Thailand is developing its own test kits and vaccine to take away its reliance on other countries.
Culture Spotlight

Thailand is preparing for a second wave by developing its own COVID test kits

Thailand is also developing its own vaccine. Plus, libraries help out its patrons in England, Canada posts a record-breaking gain in jobs, and drones inspire in Seoul. BY JACS T. SAMPAYAN
ANCX | Jul 12 2020

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.

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Thailand is producing more COVID test kits locally

Mirroring its strategy for vaccine development, Thailand is working on more local production of COVId-19 test kits. This is to wean itself from its reliance of importing kits. “Thailand has always received criticism for testing too few, and that was the case at the outset because there weren’t enough test kits,” says Siam Bioscience Co managing director Songpon Deechongkit. The company produces polymerase chain reaction test kits at one-third of the cost of imported versions, and has distributed 100,000 of the said kits to the local government. This move is also seen as part of the ASEAN country’s preparations for a possible second wave of infections as they ease restrictions and reopen non-essential businesses. Thailand is also working on producing its own vaccine so that it may not be dependent on the distribution from other countries.

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Libraries in England give its patrons hope during the pandemic

Libraries at the county of Ipswich in Suffolk, England know the impact their books have on their patrons. That’s why they were quick to make adjustments to allow visitors to borrow and return titles in the middle of the COVID pandemic. Library staff do the browsing for the customers, who meet them at the foyer to get their requests. Returned books are placed on tables for three days, with their pages fanned out to allow airflow. But staffers understand it is not only the books that customers go to the library for, but also human interaction. Some Ipswich libraries have taken to calling some of their regulars to check up on them during the lockdown.

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Drones hover over the Han River to give hope to South Koreans

Depicting a colorful presentation of motivational messages, drones lit up the Seoul night sky as South Korea continues to battle the COVID pandemic. Some 300 of these popular gadgets hovered over the Han River the previous weekend, forming images that show health and safety measures that must be done religiously, including mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing. The show, which lasted 10 minutes, also included grateful messages to South Korea’s medical frontliners and its citizens for helping out with the efforts. The drone performance ended with a short but hopeful message: “Cheer up, Republic of Korea.”

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Canada posts a record number of jobs as businesses reopen

Last month, 952,900 jobs, mostly in the service industry, were filled in Canada as the country’s restaurants, stores and businesses reopened because after the long COVID lockdown. Overall, around 1.2 million out of three millions jobs that were lost have been returned since February. The country’s goods-producing sector rose by 158,600 jobs, while the services sector gained 794,400 positions, a record number that splits evenly between full-time and part-time.

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Customers still expect brands to communicate to them even during a crisis

Even during a pandemic, customers still have expectations from their brands, and communicating the right way and at the right time is one of them. A study involving 12,000 respondents in 12 countries conducted by global communications firm Edelman has led to a handful of key takeaways. For one, customers still want to hear from brands—but only if the message is comforting or reassuring, and details how their company is responding to the pandemic. Consumers also believe that companies play a critical role during crises as they are a platform that can mobilize action. Customers also expect companies and brands to “do the right thing”—to their employees, suppliers, customers, and society at large—even when doing so leads to substantial financial losses.

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