Poaching of South African rhinos go down amid COVID-19 lockdown restrictions 2
Poaching of South African rhinos have gone down in South Africa. Agence France-Presse.

Poaching of South African rhinos go down amid COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

Plus, Serena Williams is helping schoolchildren get the masks that they need, Egypt posts its lowest tally in three months, and a COVID-positive patient survives a double lung transplant. BY JACS T. SAMPAYAN
ANCX | Aug 02 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.


Rhino horn smuggling operations have slowed down 

“We have been able to arrest the escalation of rhino losses,” says South African minister of environment, forestry and fisheries Barbara Creecy. Because of lockdowns and restrictions due to the COVID pandemic, international smuggling rings have been disrupted, with only 166 rhinos being poached in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2019. Demand for rhino horns mostly come from China and Vietnam where it is used as a wonder drug against serious diseases as well as an aphrodisiac. The ministry however is bracing for incidences to increase as lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted.

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COVID positive lung transplant patient recovers

Mayra Ramirez, who received a double lung transplant in June to save her life from having contracted COVID, was finally able to come home last Wednesday. The 28-year-old American was being treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and did not wake up for six weeks after being hauled into the emergency room. There has been a growing number of patients who have had to undergo the operation, considered a desperate move for those whose lungs have been severely damaged by COVID. A lung transplant is both tricky and relatively rare (just under 3,000 performed in the US last year); It is only intended for those who are seriously ill, but must be strong to survive and recover. “It will be a challenge for physicians to determine which patients truly are candidates and what’s the timing,” says University of Florida Health Shands Hospital’s Dr. Tiago Machuca. “We don’t want to do it too early when the patient still can recover from COVID lung disease and resume with good quality of life, but also you don’t want to miss the boat and have a patient where it’s futile, the patient is too sick.”

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Serena Williams wants to give face masks to school-bound kids

Tennis star Serena Williams is teaming up with T-shirt company Bella+Canvas, the US National School Board Association, and Scholastic to provide 4.25 million face masks for American children who are headed back to school soon. The program will provide educational materials and information on masks to around 54 million in 115,000 schools. “I'm grateful to be able to help educate our schools about this resource, and to be given the opportunity to serve so many students,” the 23-time grand slam champion said in a post on her Instagram.

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England is using robots to help with disinfection efforts

Robots are being utilized in a city center in Leeds, Northern England to help identify and disinfect objects and surfaces from COVID. “The robots were able to identify the objects that they needed to clean, and they were able to maneuver in the public spaces,” says West Yorkshire assistant professor Dr. Bilal Kaddouh. “The robotic arms effectively delivered the disinfectant on to the target surfaces.” An adaptation of an existing machine, these AI navigational robots sprays a mist of diluted alcohol on identified areas.

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Egypt posts lowest single day COVID tally since May

According to the Egyptian Health Ministry, the African nation had 321 new COVID cases last Friday, its lowest number in three months. The nation has 94,316 cases to date, with 4,834 deaths. While it has not been included in an “safe to travel” lists as of yet, it reopened resorts in July. Tourism and tourism-adjacent industries account for around 15 percent of the Egyptian economy.

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