As the world remains mired in COVID-19 case counts and alarming updates, it’s hard to look past everyone’s grim newsfeeds. But opening our eyes wider to a bigger world that is, albeit slowly, starting to stand up should give us hope—or at least an easier day. ANCX will regularly gather positive developments in different corners of the globe to show that, in trying to move forward, we can confidently train our eyes upward.
Germany will start to lift COVID-19 restrictions
Recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans for her country—the economic leader in Europe—to begin lifting restrictions that were put in place to contain COVID-19. In typically straightforward fashion, Merkel says that they have managed to not have Germany’s healthcare system, institutions, and workers be overwhelmed—“which was not a given at the start,” she shares, and warns that what they have "achieved is an interim success—no more, no less. And I stress that it is a fragile interim success.” While economic lockdown in the country will stay for 20 days more, some shops (with social distancing in place, of course) will be allowed to reopen by this week. Merkel’s government will then analyze the numbers every two weeks to check the effect of every measure lifted.
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- For the first time in a month, Vietnam reports no new COVID-19 cases today
- South Korea’s government officials to donate 30 % of their salaries to COVID-19 efforts
- South Korea reports sharp drop in COVID-19 cases, and Hokkaido lifts State of Emergency
- New Zealand’s quick and decisive response leads to falling COVID-19 numbers
Taiwan’s President shares their best COVID-19 practices
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen recently detailed her country’s successes against the Coronavirus pandemic in a self-penned piece for Time.com. In contrast to other nearby nations, Taiwan has had fewer than 400 cases as of April 14. She attributes this to early measures and monitoring that have been put in place including travel restrictions, temperature checks at commercial establishments, and government control over the manufacturing and distribution of masks for healthcare workers and the public at large. She says that they have learned a lot from the SARS pandemic of the 2000s, and have put alerts and systems in place, which they would be happy to share with the globe. “Although Taiwan has been unfairly excluded from the World Health Organization and the United Nations,” the Taiwanese leader writers, “we remain willing and able to utilize our strengths across manufacturing, medicine and technology to work with the world.”
Tyler Perry pays for the groceries of senior citizens
Senior citizens at 44 Kroger supermarkets in Atlanta, and 29 Winn-Dixies in New Orleans got a nice surprise when media mogul Tyler Perry paid for their groceries. Perry wished to help out those who are financially struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from this, the actor and movie producer also gave a total USD 21,000 in tips to out-of-work servers at a restaurant in Atlanta, his hometown. The 50-year-old, who Forbes named as the highest-paid man in entertainment in 2011, is known for sharing his blessings. He gave USD 400,000 to Walmart workers during Christmas layaways in 2018, and donated goods and supplies to Hurricane Dorian victims in the Bahamas last year.
Despite debt, Greece is doing well against COVID-19
Faring better than its European neighbors, Greece has so far kept their COVID-19 counts low. This is quite laudable given the country has a large elderly population as well as the fact that it has been mired in a debt crisis for a decade. (Ironically, large budget cuts have been absorbed by its state hospitals because of this, and the government admitted that it only has under 600 intensive care unit beds.) One of the key things that it apparently did right was to enforce lockdown early, and be decisive in cancelling large-scale events. They also have simplified government processes by enacting digital reforms such as allowing prescriptions be sent via phones, lessening the need for trips to the doctor.
Two pharma giants team up to work on a COVID-19 vaccine
Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi are teaming up for what its top management describes as an unprecedented collaboration between competitors. With the aim of coming up with hundreds of millions of doses of distributable vaccine by the end of next year, the two companies are combining their resources. While it typically takes a decade to develop a vaccine for mass consumption, many are racing to do so in a year to eighteen months to contain the pandemic. In the partnership, the France-based Sanofi will give its COVID-19 antigen, which the UK-headquartered GSK will pair with their pandemic adjutant technology, possibly enhancing the immune response.
Brooklyn landlord gives his tenants a rent reprieve
After some of his tenants told him they could not afford rent, Brooklyn landlord Mario Salerno went ahead and made the compassionate decision to forego payments. Urging the tenants in the 18 residential buildings he owns to “stay safe, help their neighbors, and wash their hands,” Salerno told NBC New York that he just wants everybody to be healthy. While there is a 90-day bad on evictions in New York, rent payments are not automatically waived, a cause of concern for many who could not possibly earn their keep because of the lockdown. Salerno will stand to lose hundreds and thousands of dollars because of his generosity.