarce. This combination has dangerously multiplied the risk of infecting Bangladesh. Because, our population density is much higher than those countries that have been fatally hit by far (see the graph). Covid-19 is not the last pandemic virus. And nobody knows when the next one will attack, followed by another.
Drägerwerk is a world leader in the production of ventilators. In an interview, company head Stefan Dräger, 57, discusses the challenges of keeping up with current demand as the corona crisis accelerates. Following is the excerpt: DER SPIEGEL: The German government has contracted you to build 10,000 ventilators. How far along are you? Dräger: The contract has a detailed delivery plan that spans the entire year.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a huge role in our economy. It is estimated that 52% of Sri Lanka’s GDP comes from the SME sector. Therefore, if SMEs perform better, the economy as a whole will perform better.  But how can SMEs improve their business?  Our AfterAccess SME survey in Sri Lanka conducted in early 2019 (pre-COVID19) showed that SMEs who are more digitally connected SMEs are more successful in their businesses in various aspects.