"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 29th May 2020

Isolation Tips
Ten top tips to look after your mental health during coronavirus lockdown
"Looking after our mental health during the coronavirus outbreak is as important as looking after our physical health," says medic.
Government suggests Brits use holiday to cover self isolation due to coronavirus
People who are asked to self isolate at home under the new test and trace regime will be entitled to statutory sick pay if they can no longer work. But the official advice suggests that some people might prefer to use their holiday entitlement to cover the time at home
Mobile data shows which European countries took lockdown seriously
It then released aggregated data on time spent at each of the six location types for the past several months, compared to a baseline: the five-week period between January 3 and February 6 2020. To the extent that no special events happened during this time, the change from the baseline after this reflects people’s collective response to the pandemic and the lockdowns. Using the Google data, we then created the following graphs, comparing the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Greece between mid-February and early May. To get a smoother image, we calculated a seven-day moving average. Countries are also ranked and coloured in the graph legends according to their average reaction over the whole period (meaning a country’s colour can differ between graphs).
Dermatillomania in lockdown makes skin picking feel inescapable
While the causes behind dermatillomania, also known as excoriation disorder, are complex, an unexpected side effect of the coronavirus pandemic is that it has triggered and worsened skin picking, alongside a fresh fear over how the behaviour’s resulting open wounds and constant touching could put sufferers at increased risk of catching Covid-19. It’s hard enough not to react to warnings about touching your face by immediately touching your face – now imagine you have a compulsive disorder that can make it feel impossible to stop poking, scratching, and picking. Being confined to the home, no longer going out to a workplace or to see friends or family, allows the secretive habit of skin picking to thrive.
Hygiene Helpers
France Triples Emergency Budget For Cycling To Keep People Out Of Cars As Lockdown Eases
“In a few weeks, the [COVID-19] crisis has won more for cycling than years of bicycle campaigning,” French environment minister Elisabeth Borne told Paris Match on May 28 as she announced that France would be tripling the amount to be spent on getting more people on bicycles to avert urban gridlock in cities across France. At the end of April Borne said France would spend €20 million on emergency cycling measures, including €50 vouchers for repairing bicycles. The budget has now been increased to €60 million, which will pay for more repair vouchers and more generous subsidies for purchasing e-bikes.
Beaches introduce social distancing to keep sunbathers apart in France
A beach in France has shown what a summer holiday during the coronavirus pandemic could look like. Sunbathers have been seen relaxing in La Grande-Motte, in the south of the country near Montpellier, in roped-off social distancing zones over the last week. Visitors can reserve a slot for three and a half hours, but must stay within their designated area, MailOnline reports. There are 66 spots available and they were booked up within two hours when they first went on offer after France started to emerge from a two-month lockdown.
What face mask to use during the COVID-19 pandemic
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people can transmit the virus to others while showing no signs or symptoms of COVID-19. A mathematical model from a 2020 study supports this, suggesting that 40–80% of transmission stems from those showing no symptoms. Although the science around the effectiveness of face masks is not definitive, these items likely offer some protection from the coronavirus. The authors of one study concluded that surgical face masks could prevent the transmission of the coronavirus from symptomatic individuals. Other researchers also encourage the use of face masks in public.
Community Activities
French Take Their Apéros to the Streets, Testing Lockdown Limits
With bars still closed despite the loosening of France’s coronavirus lockdown, the pre-dinner drinking tradition of the apéro has given way to the apérue: clusters of revelers on the streets, or rues, of Paris, outside establishments that are allowed to offer takeout. “They’re forcing us to do infantile things all the time,” said Frédérick Cassea, who was having drinks with two friends in front of Le Syndicat, a bar in the 10th arrondissement. “We’re all adults, we’re all responsible, we’re all aware of what’s going on,’’ Mr. Cassea added, describing the apérue and other acts of “civil disobedience” as a reaction to the government’s “catastrophic” handling of the epidemic. “Treating us like kids doesn’t work for long.”
National Gallery of Australia first to open its doors on Tuesday, June 2 as lockdown restrictions ease
For art and culture lovers, at least, the end of lockdown is well and truly in sight - the National Gallery of Australia will be opening its doors to the public again on Tuesday June 2. The National Museum of Australia is following suit, opening Tuesday with visitors able to finally see the landmark Endeavour exhibition that was two weeks from opening when lockdown was announced.
Italians Flock to Beaches, Hoping Tourists Will Follow
It is Italy, which endured one of Europe’s worst outbreaks, that is most counting on the economically restorative powers of its beaches and seas. Tourism accounts for 13 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product, and 40 percent of that is from beach activity. Officials and beach club owners have expressed hope that foreign tourists will spend time and money in their country when the borders reopen in June. But in the meantime, it is the Italians who must pick up the sunbathing slack.
Michelin-starred takeout: French chef Guy Savoy turns to lockdown deliveries
It’s not your typical takeout menu, even in Paris: raw trout in a sour cream followed by quail confit with a cauliflower and almond sauce. Then again, in normal times three-star Michelin chef Guy Savoy doesn’t do delivery. One of the world’s most celebrated chefs, Savoy opened one of his four Paris restaurants, Le Chiberta near the Arc de Triomphe, for takeaway after France partially relaxed some coronavirus lockdown restrictions earlier this month. “We wanted to do this to show people that we’re still here, still here to help them keep up their spirits,” said Gilles Chesneau, executive chef at Savoy’s restaurants.
Working Remotely
Forty per cent of PR chiefs to continue remote working as coronavirus caution grips industry
Two-fifths of agency leaders plan to maintain remote working policies for the foreseeable future as concerns about the coronavirus pandemic linger, a new survey of PR chiefs has found.
Walmart says its thousands of tech employees will continue remote work — even when pandemic subsides
Walmart is the latest company to announce that tech workers, who have been working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, don’t have to return to the office anytime soon — or potentially, ever. In an internal memo sent Thursday, Walmart’s global chief technology officer, Suresh Kumar, told the tech team that office space “will be used primarily for collaboration, to sync up and strengthen camaraderie.” The big-box retailer has about 10,000 tech employees, including many who are based in the Silicon Valley.
NHS seeking to 'lock in' better use of tech necessitated by coronavirus
Minister says health service is seeking to ensure it continues to benefit from initiatives such as remote working. The NHS will look at how best it can “lock in” some of the “beneficial changes” occasioned by the coronavirus crisis, including increased use of remote working and the ability to rapidly roll out new technology in patient care. The coronavirus crisis “has affected every part of local health and care systems”, said Lord Bethell, a minister at the Department of Health and Social Care responsible for innovation. He added that, in responding to the challenges presented by the pandemic, “NHS organisations, local councils and others are working across traditional organisational and team boundaries”. The health service will seek to ensure that some of the new ways of working – including increased use of technology to deliver care remotely – will persist beyond the current crisis, Lord Bethell said.
Vast majority of New Zealanders don't want to return to office after Covid-19
A study of New Zealanders working from home during coronavirus lockdown has found many were just as productive as when they were in the office, and a majority were reluctant to return to traditional workplaces. New Zealand went into lockdown for seven weeks from 25 March, and has become a global success story in containing the coronavirus, with fewer than 1,500 people infected and 21 deaths. During lockdown, many workers experimented with working from home for the first time, and a University of Otago study of more than 2,500 people found the arrangement suited many.
Employees are working remotely in their pyjamas
A quarter of home-workers — more than four million employees — are doing their job from bed or in their nightwear, and 40 per cent have toiled from the sofa, a report has found.
Lockdown Fuels Interest in Learning Among Remote Workers
Employers should reignite learning and development programs for home workers Questionmark, the online assessment provider, is encouraging employers to reignite investment in learning and development programs. The call comes as research reveals a wave of enthusiasm among remote workers for online learning to improve their professional and personal skills.
Virtual Classrooms
Here's why Covid-19 heralds the dawn of virtual classrooms
In the months and years ahead, until there is a vaccine, lockdowns will happen regularly in many parts of the world. The head of the World Health Organisation himself said that society would be fighting this virus for a very long time. To keep it safe for students, education institutions will prefer operating remotely with intermittent access to campuses.
Children’s daily screen time skyrockets under coronavirus lockdown, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing
Don’t let screens get in the way of physical activity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children and adolescents perform at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day, which stimulates widespread benefits ranging from cardiorespiratory fitness and weight control to reducing stress and preventing health conditions like diabetes. And while there are plenty of exercise apps and alluring video games for kids that encourage movement, nothing beats good, old fashioned exercise and physical activity.
What will school look like in the fall? MPS explores possible options
Stung by criticism over its slow pivot to virtual learning as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools this spring, Milwaukee Public Schools is taking the lead in rolling out its options for resuming instruction in the fall. The district this week unveiled the various scenarios it is considering, from virtual classes only to hybrid in-person and online instruction; keeping high schoolers online but returning younger students to schools; and returning to the neighborhood schools model, which would dramatically reduce the district's reliance on busing.
Coronavirus: Schools are virtual, and so is this tutor
Barbara Rauch said she knew she needed to continue tutoring all her students during the coronavirus pandemic. While her physical location shuttered in the Annadale on March 12, her first live virtual classroom setting was launched March 16.
Public Policies
Coronavirus contact tracing around the world
How NHS test and trace works Step one: Isolate — Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate for seven days. Those in the same household should do the same. Step two: Test — They should order a coronavirus test online or by calling 119. Step three: Results — If test is positive they complete seven days in isolation. Anyone in the same household completes 14 days. Isolation ends if test negative. Step four: Trace — People with positive test contacted via text, email or phone call. They answer questions about their contacts and share their phone numbers and email addresses. Alert — They are advised via text or email to self-isolate for up to 14 days
Coronavirus: Test and trace system kicks off in England and Scotland
Thousands of contact tracers are making their first phone calls to track down people who will be told to self-isolate under new test and trace schemes being launched in England and Scotland. Tracers will text, email or call people who test positive with coronavirus and ask who they have had contact with. Any of those contacts deemed at risk of infection will be told to isolate for 14 days, even if they are not sick. Those who have already had the virus will also be asked to self-isolate.
What is phase 2 of lockdown? New rules for England explained, and how the rest of the UK is easing measures
While lockdown measures have slowly begun to ease, a further lifting of restrictions will soon be implemented across England. The UK government must review lockdown measures every three weeks, with the next update due to take place on 28 May. Any amendments made to the current rules will then come into force a few days later, from 1 June.
'Lockdown is not over': Nicola Sturgeon reminds us to abide by rules as first phase of restrictions are eased
The First Minister said it does not mean picking just one household to meet with but only one other household at a time and only one a day. She said she knows there will be “emotional reunions” adding “we have all waited a long time for this but please respect the parameters." Nicola Sturgeon said: “The only reason we can make any changes is we have made progress in suppressing the virus and that is down to the sacrifices you have made.”
Coronavirus: How Turkey took control of Covid-19 emergency
Covid-19 came late to Turkey - on 11 March - but soon singed every corner of the country. Within a month all 81 provinces had been affected. It was the one of the fastest growing outbreaks in the world - worse than China or the UK. There were fears that the death toll would soar turning Turkey into another Italy, which was then the hardest hit country. Three months on that hasn't happened, even without a total lockdown. The official death toll is 4,397. Some doctors here dispute that, claiming the real figure could be twice as high because Turkey only includes those who test positive. Either way, in the horrific annals of the Covid-19 era, it's a relatively low number for a population of 83 million.
Philippines' Duterte eases lockdown in capital from June 1
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (May 28) approved a recommendation to ease the lockdown in the capital Manila from Jun 1, resuming much-needed activity in an economy on the brink of recession. Strict restrictions on commerce and movement since mid-March have ravaged the economy, which is facing its deepest contraction in 34 years. The nation reported 17 more deaths and 539 new infections on Thursday, the largest number of cases reported in a single day since the virus was first detected in the country.
Germany supports struggling restaurants by slashing their VAT
Germany's parliament voted on Thursday to slash value-added tax on restaurant meals by more than half for a year to help them recoup devastating losses caused by the lockdown and social distancing introduced to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
No lockdown, few ventilators, but Ethiopia is beating Covid-19
The only way we can play and win is if we focus on prevention.” The government has leaned heavily on a community-based health system built by Meles Zenawi, prime minister until his death in 2012, and his health minister, one Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, now director-general of the World Health Organization. Shunning flashy hospitals, Ethiopia has instead poured what money it can into basic healthcare: vaccination campaigns and child and maternal support.
Dubai gives the green light to reopen gyms, movie theaters and other non-essential businesses as lockdown lifting continues
The Dubai government announced new measures to lift restrictions on businesses, allowing gyms, movie theaters, leisure venues, educational and training institutes, child learning centers and all retail and wholesale establishments to reopen at varying limited capacities. The emirate of 3.3 million, the UAE's commercial capital, is pushing ahead with reopening its economy after a grueling two months of lockdown that included a three-week stretch in April of some of the strictest measures imposed anywhere in the world
Moscow to ease lockdown from Monday as pandemic stabilizes
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Wednesday announced an easing of the Russian capital's lockdown starting June 1 after the Kremlin said the coronavirus pandemic had passed its peak in the country. "Today we can already talk about the next steps out of the crisis situation," Sobyanin told President Vladimir Putin during a televised video conference. "I propose from June 1 to reopen not only food retail but all non-food retail."
Self-isolation regime extended in every 6th region of Russia
Authorities of 14 out of 85 regions of Russia decided to extend the self-isolation regime to either two first weeks of June or until the end of the month. In every fourth region, restrictions will remain in force until special order, according to regional authorities’ statements and orders. The coronavirus was registered in all regions of Russia; authorities of all regions imposed the self-isolation regime - either mandatory or as a recommendation
Spanish regions request to move to new phases of deescalation plan
Several regional authorities in Spain have sent the central government their requests to move to a new phase of the coronavirus deescalation plan. Currently in Spain, 53% of the population is in Phase 1, which allows social gatherings of up to 10 people, and 47% is in Phase 2, where there are no restrictions on outdoor activities. Here is an overview of what each region has so far requested.
Spain lifts lockdown rules on exercise and walks in Phase 2 areas
From Wednesday, children living in areas of Spain that have entered Phase 2 of the coronavirus deescalation plan will be able to go outside as many times as they like, without any restrictions on how far they can go or for how long. That’s according to the Health Ministry order published Tuesday in the Official State Gazette (BOE), which has formalized what many families have been doing since last week, when the timetables for walks and exercise were removed for areas under Phase 2, with the exception of the time slot allocated to senior residents.
Coronavirus: Schools and workplaces could see 'local lockdowns'
Local lockdowns could see schools and workplaces targeted in areas of England that have "flare-ups" of coronavirus, the communities secretary has said. Robert Jenrick said restrictions could be introduced at "a micro level" to control the virus in particular communities. The measures will be part of the test and trace system, which will be ready by next week, he said. Health Secretary Matt Hancock will give more details shortly, Mr Jenrick added.
Maintaining Services
French cafés eye return to business as government prepares new lockdown easing
While restaurants, bars and cafés in so-called "green" zones with limited Covid-19 cases could open on June 2, those in "red" zones including Paris and a large swathe of the northeast may have to wait until July, a government source said. Cities will also be allowed to reopen parks and public gardens, though in red zones visitors will have to wear masks. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has urged the government to reopen parks for residents who have been cooped up for weeks, not least to avoid the mass gatherings witnessed on canals and esplanades as summer approaches.
Is this the future of dining? Restaurants could feature bubble pods after lockdown
A French designer has created transparent bubble pods for restaurants so that diners can eat safely once lockdown comes to an end. The plastic cylinders would create a see-through barrier for those sitting at the same tables, helping limit the spread of coronavirus. Christophe Gernigon, who designed the pods, said they would hang from a cable in a ceiling and would have a cut out section at the back to allow people to sit and stand up without having to bend over
Air France-KLM to resume flights to Italy from June 1
The group will gradually resume flights to Rome, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Naples and Bari, the company said adding that by the end of June, 78 Air France and KLM weekly flights to Italy would be operational. "Returning to the Bel Paese is a great pride for us and confirms the importance of the Italian market for the Air France-KLM Group," said Stefan Vanovermeir, Air France-KLM East Mediterranean General Manager. He said more than 15% of its flights would be to and from Italy and the company had put in place all necessary measures to fly safely.
Cineworld is re-opening UK cinemas in July as country emerges from lockdown
Cineworld says it plans to reopen UK branches in July after the coronavirus lockdown. The cinema chain has been shuttered since mid-March, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a nationwide lockdown amid the health crisis.
Ted Baker plans to reopen stores in June as UK eases lockdown
British retailer Ted Baker is preparing for a gradual reopening of its stores from mid-June and will recall furloughed staff based on the needs of its operations, the company said on Thursday. A coronavirus-triggered lockdown in the UK had forced the fashion retailer to shut all of its stores and furlough 75% of its staff. The British government said earlier this week that outdoor markets and car showrooms in England can reopen from June 1 followed by all other non-essential retail from June 15. Stores will look and operate very differently from how they did before a coronavirus lockdown was imposed on March 23 as they comply with new health and safety and social distancing rules.
Isle of Wight school closes following confirmed Coronavirus case: 14 days isolation for all those in contact
Christ the King College has had to close after a member of the team tested positive for Coronavirus (Covid-19). All students and staff who were potentially in contact with the person who has tested positive have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days. Head of the school, Nora Ward, told News OnTheWight,
Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal all issue travel advice to Brits over holidays this summer
Birmingham Airport is set to spring into life in the coming weeks as the tourism industry is given a jolt of adrenalin across the continent. Europe will welcome British holidaymakers once more from June and July, with summer holiday hopes revitalised for bored Brits at home. Birmingham Airport has been eerily quiet in recent weeks - with one week seeing just six flights take off from the transport hub, situated near Solihull. But now, as the UK emerges from lockdown, travel firms from TUI, Ryanair and Jet2, to British Airways and Easyjet, are committing to restarting flights.
How China emerges from lockdown will affect global tourism
You can wave to the giant Mickey Mouse mascot, but not get close enough for a jolly selfie. Such are the rules at Disneyland Shanghai, which reopened on May 11th. Visitor numbers are capped at 30% of the sprawling park’s capacity. Meanwhile the Forbidden City in Beijing can now take only 5,000 visitors a day, just 6% of its normal cap.
Healthcare Innovations
The World Is Still Far From Herd Immunity for Coronavirus
Official case counts often substantially underestimate the number of coronavirus infections. But in new studies that test the population more broadly, the percentage of people who have been infected so far is still in the single digits. The numbers are a fraction of the threshold known as herd immunity, at which the virus can no longer spread widely. The precise herd immunity threshold for the novel coronavirus is not yet clear; but several experts said they believed it would be higher than 60 percent.
Even mild coronavirus illness leads to antibodies: French study raises hope of immunity
Researchers screened the blood of 160 medics who had confirmed Covid-19 Some 99.4 per cent of the group had antibodies to the virus 13 days after illness The antibodies had the ability to 'neutralise' - or kill - the virus in tests. Antibodies are a sign a person mounted an immune response to the virus. But whether or not this protects a person from future infection is contested
Asymptomatic coronavirus cases may be more common than suspected
The study from Wuhan looked at 78 patients who tested positive for COVID-19, and found that 33 of the individuals had no symptoms of the illness. These patients were more likely to be women, and more likely to be younger, in their 20s, 30s and early 40s.
Sewage testing gives clues of coronavirus | TheHill
Scientists looking for new ways to identify potential coronavirus outbreaks are turning their attention to what could be an early warning sign: the stuff you flush down the toilet. New studies increasingly show that the coronavirus's genetic code can be detected in the remnants of fecal matter that flows through sewers and into sewage facilities, either in raw wastewater or in what is euphemistically known as sludge. The genetic information represents such a good cross-section of a city or region that taking just a few samples can be the equivalent of testing millions of people in a given day. Using one method, just 14 samples could test the prevalence of the virus in all of New York City.
Covid-19 study on hydroxychloroquine use questioned by 120 researchers and medical professionals
The large observational study analysed data from nearly 15,000 patients with Covid-19 who received the drug alone or in combination with antibiotics, comparing this data with 81,000 controls who did not receive the drug. Questions about the paper’s statistical modelling were also raised by Columbia University in the US, prompting Surgisphere, the company that manages the database of patients used to inform the study, to issue a public statement defending the integrity of the study.