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Grab suspends GrabCar as Manila tightens quarantine

Other Grab services remain operational

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Grab is suspending its GrabCar ride-hailing operations in Metro Manila again. This comes after the government announced stricter quarantine measures to curb COVID-19 cases.

GrabCar will stop all ride-hailing operations by August 4 at exactly 12 midnight. The cessation is only temporary as the government places the whole Metro Manila under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).  Under the MECQ, stricter transport measures will take effect. One of those measures include a halt to all public transportation and ride-hailing services.

Other Grab services will remain operational

Other services from Grab will remain operational throughout the whole MECQ period. Individuals can have their meals or groceries delivered from 6am to 12mn through the GrabFood and GrabMart service. For parcel and package deliveries, GrabExpress is ready to serve customers 24/7.

GrabPay will also remain, enabling safe and quick cashless transactions on supported establishment and services.

Support for driver partners

The company is already seeking ways to support its drivers as they suspend ride-hailing operations in the metro. They are now providing training to help them transition to the delivery fleet service. Other riders with the appropriate training will have the chance to ferry medical frontliners through the company’s partnership with select hospitals.

Riders under Grab’s loan program can rest easy with their deadlines as the company is already working on extending payment holiday with its payment partners.

The company also remains committed to its GrabProtect program. It will keep on providing free tests for riders, partners, and passengers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the whole community.

This is not the first time that Grab suspended operations in the country. Last March, the company suspended its operations as the whole Luzon went into enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). After the government lifted the ECQ last May, Grab resumed operations with extra precautions. Now, it is suspending operations once again as Metro Manila braces for another stricter quarantine measures.

Health

From zero to export, here’s how India ramped up PPE making

US and China are its biggest trade partners

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With a 1.3 billion population, India is a highly dense country. The imposition of a sudden lockdown meant critical equipment like PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), masks, and other medical equipment were in low supply. Due to the global outbreak, imports were also difficult to find since the demand was too high.

The initial cases of Coronavirus were detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in November 2019. While the outbreak was limited initially, it gradually spread across China, followed by other countries, and reached a critical stage in March.

Many countries implemented a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. While these curfews helped reduce the spread of the virus, it also handicapped industries because the normal flow of goods and production was adversely affected. Adding to this, developing countries were worse hit because their healthcare system is weak and under-equipped.

India rising to the occasion

However, India was able to find a home-grown solution. The country went on to start exporting Coronavirus goods within a few months. California-based financing company Drip Capital released a detailed report that gives us an insight into India’s production response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The report considered 14 categories of medical-related products that were shipped between January and July of 2020. The data is directly compiled from India’s Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). These categories include textiles, disinfectants, test kits, soap, rubber, gloves, footwear, and other medical equipment.

In a nutshell, the industry clocked a growth of US$ 150 million when compared to the same period last year. The country was in a lockdown state for almost two months. PPE demand among medical workers, contact tracers, and other essential workers was extremely high. The textile category alone contributed to the growth of US$ 40 million, followed by test kits at US$ 26 million, disinfectants at US$ 28 million, and soap at US$ 12 million.

PPE production in full swing

What’s even more interesting is, India had zero domestic manufacturing capacity for PPEs in January. A few restrictions were placed on exports in January due to a shortage of inventory, and a complete ban was placed in March. The government released massive tenders to encourage domestic production, and the country was making 700,000 to 800,000 PPE kits a day by June.

Once domestic demand was fulfilled, the government opened up exports, and a milestone was reached in October when India delivered 1.8 million N95 masks to the US. The effect is quite easily visible as the country exported goods worth US$ 539 million in the first seven months of 2020.

In comparison, India exported goods worth US$ 532 million in the whole of 2019. Hence it’s safe to assume this year’s exports shall be almost twice that of last year.

70 percent of all exported goods originated from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. On the other hand, India’s top trade partners were spread across the globe. The US single-handedly imported goods worth US$ 98 million, followed by China at US$ 37 million, Germany at US$ 30 million, and the Netherlands at US$ 22 million.

Indian goods were in high demand in smaller countries like the UAE, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. A natural edge that Indian goods have is their pricing. Being a developing economy with a substantial population engaged in agriculture and textile, PPE was a perfect commodity that helped grow small scale industries.

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iPhone 12 series coming to Smart, Globe via Postpaid plans

The latest handset made more accessible!

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Merry holidays! The most-awaited iPhone 12 series is coming to the Philippines officially via postpaid offerings from Smart and Globe.

Both telcos teased their subscribers through an announcement posted on their social media platforms.

In a tweet, Smart confirmed the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available soon with Smart Signature Plans. We can only assume that it will still be available in Plan S 999 with a huge one-time cashout.

For Globe, the iPhone 12 series will be offered via ThePlan and ThePLATINUM PLAN. We’re also expecting Globe to offer the handset as low as ThePlan 999 albeit with a huge one-time cashout same as Smart.

Currently, the price for the latest iPhones start from PhP 43,990 for the iPhone 12 Mini (64GB); PhP 49,990 for the iPhone 12 (64GB); PhP 62,990 for the iPhone 12 Pro (128GB); and PhP 68,990 for the iPhone 12 Pro Max (128GB). For the full price list, check here.

iPhone 12 Mini review

iPhone 12 review

iPhone 12 Pro review

iPhone 12 Pro Max review

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News

Samsung is working on quirkier Galaxy Z phones

Including a rollable phone

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If all the previous rumors will prove true, Samsung’s future is simplifying into a diverse duality between the traditional Galaxy S lineup and the experimental Galaxy Z lineup. While the Galaxy S series is grabbing a significant chunk of the spotlight, the Galaxy Z is content with its current foldable variants. For now, at least. According to some teasers, Samsung is working on quirkier Galaxy Z phones, including a rollable smartphone.

On their official blog, Samsung Display, the company’s screen development branch, officially teased two alternative visions for their foldable segment. The first variant, a modest reimagining of the current lineup, predicts a Galaxy Fold with another fold, effectively creating a much larger screen. With two hinges, the potential smartphone creates more configurations between folds.

The other alternative is a surprise but doesn’t come without precedent. The device rolls out a screen from a capsule, creating an easy layout for keyboard functionality. Most recently, OPPO launched its own rollable prototype, the OPPO X 2021. With Samsung’s own tease, the industry is likely moving into a rollable future.

At the moment, neither of the two smartphone concepts are available for public consumption. Further, Samsung’s tease is hardly confirmation of development. However, it is likely. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Galaxy Z lineup releases a similar smartphone in the future.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 rumor roundup: Exynos vs. Snapdragon, no chargers, S Pen support

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