"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 19th May 2020

Isolation Tips
Tips to stay active and healthy during social isolation
A recent article by leading physiologists of Bath University in the UK highlights that staying active and healthy during social isolation may improve your immune system. The goal is to achieve 150 minutes of regular moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week doing activities like walking and cycling. And keeping up with regular daily exercises can help manage chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, according to Melbourne exercise physiologist Mohamed Saad.
How disabled people are problem-solving in the pandemic
As people in the UK continue to respond to the challenges of self-isolation, one community is helping itself find solutions to complexities most would not have to think about. Disabled people have spent years finding workarounds to inaccessible situations and now, during the current coronavirus crisis, one group has emerged kicking around ideas like using a smart speaker instead of a carer.
“We're staying home today”: The unexpected anthem of Russia's COVID-19 lockdown
As Russia gradually eases its COVID-19 lockdown, a song by Moscow indie band Hadn Dadn is being hailed as the “anthem of self-isolation.” “We're staying home today,” begins the song of the same name, “We're staying home tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow. And the day after that.” Given the strictness of self-isolation requirements for Russians, particularly in Moscow, it's not surprising that the song's bittersweet homage to being housebound has struck a chord. It incessantly shared on social networks. Independent station TV Rain organised a flashmob with around a dozen prominent female actors, television presenters, and videobloggers singing the song from their homes.
Hygiene Helpers
COVID-19: Behaviour Change And Hygiene Practices Would Reduce Infections Level
As we plan to reopen schools what measures are we putting in place to ensure school children and students generally practice and observe proper handwashing with soap under running water to ensure their safety in school and our homes? Sustained behavior change has become the most significant step to preventing COVID-19 and many other communicable diseases through a coordinated effort by all stakeholders who matter in disease prevention. We must continue to wash our hands with soap under running water most frequently with or without covid19 to stay alive and safe.
Staying safe isn't just about hygiene and distance. It's about time, too.
Still, there's one more aspect to infection that has received less attention. Growing evidence suggests that Covid-19 infection, like with other illnesses, is related to prolonged time exposed to the virus. The longer you stay in an environment that may contain the virus, the higher the risk of getting sick. Dr. Erin Bromage, a comparative immunologist and professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, summed it up with a short and sweet equation: "Successful Infection = Exposure to Virus x Time."
United Airlines Will Provide Masks and Hand Wipes to Passengers
United Airlines is giving out face masks as part of a new amenity kit for passengers in the age of Covid-19. “Starting today, we are providing a little amenity kit,” United Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz said Monday on Bloomberg Television’s Leadership Live. “It will be a little amenity kit that has a snack, a water and some hand wipes for you as you enter the aircraft, along with a mask if you need it.”
Naomi Campbell Boosts Flight Hygiene With New Addition To Hazmat Suit
Naomi Campbell is kicking her protective flight attire up another notch as she travels during the coronavirus pandemic. The British supermodel made headlines in 2019 when she shared her meticulous pre-flight sanitisation ritual of “anything that you could possibly touch” in a plane seat last year. And in March, she shared images of herself wearing a hazmat suit, goggles and mask as she boarded a flight from Los Angeles to her home in New York. She captioned the post “Safety First NEXT LEVEL.”
Community Activities
GPs to support care home residents with Covid-19 'remotely and face to face'
GPs will be expected to monitor care home patients with Covid-19 face to face as well as remotely under the new support service, the Government has said.
UK cities are awakening as lockdown is eased
The new rules, combined with warm spring weather, saw movement rates rise to 60 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels on Saturday, 16 May. That compares to nearer 30 per cent towards the end of March. Numbers have been edging up in recent weeks, with the Bank Holiday weekend between 8 May and 10 May showing an increase in walking in particular, ahead of the lockdown restrictions being partially lifted. Since Wednesday 13 May, people have been allowed unlimited exercise and can drive to other destinations in England such as beaches or parks. Data from Apple Maps show easing the restrictions had a clear and immediate effect.
COVID-19: Charities say transparent face masks could stop isolation for nine million deaf
Nine charities led by the National Deaf Children’s Society are calling on Public Health England and NHS England to commission transparent face masks, saying it will make a "monumental difference" to deaf people.
AfDB partners with SWA to provide access to water in the fight against COVID-19
In support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) launched an international campaign on Thursday, May 14, aimed at expanding access to water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa. The goal is to ensure that water and sanitation systems are available, mobilizing funds to support countries in need and deliver accurate and credible information. Global partners such as governments, donors, civil society organizations, and other development partners working to ensure that SWA’s goals are actualized.
Self-help project in Niger churns out hygiene products in fight against coronavirus
Mini refugee ‘factory’ produces soap, liquid handwash, bleach and water containers for free distribution.
Coronavirus: Commuters shun trains as they return to work after easing of lockdown
Commuters returning to work for the first time after Boris Johnson eased lockdown restrictions shunned train services despite rail firms adding extra carriages to help preserve social distancing. Network Rail, which manages Britain’s 20 busiest stations, said passenger numbers on Monday morning were “very similar” to last week, when they were around 93 percent below average.
Working Remotely
MPs At Higher Risk Of Covid-19 Could Keep Working From Home
MPs who are vulnerable to Covid-19 are expected to be given special permission to continue to work remotely from parliament once MPs return from their late May break, HuffPost UK has learned. The compromise plan being considered by Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg follows strong concerns from Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle that no member of parliament should feel disenfranchised by a return to more traditional working next month. Rees-Mogg is due to update MPs on Wednesday on his intention to end the ‘hybrid’ practice of allowing any member to use Zoom calls and other technology to take part in question times, debates, select committees and even remote voting.
Big Tech was first to send workers home. Now it’s in no rush to bring them back.
Tech giants aren’t looking to politicians to set timetables to reopen their offices, telling most staff to work from home at least until next year.
Square announces permanent work-from-home policy
Square employees will be able to work from home even after the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders end, Jack Dorsey told workers. The indefinite extension of the company’s remote work policy echoes a similar announcement from Twitter last week. Dorsey is CEO of both companies.
A 4-step guide to thriving in the post-COVID-19 workplace
Even before COVID-19, many workers around the globe lacked key skills - including digital capabilities. Upskilling in preparation for the changes to come post-COVID-19 should be a critical part of response and recovery. There are four steps workers and businesses can take today to prepare for tomorrow: Accelerate the move to platform, transition to digital/virtual work, assess your skillset and expand it as needed, and plan for the future.
Workers who still have their jobs are happier but working harder: CNBC survey
In the latest Q2 CNBC|SurveyMonkey Workplace Happiness Survey, released Monday, 38% of Americans say they are happier with their job now than they were before the Covid-19 outbreak. The survey findings indicate a correlation between being able to work remotely and a higher employee sentiment. 19% of all workers say they would prefer to work from home forever, but the survey finds more than half of workers say it’s become harder to do their jobs, especially for those in managerial roles.
How coronavirus is forcing companies to rethink their culture
Fostering a sense of community at work has become more essential than ever before, as companies have shifted to remote work and are responding to the stresses and challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. “We can’t ignore how many people are suffering during this crisis. While we’re in this together, it leaves a little bit of trauma,” says Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade, an employee experience software company. “Transparency has to get better, and it's not just transparency of the numbers and the strategy, but transparency about our humanness.”
Amex CEO says most employees will work remotely for the year
American Express Co. Chief Executive Steve Squeri said a majority of the company’s employees will work remotely through the end of this year as it seeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While the New York-based credit card issuer wants to be prepared to have half of normal staffing at most locations by the end of the year, Squeri doesn’t expect it “to get anywhere near the 50% mark by the end of 2020,” he told employees in a video message Monday. “We’ll be limiting the number of people in elevators and scheduling times for arrivals and departures,” Squeri said in the video. “And facial coverings will be required when you’re entering and moving about the building.”
How To Avoid Burnout In The Age Of Remote Work
LinkedIn Career Expert Blair Heitmann offered some advice via email, on how employees can reconcile the demands of this new reality and minimize the chances of burnout.
Remote working set to stay post coronavirus pandemic
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. Major 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.
Virtual Classrooms
Covid-19 is changing education for the better
During lockdown, many of the 48 university technical colleges that I helped establish and work with have provided teaching programmes from 9am to 5pm. Pupil attendance varies from 50 per cent to 95 per cent. Most students have access to the latest laptops. But some disadvantaged students do not — or only via a shared family laptop. The UK government now sees the advantage of online teaching because it is making laptops available to those students. Our students like these virtual lessons. They eliminate long journeys to school — some of the students travel three hours a day. They allow an outstanding physics teacher — something of a rarity — to reach not only his or her own students, but those in schools that do not have a physics teacher at all. In future, virtual classes could allow students to attend school in person for, say, four days, with online lessons on the fifth.
France to help Indian students begin classes for 2020 academic year through virtual classrooms
France said on Monday it is exploring novel ways to maintain cooperation with India amid the Covid-19 crisis, especially in education, and has augmented the proportion of scholarships for this academic year by 50% or Rs 10 crore. The efforts are focused on maintaining people-to-people exchanges despite lockdowns and suspension of events. France also intends to turn the Covid-19 crisis into opportunities to boost partnerships in education, research and culture. France is fully geared to enable the start of the academic year for new students through virtual classrooms, if necessary. Authorities are hoping students will be able to join their classes in France in autumn, if not in September.
How music education is using tech to thrive during coronavirus lockdown
With the shutdown of schools, colleges, and universities, educators are turning to existing and innovative new technologies that keep students learning and mentally healthy – this is how you can do it too.
Public Policies
UK pledges £131m for a “rapid deployment facility” to make coronavirus vaccines
The UK is investing in a “rapid deployment facility” that should be ready to start making coronavirus vaccines this summer, according to the government. The £38m ($46m) “virtual” plant is a predecessor to the national Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) in Harwell, Oxford, which was due to open in 2022 but has been brought forward a year in response to the coronavirus pandemic thanks to another £93m in government funding. The intention is to be able to make millions of doses of vaccine at scale, enough to serve the entire population in as little as six months once the VMIC is fully operational, said business secretary Alok Sharma during the government’s daily press briefing yesterday.
Ireland cautiously begins to lift virus lockdown
Ireland took the first tentative steps to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions Monday, with outdoor workers returning to their jobs, some shops reopening and sports facilities unlocking their doors.
Coronavirus: Over 70s who are fit and healthy can go out if they observe social distancing and hand hygiene, says First Minister
First Minister Arlene Foster has said that people over 70 who are fit and healthy are free to leave their homes if they observe social distancing and hand hygiene.
Coronavirus: Scotland aims to ease lockdown on 28 May
Coronavirus lockdown measures in Scotland could begin to be lifted from 28 May, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The first minister said this would mean people could meet someone from another household as long as social distancing is maintained. More outdoor activities and sports like golf and fishing will also be allowed. Ms Sturgeon also announced that coronavirus testing will be extended to everyone in Scotland over the age of five who is displaying symptoms.
China supports review of global response to pandemic, as calls for inquiry grow
China's President Xi Jinping has said his country will support a review of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic after it is brought under control. Speaking via video-conference at the start of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly, Mr Xi also said his country would provide £1.6 billion over two years to help with the response to the pandemic. His comments come amid calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic - led by Australia - while in the US President Donald Trump has accused the WHO of helping China to "cover up" the extent of the initial Covid-19 outbreak.
108 Million People in China Put Into Lockdown After 34 New Coronavirus Cases Detected
The Chinese province of Jilin has placed about 108 million people into lockdown on Monday after roughly 34 new cases of coronavirus and one death were identified in the region over the past few weeks, according to a new report from Bloomberg News. The new lockdown demonstrates widespread fear in China of witnessing another uncontrollable outbreak like the one in Wuhan that set off the global covid-19 pandemic in December 2019.
Maintaining Services
What universities can learn about citizenship in the COVID-19 pandemic
Mere job-related skills will mean very little from now on if they are not rooted in applicable social beliefs and personal strengths. The current “university campuses lockout” will probably alter students’ expectations and choices of study and work. Physicians, nurses and all key workers are displaying unimaginable levels of courage, solidarity, generosity, camaraderie, tenacity and resilience,
Churches, beaches and restaurants in Italy open their doors as tough lockdown rules eased
The cornerstones of Italian life have opened their doors after three months of lockdown as the government's tough restrictions were cautiously lifted. Restaurants, bars, shops, church, museums, hairdressers and beaches reopened on Monday as life outside the home slowly returned to an altered normal in one of Europe’s hardest hit countries. Some churches welcomed worshippers to Mass as the second phase of the lockdown allowed the faithful to attend religious ceremonies.
Restaurants, bars and churches reopen in Italy with Saint Peter's Basilica even taking visitors again
“I share the joy of those communities who can finally reunite as liturgical assemblies, a sign of hope for all society,” Pope Francis said yesterday during his live-streamed prayer. The Argentine pontiff is not yet expected to lead any public religious ceremonies in the basilica, which can accommodate 60,000 people, or in Saint Peter’s Square, as the Vatican seeks to avoid crowds. The Vatican, an independent enclave in the heart of Rome, has applied the same anti-virus measures as Italy, which imposed strict lockdowns after a dizzying rise in Covid-19 deaths and infections that overwhelmed hospitals. Businesses including restaurants, bars, cafes, hairdressers, and stores will also be allowed to re-open on Monday. Gyms, pools, cinemas and theatres are allowed to open on 25 May.
Chaos as eight schools in French city forced to close after child catches coronavirus
The schools in Roubaix, northern France, closed on Monday after a child caught Covid-19, just one week after schools reopened across the country, with 70 cases confirmed at other schools
Joy, tears and nerves as students return to class around New Zealand
Students across New Zealand have flocked to classes for the first time in nearly two months. In a day filled with hugs, tears, excitement and trepidation, schools reopened on Monday as part of the move to lockdown level 2. While classrooms have been open to younger children if needed since level 3, attendance levels have been low, with the vast majority opting to keep learning from home.
Lockdown might be easing, but we can't relax our grip on domestic abuse
Police forces must continue to prioritise their response to domestic abuse - especially after the lockdown
New Zealand braces for spike in child abuse reports as Covid-19 lockdown eases
The prolonged nature of lockdown and the added stress of job losses among already strained families was creating “a perfect storm”, Moss said, and rises in family violence overseas are likely to hold true in New Zealand too, though no local research has been conducted yet. “Lockdown is a lot longer than the school holidays so we are right to be concerned that there is hidden, invisible harm occurring to children,” Moss said. “I have a serious level of worry about kids that we don’t know about and kids that have never been reported to us and were locked down in situations where there is family violence, troubling dynamics in the house, maybe drugs and alcohol, or mental health problems.”
Healthcare Innovations
Moderna Covid-19 vaccine generates immune response, early data show
A candidate vaccine for Covid-19 developed by the drug maker Moderna appears to generate an immune response similar to the response seen in people who have been infected by the virus and recovered, the company said Monday. In a Phase 1 trial, eight patients who received two doses of the vaccine at the lowest and middle doses tested — 25 and 100 micrograms — developed neutralizing antibodies to the virus at levels similar to people who had recovered from infection, the company said in a statement.
Doubts over Oxford vaccine as it fails to stop coronavirus in animal trials
Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said the vaccine data suggests that the jab may not be able to prevent the spread of the virus between infected individuals. "That viral loads in the noses of vaccinated and unvaccinated animals were identical is very significant. If the same happened in humans, vaccination would not stop spread," he said. "I genuinely believe that this finding should warrant an urgent re-appraisal of the ongoing human trials of the ChAdOx1 vaccine." The trials investigating the immune response to the Oxford vaccine in rhesus macaque monkeys were carried out at the National Institute of Health's Rocky Mountain Laboratory in the US, with initial results published in a press release at the end of April.
Covid Patients Testing Positive After Recovery Aren’t Infectious
Findings are from a Korean study of 285 ‘re-positive’ patients and the virus samples collected from recovered patients weren’t viable for re-infection