McKinsey says technology helping Asia cope better

According to the president of Mckinsey & Company for the region, the technology has helped some Asian countries to respond quickly to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and has allowed them to do a little better.

The board said in his latest report There are several areas in which Asian policymakers and businesses have relied on technology to protect people’s health and livelihoods, in the face of severe disruption in the global economy.

McKinsey’s findings showed that “the speed of technology deployment in and around Asia has helped many Asian countries cope a little better,” Oliver Tonby told CNBC “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.

“Let us be very clear: we are still far from being out of the woods, we are in the early stages of this pandemic. But, technology has helped,” he added.

Here are some of the ways technology has helped highlight it in the report:

1. Tracing and testing

The report said the technology has enabled governments to track potential infections thoroughly, regain close contact and quarantine everyone involved to prevent the virus from spreading in the community.

Tonby, one of the report’s co-authors, made reference to the Singapore contact tracking application, TraceTogether, which uses Bluetooth technology, as well as Driving test centers in South Korea which allowed the country to conduct mass tests as examples.

These are just two examples that we have seen across the region that have resulted in better monitoring, testing, including the use of GPS to monitor quarantine or stay-at-home notifications actually happening “” , did he declare. countries, including South Korea, are experiencing a resurgence of cases.

2. Combining resources

According to the McKinsey report, there has also been a sharp increase in care and treatment capacity where technology has allowed hospitals to pool their resources. As an example, Tonby referred to a online remote diagnostic center in Wuhan, where the virus epidemic was first reported. Thanks to high-speed Internet connections, doctors from other parts of China were able to treat Covid-19 patients in the city.

3. Sharing of information

Another area where technology has helped, McKinsey says, is enabling some Asian countries to be more transparent and timely in their communication about the virus epidemic. Tonby pointed out how 22,000 pharmacies in South Korea provide data that allow the government to tell people how many face masks each pharmacy has, to avoid large gatherings. Meanwhile, the Australian and Singapore ministries of health are providing Covid-19 updates via the official WhatsApp channels.

Other areas highlighted by the report include the digitization of services, including grocery shopping and online education; the possibility for many companies to switch to remote work; and how some companies have used technology to redeploy and protect workers from one business segment to another.

South Korean commuters wear protective masks when pressed on an escalator and stairs after getting off the subway during rush hour on May 11, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.

Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images

“We are seeing that businesses are really going all out in the digitization of products and services,” said Tonby.

McKinsey said that Asia has aggressively developed and advanced its digital infrastructure. Over the past decade, the region has accounted for the highest share of global growth in areas such as technology company revenues, venture capital funding, research and development spending and the number of patents filed. . Asia also represents a 58% growth in the absolute number of Internet users from 2014 to 2019, according to the consulting firm.

More than 4.2 million people have now been infected and nearly 292,000 have died from Covid-19, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. China and India are the two most affected Asian countries in terms of the number of reported infections.

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