"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 28th Apr 2020

Isolation Tips
Tips to take care of the mental health of children during COVID-19
Reassure children that this is a temporary phase and that it is a beautiful way to spend quality time with their parents and family members, who are otherwise busy with office or work.
Times Of Swaziland - writer muses on their lockdown experiences
I have found that if one has a routine one does not get bored. Upon awakening I see to all my pets and after cleaning my house, I have to do my washing after which I get down to cleaning the yard or to painting and re-arranging things. I endeavor to jog thrice weekly in the minimum as this ensures I stay upbeat and remain mindful of my thoughts. The grass still has to be cut and the pool has to swept lest everything piles up and I begin to feel I have lost control. As we settle into the lockdown and it is the first month-end where one will not be receiving their regular income, unsettling thoughts do tend to surface from time to time
New resource for 'overwhelmed' families living with dementia during lockdown
The guidance has been developed using feedback from dementia patients who are reporting concerns about maintaining supplies of food and medications, anxiety about what would happen if they were admitted to hospital , feelings of loss and grief, increases in symptoms like agitation, and a more rapid decline in cognitive and functional ability. For carers, evidence from the project suggested lockdown was depriving them of respite opportunities away from their role, while at the same time they had heightened fear about the safety and wellbeing of the person with dementia and were finding it difficult explaining the crisis to them. The leaflet gives practical and self-help tips in five key areas: staying safe and well; staying connected; keeping a sense of purpose; staying active; and remaining positive.
Coronavirus: Government launches plan to tackle loneliness during lockdown
The Government has launched a major effort to tackle loneliness and social isolation during the coronavirus outbreak and period of social distancing. Led by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, the plan will aim to ensure that, for people of all ages and backgrounds, staying at home does not need to lead to loneliness. The latest #Let’sTalkLoneliness public campaign has been rolled out to get people talking openly about loneliness, which includes new public guidance offering useful tips and advice on what to do to look after yourself and others safely.
5 pandemic isolation tips from mental health pros who live alone
Nicole Yarmolkevich and Carl Evans both live alone and are experiencing the challenges of solitude during the coronavirus stay-at-home order. But their jobs could give them an advantage over others during this phase of isolation: They both work in mental health.
Coronavirus diary: Jeremy Thompson on life under lockdown
The former Sky News presenter is writing a weekly diary revealing how the COVID-19 virus has changed his life.
Hygiene Helpers
Scientists advise Government that no healthcare uniforms should be washed at home during COVID-19 crisis
Expert scientists at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have warned that healthcare workers who wash their uniforms at home could be transmitting coronavirus not only to their families but also to their colleagues and patients. Dr Katie Laird, Reader in Microbiology and Head of the Infectious Disease Research Group at DMU, has written to the UK Government to express concerns over Public Health England (PHE)’s latest guidance stating that industrial laundering should be used but if this is not possible, healthcare workers should take uniforms home in a disposable plastic bag.
Portugal creates tourism hygiene accreditation to help Covid-19 recovery
Portuguese tourism officials have created a "clean and safe" accreditation for its industry as the country looks ahead to its post-coronavirus tourist recovery.
Community Activities
Grandkids on Demand: Get Paid to Keep the Elderly Company
One industry that’s experiencing a surge of interest is a new field: “Grandkids On-Demand.” These companies, aiming to battle the effects of loneliness in the elderly, pair employees up with older customers who can use a little companionship — something the medical community is starting to recognize as vitally important to their health.
Digital solution to support youngsters in care during COVID-19
New online platform to help young people in care to manage anxiety and low mood while staying connected socially
A city wide pottery hunt
A citywide treasure hunt is being organised by a potter who leaves his handmade pots, bowls and plates across Bristol for passers-by to discover. Rich Henderson took up pottery as a career after a serious brain tumour forced him to give up the marketing company he had spent the last 20 years building up. Instead of making new pieces of pottery, he is currently leaving one item from his r-ceramic collection somewhere in Bristol each day.
Children's drawings from lockdown show the world what they miss most
Children confined to their homes under lockdown are drawing what they miss most - friends at school, grandparents, football and green open spaces. Regardless of where they are, the themes are often the same. From Tokyo to Buenos Aires, and New York to Kathmandu, youngsters have taken to their balconies or front lawns to display and explain the drawings they have made to Reuters photographers. Eight-year-old Reku Matsui in Tokyo has drawn himself between his grandparents, all three of them smiling together. “I miss being with my grandmother and my grandfather. Also, I want to go to my grandmother’s house,” he said.
UK to fall silent in remembrance of key workers who have died amid coronavirus pandemic
Government workers will be asked to take part and the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said it is hoped others will participate “nationwide”. On Monday, health secretary Matt Hancock revealed that of the 21,092 people who had died of coronavirus in UK hospitals, 82 were NHS colleagues and 16 worked in social care. Unison, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal of College of Nursing launched a campaign last week for the nation to take a moment to honour frontline staff who have died during the Covid-19 crisis. Between them, the organisations represent more than a million NHS and public service workers including porters, refuse collectors and care staff.
YSD gives foods to 1,660 families in Ganjam
The Youth for Social Development (YSD) has provided food baskets to more than 1,660 poor and migrant families in five blocks, Khallikote, Kabisuryanagar, Purusottampur, Hinjilicut and Sheragada in Ganjam district during the last 11 days. It also created awareness among communities on preventive measures like maintaining of social distance, use of mask, frequent hand washing, registration of migrants for institutional quarantine and special care for elderly people and children to fight out the COVID-19.
Official data suggest Britons are learning to help each other - but even in an age of civic-mindedness, some are left out
When the rest of Britain was ordered to stay at home on March 23rd, Jane Kinder-Williams was already growing accustomed to isolation. The 66-year-old, who lives on her own in a Buckinghamshire village, was doing her best to avoid others after treatment for cancer. But, with everyone at home, this new form of lockdown is different. Friends and family are in touch even more, via apps like Houseparty, WhatsApp and Zoom. And her street’s WhatsApp group buzzes with endless offers to help. Neighbours have done all her shopping for the past month. “Everybody is making far more of an effort towards each other,” says Ms Kinder-Williams. “We’ve realised how vulnerable we can be.”
Gabriel Jesus donates three tonnes of food to Brazilian favelas and sings with popstar to help raise coronavirus funds
Gabriel Jesus has donated a whopping three tonnes of food to favelas in Brazil. The Manchester City star has gone all out to make sure people in his home country do not starve during the coronavirus pandemic.
How You Can Help Migrant Workers In Singapore During The Covid-19 Crisis
It’s all rather grim, but charity organisations and individuals have stepped up to help foreign workers and to raise funds for their basic necessities, meals and even programmes to aid their mental well-being. Want to lend a helping hand? Here are a few ways to do it.
Working Remotely
How To Keep Staff Motivated Long Term While Remote Working
How do you continue to drive engagement and motivation throughout your remote working staff during this time of crisis? Luckily, there are companies out there, such as Amazon and VIPKID that have been at it for years, mastering employee motivation in remote working. So, if you’re wondering how you can do that on your own, we’ve compiled a list of great ideas for you to try out.
COVID-19: top three tech tips to navigate remote working | Technology
With remote working becoming the new norm for companies of all sizes due to the spread of COVID-19 impacting organisations all over the world, Nick Offin, Head of Sales, Marketing and Operations, dynabook Northern Europe has seen a significant rise in remote workers, with many companies having to make transitions in order to support an almost entirely remote workforce. However, Offin highlights that the rise in remote working doesn’t come without obstacles, particularly for startups with limited budgets and team members.
Darlington College gets £150k in Government funding to help teachers work remotely
A north-east college has been given £150,000 as part of a programme to train teachers to make the most of technology to help them teach children at home. Darlington College is one of 20 providers in England to get the Government funding to train teachers how to access and use Google and Microsoft’s education platforms so students can be taught effectively at home.
A TV studio CEO who works with Netflix and Disney describes how she's adapted her 1,000-person company to remote work and doubled down on animation to avoid layoffs
Twiner McCarron said Thunderbird's IT team began urging the company, around February 15, to prepare for the possibility that its 1,000-person workforce might have to work remotely, rather than out of its offices in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Los Angeles, and London. The IT team had been watching the trends in Asia and knew much of Thunderbird's animation work could be done remotely, as long as its employees were properly set up to work from home. Twiner McCarron told the team to put together a business case for what would need to done. By late February, the plan was in motion.
Remote control: how to make a success of home-working – Government & civil service news
Calling on experts in psychology, technology and organisational dynamics, we present advice on how civil servants at every level can develop the skills, networks and working methods to find success and satisfaction in this new world of work.
How COVID-19 Will Change our Perspective on Working Remotely
Adjusting to remote working is different for everybody, and it’s important that leaders work to ensure that physical remoteness doesn’t lead to emotional distance. Managers should encourage employees to be open with their struggles and challenges. Employees need to know that it’s okay to feel upset by a rapidly changed situation. Similarly, managers should be prepared to give a higher level of reassurance, guidance and support to team members, since working remotely suits some personalities better than others. By losing much of the social element of working in the same space, teams should continue to connect personally as well as professionally. With some tweaks, the usual quizzes, team lunches and Friday drinks can be transferred to the digital world to maintain morale and the sense of connection.
Picking the right route to working from home
A corporate policy that allows the use of split tunnelling can conserve data centre bandwidth and enable continued use of bandwidth-intensive applications. Explicitly selecting corporate traffic to route through a company’s data centre leaves internet traffic on the internet and bandwidth bottlenecks are alleviated. This approach also improves the user experience for employees who may not have high-speed broadband at home, by sending traffic along the most direct path possible.
The New Rules For Remote Work: Pandemic Edition
We asked Harvard Business School professors to provide practical advice for managing large-scale, long-term remote work at a time when many employees are not only distracted by the commotion in their homes, but are shaken by the crisis unfolding outside their doors.
How to Support Your Remote Employees
Transparency and communication have evolved to include frequent check-ins from leaders to get a pulse on how employees and their families are doing, and what they might need. Team members are given greater flexibility to work on a schedule that suits them best. Company-wide meetings are regularly scheduled to give business updates. Team members are urged to exercise via digital workouts and yoga sessions that break up long meetings. Some companies had a semi-remote infrastructure place for some time, so adjusting operations wasn’t a major concern for them; instead, they invested their energy into perfecting remote culture.
More than 40% of employees working longer hours from home, survey finds
Over four in ten employees working from home are working longer hours than they would in a standard working day, a survey has found. Some 90% of workers are now based at their homes since the coronavirus restrictions came into place to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. According to the research carried out by recruitment platform, IrishJobs.ie, of those working longer hours, 21% say they cannot switch off from work, 12% feel that they are working less efficiently and 11% claim to have a heavier workload than usual.
Virtual Classrooms
Tamsin Greig, Noma Dumezweni and Patrick Stewart to help students with their homework for the RSC
A brand new scheme from the RSC will see famous actors help students in lockdown. Tamsin Greig, Noma Dumezweni and Patrick Stewart have launched RSC Homework Help – a new way for students to understand Shakespeare's works. As part of the scheme, students will be able to submit their Shakespeare-related questions to the actors (with David Bradley, Charlotte Arrowsmith, Paapa Essiedu, Niamh Cusack and David Tennant also involved) online, with custom-made responses following afterwards. RSC director of education, Jacqui O'Hanlon said: "As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and the closure of UK schools, many young people will be working from home. We know this can feel isolating and demotivating and we want to ensure we do everything we can to support and inspire them.
Bound by necessity, Kerala students develop Facebook like virtual classroom
As parents, teachers and academicians scramble to figure out ways to provide uninterrupted learning during the lockdown, two computer science students have the issue nailed. They developed a virtual classroom as part of the CODE19 online hackathon and in the process won a $10,000 competition prize
Kerala engineering students win CODE19 hackathon for creating virtual classroom
Two Kerala students won the first prize at CODE19 hackathon event after creating a virtual classroom that could be used to hold classes during coranvirus lockdown.
1 month later, teacher says she's learned a lot from teaching virtual classes
After a month I can now confidently say "I am well-schooled in Google Classroom now," said Farr. "I can add different classrooms for reading, for math, for social studies, science. I’ve learned how to record my screen so I can read stories to the kids."
Dr Lorraine Craig on preparing for remote assessments
Dr Lorraine Craig shares her advice on remote assessments. Dr Lorraine Craig is Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching and Faculty Senior Tutor for the Faculty of Engineering. We spoke to Dr Craig to find out her tips on how to prepare for the remote assessments which are coming up for many students at the College.
How to home school children effectively during lockdown
Many parents may feel daunted by the prospect of home schooling, yet there are several useful tools to try to supplement learning as the schools across East Devon remain closed for the time being. Here are some top tips to help parents continue with their children’s education from home...
How to transform your home into an office or school and back again
The best strategy for teaching lessons or working productively is to change your setting and identify a dedicated work zone. Some are lucky enough to have an in-home office space (which will likely be a rising trend again in residential design), but there are other ways. This could be as much effort as setting up a folding table in your guest bedroom (because you are obviously not hosting guests anytime soon) or as simple as moving into a different chair from your regular seat at the table for a new perspective. By having a dedicated zone to consistently work from, you can remove yourself from that zone to appreciate the rest of your home when your work tasks are complete.
Hands-on with augmented reality in remote classrooms
A team led by Purdue University has built an app platform called MetaAR, enabling students and teachers to collaborate easily using augmented reality. “Augmented reality is overlaying digital content onto the physical world,” said Karthik Ramani, Purdue’s Donald W. Feddersen Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “It can be delivered on many different devices, from a phone and a tablet, to a head-mounted display. For example, you can hold your smartphone camera up to your living room and rearrange the furniture in 3D. Or you can play a video game, and the characters show up on your kitchen table.”
Home schooling: 'Everyone's finding their feet and we need to be gentle with each other'
Be patient, negotiate, ease off the pressure. Having kids at home for remote schooling is a challenge but there could be an upside
Public Policies
France, Italy and Spain prepare to ease coronavirus lockdowns
France, Italy and Spain are preparing to loosen coronavirus restrictions, with other countries watching closely to see how some of the first and hardest-hit countries in Europe might safely emerge from their crippling lockdowns.
New Zealand looks to ease strict lockdown as case numbers fall
New Zealand is preparing to ease rules on a strict lockdown put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus. The country reported five new Covid-19 cases on Monday but has not seen widespread community transition and will allow a partial reopening of the economy. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country has so far managed to avoid the worst scenarios for an outbreak and would continue to hunt down the last few cases. From midnight on Monday, certain businesses such as construction will be allowed to reopen, but social distancing rules will still apply.
Germans set to be given legal right to work at home
For many Germans who never liked being in the office, the news that the country is planning to introduce a legal right to work from home after the pandemic will be a relief, but others fear it may be a sign the country is preparing for a future lockdown. Hubertus Heil, the Social Democrat labour minister, said employment legislation would be tabled this autumn making Germany and Finland the only countries in the world to have the right to home working enshrined in law. “Everyone who wants to and whose job allows it should be able to work in a home office,” he told Bild am Sonntag. “We are learning in the pandemic how much work can be done from home.”
Coronavirus, 'Phases 2A and 2B' tantalisingly close to being achieved: “So we begin the transition to next advanced stage. In Phase 3 we'll fully only with a COVID19 vaccine or recognised treatment "
Coronavirus, 'Phases 2A and 2B' tantalisingly close to being achieved: “So we begin the transition to next advanced stage. In Phase 3 we'll fully only with a COVID19 vaccine or recognised treatment "
Italy unveils coronavirus lockdown exit plan but warns of fresh wave if rules are not followed
Italians were today looking forward to a gradual easing of their coronavirus lockdown after the unveiling of a detailed exit strategy by prime minister Giuseppe Conte. Visits to the park will be permitted from next week, along with trips to see relatives in small numbers, while restaurants will be allowed to serve takeaway meals. Factories and building sites will also reopen and funerals will be able to go ahead with a maximum of 15 mourners.
SDGs: the Challenge to Improve Lives After the COVID-19 Crisis
The SDGs encourage investments in critical public goods like minimum levels of social protection and the provision of services like health care, clean water and education which help to build resilience and enhance the mechanisms people have to cope with the immediate and longer-term impact of shocks. The most recent estimates indicate that some 3 billion people are without basic handwashing facilities at home and 4 billion people lack any kind of social protection. The SDGs are a commitment to leave no one behind, and this includes ensuring everyone is able to take measures to reduce their exposure to the disease and have the means to cope and recover. If anything, the SDGs will become more important in the days and months ahead. The goals and targets set in 2015 are precisely the areas where progress needs to be made to build resilience and guard against future crises and where we will need to work to build back after the immediate tragedy subsides.
On today's #Daily podcast with @DermotMurnaghan: How did Iceland manage to control its #coronavirus outbreak?
On today's #Daily podcast with @DermotMurnaghan: How did Iceland manage to control its #coronavirus outbreak? And when did the UK really have its first #COVID19 cases? Was it much earlier than previously thought? Listen here in full
Maintaining Services
How do vulnerable get food during coronavirus?
Millions of vulnerable households in the UK need groceries delivered to their homes during the coronavirus lockdown. Here, Which? explains the options available if you or someone you know needs help. Despite promises from supermarkets and the government that support is on its way to vulnerable households in need of grocery deliveries, thousands continue to report difficulties in getting food brought to their homes.
Biggest Hurdle to Bringing People Back to the Office Might Be the Commute
Companies are starting to consider alternatives to mass transit, such as company car allowances, private bus services and leasing smaller office space in suburban locations closer to where many workers live. “Extremely large companies might offer to subsidize people’s purchases of private vehicles or subsidize rental cars,” said Lindsay Burke, co-chair of the employment practice at law firm Covington & Burling LLP. To avoid putting workers through a public commute, some companies are considering leases to open smaller satellite locations, said Scott Rechler, chief executive of real-estate investment firm RXR Realty. He is getting calls from office tenants in Manhattan looking for space in the borough of Queens and Westchester County, where rents are cheaper and many employees have cars.
'Project Restart': Premier League ramps up plans for resuming season
All games are expected to be held behind closed doors and the league is considering making some available on free-to-air TV. One issue under debate on Friday will be what "approved stadiums" will be used and whether that will be a limited number of grounds or neutral venues. However, a return to action still depends on the government's five tests being met, especially an increase in testing, and meeting social distancing guidelines.
Two million Australians download COVIDSafe contact tracing app in first day of release
More than two million Australians have downloaded the new COVIDSafe contact tracing app within the first day of its release, far exceeding expectations. "Well done Australia. We've just passed 2m downloads for COVIDSafe," Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted on Monday night. The voluntary smartphone app uses Bluetooth to keep track of a user's close contacts and its data would supplement the work of about 7000 healthcare workers doing contact tracing across the country. Health Minister Greg Hunt was thrilled with the uptake.
Coronavirus: 'The new normal' - This is how the UK might operate once lockdown is eased
Redesigned dining rooms, kitchens and beer gardens may be the way out of the lockdown for the hospitality trade. Every industry is likely to be facing a reshaping and restructuring in how it operates to ensure social distancing and hygiene standards are such that the virus is unable to take ahold in the way that it has now
Healthcare Innovations
EIT Health announces €6m for innovations to tackle COVID-19
EIT Health has announced funds of over €6 million in the fight against COVID-19, which will be dedicated to 14 specially selected health innovation projects across Europe.
Global health innovators mobilize to help developing countries combat COVID-19
Novel, affordable ways to acquire medical oxygen, ventilators, masks and other critically-needed COVID-19 supplies and services are among 20 Grand Challenges Canada innovations mobilizing to assist developing countries through the global pandemic.
How World-Class Institutes Leaned in to Innovate Healthcare Against COVID-19?
The IIT-Delhi has developed a COVID-19 test kit which recently got the approval of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). As per the ANI report, Vivekanandan Perumal, Professor at IIT-Delhi said, “We started working on it by the end of January and got it ready in three months. We wanted to contribute to affordable low-cost diagnostics that could be used in large numbers.” According to him, it is a swab testing kit and the testing will be cheaper than all existing devices as the device is affordable for commercial production.
In Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, an Oxford Group Leaps Ahead
Most other teams have had to start with small clinical trials of a few hundred participants to demonstrate safety. But scientists at the university’s Jenner Institute had a head start on a vaccine, having proved in previous trials that similar inoculations — including one last year against an earlier coronavirus — were harmless to humans. That has enabled them to leap ahead and schedule tests of their new coronavirus vaccine involving more than 6,000 people by the end of next month, hoping to show not only that it is safe, but also that it works.
Japan to approve remdesivir for coronavirus patients in May
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that Japan will soon approve the anti-viral drug remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus patients, in what will be the country's first such decision amid the pandemic. A government official said separately that the drug will be approved as early as next month to treat patients with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, as moves to develop therapeutic drugs and vaccines have been accelerating around the globe.
Digital innovations tested to support vulnerable people during COVID-19 outbreak
People who may be particularly vulnerable or isolated during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including new parents, the homeless, unpaid carers, young people and cancer patients, could soon benefit from a range of innovative digital solutions selected as part of the TechForce19 challenge. Today, NHSX, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have announced 18 innovative digital solutions being awarded up to £25,000 under the TechForce19 challenge. The funding for each project will be used to develop new ways to support vulnerable people who need to stay at home or need other help in the community for extended periods of time.
Bill Gates: 5 innovations to overcome coronavirus pandemic
Bill Gates just laid out what needs to happen to halt the coronavirus pandemic. Gates said we need innovations in areas like treatments, vaccines, and testing. "The coronavirus pandemic pits all of humanity against the virus," Gates said in a document posted on his blog on Thursday, adding, "This is like a world war, except in this case, we're all on the same side."