"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 11th May 2020

Isolation Tips
How to look after your mental health during the coronavirus lockdown - according to the NHS
It’s important to look after your mental health and wellbeing – and this has never been so vital as it is during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown
Coronavirus: Eight things that have kept us going in lockdown
Coronavirus has forced people around the world to change the way they live their lives. In Britain we have been spending most of our time at home, attempting to educate our own children and leaving the house only for essential reasons. What has kept us going? Here are eight things British people have been doing to cope with life in lockdown.
Italians put on 2kg on average during lockdown, says survey
Italians put on an average two kilos each during the nation's coronavirus lockdown, according to a study by Italian agricultural group Coldiretti. Being stuck at home and unable to take their usual exercise, coupled with a boom in the purchase of sugary and fatty comfort foods filled with sugar, has bloated the average Italian, Coldiretti said. If you thought Italians ate well already, it may come as a surprise to hear that the amount of food on Italian tables increased further by 18 percent during the lockdown, it said.
Lockdown Brits get more experimental in the kitchen and embrace Japanese food
Bonnie Chung, founder of home cooking brand Miso Tasty, said there is a "real thirst" for trying out new types of food, and one fifth can now confidently cook up a Japanese feast
In India, Getting Online Therapy For Mental Illness During A Lockdown Can Be Daunting
From lack of privacy to technical glitches, connecting with a therapist online may be difficult, but it’s worth the effort.
Hygiene Helpers
How Italy is reopening stores after the coronavirus lockdown
Italy is slowing reopening it's economy after a nationwide lockdown that began on March 10. As thousands of people leave self-quarantine, small businesses are told to carefully follow restrictions that aim to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19. Employees and customers must wear gloves and masks, businesses must limit the number of customers inside the store at one time, and many local shops are installing hand sanitizing stations as an additional safety measure.
Holidaying on Spain’s Costa Blanca post-lockdown: Hotel chain reveals major changes
New Measures include: introducing a protocol of hygienic-sanitary security measures to be followed by personnel in all its hotels. Capacity will be reduced throughout the complexes, in common areas and restaurants. Group use of the lift will only be allowed by families, and there will be an increase in the number of disinfectant gel points. ‘Protection kits’ will be provided for customers and staff, and all employees will be given special training. Hotel beds will be separated by at least a metre-and-a-half, and digital screens and posters will provide full details of preventative measures and actions. On arrival in reception, guests will be obliged to disinfect their hands and have their temperature taken. Screens will be installed and a safety distance will have to be kept from the receptionist. The chain also intends to implement a ‘luggage protector’ to reduce the risk of contamination and keys and bracelets will undergo a disinfection treatment. The company stressed “check-in will be online while the check-out will be express.” Hotel buffets will be changed dramatically.
Coronavirus: Australian gyms to reopen with new safety and hygiene protocols strictly enforced, says industry's peak body
Every second treadmill turned off, no water bubblers and PA system giving half hourly reminders on social distancing could be the new norm when gyms reopen. The CEO of Fitness Australia has responded to the government's 'Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia' announced today, and revealed what might be involved for gyms to open up.
A solar-powered hand-washing basin encourages personal hygiene in Ghana amidst coronavirus
On the morning of March 30 after government officials issued a two-week lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19 in Ghana, a leather shoemaker based in the Ashanti region's capital city, Kumasi, stared at a recycled barrel and conceived an idea. "My brother (Jude Osei) and I decided we would create a basin to encourage regular hand-washing etiquette," Richard Kwarteng, 32, told CNN. They created a solar-powered hand-washing basin. In one of the first of its kind in the country, they wanted the device to be solar-powered and timed with a sensor, in accordance with the 20-second hand-washing guidance issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Community Activities
Australian's French domestic violence charity helps expats in lockdown
Football legend Eric Cantona, Australian-Indian actor Pallavi Sharda and British-French actor Jane Birkin were recruited to the cause, posting Facebook videos explaining how to seek safety in 22 languages. The charity also used Twitter, Instagram and foreign language media to make their presence felt. "Those figures out of China, those frightening figures, really pushed us to act," McGrath said. "We were not surprised; we were disgusted, and hurt, and heartbroken. "This is the first time we reached out to victims and we did it because of COVID; we knew how much violence would increase and these foreign women are already vulnerable." The charity's fears were well founded.
Aberdeen ex-pats give 95-year-old grandpa a birthday to remember with lockdown surprises
Emily Fraser and her husband Sam, along with other family members, used to regularly make the trip out to Banchory to visit granddad Ernest Singer. But as the pair moved Down Under last August, and other relatives have been unable to visit his sheltered housing apartment due to the coronavirus pandemic, he has been left isolated and “desperate for a hug” for the last seven long weeks. Mr Singer still uses the phone and video-calling to speak to loved ones regularly, and also converses with staff and the other residents at Dalvenie Gardens. But as he turned 95 on Monday, all his family wanted to do was make a fuss and help him celebrate in person.
Covid 19 coronavirus: Ngāti Hine spreads aroha with food, hygiene packs
A Ngāti Hine-based crisis response group has distributed more than 1500 food packs or "kete koha" (gift baskets) around Moerewa and as far away as Bream Bay since the Covid-19 crisis began. The packs contain flour, bread, eggs, fruit, vegetables, kumara and other essentials, and are delivered to vulnerable families and the elderly. Hygiene product packs can also be requested. As of Friday, 1535 food packs and 1386 hygiene packs had been distributed since the weekly deliveries started on March 23, just before the alert level 4 lockdown.
Coronavirus: How lockdown is making us better neighbours and building new communities
Across the UK people have been coming together to help those most in need during the lockdown. Eugene Petzer who co-founded the mutual aid group Isolation Help Bexley tells Sky News the lockdown has unintentionally created a new sense of community in his borough.
Coronavirus lockdown acts of kindness: From neighbours who do the shopping to a Pilates teacher on Zoom, readers share thank yous
As part of a new series, we share poignant letters from people who wish to express their gratitude to our unsung lockdown heroes
Sunderland musicians invited to join virtual orchestra to show cross-country solidarity during coronavirus lockdown
Wearside musicians have been invited by Sunderland’s German twin city of Essen to join a virtual international orchestra in a five-nation effort to show solidarity during lockdown.
Young Korean named France's best 'lockdown cook' - The Jakarta Post
A young South Korean woman was proclaimed the best lockdown cook in France Thursday by the country's trendiest gastronomic guide. Illustrator Saehan Park, 31, who lives in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, won a competition set up by Le Fooding guide to find the best home cook during the local confinement. Unable to actually taste Park's brand of "Franco-Korean cuisine using locally sourced ingredients" because of the lockdown, the judges made their choice from the photos, videos and recipes she shared.
India's lavish weddings go online in virus lockdown
n a country famous for lavish weddings that last for days, the young couple are among a growing number modifying their marriage ceremonies under a virus lockdown that has limited public gatherings. Eager to go ahead with the arranged marriage on the auspicious date selected for them by a priest, the pair turned to the internet to tie the knot. "We never imagined that even our online wedding would be so grand," Dang, a 26-year-old data analyst who is based in Toronto, told AFP of the April 19 event. "A hundred guests joined in our celebration on the app. We live-streamed the ceremony on Facebook which was watched by another 16,000 people."
Working Remotely
Coronavirus: How to set yourself a routine when working from home
Setting yourself a routine doesn’t mean starting work at 9am and finishing at 5pm. Everyone works differently and there’s no ‘right’ way of doing it – unless you have set hours, of course. Depending on your working arrangement, your hours might already be set by your employer or client. If it’s not, however, make it a priority to do this yourself. If you’re a morning person, set your alarm early and get started when you are at your most productive. Another idea is to split your working hours into two blocks, which can work well for parents who are working and caring for small children. This might mean you work for four hours in the morning, before taking a longer break and then putting in an additional few hours in the afternoon or evening.
Work after coronavirus: how will it change when the lockdown is over?
This is the first in our series on Life after lockdown, which looks at how the Covid-19 pandemic could change Australia for good
Coronavirus: Facebook and Google extend working from home to 2021
Tech giants Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG) have told employees they do not have to return to work in the office until 2021. The moves mean employees can continue working from home for the rest of the year amid worries from staff over safety about returning to the office during the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesman for Facebook said: “Facebook has taken the next step in its return to work philosophy. Today, we announced anyone who can do their work remotely can choose to do so through the end of the year. “As you can imagine this is an evolving situation as employees and their families make important decisions about returning to work.”
Working from home DOES increase productivity, according to a survey
Millions of Americans are working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. A survey found that many have reported being more productive since the shift. Those who feel isolated or rely on others to do their work are less productive
Virtual Classrooms
How teaching assistants can support pupils in lockdown
Teaching assistants offer vital support in school, but school closures don’t have to mean a pause to the daily support and encouragement they usually provide. Here are eight ways that teaching assistants can continue to provide their effective and crucial support to students, parents, colleagues and each other while working remotely:
Coronavirus has stopped the daily high-wire act of parenting. And I couldn't be more grateful
I've been given a chance to catch my 11-year-old twins right on the cusp of childhood's end and enjoy them instead of merely managing them. The coronavirus has done what I never could and pressed pause on my teenager's hyper-charged flight out of the nest. Home-schooling has taught me a lot about who my children are and how they learn. We've been able to take detours into topics that fascinate them. Thanks to one of their assignments, I've learnt what the internet actually is.
From classroom to living room, schools cross divide into virtual academic world
When the statewide coronavirus shutdown closed Indiana K-12 schools March 19, it kicked off a crash course for school leaders to equip students and teachers so they could deliver instruction remotely. For schools in high poverty or rural areas where families don’t have internet access or personal computers, the challenge increased. According to 2018 census data, 77.6% of Hoosier households had broadband access, compared to the national average of 80.4%. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick urged the state to do more to beef up internet access in a live-streamed media speech last month.
Public Policies
Boris Johnson speech: PM unveils 'conditional plan' to reopen society
Boris Johnson has unveiled a "conditional plan" to reopen society, allowing people in England to spend more time outdoors from Wednesday. The PM also said people who could not work from home should return to the workplace - but avoid public transport. He said a new Covid Alert System with five levels would govern how quickly lockdown restrictions could be eased. He hoped the next step "at the earliest by 1 June" would be for some primary pupils to return to school in England. In an address to the nation, Mr Johnson said this stage would also involve reopening shops - but he cautioned this would only happen if supported by science.
Government to urge us all to walk and cycle more
We need to protect the public transport network as lockdown is lifted, the UK's transport secretary is expected to say at a press conference on Saturday. The BBC understands Grant Shapps will encourage the public to continue to work from home if they can. Those who need to travel to work will be urged to consider more active ways to travel like walking and cycling. Extra funding is likely to be announced for English local authorities to help alter road networks to facilitate this. The intention is to take pressure off roads and public transport networks.
UK 'to bring in 14-day quarantine' for air passengers
UK airlines say they have been told the government will bring in a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the UK from any country apart from the Republic of Ireland in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The new restriction is expected to take effect at the end of this month. Industry body Airlines UK said the policy needed "a credible exit plan" and should be reviewed weekly. People arriving in the UK would have to self-isolate at a private residence. Government and aviation sources told BBC News that the quarantine would mean people might be expected to provide an address when they arrive at the border.
How do the UK nations differ over easing lockdown?
The Government has spoken of a "four-nations approach" to tackling the coronavirus crisis - where each UK country would ideally follow the same path and timings back to post-lockdown normality. But there have been signs of tensions between Downing Street and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - with warnings over "mixed messages" to the public. It follows reports Prime Minister Boris Johnson could allow sunbathing and picnics to be permitted in England from as early as Monday. This could mean the four nations will find themselves moving at different speeds as they move towards ending the full lockdown which was imposed on March 23, politicians have said.
Workers could get legal right to work from home after coronavirus lockdown is lifted
All workers would be given the right to request to work from home under a new law modelled on an existing one governing parents' entitlement to flexible working
Easing the Dutch coronavirus rules: what the experts say
Van Dissel again emphasised that partial lifting of anti-coronavirus regulations will depend on a step-by-step approach, and each step will require proper monitoring. ‘The first steps involve giving individuals more freedom in terms of local activities and person to person contact,’ he said. ‘Then, depending on the effect, you can bring in more regional and group activities.’ The likely impact, said Wallinga, is difficult to predict, because people will change their behaviour. ‘We don’t know if people will keep to the basis hygiene rules, such as washing your hands and keeping your distance, during the summer holidays. And that could make a big difference.’
Germany, On Cusp of Reopening, Scrambles to Contain Fresh Coronavirus Outbreaks
Just days before Germany planned to ease social distancing restrictions for COVID-19, a severe outbreak of the virus at a meat processing plant has led one state to delay loosening those guidelines. Social distancing restrictions are to be lifted on May 11 for most parts of the country, but not in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). In the city of Coesfeld, 200 employees were tested for coronavirus on Thursday, and 151 of them tested positive. Germany has an "emergency mechanism" in loosening restrictions, which is triggered when there are 50 new cases per 100,000 people in a district or city. The Coesfeld positive tests made it 61 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which led the state to delaying its restriction easement by at least one week.
The three-step plan for reopening Australia after Covid-19 and what Stage 1, 2 and 3 looks like
Scott Morrison and the chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, have laid out a three-step plan to reopen Australia after the coronavirus crisis. Morrison said he hoped step three could be achieved in July, but it would be up to each state and territory when they moved from one step to the next. Below are some of the areas that will be opened up at each stage, according to the plan – and you can see the timeline for easing restrictions in each state here.
France's government unveils economy details as country eases coronavirus lockdown measures
French Economy and Finances Minister Bruno le Maire explained details concerning business opening and economy amid the easing of lockdown measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic. “We need to kickstart our economy”, Le Maire said, announcing that “all businesses which were closed will be able to open again on May 11 except for social businesses such as cafés, restaurants and bars”.
France's government unveils transport details as country eases coronavirus lockdown measures
French Transition, Transportation and Ecology Minister Elisabeth Borne explained details concerning the transport system amid the easing of lockdown measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Public transport has been one of the main concerns.
Covid-19: Parisians turn to cycling as end of lockdown nears
As France prepares to gradually end its Covid-19 lockdown on May 11, workers are busy installing dozens of kilometres of temporary bike lanes across Paris and surrounding suburbs, part of plans to prepare for – and encourage – an expected boom in cycling in the capital. The city is planning on installing 50km of cycle lanes, with hundreds more in nearby suburbs. Some of Paris’s busiest roads, such as the Rue de Rivoli, will also be closed to cars. The city is hoping to avoid a return to the severe congestion that was part of daily life before the lockdown, as well as reducing large crowds on public transport as people begin returning to work.
Maintaining Services
Coronavirus: UK sent 50,000 Covid-19 samples to US for testing
The government has admitted sending about 50,000 coronavirus tests to the US last week for processing after "operational issues" in UK labs. The Department of Health said sending swabs abroad is among the contingencies to deal with "teething problems". The samples were airlifted to the US in chartered flights from Stansted Airport, the Sunday Telegraph said. Results will be validated in the UK and sent to patients as soon as possible.
UK travel industry warns against 'nightmare' of quarantine
Britain’s travel industry has warned that a lengthy quarantine period for all people arriving in Britain from abroad would be a “nightmare” that would badly hurt a sector already in meltdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The prospect of a period of quarantine, being imposed “on people coming into this country by air”, was outlined by the prime minister in his Sunday night address. It sparked alarm from the travel industry and the aviation sector, while the farming industry, which faces a severe shortage of seasonal workers, will also be affected.
Coronavirus pandemic: How women entrepreneurs are riding out the COVID-19 lockdown in India
As COVID-19 puts a halt to the wheels of economies worldwide, five entrepreneurs and self-employed women in India share their experiences.
Coronavirus: Lockdown extends Britain's longest run without coal since 1882
None of the nation's power has been supplied by coal generators for almost a month due to good weather and the pandemic.
‘Uber style’ system could be trialed on Bristol buses in world first
With strict social distancing in place, First is already running two buses in tandem on a few peak routes to boost seat numbers, and Freeman said there could be as many as four in a row as demand increases. He said: “We’ve tried to reorganise the business to face the challenge of how we protect people from coronavirus at the same time as providing a minimum level of service for the people who need to travel. “They are essential workers who haven’t got any other form of transport. There aren’t that many – patronage is down to about eight per cent.” “It will be a long job to get people back. It will reflect people’s confidence gradually growing.” First has stepped up its cleaning regime and is looking at how social distancing will be possible on board buses. It is trialling signs to advise passengers on where to sit and will be taping off some areas – steps that limit the number of passengers buses can carry. Freeman said: “There are 20 seats on a double-decker. That should reassure people there won’t be someone sitting behind them, breathing down their neck.
Healthcare Innovations
The problem with predicting coronavirus apocalypse in Africa
Claims that Africa will be hit the worst by the pandemic ignore African epidemiological know-how and action.
Coronavirus: Professor 'can't easily tell' who is more at risk from COVID-19 - fit black men or obese white men
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam was speaking about the "complicated" situation surrounding the vulnerability of people from black and minority ethnic communities. It follows an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report earlier this week that said black people are up to four times more likely to die with coronavirus than white people. And a separate study found that being male, older in age, having uncontrolled diabetes and severe asthma are key factors related to COVID-19 deaths, according to researchers at the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
New York warns of children's illness linked to Covid-19 after three deaths
State reports 73 cases of children falling severely ill with toxic shock-like reaction that has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease
Japan's Shionogi primed to mass-produce coronavirus vaccine in 2021
Shionogi aims to supply 10 million doses of the potential vaccine. The company looks to invest 10 billion yen to 20 billion yen ($94.1 million to $188 million) to proceed with expanding capacity, an unusual gamble in hopes of ensuring a swift mass release. Teshirogi acknowledged that drugmakers usually wait for trial results before moving to scale up. "In view of the situation, we've decided to take the risk to plan for mass production in parallel with development," he said.