Thailand records first day in two months without a new COVID-19 case 2
As restaurants reopen in Thailand, social distancing measures such as plastic barriers were put in place. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Thailand records first day in two months without a new COVID-19 case

Plus, Iceland looks to reignite tourism safely, a South Korean joins an exclusive group of centenarian COVID-19 survivors, and an artist wants to break a world record to help with coronavirus relief efforts. BY JACS T. SAMPAYAN
ANCX | May 17 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.



For the first time in two months, Thailand records no new COVID-19 case

Last Wednesday, Thailand did not record a new Coronavirus case, a first since March 9. After Vietnam, the Southeast Asian kingdom is the second big economy in the region to consistently bring down their COVID-19 numbers. Speaking on behalf of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, Taweesin Visanuyothin encouraged his countrymen to remain vigilant. "Everyone should maintain his or her 'new normal' life by washing their hands, wearing a mask and keeping their distance,” he says. The Thai government also began easing restrictions from their soft lockdown, a four-phase action plan that started two weeks ago with the reopening of restaurants, salons, wet markets, and golf courses. With each phase having a two-week assessment period, the government is set to enter into its second phase in the coming week. Since Wednesday, the country has recorded eight new cases, but rebounded with another “no new case” day yesterday. There have been 3,025 COVID-19 cases tallied in Thailand so far, 2,855 of which have recovered.

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Indonesia provides for its less fortunate families via rice ATMs

To help its more financially-challenged citizens, the Indonesian government has deployed rice ATMs in its capital of Jakarta. Supervised by Indonesian military, these magnetic card-operated dispensaries give a 1.5 kilogram allocation of the Asian staple to those who are struggling—the unemployed, day earners, those who do not own a house, and people living below the poverty line. Last March, the Indonesian government announced a USD 25 billion stimulus package to provide social welfare to 10 million households affected by the outbreak. There have been more than 17,000 confirmed cases in Indonesia, and more than 1,000 deaths. The country has one of the highest death tolls in the continent.  

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To fund COVID-19 efforts, an artist attempts to break a world record

On May 21 at 11 A.M. EST, author and illustrator Rob Biddulph will be teaching a 30-minute art lesson in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest online art class ever. To achieve the feat, the class would need to have at least 10,000 participants. The event is also a fundraiser; through a campaign on Crowdfunder, donations will be given to six organizations that are helping with Coronavirus relief efforts including GiveDirectly’s International COVID-19 Response. To those who wish to join the class, you can sign up at

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A South Korean centenarian recovers form COVID-19

A 104-year-old woman named Choi was recently released after recovering from the Coronavirus. She was admitted in March at a medical center in Pohang, which is about 44 miles from Daegu, the country’s first COVID-19 epicenter. The woman joins a select group of COVID-19 centenarian recoveries, which includes a Singaporean, an Icelander, and a Dutch. Choi was two years old during the Spanish Flu pandemic, an influenza strain that took the lives of 50 million people. There have been more than 11,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea, and around 10,000 recoveries.

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Iceland looks for ways to restart tourism after succeeding over COVID-19

With only 1,802 cases so far, many have been lauding Iceland for its handling of the outbreak. While it helps that its population is smaller in comparison to its European neighbors, its decisive action was the key to its success. Even before it recorded a case, it already began testing widely in partnership with Rekkjavik-based DeCODE Genetics. Its government even began testing those who had no symptoms, and has done extensive contact tracing. Looking to the future, it intends to reignite tourism in the country safely with testing yet again. Starting June 15, visitors to the country will be asked to choose between a two-week quarantine or a COVID-19 test. The cost of the latter may have to be repaid later.

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Returning from the COVID-19 lockdown, Noma turns into a wine and burger bar

One of the best and most popular restaurants in the world, Noma is coming back after Denmark's COVID-19 lockdown restrictions started to be eased. But as its founder Rene Redzepi announced on his Instagram, his team is turning his Coppenhagen-based baby into a no reservation wine and burger bar for the time being. Redzepi says that being closed for so long means that it will take weeks for his team to get the kitchen back to the levels they were before being forced to close. “We do not yet have an official opening date for the restaurant to share, but we will have more information on this very soon,” he says.

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