"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 18th May 2020

Isolation Tips
How Social Isolation Affects Older Adults In Coronavirus Quarantine
PODCAST - Seniors citizens can get cut off from family and routine under quarantine, but there are ways to minimize isolation and encourage healthy socialization. One of the groups taking extra precautions during the coronavirus pandemic are people over the age of 65. But for older adults living alone at home, there is an increased risk of social isolation. We talk to them
COVID-19 is taking gaming and esports to the next level
The global video game industry is thriving, despite the widespread economic disruption caused by the coronavirus. With the practice of social distancing reducing consumer and business activity to a minimum, gaming offers an engaging distraction for people at home looking for social interaction, and initial data shows huge growth in playing time and sales since the lockdowns began.
Voluntary collective isolation as a best response to COVID-19 for indigenous populations? A case study and protocol from the Bolivian Amazon
Voluntary collective isolation as a best response to COVID-19 for indigenous populations? A case study and protocol from the Bolivian Amazon
Coronavirus: Capturing isolation on New Zealand's Stewart Island
On the far southern tip of New Zealand, sparsely populated Stewart Island has been closed off from the world during the coronavirus pandemic. As the country emerges from lockdown, photographer Laire Purik has documented how locals coped.
Has coronavirus-induced self-isolation out in the middle of nowhere been boring? I've got a two-word answer: Baby goats
Endlessly curious, they follow us everywhere, skittering around like pinballs, hopping onto anything that'll hold them (as well as some things that won't): wheelbarrows, patio furniture, cars – even yours truly when I made the mistake of kneeling to weed the arugula. So much for boring isolation. This time alone in the quiet country had been anything but – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Hygiene Helpers
Dying to go out to eat? Here's how viruses like Covid-19 spread in a restaurant
As US states begin loosening restrictions, a recent viral video from Japan gives an idea of how easily coronavirus might spread
Thailand follows Vietnam with no new coronavirus cases
Thailand reported zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases for the first time in over two months on May 13.
Coronavirus: How 'overreaction' made Vietnam a virus success
"When you're dealing with these kinds of unknown novel potentially dangerous pathogens, it's better to overreact," says Dr Todd Pollack of Harvard's Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam in Hanoi. Recognising that its medical system would soon become overwhelmed by even mild spread of the virus, Vietnam instead chose prevention early, and on a massive scale. By early January, before it had any confirmed cases, Vietnam's government was initiating "drastic action" to prepare for this mysterious new pneumonia which had at that point killed two people in Wuhan.
Box clever: Personal protection kits for home and workplace
This is the immediate future we all need to be ready for, with top quality personal protection equipment easily to hand wherever we are. That’s where Stobox comes in. Think of it as a first-aid kit for a future of virus awareness – a range of products selected to minimise the potential health risks with every surface we touch; every tiny contact we make. Most importantly, we need the protection equipment we use to be supplied by a brand we trust.
S.Korea races to contain new Covid-19 cluster linked to clubs as infections swell to 119
South Korea conducted more than 15,000 tests on Wednesday (May 13) as health officials raced to contain an outbreak of Covid-19 linked to at least nine clubs in the nightlife district of Itaewon in Seoul. The promise of anonymous testing has encouraged more people to come forward, as the number of cases linked to the new cluster grew to 119 - up from 102 the previous day. New cases include a 27-year-old clubber from Busan who infected his 62-year-old father and one-year-old nephew. Eleven infections were traced to a 25-year-old private academy teacher from Incheon and three more infections in the military brought its total to 11. South Korea now has 10,962 cases, with 259 deaths. The Itaewon cluster came to light when a 29-year-old resident of Yongin city tested positive on May 6, after visiting five gay clubs in Itaewon on May 1-2 during a six-day-long weekend that saw many people going out to wine, dine and party.
The future of shopping: fitting rooms, beauty testers face COVID axe
As more retailers reopen stores as some social-distancing restrictions are relaxed and consumer confidence lifts ever so slightly, so-called "high-touch" segments such as beauty and lingerie are facing the biggest health and hygiene challenges.
Community Activities
Coronavirus: Live entertainment is evolving online to be a lifeline
From gigs to plays and quizzes, live entertainment has moved online during lockdown - and creative minds are coming up with new ideas to give us back some of the human connection we've lost. Every Saturday for the past two months, Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody has sat down and written a song. Well, he has co-written a song - with 5,000 fans on Instagram. He asks them for chords, comes up with melodies, and puts them to a vote. He then asks for ideas for lyrics before coming back an hour later with a finished track. "Some are really good," he says.
Coronavirus: Clothes box attempt to help Bangladeshi workers
An Edinburgh businessman is trying to help thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers hit by cancelled orders during the coronavirus outbreak. Cally Russell said the country was left with mountains of unsold clothes in factories after UK retailers pulled out of their contracts. Now the 32-year-old is planning to sell the clothes in the UK at half price in boxes based on customer's preferences. The money will then go to help clothing workers who have lost their jobs. Mr Russell, who is the CEO of online clothing retailer platform Mallzee, has created the new venture called Lost Stock. Shoppers can buy a £35 box of clothes worth £70 after filling in a questionnaire about their size and taste in clothes. The boxes will then be made up in Bangladesh before being shipped to the UK. The shoppers do not get to choose the items but the boxes have been tailored to each customer.
This one goes out to all the Heroes of our time Thanks @manszelmerlow for giving us such a touching version of #Eurovision 2015 winner Heroes. #ShineALight | #ESC2020
This one goes out to all the Heroes of our time Thanks @manszelmerlow for giving us such a touching version of #Eurovision 2015 winner Heroes. #ShineALight | #ESC2020
Small museums welcome first visitors as France's lockdown eases
Culture is among the sectors hit hard globally by the coronavirus pandemic. In France, museums across the country closed their doors when the lockdown began in March. The largest and most celebrated, including the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, aren't due to reopen until the summer. But as France begins to ease confinement measures this week, small cultural venues are allowed to open their doors.
Kenyan hip hop artist Juliani stages online concert to highlight coronavirus divide
Popular Kenyan hip hop artist Juliani will stage an online concert on Sunday to draw attention to the social inequalities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused multiple challenges for the country’s poor. Juliani, who was raised in Nairobi’s Dandora settlement that is also the largest dump site in the capital, said the concert was for his fans, most of whom are from city slums and crippled by the arrival of the coronavirus in the east African nation. Stay at home orders were hindering their ability to work, he said, while measures to prevent infection, like hand-washing and social distancing, were impossible for these communities.
US: Muslims in Dearborn deliver food to hospitals during Ramadan
One of US's largest Muslim communities prepare food for doctors, nurses and others on the coronavirus front lines.
Working Remotely
Remote possibilities: how green spaces and home-working are tempting city dwellers
Will more post-Covid-19 home-buyers look outwards, beyond the world’s cities, to more rural locations? In Britain, estate agents and property website Rightmove have reported a rise in the number of inquiries for out-of-city locations. Roseanne De Vere Hunt, of Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes, says there have been a rise in enquiries
What it’s like to interpret for coronavirus patients remotely
Health care interpreter Helen Sweeney is used to acting as a phone-based go-between for doctors and patients, translating intense discussions about people’s medical care into and out of Russian. Now, many of those conversations are about the novel coronavirus, which has also brought novel challenges to her profession. Sweeney, who works for the remote interpreting service Certified Languages International, says one recent Covid-19 patient was so burdened by a breathing device that he couldn’t speak back in a conversation about the possibility of intubation
Brave new work of the covid-19 era
There are profound changes afoot at the workplace, not just in the way it will be redesigned and restructured in the post-covid world but also in the role it will play in our lives. This is a watershed moment—as fundamental to the evolution of the workplace as the invention of the telephone or the dependance on the internet.
Coronavirus: Remote working set to stay post Covid-19 pandemic
Jes Staley, chief executive of British bank Barclays, has said the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may well be a thing of the past. Businesses allowing staff to work from home on a permanent basis, even as lockdowns ease worldwide, calls into question the future of skyscrapers used by multinationals which are seen as symbols of modern capitalism.Financial districts, such as London's Canary Wharf and La Defense in Paris, remain extremely quiet, even as governments lift restrictions on social distancing and travel by public transport. Jes Staley, chief executive of British bank Barclays, said "We will find ways to operate with more distancing over a much longer period of time," he added. French car giant PSA, which makes Peugeot and Citroen vehicles, now sees remote working as a benchmark for tens of thousands of its office-based staff. people in a building may be a thing of the past.
Even the Pandemic Can't Kill the Open-Plan Office
Even before coronavirus, many workers hated the open-plan office. Now that shared work spaces are a public health risk, employers are rethinking office design.
Virtual Classrooms
Coronavirus: 3 lessons learned from remote teaching
Forced to completely rethink the way she delivers lessons, international teacher Sarah Cullen explains what she’s learned through teaching remotely
Using Tech to Teach — Smartly
Ben Cogswell, a kindergarten teacher in Salinas, Calif., has nailed it. And he has some advice for the rest of us. For his remote classes, Cogswell breaks out a robot puppet for videos that get his students primed for the day. He sings an alphabet song to guide kids through a lesson on commonly mixed-up letters. In the evening, he reads stories over Facebook Live, sometimes with his wife accompanying him on the ukulele. While living through screens can largely feel like a mess, talking to Cogswell was a happy reminder that technology — if we keep it in its place — can empower creative teachers to shine and help students learn through a tough time.
Choose from hundreds of online courses from top universities and specialist organisations.
Choose from hundreds of online courses from top universities and specialist organisations.
Public Policies
Split classes, outdoor lessons: what Denmark can teach England about reopening schools after Covid-19
In the week leading up to the reopening of Denmark’s schools a month ago, Dorte Lange spent a lot of time on Skype. The vice-president of the Danish Union of Teachers was responsible for detailed negotiations with the education minister, the health authorities and other teaching unions. The aim was to make sure that everyone was happy with the safety measures put in place to ensure an orderly return of younger pupils to classrooms on 15 April. “As unions, we were taken so much into account and we were consulted so much that we felt quite safe about this,” Lange says. “We said to our members that we think that we can actually trust the authorities and that it will be OK to go back.”
Denmark reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since March
“Milestone today: In the last day we have had 0 deaths as a result of COVID-19 in Denmark,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter. On Tuesday, health authorities said Denmark was “very unlikely” to be hit by a second wave of the virus, as the country entered its second reopening phase, which allows schools for the oldest children, shopping mails and restaurants to reopen. Despite the reopening, the so-called reproduction rate, which shows the average number of infections caused by one person with the virus, fell to 0.7 in the first week of May from 0.9.
Labour leader Keir Starmer calls for `four nations together'" approach for easing lock-down restrictions
Labour leader Keir Starmer has called for a "four nations together" approach for easing coronavirus lock-down restrictions. Mr Starmer, who became party leader last month, said there had been an "incredible sense of solidarity" across the UK but the relationship between Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland "could" be put under strain if there was an increasing divergence in approaches from the respective governments to coronavirus. Mr Starmer was speaking on the BBC's Politics Wales programme one week after British Prime Minister Boris Johnston told people in England that they could "drive to other destinations" for exercise and leisure, during a live broadcast
What will be the new normals after the coronavirus pandemic?
History shows the aftermath of plagues have brought about radical transformations for societies. So what changes could come in the aftermath of COVID-19?
Coronavirus in Scotland: Contact tracing technology to be tested in three health boards
The pilot, which is expected to last two weeks, will allow NHS Fife, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Highland to test out the software which contact tracers will use to collect the information that they need digitally.
Germany plans 57bn euro aid package for virus-hit municipalities
Scholz seeks to help stabilise local public finances. Wants to help municipalities ‘do their job even better.' This aid plan is part of Germany's second stimulus package
Kenya closes borders with Somalia, Tanzania to curb COVID-19 spread | English.news.cn
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday closed the country's borders with Somalia and Tanzania effective midnight as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus. Kenyatta banned the movement of persons and passengers in and out of Kenya through the Tanzania and Somalia borders for 21 days following the rise of cross-border COVID-19 transmission. "In the last week, we have witnessed increased imported cases among individuals crossing into the country through our borders. These areas have become areas of grave concern," Kenyatta told the nation in a televised news conference in Nairobi.
Austrian borders with Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary to reopen June 15
Austria’s borders with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary will fully reopen on June 15, the interior ministry said on Saturday, extending an easing of border controls to its eastern neighbours previously agreed with many of its neighbours to the west. The announcement follows a previously coordinated step to fully remove barriers on travel between Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein from June 15 onwards and ease restrictions on who is allowed transit in the meantime. Restrictions remain in place for transit from Italy.
Zimbabwe to maintain virus lockdown: president
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Saturday the lockdown imposed to control the spread of coronavirus would stay in place for the moment, but would be reviewed every two weeks. The restrictions have so far borne fruit as transmission has not been widespread and numbers remain lower than had been initial projections, he added. From more than 25,000 tests conducted, the country has so far detected 42 cases, four of which proved fatal.
Irish Government approves first phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions from Monday
The Irish Government has approved the first phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions from Monday. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the easing of restrictions on Friday, but said the announcement is not cause for celebration. He said from Monday, the public will be able to meet small groups of four people outside while keeping two metres apart. Mr Varadkar also urged the public to wear face coverings when on public transport and in enclosed spaces.
Greece Reopens 500 Beaches as It Relaxes Lockdown Rules
Greece has opened up 500 of its beaches as the country eases lockdown restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities authorized the move as a heat wave was expected to hit the country this weekend. But sizzling temperatures aside, the measure is seen as a crucial test of readiness for Greece’s biggest challenge: summer tourism.
Maintaining Services
Hope for holidaymakers as Heathrow Airport trials thermal imaging fever checks
Heathrow Airport will trial automatically screening passengers for fever using thermal imaging cameras this week, raising hopes that travellers could fly overseas without having to quarantine
COVID-19 Airport Policies & Procedures
Airports around the world have been affected by COVID-19 and have implemented new policies and procedures to help protect travelers and employees. Many airports continue to add notices to their websites outlining how they’re handling the ever-evolving situation. Methods include: Increased cleaning of seating, handrails, restrooms, people movers and elevators during the day; Nightly deep cleaning of entire terminals; Guidelines to encourage safety and social distancing; Installation of hand sanitizing stations;
Germany kicks off as Europe eases curbs but virus marches on
German football champions Bayern Munich were set to play their first match in more than two months on Sunday as coronavirus restrictions ease in parts of Europe, but the devastating pandemic remains on the march elsewhere with deaths soaring in Brazil.
Coronavirus: Italy set to throw open its borders in time for summer tourist season
Italy will reopen restaurants and coffee bars next week and allow travel in and out of the country next month as it continues to ease its coronavirus lockdown. A decree signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday means that the foreign travel ban will be lifted on 3 June - and people can also start moving freely across the country's regions on the same day. Mr Conte said that anybody entering Italy from an EU country from then onwards would not have to undergo a quarantine period.
Face masks, blood tests and onboard janitors. Flying's about to feel very different
First and foremost, airlines will need to comply with health and safety regulations of the moment before allowing passengers to get on board. For some carriers, that will mean asking travelers to produce negative coronavirus test results, or so-called immunity passports, prior to boarding. Last month, Dubai-based airline Emirates announced it had became the first airline to conduct “rapid” 10-minute blood tests at departure gates.
Future of Factories Is More Robots and More Mexico
The coronavirus pandemic is likely to spur a bigger revival of manufacturing in North America than the multiyear U.S.-China trade war ever would have on its own. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to translate into much in the way of U.S. factory jobs. While the tariff volleying of 2018 and 2019 exposed the risks of China-dependent supply-chains, it largely did not lead to manufacturers putting America first on their list of desired factory sites. Instead, if they diversified away from China at all, companies mostly decamped for other low-cost countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. The initial concentration of the coronavirus pandemic in China seemed likely to accelerate that trend. But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that nowhere in the world is safe from the fallout and that the practice of zigzagging goods around the world is increasingly risky.
Healthcare Innovations
Mathematical modeling suggests containment of COVID-19 possible
Mathematical modeling studies suggest containment of COVID-19 might be possible but success of containment operations “cannot be guaranteed” since there is efficient human to human transmission, the Union health ministry said on Saturday. It also said there is no approved drug or vaccine for the treatment of COVID-19 as of now and Chemoprophylaxis with Hydroxychloroquine are recommended for healthcare workers and high risk contacts. “Since there is efficient human to human transmission, success of containment operations cannot be guaranteed. Mathematical modeling studies suggest containment might be possible,” the health ministry said.
Coronavirus update: New trial using dogs to detect symptoms of COVID-19
A new trial which brings together leading disease control experts from universities with medical detection dogs who have already been used in training for detection in Parkinson’s disease could help to detect coronavirus in humans. The dogs are already trained to detect odours of certain cancers including malaria and Parkinson’s disease. The first phase of the trail will be led by the London School of hygiene and Tropical Medicine alongside the charity of Durham University. The innovation minister Lord Bethell had said of this initiative: "I hope the dogs could provide speedy results as part of the government’s wider testing strategy.”
Breakthrough hope as doctors find blood-thinning drugs can help save Covid-19 patients
Doctors at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London have found that most critically ill coronavirus patients suffer blood clots, raising hopes that blood-thinning drugs could save lives
UK plans £38m centre to start production of coronavirus vaccine
An experimental coronavirus vaccine will go into production this summer at a “rapid deployment facility” before clinical trials have established whether the shots are safe and protect against the infection. The business secretary, Alok Sharma, said the £38m centre would allow manufacture to begin “at scale” this summer in anticipation of the vaccine being shown to work by the end of the year. The centre will churn out doses of vaccine before a larger facility, called the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), opens next summer at the Harwell science and innovation campus in Oxford.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adolescents with COVID-19
As of 15 May 2020, more than 4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, including more than 285,000 deaths have been reported to WHO. The risk of severe disease and death has been highest in older people and in persons with underlying noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as hypertension, cardiac disease, chronic lung disease and cancer.1-4 Limited data describe clinical manifestations of COVID-19 that are generally milder in children compared with adults,5-8 but also show that some children do require hospitalization and intensive care.
Yet another study shows hydroxychloroquine doesn't work against Covid-19
A new study -- the largest of its kind -- shows that hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by President Trump, does not work against Covid-19 and could cause heart problems. The study was published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It follows a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine that also showed the drug doesn't fight the virus. Even before these reports were published, the US Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health issued warnings about using the drugs for coronavirus patients.