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Connecting Communities | April 7th 2020

Dear colleagues / friends

Greetings from lock-down. Here is today’s newsletter. Thank you for all good suggestions and we are working on incorporating ideas into next issues

  • Send us links to ‘local’ and other articles for wider sharing - in all languages.

  • Adapt the newsletter for use in your local networks. Personal stories can be found on our blog at https://bit.ly/39we6RC

Stories with pictures on website at cccovid19.org


Please share with your networks especially community support groups.


'Connecting Communities’ is drafted by WHO public health experts aggregating news from around the world. It aims to provide a selected sampling of 'news for you to use, inform behaviour and help others. Please contribute and pass on to your friends, family, networks. Send stories in any of the eight areas listed below.

  • Isolation

  • Hygiene

  • Working remotely

  • Virtual classrooms

  • Community action

  • Public policies

  • Maintaining services & health care challenges / opportunities.

As we are all communicators in this era - you are invited pass it on!


Contact details:

https://bit.ly/3456VyK@connecting_commfb.me/COVID19Connectionseditor@cccovid19.org

https:www.whcaonline.org

https:www.inspiritcreatives.com/humanity


Isolation


Self-Isolators look after their Mental Health

The coronavirus pandemic is a world event unlike any experienced in a generation, with countries all over the world - including the UK - taking unprecedented measures to stop its spread. But as the names suggest, the practices of self-isolation and social distancing can begin to quickly take a toll on people's mental health and wellbeing, from not being able to visit family members who may be sick to being unable to do something as normal as walk to the supermarket. It's therefore crucial that amid it all, we strive to maintain a life of normalcy - even when the current situation is anything but.

6th Apr 2020 - BuzzFeed


Sharing positive experiences of self-isolation

Most of us have now spent several weeks in self-isolation and it's completely normal to feel like you're going a little stir-crazy. But it's not all doom and gloom out there - in fact, for many people, self-isolation has brought positive experiences. Suddenly, we find ourselves with so much time on our hands - so, what are people doing? Because it's Friday and we all need some light in the coronavirus darkness, we asked 13 people to tell us how self-isolation has improved their lives. Here's what they told us.

6th Apr 2020 Metro.co.uk


23 cake recipes when missing an ingredient

Cake has taken on a new significance now that most of us are stuck at home all day, every day. We're comfort-eating and baking like there's no tomorrow. But what do you do when you fancy a sponge, but can't find eggs or your oven is broken and no one will fix it? Here are some recipes to get you through every ingredient shortfall.

6th Apr 2020 - The Guardian




Ex-NASA on line training kit to cope

A former Nasa astronaut, Jay Buckey, has launched an online self-help toolkit aimed at replicating the kind of training designed to help astronauts cope with confinement in small spaces for extended periods. `It's challenging to be isolated with a small group of people and to not be able to get away,` said Buckey, who flew on a 16-day Space Shuttle Columbia mission that orbited the Earth 256 times. `Outer space and your own living room might be drastically different physically, but emotionally the stressors can be the same.`

6th Apr 2020 - The Guardian


10 ‘clay homes’ created for self-isolation

Instagram users have shared the tiny clay versions of their ideal homes they created to keep busy while in isolation. The clay sets were created for a competition that Brooklyn designer Eny Lee Parker launched on Instagram, just as New York began to tighten measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. "I started three weeks ago when New York City started to quarantine," Parker told Dezeen.

6th Apr 2020 - Dezeen

Maddy tips for coping with self-isolation'

Maddy's top tip for not allowing the isolation to overwhelm you is to stay in touch with family through voice notes. "It's nice to hear someone's voice - not everyone wants to pick up the phone and ring all the time so short voice notes can really help." She's also been video chatting with her mates but says she's learning to enjoy the silence too. "It's been nice to get a bit of time away from my phone and having to be in constant contact with people. Now, I can just chill by myself and spend a few hours cross-stitching."

6th Apr 2020 - BBC News


self-isolating / social distancing highs & lows

Just a few weeks ago, a life of social distancing and self-isolation was unimaginable. Covid19 has flipped our lives on its head. How are we coping?

30th Mar 2020 - The Bristol Cable


Hygiene helpers


New face mask advice creates confusion

Differing official guidance across the EU has left citizens confused, contributing to a general impression that basic coordination in the bloc was missing at the height of a major health crisis. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said face masks should be worn only by those who are already sick and those caring for them. But given that people could be infectious without showing symptoms, everybody should wear one as a precaution, advocates of the measure argue.

6th Apr 2020 - POLITICO


Mask / no mask - what is the official advice?

As the situation has developed and more is learned about the virus, the situation has become a little less clear. Many countries are now advising the wearing of masks and France's Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon has said that 'alternative' masks, rather than medical ones, are now being manufactured. He said on Friday: "We encourage the general public, if they so wish, to wear (...) these alternative masks which are being produced."

6th Apr 2020 - The Local France


Everyone should be wearing face masks

Even people without symptoms can infect other just by speaking but a simple cloth covering can stop us spreading harmful droplets

6th Apr 2020 - The Guardian


Can you catch the Virus from takeaway food and food packaging?

Should you still have takeaway food delivered to your house as the UK ramps up its response to the coronavirus pandemic, and how careful do you need to be about food packaging? We asked Bill Keevil, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Southampton - a microbiologist and food safety expert who has studied the behaviour of coronavirus strains on surfaces - for his advice.

6th Apr 2020


Telegraph.co.uk: Dentist shares dental hygiene tips

Toothbrushes, the celebrity dentist explains, can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so it's beneficial to run the brush head under hot water for 30 seconds before using the brush and to use mouthwash. Many people rinse their brushes after cleaning, but it's common to apply toothpaste to the brush before adding water. Mr Verdian recommends adapting the daily oral hygiene routine slightly to accommodate 30 seconds of rinsing with hot water in the morning and evening. He also stressed that washing the hands frequently with soap and water was crucial. As well as preventing the toothbrush from becoming a potential point of contact, Mr Verdian claims that reducing contact with harmful bacteria improves the chances of the immune system being able to fight a bacterial infection or a virus, such as COVID-19.

6th Apr 2020 - Cosmetic Dentistry Guide


Community Activities


Old bed sheets make NHS scrubs

Sewing machines across Shetland have been busy in an effort to help the NHS. A high turnover in hospital uniforms because of coronavirus hygiene rules is being addressed by a small army of sewing volunteers. The scheme has seen some wild and wacky designs for "scrubs" as the garments are known, even including a One Direction duvet.

6th Apr 2020 - BBC News


Vietnamese donate 350 hand-made medical masks to Śródmieście District council

The Vietnamese community in Poland decided to join the fight against coronavirus and, as part of a gesture of solidarity and help, it has donated 350 masks sewn by hand to the Śródmieście District Council. The masks were handed over as part of the campaign #VNJesteśmyzWami, to the mayor of the district, Aleksander Ferens, who said on behalf of the district he was very grateful for the gift.

6th Apr 2020 - Warzawa


Remote working


10 Tips for working remotely

If you enjoyed having daily social interaction with co-workers, feelings of isolation and loneliness could set in. Given that this is the new normal, here are ten tips for working remotely that will make your experience less stressful and more productive.

6th Apr 2020 - Forbes


3 ways to manage conflict

A 2017 United Nations report found that 41% of telecommuters were stressed since working remotely can lead to longer office hours and an increased overlap of one's work and personal life. Add new concerns over COVID-19, a struggling economy, homeschooling children, and shaky job security, and remote workers may find themselves mired in fear and anxiety, creating fertile ground for conflict.

6th Apr 2020 - Fortune


Effective Time Management

Time management is one of the most common issues in the way of productivity under normal circumstances. But we are operating in strange times. Working from home automatically comes with its own additional time management challenges under regular circumstances. But we are all dealing with time management on top of the undeniably chaotic events that are unfolding due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

6th Apr 2020 - Forbes


Time-Blocking / Time-Management Techniques

Adapting to remote work can be difficult, especially for those of us who have spent years commuting to the office week after week. Managing time is extremely valuable for working remotely, where distractions abound. Let's look at some new ways you can manage your time to make the most out of your new workday:

6th Apr 2020 - Entrepreneur


Why remote working is the future

With technological advancements in recent years, more people than ever are choosing to work from home. What was once but fantasy is now a reality, and people all around the world are able to get their work done on the run. Remote working has completely changed the way businesses operate, allowing employees the freedom and autonomy to work from wherever they choose. In today's article, we have a look at why working remotely is the future of business

6th Apr 2020 - CEOWORLD magazine


8 Steps to Have a Good Day

Whether you are a member of senior management or a few months into your start-up, these strategies can help you look forward to your workday.


Traditional airfreight training in the virtual classroom

Strategic Aviation Solutions International (SASI), which offers air cargo training programmes, including the Air Cargo Development Programme, under the aegis of Tiaca, is also speeding up its migration to an online format. `We were in the process of converting,` confirmed SASI president & CEO Stan Wraight. According to Mr Careen, the switch to an online framework is not very challenging and around 90% of IATA's training programmes could be converted.

4th Apr 2020 TheLoadStar.com


Ending the office as we know it

The ongoing pandemic has brought about the world's largest remote working experiment, with tens of millions forced to participate worldwide - and its outcome will likely have repercussions that will reverberate long after the last quarantine restrictions are lifted.

4th Apr 2020 - TechRadar India


Virtual Classrooms


Virtual classrooms go online

LearnCoach, a platform for online schooling, has launched virtual classrooms for secondary schools across the country to enable students to keep abreast of their NCEA studies. "We've packaged over 100 online NCEA courses into a personalised platform for teachers, giving them everything they need to run classes directly through LearnCoach," he said, adding that the Covid-19 lockdown would have a massive impact on the young people of New Zealand who were trying to study. "We wanted to find a way to help minimise the damage that is going to do," he said.

6th Apr 2020 - New Zealand Herald


Virtual Kitchen learning in South Plainfield: A lifelong resident of the borough, Sandy Doyon has taught first grade at Kennedy for most of her career and her classroom is filled with all the necessary teaching tools. `There are a lot of great online resources, but I miss having the books to read myself to the class, the manipulatives for hands on learning, and the ability to just grab something whenever I need it,` said Doyon, noting that since virtual learning began three weeks ago, she, like most South Plainfield teachers and their students are learning to work with what they have.

5th Apr 2020 TAPinto.net


What will a virtual classroom look like?

The province announced this week schools will be closed until at least early May - but teaching will resume for students online.

3rd Apr 2020 StCatharinesStandard.ca


7 free Virtual cooking classes

Because of the internet, celebrity chefs have - in lieu of working in restaurants - turned their home kitchens into virtual classrooms for our benefit. It's a horrible time for the restaurant industry, one we hope can be salvaged with our support. The same chefs responsible for creating stellar dining-out experiences are now doing what they can to replicate that magic in your own home.

6th Apr 2020 - HuffPost


Virtual classrooms can transform schooling

Global Schools Foundation has totally adopted Virtual Classrooms across its campuses getting its entire 15,000 cohort onboard this new way of schooling, successfully delivering education online at the time when Covid-19 is causing large-scale disruptions in the education sector as well. Students of Singapore, India, Malaysia and Japan campuses will or have been conducting 100% virtual classroom learning with everyone operating from their homes, while GSF schools in UAE will soon jump on-board. Students are having their daily lessons delivered online, in a similar way to being in an actual classroom, and interacting with teachers and peers through their devices. 

6th Apr 2020 - Global Indian International School


Public Policies


China reports zero daily deaths since Jan

China has reported zero new Covid-19 deaths for the first time since January, despite struggles with ongoing outbreaks including in Wuhan where dozens of residential blocks have been locked down just one day before travel restrictions were set to be lifted. On Tuesday, the National Health Commission reported 32 new cases across China, all of which were arrivals from another country. There were also 30 new asymptomatic cases reported. However, for the first time since the commission began publishing its figures in January, there were no new deaths reported.

7th Apr 2020 - The Guardian


Germans plan to restart an economy

Even as the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the world, European governments are starting to think about how to re-open factories, offices and schools while minimizing the chance of further outbreaks. Austria on Monday said it would gradually begin to reopen shops after Easter, becoming the first country in Europe to do so. Pressure is building on governments to explain their plans because of the mounting economic costs of measures designed to contain the coronavirus. It's compounded by fears that food supplies and health care provisions could be undermined if the restrictions are in place for too long.

6th Apr 2020 - CNN


Austria set to ease lockdown (Paywall)

Austria has set out plans to become the first country in Europe to ease its lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic, with shops due to reopen as early as next week. Flanked by senior government ministers, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Monday presented a timetable to restart the Austrian economy, detailing a series of phased steps to normalise life while minimising the risk of a surge in new infections.

6th Apr 2020 - Financial Times


NYC to fine $1K for not social distancing.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that he's raising the maximum fine for violating social distancing rules to $1,000, media outlets reported. `It's not about your life,` Cuomo said at a news conference, according to CNBC. `You don't have the right to risk someone else's life.` `You don't have the right, frankly, to take healthcare staff and people who are literally putting their lives on the line and be cavalier or reckless with them,` Cuomo said. `You just don't have the right.`

6th Apr 2020 - Miami Herald


Are Nordics best bet for comparing strategies?

There is no knowing at this stage how the interventions adopted by Sweden and the other Nordic nations will play out. But within weeks, this will start to become clear. From this, we will learn much about the delicate balance between strategic under- and overreaction in the face of an infectious disease pandemic.

3rd Apr 2020 - The Conversation UK


South Korean comfort package for quarantined people

An Imgur user who goes by the nickname Uvzxkwq recently shared photos of the care package the South Korean government provided him with on his second day of quarantine. The package contained not only hygiene essentials such as face masks and hand sanitizer but fresh produce as well as a precautionary measure to ensure people in quarantine don't leave home to shop for essentials. They are giving out care packages to people who are quarantined to avoid exposure to confirmed cases

3rd Apr 2020 - Bored Panda


Rome chases zero infection rate end of April

Councilor for Health Alessio D'Amato stressed that a lot depended upon responsible behaviour by those in the city but he felt that progress was being made with the lockdown and that such an ambitious target was at least throeretically achievable

6th Apr 2020 - Money.it


Maintaining services


Councils face lawsuits over access to education

UK Government pressed to ensure poorer pupils have laptops and broadband for home learning

6th Apr 2020 - The Guardian


Remote leaders to keep workers calm and connected

If you're new to leading a remote team, there are three crucial things you must do to ensure employee happiness and productivity - especially during a time of crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak. It's crucial to drive home the mission and to be transparent about what's going on at each level of the company. Keep company culture alive with virtual parties and celebrations and help new hires along the way by using a buddy system.

6th Apr 2020 - Business Insider


Healthcare innovations


Health System Response Monitor (HSRM) to collect / organize information on responses to the crisis.

The Health System Response Monitor (HSRM) has been designed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to collect and organize up-to-date information on how countries are responding to the crisis. It focuses primarily on the responses of health systems but also captures wider public health initiatives. This is a joint undertaking of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the European Commission, and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

6th Apr 2020 - World Health Organization


WHO - vaccine and treatment research has 'accelerated at incredible speed'

More than 70 countries have joined WHO's trial to accelerate research on effective treatments, Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. He said about 20 institutions and companies `are racing to develop a vaccine.` Tedros said the WHO will be announcing an initiative soon for the accelerated development and equitable distribution of vaccines.

6th Apr 2020 - CNBC


Greece suggests EU buy patent rights for vaccines and tests

Greece has suggested EU member states jointly buy patent rights for vaccines against COVID-19 and rapid tests under development to help ensure that if they are effective they are quickly distributed to those in need across the bloc. In an article published in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said finding a solution for a rapid distribution of vaccines, when they are available, is difficult but also urgent. At least 20 vaccines against COVID-19 are under development, many of which are subsidised by individual governments or charities, he told FAZ. "Ideally, once their efficacy has been proven, such vaccines should be distributed as quickly and fairly as possible, and at a reasonable cost," he said, according to a press release.

6th Apr 2020 - YAHOO!


GSK teams up with Chinese biotech on vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline has announced plans to collaborate with China's Xiamen Innovex on a potential vaccine to treat the COVID-19 coronavirus. The companies are testing a recombinant protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate, known as COVID-19 XWG-03, which is being developed by Innovax with Xiamen University. GSK will provide Innovax with the adjuvant need for a preclinical test of the vaccine which is based on a series of truncated S (spike) proteins from the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the respiratory disease known as COVID-19.

6th Apr 2020 Pharmaphorum.com


Bill Gates to spend $billions on Vaccine

Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist who is one the richest people in the world, said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work with seven makers of a possible vaccine to build these factories. Mr. Gates, who announced the efforts in an appearance on `The Daily Show With Trevor Noah` Thursday, acknowledged that billions of dollars would be wasted on vaccines that won't pan out. `Our early money can accelerate things,` Mr. Gates said. `Even though we'll end up picking at most two of them, we're going to fund factories for all seven, just so that we don't waste time in serially saying which vaccine works and then building the factory.`

5th Apr 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Additional sources: (msnNOW) (The Times)


Sept start for Johnson&Johnson Clinical trials

Johnson & Johnson says it has selected a lead candidate vaccine for the new coronavirus that would move to human trials by September and could be ready for emergency use by early next year. The pharmaceutical company has signed an agreement with the US government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to invest $1 billion in the effort, it said in a statement. J&J began working on the vaccine under investigation, Ad26 SARS-CoV-2, in January using the same technology it used to develop a candidate vaccine for Ebola.

6th Apr 2020 - Samaa News


100-yr-old vaccine being tested

On Monday, scientists in Melbourne, Australia, started administering the BCG vaccine or a placebo to thousands of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other health care workers - the first of several randomized controlled trials intended to test the vaccine's effectiveness against the coronavirus. `Nobody is saying this is a panacea,` said Dr. Nigel Curtis, head of infectious diseases at Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, who planned the trial. `What we want to do is reduce the time an infected health care worker is unwell, so they recover and can come back to work faster.` A clinical trial of 1,000 health care workers began 10 days ago in the Netherlands, said Dr. Mihai Netea, an infectious disease specialist at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen. Eight hundred health care workers have already signed up. (As in Australia, half of the participants will receive a placebo.)

6th Apr 2020 - Economic Times


'Achilles heel' may lead to vaccine

A new study compared samples between SARS and coronavirus attacking antibodies. The research may pave the way towards a possible vaccine. Scientists examined an antibody from a SARS patient and tracked how it latched on to a specific area of the SARS virus. The team then observed how the SARS antibody gripped on to the same spot on the coronavirus sample. The scientists observed this at a "near-atomic-scale resolution". The antibody that latched on in the coronavirus sample wasn't identical to the SARS sample, but it did help identify a spot of weakness. The study was lead by Dr Ian Wilson, who told the San Diego Tribune of the potential breakthrough. He said: "The knowledge of conserved sites like this can aid in structure-based design of vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2. `These would also protect against other coronaviruses-including those that may emerge in the future.` The discovery was published on Friday in the journal called Science.

6th Apr 2020 Express.co.uk


Vaccine patch shows promise in mice

When tested in mice, the vaccine-delivered through a fingertip-sized patch-produces antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 at quantities thought to be sufficient for neutralizing the virus. The paper appears in EBioMedicine and is the first study describing a candidate vaccine for COVID-19 to be published after critique from fellow scientists at outside institutions. The researchers were able to act quickly because they had already laid the groundwork during earlier coronavirus epidemics. `We had previous experience on SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2014. These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus. We knew exactly where to fight this new virus,` says co-senior author Andrea Gambotto, associate professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPMC).

6th Apr 2020 - Futurity


Australian scientists begin tests

Scientists in Australia have begun testing two potential coronavirus vaccines in "milestone" lab trials. The vaccines, made by Oxford University and US company Inovio Pharmaceutical, have been cleared for animal testing by the World Health Organization. Australia's national science agency will assess if the vaccines work, and if they would be safe for humans. The first human trial took place in the US last month, but skipped a stage of animal testing. There are several other vaccine developments occurring around the world at the moment at extraordinary speed. But Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) says its tests will be the first comprehensive pre-clinical trials of the vaccines to use an animal model.

2nd Apr 2020 - BBC News


UK scientists enrol volunteers

Oxford scientists are enrolling the first volunteers to test a UK coronavirus vaccine, in a dramatic acceleration of the typical pace of drug development. The trial will recruit up to 510 healthy adults, aged 18 to 55, to test the vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. The participants will not receive the vaccine for some weeks. While screening of participants takes place, the vaccine will continue to be assessed in animal trials at the Public Health England (PHE) laboratory at Porton Down, near Salisbury and, simultaneously, be manufactured to clinical grade standard at a University of Oxford facility.

27th Mar 2020 - The Guardian

Additional sources: (London SE1) (inews)

Rita Begum

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