"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 14th Jul 2020

Isolation Tips
Coveney: Tourists shouldn't come if they cannot isolate
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said he does not think international flights should be prevented from landing in Ireland, but that people should not come here if they cannot restrict their movements for 14 days. Speaking during a post-cabinet briefing this afternoon, Mr Coveney said that people should not come to Ireland if they cannot restrict their movements when they arrive. He said now is not a time for normal holidays involving tourists coming from abroad. "I don’t think we should prevent flights from landing in Ireland or ban international travel, that is not the approach we have taken," he said.
Nearly a third of people with dementia 'giving up' following prolonged isolation, charity warns
People with dementia have experienced an unprecedented rise in mental health problems during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, the Alzheimer’s Society has warned. A recent study by the charity showed the devastating impact the isolation from lockdown has had of people living with dementia, with nearly a third of people (32 per cent) reporting a feeling of apathy or a sense of “giving up”. Nearly half of the 2,000 people surveyed (45 per cent) said lockdown has had a “negative” impact on their mental health, while more than a third of respondents said they do not yet feel confident about going out.
Miami mayor says some hotels will be used as coronavirus isolation centers
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced on Monday his administration is working on adapting more hotels as isolation centers for coronavirus patients. Suarez said his administration is working with the Florida Division of Emergency Management. He said this will help to reduce cases by preventing transmission among family members.
Re-starting life after Covid-19
Getting through Covid-19 was "a bit like that too", he says, adding that New Zealand had done a great job of locking down – and the population knew they could survive. As a person who travels extensively and engages with lots of people, Thatcher says he missed this face-to-face interaction during lockdown. But, at the same time, he found it helped him think more about what is important to him – his family. "I loved every moment of it in the end," he says, although he worried - and still worries - about one of his two daughters who lives in Sydney. He enjoyed spending more time with his wife Awhina, getting his garden into shape and cooking the odd meal. Now, as Thatcher is gradually getting back to 'normal', the Te Hiringa Hauora/Health Promotion Agency is working with a range of partners to encourage all New Zealanders— but especially those in older age-groups – to get back to doing what kept them busy before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
Coronavirus: Wolverhampton PCSO back with family after isolating
A PCSO has been reunited with his family after moving out for three months to protect his son from Covid-19 while patrolling the beat. William Till moved out of his Stourbridge home at the start of April and into a nearby flat. He took the decision as son Alfie, seven, was shielding after surgery to remove growths on his brain caused by mastoiditis. Mr Till said it was "one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make". He said he "accepted I had to sacrifice contact with my wife and children" in order to keep working and protect his son.
Hygiene Helpers
Lockdown timing and efficacy in controlling COVID-19 using mobile phone tracking
During the study period, mobility restriction was inversely related to the daily number of newly diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 positive cases only after the second, more effective lockdown, with a peak in the curve of diagnosed cases of infection occurring 14 to 18 days from lockdown in the three regions and 9 to 25 days in the included provinces. An effective reduction in transmission must have occurred nearly immediately after the tighter lockdown, given the lag time of around 10 days from asymptomatic infection to diagnosis. The period from lockdown to peak was shorter in the areas with the highest prevalence of the infection. This effect was seen within slightly more than one week in the most severely affected areas.
California rolls back reopening as nations battle resurgent coronavirus
California drastically rolled back its reopening plans Monday as coronavirus cases surged across dozens of US states and the World Health Organization warned that too many nations are mismanaging their pandemic response. Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all indoor restaurants, bars and movie theaters to close again across California -- by far America's richest and most populous state, with a larger economy than all but four countries. Churches as well as gyms, shopping malls, hair salons and non-essential offices must also shut indoor operations in half of the Golden State's worst-hit and most densely populated counties, including Los Angeles. "We're moving back into a modification mode of our original 'stay-at-home' order," said Newsom, whose state was the first to close down in March, but began easing restrictions in May.
Everyone should wear a face covering in public, says Royal Society president
Everyone should have a face covering to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and they should not leave home without having one in their possession according to the President of the Royal Society. Venki Ramakrishnan’s call comes as a new review of evidence reinforces the benefits of face coverings and even suggests they may protect the wearer as well as those around them. However, the British public remain much less likely to wear face coverings in public compared to other countries, including the United States. Venki Ramakrishnan said: “The virus has not been eliminated, so as we lift lockdown and people increasingly interact with each other we need to use every tool we have to reduce the risk of a second wave of infection. There are no silver bullets but alongside hand washing and physical distancing, we also need everyone to start wearing face coverings, particularly indoors in enclosed public spaces where physical distancing is often not possible.
New York City Reaches Milestone With No Reported Virus Deaths
New York City, once the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, has just reported its first day with zero confirmed or probable virus deaths since the pandemic hit New York State. The milestone came Sunday in initial data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It marked the end of a four-month stretch since the city reported its first Covid-19 fatality on March 11. The confirmed daily death count hit its height on April 7 at 597. Another 216 people were reported likely to have died from the virus despite no positive laboratory tests that day.
Covid-19 Reinvades U.S. States That Beat It Back Once
The first U.S. states to endure the coronavirus this spring hoped the worst would be behind them. Instead, the virus is coming back. Many places that suffered most in the first wave of infections, including California, Louisiana, Michigan and Washington state, are seeing case counts climb again after months of declines. It’s not just a matter of more testing. Hospitalizations and, in some places, deaths are rising, too. The disease is raging -- Florida reported 15,300 cases Sunday, the biggest single-day increase of the U.S. pandemic -- and experts say the resurgence in the original battlegrounds has common causes. They include a population no longer willing to stay inside, Republicans more likely to refuse face masks as a political statement, and young people convinced the virus won’t seriously hurt them.
Covid-19 coronavirus: Superspreader - woman infects 71 people in 60 seconds in elevator: CDC study
One asymptomatic carrier rode an elevator alone, then 71 people got Covid-19. She did everything right. She had no symptoms, but she self-quarantined anyway after travel. She stayed in her apartment. She ordered-in food. But she became patient zero in a 71-case cluster. Intensive contact tracing is not just helping head-off Covid-19's spread. It's revealing just how crazy infectious the virus can be. A new study released by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) analysed the impact a single traveller – with no symptoms – can have. It also reveals the pitfalls of high-density living.
Coronavirus: shoppers in England must wear face masks from 24 July
Face masks will become mandatory in shops across England, ministers are to announce on Tuesday, following mixed messages, a cabinet split and mounting pressure on Boris Johnson to change public advice. New legislation will not come into force until Friday 24 July, however, raising concerns over the risk of coronavirus spreading over the next 10 days as lockdown is eased. Enforcement, which will include a fine of up to £100 for non-compliance, will be down to police, though shop staff will be expected to encourage the policy, No 10 said. The announcement is understood to have been rushed forward after Michael Gove, the cabinet minister, said on Sunday that masks should not be made mandatory, contradicting indications from the prime minister last week.
France considers making masks mandatory as doctors warn of Covid resurgence
France’s government said Sunday it was studying whether to impose mandatory masks in indoor spaces as doctors and health officials warned of worrying rates of new infections. “The use of wearing a mask in enclosed spaces is being studied,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a visit to the heavily affected overseas territory of Guiana on Sunday. The remarks were the closest sign yet that French officials are preparing to act upon an increasing number of warnings that people are becoming too nonchalant with recommendations around the spread of Covid-19. A group of 14 doctors called for reinforced mask-wearing and physical distancing on Saturday, and public officials including President Emmanuel Macron have been urging the public to take protective measures.
Victoria records 273 new Covid-19 cases and flags return to remote schooling in lockdown areas
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews has warned residents to prepare for an extraordinary six winter weeks after the state announced another 273 coronavirus cases on Sunday. Andrews said schools in lockdown areas would remain closed to most students after revealing the latest case numbers, which represent another single-day high for the state. One man in his 70s has died from the virus in Victoria. Meanwhile, eight healthcare workers at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital have tested positive to Covid-19. Infections diseases expert Peter Collingnon said on Twitter the renewed outbreak of coronavirus in Victoria represented a second wave.
Greece is considering a second lockdown after tourists caused coronavirus cases there to spike
The Greek authorities have said they could reimpose stricter public and travel restrictions, due to government safety advice being frequently ignored. The government there has not yet confirmed the exact lockdown measures they would bring back. These could possibly include stricter border checks, potential travel restrictions from high risk countries and tougher, more frequent bar and restaurant inspections. Serbian tourists are currently banned from entering Greece for all but essential travel, after health officials confirmed a spike in cases in the Balkan country. Additional testing is already occurring at the Greek-Bulgarian border and, as of 14 July, Bulgarians crossing the border into Greece must provide proof that they have tested negative for coronavirus within the last 72 hours, after the country registered a daily record of 330 new infections in one day last week.
Fresh lockdown for 250,000 in Manila as virus surges
About 250,000 people in Manila will go back into lockdown, an official said Monday, as the number of new coronavirus infections in the Philippines surges. Residents in Navotas, one of 16 cities that make up the sprawling capital of 12 million people, will have to stay home for a fortnight, just six weeks after emerging from one of the world's longest lockdowns. "I am not sure if this is a solution, but I am certain that if I do this the number of cases will not increase," Navotas city mayor Toby Tiangco told a radio station.
Coronavirus: HK Disneyland to close one month after reopening
Hong Kong Disneyland is closing its gates again less than one month after it reopened, following a new coronavirus outbreak in the city. The theme park was originally closed at the end of January as the pandemic spread across Asia. Disney decided to reopen the park on 18 June as Hong Kong kept coronavirus cases low. But gates will close again on Wednesday as social distancing measures are reimposed.
Community Activities
Portraits: UN interpreters adapt to new work modes during COVID-19
13 July – When the coronavirus pandemic brought New York City to a halt, United Nations interpreters ran into big trouble: their booths and equipment were no longer accessible. However, they are rising to the challenge, exploring new ways to service multilateral meetings, including from their homes. This story, with portraits produced remotely by UN Photo, documents how these professionals have been responding to new challenges COVID-19 added to their already daunting job of providing simultaneous interpretation in six UN official languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. On Friday, 13 March, Konstantine Orlov, Chief of the Russian Interpretation Section, serviced his last in-person meeting at UN Headquarters before the pandemic sent the Big Apple into lockdown. The following Monday, 16 March, “we all went into telecommuting,” he said.
A 14-Hour Detour Is Helping Russians Escape to the Beach
Muscovites desperate for a summer holiday abroad this year have found a loophole that’s letting them evade Russia’s coronavirus ban on foreign travel. A loophole that involves a 14-hour round trip via Belarus. Travelers are exploiting the soft border between the two former-Soviet neighbors. Russians can drive 715km (444 miles) from Moscow to Minsk with minimal checks, and once there they can make use of Belarus’s more liberal Covid-19 restrictions. “Since the quarantine, Minsk has become a Casablanca, the main crossroads for Russians who want to leave the country,” said Maxim Valetskiy, a Russian businessman with an Israeli passport and family in London, who has used the detour four times since the Kremlin halted foreign travel at the end of March.
French mayor regrets lack of distancing at music event
The mayor of the French Mediterranean city of Nice has said he regretted a lack of social distancing at a shoreside DJ set thronged by partying crowds, vowing that in future masks would be obligatory at such outdoor events. A prominent French music producer hosted the set organised by the municipality on Saturday night, with crowds massing on central Nice's famous Promenade des Anglais esplanade. The density of the crowd as people danced the night away provoked fury on social media at a time when France is wary of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. "We regret that these rules have not been sufficiently respected," mayor Christian Estrosi wrote on Twitter.
Families of Italy’s virus dead seek answers, solace and justice
Members of the Noi Denunceremo (We Will Denounce) Facebook group and an affiliated non-profit committee filed some 100 new cases Monday with Bergamo prosecutors investigating the outbreak, on top of 50 complaints lodged last month. Wearing a face mask with the group’s logo outside the tribunal Monday, We Will Denounce co-founder Stefano Fusco said the complaints don’t accuse anyone specifically of wrongdoing. “We simply tell our stories and ask the prosecutors to investigate about what happened here and why … there was such a huge massacre,” he said.
Working Remotely
Barbados Wants You to Work Remotely from the Beach—for a Year
The island announced potential plans earlier this month to introduce a 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp to reignite its economy dependent on tourism. Though travel to the island did not previously require visas for U.S. citizens, travelers were able to stay in Barbados for up to six months without a tourist or work visa. This stamp would grant access to remain on the island for up to a year and give anyone with the stamp the ability to work remotely for their employer, regardless of where that company is based.
Will the remote work craze sparked by COVID-19 sound a death knell for office buildings?
Elliott Holt was always firmly opposed to letting employees work from home. “There’s no control over it,” says the CEO of a Nashville-based medical records company. “We like to be in control.” With MediCopy growing at breakneck speed, its work-in-the office ethos spelled a feverish expansion of its physical presence in Nashville. After adding a second office two years ago, the firm was poised to lease a third last month. But since the coronavirus pandemic has forced nearly all of MediCopy's 200 employees to work from home, Holt has had an abrupt change of heart. He says he’ll let staffers continue to telecommute for the long term, prompting him to relinquish both of the additional offices, convert his headquarters into a training center, and save $350,000 a year in leasing costs. “Things are working the way they are,” he says.
This works best: Bengalureans are moving out of the city to work remotely in the lap of nature
The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed office culture. Now, with a surge in Covid-19 cases in Bengalaru, many youngsters ar eheading back to their hometowns to work from villages and in the lap of nature.
Virtual Classrooms
Los Angeles and San Diego Schools to Go Online-Only in The Fall
California’s two largest public school districts said on Monday that instruction would be online-only in the fall, in the latest sign that school administrators are increasingly unwilling to risk crowding students back into classrooms until the coronavirus is fully under control. The school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego, which together enroll some 825,000 students, are the largest in the country to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. The decision came as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced some of the most sweeping rollbacks yet of California’s plans to reopen. Indoor operations for restaurants, bars, wineries, movie theaters and zoos were shut down statewide on Monday, and churches, gyms, hair salons, malls and other businesses were shuttered for four-fifths of the population.
Houston teachers union wants virtual start to school year until coronavirus numbers drop
The union representing Houston teachers is calling for a virtual start to the school year until the number of new coronavirus cases drop. Members of both the Houston Federation of Teachers and Houston Educational Support Personnel spoke Monday, calling on leaders of the Houston Independent School District and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to do more to ensure the safety of students, teachers and staff.
In 3 days, 11% of Wake students apply for 'virtual academy'
In just three days, 11% of the students in Wake County – 18,000 of the average enrollment of about 162,000 – have applied for consideration in the planned Virtual Academy, the district's answer to remote learning amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Virtual Academy will provide all core classes online for students as an option for those at higher risk for coronavirus infection or whose parents don't feel comfortable sending them back to school yet. Wake County will use those application numbers to determine how many students are interested and how many teachers will be needed.
New York Gov. Cuomo says he won't use kids as 'guinea pigs,' outlines school reopening rules
School reopenings will be dictated by the state's regional reopening plan, Cuomo said. President Trump has been pressing for schools to reopen in the fall. Schools in regions that are in phase four of New York's reopening plan are eligible to hold in-person classes this fall. New York City is the only region in the state that's not yet in phase four of its reopening plan.
MPS' reopening plan: Virtual learning to start and a gradual return to the classroom
The plan calls for students to return via virtual platforms on Aug. 17 or Sept. 1, depending on their school calendar. The online phase is projected to last 30 to 45 days, after which students would alternate two days in school and three online at home, and then fully return to classes once that was deemed safe.
Public Policies
Largest cities in Colombia reverse reopening as coronavirus threatens to collapse healthcare
Colombia’s capital Bogota and the country’s second largest city, Medellin, will reinstate partial lockdowns as COVID-19 is threatening to collapse healthcare. In Bogota, Mayor Claudia Lopez said Saturday that she will reinstate a rotating lockdown starting Monday in the hope that a reduction of people in the street will prevent a collapse of the capital’s healthcare system. The mayor said she will maintain this partial lockdown until after the projected peak in Bogota has passed at the end of August. Residents in areas under lockdown will not be allowed to go to work. Lopez said she would guarantee a universal basic income and food distribution in the locked down parts of the city.
China Gives World First View of Post-Lockdown Rebound: Eco Week
The country first hit by the coronavirus pandemic will this week have a clearer picture of its progress on nursing the economy back to health. China reports second-quarter gross domestic product on Thursday, along with monthly readings for industrial output and retail sales. An easing of lockdown measures plus a modest amount of policy stimulus should be enough to post a positive growth rate, after the historic 6.8% collapse in the first quarter.
Catalan leader calls on citizens to stay home despite judge's ruling
Spain’s Catalonia approved on Monday a decree giving it legal backing to place restrictions on the city of Lleida and its surroundings to stem a surge in coronavirus infections, defying a judge’s earlier ruling that such an order was unlawful.
With masks and gel, Spaniards vote amid new outbreaks of coronavirus
Voters in northern Spain protected themselves with face masks and hand sanitizer before voting on Sunday as Galicia and the Basque Country held regional elections despite new localised outbreaks of COVID-19. The health measures meant there were long lines outside polling stations. The elections were postponed from April due to the pandemic and are the first in Spain since the country relaxed what was one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. More than 460 people in Galicia and the Basque Country who recently tested positive for coronavirus were barred from voting for the new regional governments, as were people awaiting test results. Spain has recently relaxed restrictions but a surge in cases has fuelled fears of a second wave of infections, prompting several regional governments to impose compulsory use of face masks and localised lockdowns.
Maintaining Services
Summer travel: Which countries in Europe have opened their borders?
Across Europe, governments have started to open their borders after weeks of closure during the coronavirus pandemic. Member states are not, however, legally obliged, to follow the recommendation. The list is to be updated every two weeks, the EU says. Given the pace of change, Euronews has compiled a handy guide to the situation in each European country. In the summer holiday season upon us, people have started to wonder whether they will be able to get away for a break abroad - and how far they will be able to go.
The 9-5 day is 'out of the question': Here's what going back to work in an office will be like
Businesses may run in shifts or only have people in the workplace for a few days per week. Employees are likely to mix working from home with being in an office much more. Leaders hope that flexible hours mean they can attract a more diverse range of staff.
Lockdown rules easing in England, Scotland and Wales from today - here's what's allowed
Lockdown rules are being eased in England, Scotland and Wales today as the three nations continue the long journey back to normal life. Here's what these changes include:
The women who can't get an abortion in lockdown
India's grinding national coronavirus lockdown complicated life for women trying to access safe abortions, and now cities are bringing back restrictions, reports Menaka Rao. In the last week of May, a 20-year old college-going woman in India's capital, Delhi, found out that she was pregnant. The woman, Kiran, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, had already taken abortion pills on the advice of a friend who was a doctor. But they did not work and so, her only option was a surgical abortion. India, however, was still under lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. It had enforced some of the world's most severe restrictions, stopping air travel, trains and buses, and confining people to their homes as much as possible.
French consumer spending has almost returned to normal levels - finance minister
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday that French consumer spending has almost returned to normal levels and that forced household savings during the coronavirus lockdown period could boost consumption later on in the year. “Our recovery plan...is working. A few weeks ago consumption in France was at minus 30%, today we are just minus 5%, we have almost returned to normal,” Le Maire said on RTL radio. Le Maire also said that he estimates that households will have saved about 100 billion euros (£89.3 billion) by year-end due to the coronavirus crisis. “What I wish for is that they will spend this 100 billion,” he said. Le Maire said that on top of a coronavirus rescue plan worth 460 billion euros in the form of emergency loans for companies and other measures, the government will present another leg of the recovery plan at the end of summer.
Coronavirus: Nail bars and tattoo salons reopen as England lockdown eases
Beauty salons, spas, tattoo parlours and nail bars are welcoming back their first clients for almost four months, as lockdown restrictions ease further in England. But some treatments, such as eyebrow threading, are still banned, leaving many salons unable to reopen. In Scotland, indoor shopping centres are allowed to reopen. In Wales, pubs, bars and restaurants can start serving customers outdoors, while hairdressers can also reopen. Businesses will be required to follow guidelines to reduce the spread of coronavirus - and treatments which involve work directly in front of the face will not be available.
Shopping centres reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased
Scotland will see "the most significant easing of lockdown" this week with shopping centres, pubs and restaurants reopening, the first minister has said. Non-essential shops inside shopping malls are now allowed to return to business. Children and young people are also permitted to play organised outdoor contact sports. Further restrictions on the indoor hospitality sector will be lifted from Wednesday. Family and friends are also able to visit hospital patients from Monday. Patients can have a designated visitor, although they will have to follow strict public health guidance and arrange a time to visit in advance.
Corporations begin cautious return to UK offices after lockdown
When British holidaymakers return from the beaches and a truncated holiday season, some companies will be preparing to welcome back workers too. After months of Zoom video calls, a number of major businesses are getting ready for a return to (relative) normality. Last week accountancy firm PwC reopened all of its UK offices, while its competitor Deloitte began to allow staff back to some sites in the capital and other regional cities, and employees of law firm Slaughter and May were once again able to opt to work from its London headquarters.
Banks told they must provide cash machines within a 'reasonable distance' of every UK home
Around 7,200 ATMs have been closed during lockdown out of a total of 60,000. Cash usage has fallen by as much as 90% in some areas during Covid lockdown. Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised cash machines would be accessible in March
Save The Children Warns Almost 10 Million Children May Not Return To School After Covid-19 Lockdown
A new report Save Our Education from Save the Children warns of ‘unprecedented global education emergency’. Deep budget cuts to education and rising poverty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could force at least 9.7 million children out of school forever by the end of this year, with millions more falling behind in learning, Save the Children warns in a new report launched today. As the impacts of the recession triggered by Covid-19 hits families, many children may be forced out of school and into labour markets, and many girls are at risk of being forced into early marriage.
Healthcare Innovations
Coronavirus warning from Italy: Effects of COVID-19 could be worse than first thought
The long-term effects of COVID-19, even on people who suffered a mild infection, could be far worse than was originally anticipated, according to researchers and doctors in northern Italy. Psychosis, insomnia, kidney disease, spinal infections, strokes, chronic tiredness and mobility issues are being identified in former coronavirus patients in Lombardy, the worst-affected region in the country. The doctors warn that some victims may never recover from the illness and that all age groups are vulnerable.
Russia claims world’s first COVID-19 vaccine after successful clinical trials
After over six months of coronavirus outbreak, Russia has become the first nation to complete clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine on humans. According to the reports, the vaccine has proven the medication's effectiveness, according to chief researcher, Elena Smolyarchuk, who heads the Center for Clinical Research on Miedications at Sechenov University