Yes, we are back with some more positive pieces of news coming to you from all around the world during this uncertain and rocky moment in global history. These glimmers of hope, restorers of faith in humanity, and powerful environmental breakthroughs all surmount to a feeling that everything is going to be ok. And the “new normal”, whatever that turns out to be, is going to be bright.
But before we dive into the Good News, today, May 12 is International Nurses Day and the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. It’s a day celebrated around the world to mark the amazing contributions nurses make to our society. 2020 has been designated as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife by the World Health Organization – and what a year! International Nurses Day is the perfect opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to all the nurses and midwives around the world!
The frontline workers around the world are consistently celebrated as they continue to surpass our expectations over and over again with their incredible dedication. All over the world the public as well as those in power are showing their gratitude with gestures and offerings…
The much appreciated workers of the NHS in the UK have been shown appreciation in many ways, one of the most recent seen in five major cities in England, Scotland and Wales are the iconic red letterboxes having been painted blue to match the NHS colours as well as a big THANK YOU NHS written on the side in white.
USA & CANADA
Ever since the pandemic started in New York City, the medical staff at one of the hardest hit hospitals, NYC Health & Hospitals/Elmhurst, have been struggling to deal with the staggering number of cases. The 545-bed hospital increased its Intensive Care Units’ (ICU) capacity by 500%! Well last week these dedicated staff were given a thank you gift by American Airlines and Hyatt hotel group. Over 4,000 workers at the hospital have been offered a free flight and 3-night hotel stay at a destination of their choice throughout the US and Caribbean.
A New Jersey doctor, Alexander Salerno, who had worked with the poor and needy for years, was shocked at the lack of testing and decided to do what he could to make a difference. With his own funds he bought a van with a sink and generator for $42,000 and all the supplies he needed and set up his own mobile testing clinic travelling around the area visiting the low-income communities. He tests hundreds a day from his pop-up clinic in car parks around Orange and Irvington.
Starbucks offers up one million free cups of coffee for frontline workers and first responders. VOSS water followed suit by sending out 700,000 bottles of water to hospitals in highly affected areas.
LOCKDOWN IS LIFTING AROUND THE WORLD
Shopping centres, cinemas, gyms, restaurants and cafes are set to reopen their doors on Thursday, with school following close by on Monday to allow the staff time to prepare. Bars will need to wait a further ten days. All will require a strict hygiene policy and social distancing measures will be in place. Border restrictions still remain but movement within the country will be permitted.
Some provinces and regions in Spain have entered phase one of the lockdown lift, meaning that restrictions have lifted slightly with approximately half of its inhabitants able to now enjoy their first drink or meal outdoors. Terraces are permitted to be open to customers with a strict social distancing and 50% occupancy limit set in place. Small shops are also permitted to open, again with strict occupancy limits giving everyone the chance to support their local businesses. Very soon, enjoying a cafe con leche, or a tinto de verano and tapas on a terrace in the sunshine will become “normal” again.
Movement within the country is now permitted up to 100km without a permit, and shops and markets are now reopening with strict measures in place. The country has been divided into red and green zones which indicates what is and isn’t allowed in these areas. In green zones, where restrictions are being lifted, parks can reopen, as well as small museums, libraries and forest areas.
DENMARK & NORWAY
Considering their relatively low death tolls both Norway & Denmark are lifting lockdown restrictions with the aim of achieving a back-to-normal lifestyle within the next four weeks. Large-scale public gatherings are still prohibited and the borders will remain closed to international travel.
Hong Kong has now reached three weeks with no new cases at all, restrictions have been eased and some public spaces such as bars, gyms, and beauty parlours have reopened. Social distancing is still required to prevent further outbreak.
The country proudly stated that they had no new cases of coronavirus for the first time since the beginning of March. All non-shopping mall shops, hotels, museums, galleries and outdoor tourist attractions have reopened and services and weddings are now permitted with attendance restrictions.
The population of flamingos in Mumbai has increased by approximately 25% this year with crowds of the pink birds flocking to the lakes in the once bustling city. According to the local authorities, over 150,000 flamingos have flown in to the wetlands around the city. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) stated that “lower human activity has created ideal conditions for foraging in wetlands”.
Local resident Sunil Agarwal, in an interview with The Hindustan Times, said he hoped it would encourage residents to protect the wetlands for future generations “The lockdown will at least prompt people to focus on what is around them, which they had been taking for granted, and hopefully this site will be declared a flamingo sanctuary soon,” he said.
Last week the FDA granted emergency approval for the first at-home test for coronavirus. Americans can apply online for the LabCorp test, which costs $119 and works by taking a nasal swab and FedExing the test tube back to the lab. “This provides an additional option for the easy, safe and convenient collection of samples required for testing without traveling to a doctor’s office, hospital or testing site.” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said of the breakthrough.
ZERO CORONA CASES
Some countries of the world, albeit not many, have managed to escape the virus completely. With zero cases reported in each, the following thirteen countries are corona-free: North Korea, Turkmenistan, Lesotho, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Nauru. And there are plenty more that only suffered just a few cases, and some with no death toll whatsoever.
We will bring you more good news next week, but meanwhile have a laugh at our top collection of quarantine memes: Every time you find humour in a difficult situation, you win!