"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 21st May 2020

Isolation Tips
Positive Parenting: Mental health hygiene during COVID-19 | Coronavirus Info Center
A new study shows there may be some simple ways to help your little ones practice good mental health hygiene. Scientists looked at 300 fifth through eighth grade students. They found those who participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program reported improved psychological functioning and less stress and anxiety compared to those who took a health education course. The mindfulness program taught the children breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, mindfulness while eating, and more.
A U.S. Expat in China Weighs the Decision of Where to Shelter in Place
Chris Tuazon, a copywriter from California who resides in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen with his wife, Laura, their two daughters, and his mother-in-law, faced a conundrum similar to that of Defoe’s bachelor. Seeing the increasing number of covid-19 cases as the country began to shelter in place, Tuazon stayed awake at night, wondering if he should take his whole family back to the U.S. In the video above, Tuazon offers a visual journal of the eighty-odd days his family spent in lockdown, including their deliberations over whether to stay in China or travel to the U.S.
Lockdown poetry parties 'bring families closer'
A poet who specialises in health and wellbeing said poetry could help people feel "less alone" during the pandemic. Beth Calverley, from Bristol, created The Poetry Machine in 2015 to help people "put their feelings into words". During lockdown, she has worked online and with families and the hospital where she is also poet in residence. Bristol Royal Infirmary said her specially written poems "embodied everything we as staff are feeling for our patients and their loved ones". After almost all her pre-existing work until next year had been cancelled or postponed, Ms Calverley said the months ahead looked "very uncertain".
Hygiene Helpers
Washing your hands six to 10 times a day could lower coronavirus risk
Hand-washing six to 10 times a day is linked to a lower risk of seasonal coronavirus, supporting public health guidance around measures for the COVID-19 outbreak, research suggests. Regular hand-washing can reduce personal risk of getting an infection, a study, which has not been peer-reviewed, indicates. Moderate-frequency hand-washing was associated with a 36 per cent reduction in the risk of coronavirus infection compared to those who washed their hands zero to five times per day. There were no additional benefits to hand-washing more than 10 times a day, the researchers say.
In a post-lockdown world, can special disinfectants keep workplaces and public spaces safe?
As countries lift restrictions, facilities managers must not drop their guard in the pandemic fight. Can a long-lasting disinfectant spray make their task easier?
Japanese pub aims to clean up with disinfectant spray machine
The pub in Tokyo’s normally bustling Shinjuku district has installed a machine that sprays customers with hypochlorous acid water as they enter. Customers are first greeted by a hostess on a monitor, of course, who instructs them to disinfect their hands and check their temperature with a thermometer provided.
Touchscreens and Growing Hygiene Concerns
Touchscreens are increasingly becoming a huge part of our daily lives in the modern age, with many public services such as banks and public transport using them as a key part of their operations. The advantages of touchscreens in public spaces are clear: They help us save time by performing tasks more efficiently and are highly flexible in their application. With touchscreens being such an important part of our lives, the question becomes: How can we ensure touchscreens are safe for use during this time and moving forward into the future?
Hotel discounts are passé! ‘Sanitised Stays’, COVID-19 war room and Corona concierge are OYO’s new offerings
The hotel chain is taking several measures and initiatives to minimise the impact as well as innovate to meet the new standards of good quality travel and hospitality experience and operate around circumstances that we now call the ‘new normal’. These include customer, asset partners and employee-centric initiatives to identify challenges and operate in the post-lockdown hospitality sector. In the first phase, it plans to implement these measures in 1000 hotels within the next 10 days and as the lockdown relaxes, aims to implement the measures in all 18,000 hotels in the country.
Community Activities
Coronavirus: Film and photo project focuses on front-line NHS staff
Doctors, paramedics, nurses, psychologists, virologists and support staff have contributed to the Hands Across the NHS project - photographing their hands and videoing they work amid the coronavirus pandemic. Film-makers Jonathan Beamish, Angelique Arnold and Victoria Bolstridge worked remotely on the fundraiser for NHS Charities Together. Here is a selection of photos from the series, with comments from the contributors.
Quarantine crafting: DIY at home with kits and virtual classes from Phoenix arts studios
Arts organizations and businesses throughout metro Phoenix have closed their doors due to the new coronavirus pandemic, but they're finding ways to bring art to the homes of creators who can no longer meet in person. And with resources like virtual art classes and take-home crafting kits, there are many ways to improve your DIY abilities from the safety of your own home. From kiln-fired pottery to intricately woven wall hangings to glitter-filled slime kits, there's a crafting activity for every age and creative interest during quarantine.
France’s cinema bosses fear drive-in screenings that avoid lockdown laws are taking away their business
French cinema owners are furious as a novelty drive-in film festival is managing to steer clear of the country’s lockdown rules while they are forced to remain closed. The travelling drive-in film festival which began in Bordeaux this weekend, and which is set to cross the country showing a mixture of arthouse films and French hits. The Federation Nationale des Cinemas Francais said that the festival and other outdoor projections were leading audiences away when “local and national authorities should be concentrating on battling to reopen cinemas”.
People in England flock to beaches following easing of lockdown restrictions as UK enjoys hottest day of the year
People in England made the most of their new found freedom and flocked to beaches and parks as the UK looked set to enjoy the hottest day of the year so far. Parts of the UK were set to see temperatures of 28C (82.4F) on Wednesday, looking to beat the 2020 record set on Tuesday at London’s St James’s Park when the mercury hit a high of 26.2C (79.16F). Lockdown restrictions were eased in England on Sunday 10 May allowing people to sunbathe, picnic and drive to beauty spots to enjoy "unlimited exercise". Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland remain under stricter restrictions.
Relaxed lockdown could hurt rough sleepers
There are concerns thousands of rough sleepers currently housed in hotels and motels will be back on the street once coronavirus restrictions ease. State and territory governments have paid hotels to accommodate homeless people to help them self-isolate. Advocates say the federal government needs to pump money into social housing construction to help people keep a roof over their head. Agreements between hotels and governments end in June and July, according to a representative body for the accommodation industry. Everybody's Home spokeswoman Kate Colvin says there are an estimated 4000 rough sleepers currently staying in hotels and motels across Australia.
From Gelaterias to Beach Resorts, This Is How Italy Is Getting Ready to Reopen After Coronavirus Lockdown
This week, two months after that lockdown was imposed, Italian shops, restaurants and other public areas will open their doors as the country hopes to bounce back. I spoke to the people I was supposed to meet during my trip back home, to try to understand how my country is preparing for this new, unknown, second phase.
Working Remotely
Let the coronavirus break up the ‘Super Zips’
Twitter’s recent announcement that its employees have the option of working remotely even after the lockdown ends is a beautifully hopeful sign. If it heralds the beginning of a trend, perhaps it will allow us to begin resettling those parts of the United States that have been cut off from the past few decades of economic growth — one of the ugliest wounds on our socioeconomic landscape.
How remote work can be a win-win for employers and employees
Recent research suggests that the amount of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010. What’s more, 42% of employees with a remote work option plan to work remotely more often in the next five years. Today, nearly everything can be done effectively over the internet with the help of modern digital tools and tech, so it’s a small wonder that remote work is rising at such a rapid rate. And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies big and small have been forced to embrace remote work all of a sudden, so you can even take inspiration from some of the largest remote working companies on the planet on how to implement a company-wide remote work environment.
Surge in requests to continue working from home after coronavirus crisis ends, study shows
There will be a surge in requests from employees for permanent flexible working arrangements after coronavirus restrictions are lifted completely, research shows. A new survey of 2,000 adults indicated that many people will want to continue working from home when the crisis ends. More than two in five people are set to ask their employer for permanent flexible working arrangements after coronavirus restrictions are lifted completely, insurer Direct Line said.
How do you think New Zealand should change after Covid-19?
Jacinda Ardern has suggested employers consider flexible working options as the nation emerges from the pandemic lockdown. Are there any other things you think should change?
Coinbase Will Allow Employees to Work Remotely After Lockdown
U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase has announced it will transition to a “remote-first” workplace after the pandemic lockdown is over in an effort to guard against location-centric risks and to improve decentralization. In an open letter to all employees, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said........
Coronavirus: ‘Millions’ in Britain want permanent flexible working after lockdown, survey suggests
Research has previously suggested that employees logging on remotely take less time off and are more productive
Surge in requests to continue working from home after crisis ends
A survey of 2,000 adults by Direct Line indicated that many people will want to continue working from home when the crisis ends. Working from home two days a week is the most popular option, but one in 12 people are planning to ask their employer if they can work from home permanently,
Virtual Classrooms
When room moves to home, class comes into the classroom
In this tale of three snapshots, is a telling story of how the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown is playing out in schools, private to public, metros to Tier II cities, and far-flung rural districts.
Coronavirus: Plan for 'new normal' for post-16 learning
Students and apprentices may have to continue attending virtual classes online for "some time", the Welsh Government has said. Students and apprentices have not had face-to-face teaching since the start of the coronavirus restrictions. Now the Welsh Government has published a plan in a bid to get post-16 learners back to class. While the plan has no dates, it states that there will need to be a "new normal for some time". The three-point "resilience plan" sets out a phased return for over-16s to apprenticeships, colleges and universities.
The coronavirus pandemic is creating 2 major problems in education, but there aren’t as many downsides as upsides
The coronavirus pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on Gen Z and the educational landscape, a veteran ed-tech CEO told Business Insider. The positives: Education will see more tutoring, a “flipped classroom,” and more adaptive learning opportunities in the future. The negatives: The pandemic is exaggerating the socioeconomic divide and putting all students at risk of learning loss.
Chickens hatch for online audience: MSU Extension offers virtual learning opportunities
Michigan State University Extension has been offering a variety of online programmingamid the coronavirus pandemic as part of continuing its educational mission. Warchuck, 4-H program coordinator for MSU Extension St. Clair County, purchased both fertilized and store-bought chicken eggs, comparing their internal characteristics by holding up a candle to the eggs. Each week, a lesson would be given via Facebook Live showing the stages of an egg's development. It's the same program traditionally done in school classrooms. "We candle the eggs, and the kids were actually able to see the embryo inside there," Warchuck said.
Online schooling to last through summer for 1 in 6 NYC kids
Online schooling will continue through the summer for some 177,700 New York City public school students, officials announced Tuesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, said he wants to create a city without racial and economic disparities like those uncovered by new data on the impacts of the coronavirus in the city.
Public Policies
UK government scientists looking at how to ease coronavirus lockdown faster for remote areas
The government’s top scientists are looking at ways of lifting the lockdown at a faster rate in remote parts of the UK that have very few or no coronavirus cases. The chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence Dame Angela Maclean today said location “was a huge focus” for government scientists when looking at lockdown restrictions and that the UK’s islands were “particularly interesting”.
Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19
Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions WHO has defined four transmission scenarios for COVID-19: 1. Countries with no cases (No cases); 2. Countries with 1 or more cases, imported or locally detected (Sporadic cases); 3. Countries experiencing cases clusters in time, geographic location and/or common exposure (Clusters of cases); 4. Countries experiencing larger outbreaks of local transmission (Community transmission).......This document describes the preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19 for each transmission scenario.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden suggests shorter working week post-lockdown
From moving to a four-day week to creating public holidays, Arden came up with various suggestions to boost the economy of the country. While speaking to international media reporters, Arden said that this is an ‘extraordinary time’ and the citizens should be willing to consider extraordinary ideas. Although, she further also added that she hasn’t ruled out any in or out as of yet.
Coronavirus lockdown: Why can some of us meet six people?
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own powers when it comes to easing the lockdown. In Northern Ireland, groups of up to six people who do not share a household can now meet outdoors, with social-distancing measures in place. But in England, the guidance is to meet only one other person outside your household outdoors. The different policies are down to a number of factors, including geography, science and politics, experts say. And as we "tiptoe out of lockdown", the lines between science and policy are likely to become ever more blurred.
France prepares for first bank holiday rush since lockdown lifted
Traffic will also be heavier due to the easing of restrictions on trucks weighing over 7.5 tonnes which will now be able to move around on Thursday and Sunday. However, Bison Futé says it will not be as busy as it normally would have been due to the measures in place to curb the coronavirus, such as the ongoing closure of restaurants, bars, pools and most sports venues. Some small museums and historical sites have been given the green light to re-open, and are expecting an influx of people over the long weekend. In a statement published on Tuesday, the Ecology and Solidarity ministry reminded citizens that they must "respect the limit of 100 kilometres from one's home and continue to respect the hygiene measures in place", such as social distancing, and hygiene measures.
Coronavirus: England schools plan falling apart, says Welsh FM
"Look how the first of June timetable for opening schools in England is falling apart in the hands of the government of England, how Downing Street last night had to say that the first of June was an aspiration, not a deadline, not a timescale after all. "I'm not sure that timescales are an answer to everything." Earlier Education Minister Kirsty Williams said she would not set an "arbitrary date" for when children could return to school in Wales. "I have been as clear as I can be that at this stage we need more evidence about the progression of the pandemic and the disease," she told the daily Welsh Government press conference. "We need more confidence around some of that evidence and to build confidence amongst key stakeholders."
Test, trace, isolate is Scotland's only safe way out of lockdown
At long last a new contact tracing methodology is being piloted across three Scottish health boards. With 600 new trained workers in place, the exercise will test out software to collect data on a large scale, to build on existing contact tracing technology as part of a wider roll-out to extend testing, tracing and isolating measures along with support by the end of May. Only with this working effectively will Scotland safely and gradually be able to move out of lockdown.
Lockdown Should Only Be Eased With Tracing System In Place, Says Government's Scientific Adviser
Asked whether it is too early to conclude, as ministers have, that the science says it is safe to return to schools on June 1, Dame Angela McLean told the Downing Street daily briefing: “Scientists have been very clear in our advice that changes to lockdown as we modelled them need a highly effective ‘track, trace and isolate’ system to be in place. “And we’re also very clear that any change to the social distancing measures should be based upon observed levels of incidence in places that those are going to be changed, not on a fixed date.”
Job losses stabilise and stock market bounces back as Australia comes out of lockdown
The worst may be over for coronavirus job losses with fewer people losing work even before COVID-19 lockdowns were eased. In the seven weeks to May 2, total payroll employment fell by 7.3 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed on Wednesday. While the decline was steep, it was less severe than the 7.5 per cent drop in the five weeks between March 14 and April 18. The ABS's head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said the rate of decline in the labour market was moderating, even though 1.3million Australians are either officially unemployed or have given up trying to find a job.
Parents in Germany receive 20 weeks' pay for loss of work while looking after children in lockdown
Parents in Germany will receive up to 20 weeks of wages if they have been unable to work while looking after children during the covid-19 pandemic. Under government proposals, single parents could be eligible for 20 weeks pay while cohabiting parents can apply for up to ten weeks of wages as a 'secondary salary payment', with an upper limit of €2,016 (£1,800) per month. A secondary salary payment would cover 67 per cent of cohabiting parents' post-tax salary if they have been unable to work while proving child care.
When is the next UK lockdown review? Date the government will review the coronavirus rules - and what to expect
Lockdown measures are now slowly starting to ease across the UK, with the Prime Minister announcing the first few changes to guidance in a national address on 10 May. Boris Johnson unveiled the government’s three-phase plan to bring the country out of lockdown, outlining a “road map for reopening society”. The changes announced in England included allowing unlimited amounts of exercise, sunbathing in local parks, outdoors picnics, driving to other destinations for day trips, and permitting one person from different households to meet in a public place, providing a two metre distance is maintained.
Maintaining Services
CCSA wants staggered school reopenings
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) is considering allowing schools in infection-free areas to reopen first in July. The proposal, made by the Senate committee on education, has been forwarded to the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha-led CCSA for a decision, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said on Wednesday. His ministry is conducting inspections to determine whether schools can reopen.
Lockdown Over, Italians Line Up To Get A Haircut
To help sustain hairdressers’ business and give them the opportunity to serve more clients in the same day, salons are now allowed to stay open for longer times (between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.) for seven days a week. Employees are going to have to wear protective masks and gloves at all times, and in waiting rooms a distance of two meters between people is going to have to be ensured. Entrance will be forbidden if the person has a temperature higher than 37.5°C or if they show respiratory symptoms.
The measures restaurants need to survive the UK lockdown and reopen, according to the industry
Two months into lockdown and the hospitality sector is still none the wiser on quite how it will emerge when the Government finally allows businesses to open. The industry was told this month that some restaurants, cafes and pubs will be allowed to open on 4 July, though much remains unclear as to how owners will do so safely, adhering to social distancing guidelines.
College in the Fall of 2020: Fever Checks and Quarantine Dorms
We listened as University of Kentucky administrators discussed bringing students back to campus, providing a glimpse into what other schools might do in the fall.
South Korean high school seniors return to school
Hundreds of thousands of high school seniors across South Korea entered their schools after having their temperatures checked and rubbing their hands with sanitizer — familiar measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. Students and teachers are required to wear masks, and some schools have installed plastic partitions at each student's desk, according to the Education Ministry. Only high school seniors returned on Wednesday. Younger students are scheduled to return to school in phased steps by June 8.
Coronavirus: Air New Zealand prepares to reopen koru lounges but buffets will be off the menu
Air New Zealand is preparing to reopen its domestic koru lounges but new hospitality rules designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will make it a different experience for travellers. The airline will begin reopening domestic and regional lounges from Monday but its international lounges in New Zealand and overseas will stay closed until further notice. Chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said Auckland and Wellington would be the first domestic lounges to open
Nations struggle to define 'new normal' as lockdown restrictions ease
Schools, public transport, bars and restaurants are shaping up as the front lines as nations move out of lockdown but retain social distancing. How each of those key sectors manages social distancing and reduces expected new outbreaks will determine the shape of daily life for millions as researchers race to develop a vaccine that is still likely months, if not years, away from being available to all. What a return to normal looks like varies widely.
Europe learning the dangers of going back to school after coronavirus
Europe has two problems when it comes to reopening schools. First, there's weighing the risks of opening the gates again against the potential damage done by keeping them closed, whether to economic recovery or mental health. Even more challenging may be convincing anxious parents that now is the time to send their children back to school.
Airport dogs could sniff out coronavirus
Trials are taking place in the UK to see whether specially trained airport sniffer dogs could detect Covid-19 in travelers, even before symptoms appear. Sniffer dogs are already a common sight in airports -- usually, they're looking out for drugs, weapons or other contraband. But specially trained dogs have also been trained to detect infections and diseases, including cancer, malaria and Parkinson's disease. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with charity Medical Detection Dogs and the UK's Durham University, say respiratory diseases change body odor, and they reckon trained dogs will be able to pick up this shift on Covid sufferers.
Healthcare Innovations
Monkeys infected with COVID-19 develop immunity in studies, a positive sign for vaccines
Two studies in monkeys published on Wednesday offer some of the first scientific evidence that surviving COVID-19 may result in immunity from reinfection, a positive sign that vaccines under development may succeed, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.
SARS-CoV-2 infection protects against rechallenge in rhesus macaques
An understanding of protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is critical for vaccine and public health strategies aimed at ending the global COVID-19 pandemic. A key unanswered question is whether infection with SARS-CoV-2 results in protective immunity against re-exposure. We developed a rhesus macaque model of SARS-CoV-2 infection and observed that macaques had high viral loads in the upper and lower respiratory tract, humoral and cellular immune responses, and pathologic evidence of viral pneumonia. Following initial viral clearance, animals were rechallenged with SARS-CoV-2 and showed 5 log10 reductions in median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal mucosa compared with primary infection. Anamnestic immune responses following rechallenge suggested that protection was mediated by immunologic control. These data show that SARS-CoV-2 infection induced protective immunity against re-exposure in nonhuman primates.
Two new studies suggest COVID-19 antibodies provide immunity | TheHill
A pair of peer-reviewed lab studies conducted by research teams at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston suggest that antibodies created in response to COVID-19 provide immunity from the disease. The studies suggesting one can't become reinfected with the coronavirus were both published in the journal Science on Wednesday. In one of the studies, nine rhesus macaque monkeys, which share 93 percent of the same DNA as humans, were injected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus quickly spread and all of the animals developed viral pneumonia, though all of them recovered within 28 days.
Coronavirus: Hydroxychloroquine trial begins in the UK
A trial to see whether two anti-malarial drugs could prevent Covid-19 has begun in Brighton and Oxford. Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine or a placebo will be given to more than 40,000 healthcare workers from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. All the participants are staff who are in contact with Covid-19 patients.