Amidst the panic and fear of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, it's extra-heartwarming to know that there's good news too! During this global crisis, there has also been a surge of community responses, care, and support around the world. ?
We hope that these positive stories help keep your spirits up during this pandemic, and remind you that there's still lots of good and kindness out there. ? Do let us know if you hear of any other heartwarming news!
1. China has shut down its last coronavirus emergency hospital
At the peak of the virus' outbreak in China, dozens of emergency hospitals dedicated to the coronavirus were set up. Now, the last of these temporary hospitals has been closed as patients have been discharged! ? China has also gone from recording thousands of cases in one day to just 13 (as of 18 March 2020) - a hopeful sign that the spread has lessened. While there are still new infections in China, this is a promising sign that existing hospitals will be enough to cope with new cases!
2. Experimental tests of a Covid-19 vaccine have begun
Tests of a vaccine have begun in both China and the USA! ? China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences has been approved to start clinical trials of a potential vaccine, whereas trials in the US have already begun for a vaccine formulated by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the biotech firm Moderna. While there will be no immediate results of these tests, we hope that a vaccine or cure can be synthesized soon!
3. Local acts of kindness are happening in Singapore
A travel agency in Singapore's Bugis neighbourhood has opened a prayer space for people to pray in while mosques are closed nation-wide. ? It's less than 5 minutes away from Masjid Sultan, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own prayer mats and garments. Hand sanitizer is also available for use. Many eateries in Singapore such as Deanna's Kitchen have also offered discounts or free meals to healthcare workers on the front lines!
P.S. Urgently need to find a prayer space in Singapore? Here are 37 prayer spots other than mosques!
Following the announcement of Malaysia's movement control order, many Singaporean companies and individuals have stepped in to help house and feed Malaysians who have decided to stay in Singapore to continue working and retain their jobs. Major transport companies SBS Transit and SMRT even found hotel rooms for their Malaysian workers to stay in for now! ?
4. Malaysians have come together to support local communities too!
Credit: Jaya Grocer on Facebook
Malaysians have also started community efforts such as Launchgood campaigns to help the vulnerable throughout this period! ? You can click here for a list of initiatives supporting vulnerable communities in Malaysia right now.
The Jaya Grocer supermarket chain has even introduced special opening hours until 31 March so that elderly customers and their caretakers will be able to get the essentials they need. Click here for a list of other supermarkets and online delivery services' special hours or opening policies if you need to stock up on essentials!
Credit: Sean Thum on Facebook
Stories from Malaysians on the front line have also gone viral, inspiring fellow Malaysians to support healthcare workers and other front line staff. ? In times of crisis such as this, it's heart-warming to see citizens banding together to support each other through thick and thin.
P.S. If you hear of more outreach or support campaigns do let us know!
5. Actually, community acts of kindness are happening worldwide ?
In nearby news, many potato farmers in South Korea's Gangwon-do province were struggling to sell their crops due to the nation-wide emergency. After the province set up an online campaign to help sell the potatoes - more than 8000 boxes of potatoes were sold in just 30 seconds! ?
In Nevada, volunteers have helped the sick and elderly to buy food and other essentials. Called 'Shopping Angels' the group now coordinates people across the USA to help out the most vulnerable members of their communities, and have even set up GoFundMe's for the poor who might not be able to afford to stock up.
Canadians have also begun a 'caremongering' movement, with over 35 Facebook groups set up to offer help and support to communities across the country. Instead of scaremongering, the 'caremongering' groups are encouraging others to help the vulnerable and offer comfort and solidarity. ?
6. Some of the world's most famous museums have gone virtual so you can still 'visit' them
If your travel plans have been cancelled - don't worry! Dozens of famous museums worldwide have made their galleries virtually accessible, allowing you to take a tour of London's British Museum, Paris' Louvre, Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, or Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian from the comfort of your own couch.
7. Venice's waters are clearer than they've been in years!
Credit: Marco Capovilla on Facebook (via VENEZIA PULITA group)
Without the gondolas running, mud and sediment that are usually stirred up by the boat traffic have settled to the ground - turning the water clear for the first time in years! ? While this doesn't mean that there's less pollution in the canals, the lack of boat traffic seems to have given the canals a break for now.
Credit: Marco Capovilla on Facebook (via VENEZIA PULITA group)
Residents have also reported less of a bad smell, and if you look closely you can even see schools of fish in the clear water. Dolphins, wild boars, and birds such as ducks and cranes have also been spotted in the streets of Venice and other Italian cities. ?
8. All bushfires in Australia's New South Wales have been extinguished
In some non-Covid-19 related news, New South Wales has finally extinguished the last of its fires! It was one of the hardest-hit regions during the wildfire season earlier this year, with fires ongoing for over 240 days. Thankfully now there are no more active fires, which is fantastic news for NSW's communities and wildlife! ? We're looking forward to being able to explore the NSW region once we're able to travel again. ?
9. Chicago's penguins are enjoying some free time
Chicago's Shedd Aquarium has been temporarily closed to visitors, so their very own penguins took up the job of roaming around the exhibitions instead! Accompanied by a staff member, the penguins Edward and Annie had a 'field trip' around the aquarium to see their fellow aquatic friends. ? You can stay tuned to the Shedd Aquarium Twitter or Shedd Aquarium Instagram for any further updates on their adventures.
10. Air pollution has dropped in China and Italy
Due to the mass lockdowns and quarantines in China and Italy to halt the spread of the virus, air pollution levels have dropped drastically! Satellite images taken over both countries have showed a drop in gases such as nitrogen dioxide and there is less smog and toxic fumes on the ground. ? While it's not easy to undertake such mass quarantines (especially as the number of cases continue to increase), this is an unexpected silver lining for the world.
11. Luxury company LVMH has begun producing hand sanitizers for French hospitals
LVMH - the parent company of luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy, and Fendi - has converted 3 of its perfume and fragrance factories to producing hand sanitizer gels for French hospitals. With France facing a nation-wide shortage of hand sanitizer after their numbers started to spike last week, such a move will definitely help the French healthcare workers in their fight against the virus! ?
12. Fashion company Inditex has started helping manufacture hospital gowns
Credit: Mike Mozart on Flickr
Inditex (the parent company of Zara) has begun converting part of its textile manufacturing factories in Spain to making hospital gowns, protective masks, gloves and more! Similar to LVMH, these gowns will help fill the emergency needs of Spain's healthcare workers to help them better combat the virus. ?
It can be easy to get swept up in worries and fear, which is why good news like these are just what we need to keep our spirits up!