Philippine economy fears as coronavirus curbs reintroduced

The restrictions, due to take effect from Tuesday, are being reinstated after a group of doctors and nurses warned that the health care system could collapse. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 August 2020

Philippine economy fears as coronavirus curbs reintroduced

  • The Philippine economy had been one of Asia’s fastest growing before the pandemic but is now on the brink of recession
  • The country recorded a single-day record of 5,032 new infections on Sunday

MANILA: The Philippines stock market tumbled on Monday after the government reimposed coronavirus lockdown measures in and around Manila in response to fresh outbreaks, dashing hopes of a swifter economic recovery.
The restrictions, due to take effect from Tuesday, are being reinstated after a group of doctors and nurses warned that the health care system could collapse as a result of surging COVID-19 cases.
“It’s a bitter but necessary pill given the plight of our medical frontliners,” said Francis Lim, president of the Management Association of the Philippines. “We hope the government will deep dive into our COVID-19 strategy and find more effective ways to execute it.”
The Philippine economy had been one of Asia’s fastest growing before the pandemic but is now on the brink of recession. The main stock index fell as much as 3.9% on Monday, its lowest in more than two months.
Quarterly growth data is due on Thursday and economists expect a deeper contraction compared with the 0.2% contraction decline in the first quarter as the pandemic-induced lockdown shuttered businesses and sapped domestic consumption, a main driver of growth.
“We reiterate that the Philippines is indeed headed into a severe crash landing with the probability of the economy returning to its former glory any time soon now declining by the day,” said Nicholas Mapa, economist at ING bank.
The country recorded a single-day record of 5,032 new infections on Sunday, taking total confirmed cases of COVID-19 to around 103,000.
Case numbers have grown exponentially since authorities relaxed a previous lockdown in June and the Philippines is now close to overtaking Indonesia as the country with the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.
The government announced late on Sunday it was placing metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan under so-called “Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine” for two weeks from Tuesday.
Public transport will be barred, working from home will be instituted where possible, and only one person per household allowed out for essential goods.


Arthritis drug trialled as potential treatment for COVID-19

Updated 28 September 2020

Arthritis drug trialled as potential treatment for COVID-19

  • Dr. Andy Martin: We are conducting this study to see whether otilimab could potentially ease the effect of COVID- 19 on the lungs
  • Dr. Tim Felton: The primary end point of this study is that participants are alive and free of lung failure after 28 days — so this research is potentially life-saving

LONDON: The experimental arthritis drug, otilimab, is being trialled as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

The first patient, administered with the drug, is currently being cared for at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).

The OSCAR study (Otilimab in Severe COVID-19 Related Disease) is sponsored and funded by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

The study at the MRI is being led by Dr. Andy Martin, an Intensive Care and Anaesthesia Consultant.

Dr. Martin said: “The patients eligible to take part in this study are those experiencing very severe lung difficulties due to COVID-19 infection and are receiving oxygen or ventilator support.

“We are conducting this study to see whether otilimab — which is under investigation as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis — could also potentially ease the effect of coronavirus on the lungs, dampening the impact of the virus on the immune system.

Christopher Corsico, Senior Vice President Development, GSK said: “We are continuing to work hard to find solutions to address the pandemic, including exploring potential treatment options for COVID-19 patients.

“We know that some COVID-19 patients experience an overreaction of their immune system — sometimes referred to as cytokine storm — which can lead to hospitalization or death. We believe that otilimab might be able to help counter or calm this process.

Dr. Tim Felton, Honorary Consultant, Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester and Clinical Lead for all MFT COVID-19-related research studies, leads OSCAR at Wythenshawe Hospital, which is also part of MFT.

Dr. Felton said: “The primary end point of this study is that participants are alive and free of lung failure after 28 days — so this research is potentially life-saving.

“I’d like to thank our first OSCAR participant — as well as the thousands of others who have taken part in coronavirus studies at MFT to date — as every participant who takes part in our research is contributing to the coordinated effort to enhance understanding of this global pandemic.”