"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 22nd May 2020

Isolation Tips
Student nurse sets up social media support group to tackle COVID-19 isolation
There is an increase in stress and anxiety due to people being at home on their own. A final-year student at the University of Huddersfield has developed an online resource designed to help people connect during the COVID-19 lockdown. Sophie Rane is in the closing stages of her Mental Health Nursing BSc degree at the University, and is already working in an acute mental health ward, caring for patients with a wide of range of conditions, including schizophrenia, psychosis, acute depression and personality disorders.
Is your hair falling out during the pandemic? Doctors say you’re not alone
Pandemic-related stress can start to show itself in the body as hair loss, with many patients “who have been in lockdown, social distancing and dealing with job uncertainty,” said Hogan, who works at the UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. “I definitely think this is a thing we might see more of in the coming months because it is a delayed process,” Hogan said, “and it’ll be interesting to see if we still see this through summer,” because hair grows more during the season. The majority of patients Hogan sees — mostly via telehealth due to the pandemic — are showing telogen effluvium: a condition where the amount of follicles growing hair drops during a “resting phase,” resulting in shedding or hair loss, according to WebMD.
Hygiene Helpers
Coronavirus: Mayor urges London shops to stock reusable face masks
London's mayor has written to all major supermarkets calling on them to stock face coverings to help protect people using the capital's public transport. In his letter, Sadiq Khan asked that masks should be reusable, non-medical and at a price which was "accessible to all". The government has advised coverings should be worn in an enclosed space when social distancing is not possible. Mr Khan said face masks would be "essential" as the lockdown was lifted.
Is this the future of clothes shopping in the UK?
The government will issue new advice about which stores will be able to open their doors to customers again. Australians are having to adapt to new changes at shopping centres amid reduction in COVID-19 restrictions. Temperature checks are a must at makeup giants Sephora and Mecca and anyone with a fever can not enter. Hand sanitiser is readily available and social distancing measures are compulsory - resulting in long queues. Apple is also carrying out fever checks as well as handing out compulsory masks which shoppers must wear
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. They then step into a machine that looks like an airport security scanner, or a car-wash for humans, to get sprayed with a fine mist of the chlorine-based disinfectant for 30 seconds. Customers then pick up a map that guides them to their seat where they order with smartphones. Throughout the process they have not come into contact with a single person.
Community Activities
Italians let their hair down as coronavirus restrictions eased
After months in lockdown, as Italy opens up, there are queues for fresh haircuts. But can the country bounce back?
Las Vegas wedding chapels bring in temperature checks, embroidered face masks and zoom congregations
Clark County clerk's office reopened on April 27 after Nevada went on lockdown. Since then, more than 1,500 couples from across country have gotten hitched. Drive-thru weddings have seen explosion in popularity during pandemic era. The 15-minute ceremony allows newlyweds to quickly tie the knot
Coronavirus France: Sunbathers lie in social distancing zones
Sunbathers in La Grande Motte can book out spots cordoned off on the beach. Visitors can swim in the sea and sunbathe in their roped-off zone for three hours. Officials warn that beaches will be closed again if people do not observe rules
Tower of London lies empty amid coronavirus with famous beefeaters cut off in isolation
Now because of coronavirus the Tower of London lies practically empty, it’s fallen quiet and the drawbridge has quite literally been pulled up. Fox News was given a rare look inside. The only people living there now, cut off in isolation, are the 37 famous beefeaters, historically the British monarch's personal bodyguards who live inside the walled fortress, with their families, and who are there to protect the crown jewels.
Coronavirus: Canadian violinists unite in isolation to perform virtual tribute
Young Canadian violinists have combined their musical talents by creating a video to unite Canadians across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organized by Sébastien Tsai of Montreal, the video showcases the talents of 40 violinists across Canada. In late March, Tsai, a student at the Montreal Music Conservatory, saw the grim situation across the country and decided to use his musical talents for good. He knew just one violin wouldn’t do, so he called his cousin in British Columbia.
Gogglebox stars auction self-portraits to raise funds for NHS nurses
Gogglebox regulars Lee Riley and Jenny Newby are among the stars from hit show who will be auctioning off a self portrait of them on their sofas to help raise funds for NHS nurses. In recent weeks, the stars have been busy getting creative and making self-portraits to be auctioned off for Cavell Nurses’ Trust - which is raising funds for nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Working Remotely
Facebook embraces remote working beyond COVID-19, but may cut pay
Facebook plans to hire more remote workers in areas where the company doesn't have an office, and let some current employees work from home permanently if they'd like to. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company plans to "aggressively open up remote hiring" starting immediately with the US, particularly for engineering talent. Based on internal employee surveys, he believes remote workers could make up as much as 50 per cent of Facebook's workforce in the next five to 10 years.
For Many, Remote Work Is Becoming Permanent in Wake of Coronavirus
Before the coronavirus hit, marketing and advertising mogul Martin Sorrell thought that the leased office spaces and WeWork footprint at his London-based media company S4 Capital PLC were necessary. But he reassessed that about a month into the wide-ranging lockdowns that have thrust everyday business online. ”We are breaking our leases and thinking about having people spend more time at home,” he said. More than 80% of enterprise-technology providers said corporate customers last month were shopping for communications, collaboration and other remote-work tools, up from 76% in March, according to a survey of more than 200 U.S. tech firms by IT industry trade group CompTIA.
Coronavirus: Flexible working will be a new normal after virus
Facebook and New Zealand's Prime Minister are the latest supporters of flexible working as companies mull back-to-office strategies. On Thursday, Facebook said it plans to shift towards a more remote workforce as a long-term trend. New Zealand's PM Jacinda Ardern this week suggested a four-day working week, partly to boost tourism in the country. As offices gradually re-open after coronavirus lockdown, more employers are looking at news ways of working.
Coronavirus will change office work for the foreseeable future
Of the 34 percent of workers who are estimated to be working from home, many will not go back. A survey of senior finance leaders by research firm Gartner found that 74 percent of organizations plan to shift some employees to remote work permanently. Consulting company Global Workplace Analytics estimates that when the pandemic is over, 30 percent of the entire workforce will work from home at least a couple times a week. Before the pandemic, that number was in the low single digits.
Most Shopify employees won’t return to office after coronavirus pandemic, CEO says
Employees at Shopify will continue to work from home even after the novel coronavirus pandemic ends, the booming Canadian tech giant announced Thursday. The e-commerce platform developer, headquartered in Ottawa with more than 5,000 employees in Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, Vancouver and around the world, will keep its offices closed until the end of 2021 to prepare for the company’s permanent work-for-home reality, CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted Thursday morning.
Facebook teases a vision of remote work using augmented and virtual reality
Facebook has long believed in the promise of virtual and augmented reality extending well beyond entertainment, and we’re now getting a clearer glimpse at what that future might look like now that the current pandemic is reshaping how companies everywhere think about remote work. According to Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Facebook’s head of of AR and VR, the company is already investing in “supercharging remote work and productivity” using those technologies. He even shared a video of what that might look like, featuring real footage of an experimental test using prototype Facebook hardware and software.
Virtual Classrooms
Coronavirus: The pupils who had a head start on virtual learning
When Scottish schools reopen in August, it is expected that most pupils will spend half their time learning at home. The Scottish government has promised a major investment in laptops and tablets to ensure that can happen. However, in the Borders every secondary school pupil has already been given an iPad through the council's £16m Inspire Learning scheme. Could this be the shape of things to come for the rest of the country? Lucy Robbie says she feels fortunate to have the technology which enabled her to keep up with her schoolwork during the lockdown. "They definitely helped us - not everyone has a computer at home," said the S2 pupil at Selkirk High School.
UNC students attend virtual reality classes as part of remote learning
Some University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill students have gotten the unique chance to attend class in a virtual reality environment while taking classes from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. The class was taught by Steven King, an associate professor at the UNC School of Media and Journalism. "They put on the headset each week for class and they're transported into the VR classroom" King told ABC News.
Lockdown lessons: When room moves to home, class comes into the classroom
An Express Series Part I: 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.
Chandigarh to launch virtual classroom for students, IT professionals
An initiative taken in sync with the Central Government policy for promoting online classes in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the Society for Promotion of IT in Chandigarh (SPIC) under the aegis of the Department of Information Technology, UT, is launching its virtual classroom to fill the gap created by suspended conventional classroom learning due to ongoing nationwide lockdown.
Public Policies
Primary schools reopening: your coronavirus questions answered
With schools across the world starting to open their doors, we asked a panel of headteachers some of the important questions
Sturgeon: Employers should consider four-day working week
Employers should look into “embracing” a four-day working week as part of changes to the economy as the country eases out of lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon has said. The First Minister was responding to a question from Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard in the Scottish Parliament on how the economy could look after the coronavirus crisis. He called for “a new industrial strategy, a new plan for the economy and a new plan for jobs” to deal with rising unemployment. Sturgeon said it is important not to slip into “old and bad ways of doing things” as the economy recovers, adding parents will have a “difficult balancing act” with childcare for some time.
NHS fees to be scrapped for overseas health staff and care workers
NHS staff and care workers from overseas will no longer have to pay an extra charge towards the health service after mounting pressure from MPs. Boris Johnson's spokesman said the PM had asked the Home Office and Department for Health to exempt NHS and care workers "as soon as possible". Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was "a victory for common decency". The health immigration surcharge on non-EU migrants is £400 per year and set to rise to £624 in October. The move to grant the exemption came after the PM's spokesman defended the fee earlier on Thursday
Coronavirus: Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore have had no Covid deaths in care homes - so what can they teach us?
It is hard to fathom, given what we know now, that as recently as March care home operators were being told that they were “very unlikely” to experience an outbreak of Covid. The Public Health England guidance, first issued on February 25 and adopted UK-wide, twice states that people receiving care in the community or in residential homes were “very unlikely” to become infected. The document was finally withdrawn on March 13 –coincidentally the same date that Scotland’s first Covid patient died – though the majority of care home providers in Scotland had already closed their doors to visitors two days earlier as the scale of the potential threat became clear.
Cyprus ends virus lockdown but airports stay shut
The Cypriot government ended a strict coronavirus lockdown Thursday, reopening outdoor restaurants, barber shops and beaches, but keeping the Mediterranean resort island's vital airports and hotels closed for now. After two months of living in self-isolation, Cypriots are allowed to move around freely again. Some 32,000 more people went back to work as part of the government's second stage out of lockdown.
In Spain, Valencia stands alone in not requesting looser lockdown
The Valencia region has become the first area of Spain to voluntarily slow down its coronavirus deescalation process. The eastern territory will wait one more week before requesting a transition to Phase 2 of the four-phase plan introduced by the central government to slow the spread of Covid-19. The decision comes after regional health authorities detected a slight spike in contagion figures. “We don’t have any outbreaks, but we want to wait out this week,” said the regional health chief, Ana Barceló. “We will remain in Phase 1 for another seven days.”
Spain's PM asks parliament for 2 more weeks of lockdown
Spain’s government extended the country’s state of emergency for two more weeks despite criticism from opposition parties. The country’s lockdown, which started on March 14, will now last at least until June 7. The government argued that at least one more two-week extension will be needed to complete a cautious return of centralized control over health policy to the governors of its 17 regions. The parliament on Wednesday approved the extension request by 177 votes to 161, with 11 abstentions. The main opposition conservative Popular Party and the far-right Vox party voted against an extension to the state of emergency, which gives the government the power to restrict constitutional rights such as free movement and assembly. “The path we are on is the only one that can possibly beat the virus. Thanks to all the parliament members who have supported the state of emergency because with their vote they have saved thousands of lives”, prime minister Pedro Sánchez told parliament.
Scotland lockdown route map explained: How each phase of the Scottish exit plan to lift coronavirus rules will work
The Scottish Government has published its route map for exiting the coronavirus lockdown, which will be done in four phases. Here is a summary of its main points.
The Road to Recovery: How Targeted Lockdowns for Seniors Can Help the U.S. Reopen
The choice between protecting lives and economic recovery is complex and difficult–not least because politicians and the public alike disagree on the trade-off between excess deaths from the pandemic and the economic damages. But our study shows, no matter what the priorities are, targeted policies bring both public-health and economic benefits.
Coronavirus: UK track and trace delayed as ministers don't know how they'll get people to isolate
Ministers are discussing whether to enforce isolation as part of the test, track and trace scheme amid concerns it will be difficult to get people to stay at home when lockdown measures are eased. Senior sources inside government have told Sky News there is an ongoing conversation about how to ensure people stick to the new measures. Ministers want to find a way to persuade rather than force the public to stay at home because of fears that heavy-handed measures would go down badly.
Scotland's lockdown to be eased from May 28 but Nicola Sturgeon says schools won't return until August
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled a “careful relaxation” of lockdown measures from Thursday, May 28. The gradual easing of restrictions will allow non-contact sports, such as golf and tennis, and meeting people from “one other household” outside and while social distancing will be permitted. But schools will not return until August 11 - with the start of a new school year. Garden centres and waste and recycling facilities will also be allowed to open as part of phase one of the route map.
Coronavirus: Priti Patel to announce 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals from June
Shortly after 5pm on Friday, Priti Patel will reveal details of the UK’s first mandatory quarantine order. The home secretary will use the No 10 daily briefing to confirm that from early June – possibly as early as the first of the month – travellers arriving in the UK by air, sea or rail must self-isolate at home for 14 days. Journeys within the Common Travel Area, covering the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, will be exempt.
South Korea shows what "world-beating" coronavirus tracing programme looks like
This story from South Korea shows just how far they have to go to get a system which is truly "world-beating". Having thought they had beaten coronavirus completely, officials detected a coronavirus outbreak centred on a nightclub in the Itaewon district in Seoul. Their contact tracing system kicked into gear and tracked down and tested a remarkable 65,000 people who had been to the clubs in the area or been in contact with those who had. Results came back the next day and 170 tested positive for Covid-19 and were put into quarantine. 89 of those had been to the clubs and bars in Itaewon, while the rest had caught the disease from these people.
Maintaining Services
UK's first coronavirus contact-tracing group warns of difficulties
They were surprised to find that most contacts of people with Covid-19 were workers from the NHS, care homes or care provider agencies – and that those people were not always happy to stop work and go into isolation for seven to 14 days. “The majority were in health and care settings. That’s the really big and worrying message here,” said Jones. The group set up its pilot project in Sheffield, using volunteers who called up people with Covid-19 referred to them by GPs. The volunteers offered support and asked for the names and numbers of anyone the patient had spent more than 15 minutes with in an enclosed space.
City workers to be encouraged to work remotely from the bush to be proposed to Scott Morrison
The plan will be proposed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison by the Nationals. It aims to incentivise Australians to ditch expensive city living for the bush. The plan is a bid to reboot the economy in regional areas following COVID-19. Some bosses can no longer afford to have all employees working at city offices
Compliance with UK lockdown rules has dropped to 60 per cent
More than half of young adults are no longer sticking strictly to the lockdown rules, according to a new survey. Researchers who questioned over 90,000 adults have found that “complete” compliance with Government safety measures, such as social distancing and staying at home, has dropped in the past two weeks from an average of 70% of people to under 60% who said they act this way. Less than 50% of younger adults are “completely” complying with lockdown rules, according to the University College London (UCL) study which looked at how adults are feeling about a range of issues during the pandemic. These include the lockdown, Government advice, their overall wellbeing and mental health.
Coronavirus conspiracy beliefs ‘reduce adherence to Covid-19 guidance’ – study
People who believe coronavirus conspiracies are less likely to comply with social-distancing guidelines or take up future vaccines, new research suggests. Almost three fifths (59%) of adults in England believe to some extent that the Government is misleading the public about the cause of the virus. More than a fifth (21%) believe the virus is a hoax, and 62% agree to some extent that the virus is man-made, scientists say
EasyJet to resume flights in UK, France and four other European airports
EasyJet is to resume flights on a small number of routes from 15 June, with increased on-board safety measures including mandatory wearing of face masks, as it returns to the skies after grounding its fleet on 30 March. The airline will restart domestic routes in the UK and France initially, along with flights from four destinations elsewhere in Europe, where it says there is sufficient customer demand to support profitable flying. Further routes will be added in the following weeks, as and when passenger demand rises and lockdown measures ease further across Europe.
Healthcare Innovations
In Delhi, more Covid-19 patients prefer home isolation to hospital
Taking the pressure off the 12 Covid-19 dedicated hospitals - both government and provate - more and more people who test positive are opting for isolation at home. Significantly, 2,358 coronavirus patients were in home isolation as against 1,722 in the hospitals
Coronavirus isolation ward to open at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in June 2020
The single-storey specialist isolation unit is being built next to an out-patients block at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) off Colney Lane. Chris Cobb, NNUH chief operating officer, said: “This highly-specialised unit will provide nine negative pressure beds to treat our very sick Covid-19 patients. Negative pressure beds are in rooms which prevent cross-contamination of any virus. We expect the first patients to be admitted next month.”
Mixed reality headsets are helping medics treat people infected with coronavirus. Hand gestures allow doctors using the Microsoft devices to look at x-rays, scans and test results, and communicate with colleagues in a different, virus-free room.
Mixed reality headsets are helping medics treat people infected with coronavirus. Hand gestures allow doctors using the Microsoft devices to look at x-rays, scans and test results, and communicate with colleagues in a different, virus-free room. The technology has cut down the demand for PPE.
U.S. to Invest $1.2 Billion to Secure Potential Coronavirus Vaccine From AstraZeneca, Oxford University
The U.S. government has agreed to hand AstraZeneca PLC up to $1.2 billion to secure the supply of a potential coronavirus vaccine that could be ready as early as October. Under the deal, the government will bankroll a 30,000-person vaccine trial in the U.S. starting in the summer, plus the ramp-up of manufacturing capacity to make at least 300 million doses. The first doses will be ready in the fall should the vaccine prove effective, it said. Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services secretary, called the deal a “major milestone” in the administration’s effort—code-named “Operation Warp Speed”—to make a safe, effective vaccine widely available to Americans by 2021.