Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jan 2022

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Thailand to resume quarantine waiver for arrivals from February

Thailand will resume its 'Test & Go' quarantine waiver for vaccinated arrivals from Feb. 1, its coronavirus task force said, in response to slowing COVID-19 infections. The scheme was suspended a month ago after only seven weeks due to the rapid global spread of the Omicron variant and uncertainty about vaccine effectiveness against it. The policy requires visitors to test on arrival and again five days later, while agreeing to have their whereabouts tracked, spokesperson Taweesin Wisanuyothin told a briefing.
20th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jan 2022

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Japan widens COVID-19 curbs as Omicron drives record infections

Japan on Wednesday widened COVID-19 curbs to the capital Tokyo and a dozen regions covering half the population as the Omicron variant of coronavirus drove record new infections. Already in effect in three regions, the measures, set to run from Friday until Feb. 13, were made official by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after getting the sign-off from an expert panel earlier in the day. "We are battling against an unknown virus, and I hope that we can overcome this situation with sufficient preparation and without excessive fear," Kishida said.
19th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Swiss cabinet extends quarantine, work-from-home rules into February

Switzerland will extend until the end of February coronavirus quarantine and mandatory work-from-home rules and tentatively plans to keep until the end of March other curbs on public life it tightened last month, the government said on Wednesday. Those measures included the need for people to prove they have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 to gain entry to many indoor venues as the cabinet tries to avoid another lockdown while COVID-19 cases spike.
19th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Jan 2022

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Denmark eases coronavirus restrictions, as cases hit new record

Denmark registered a record number of coronavirus infections on Monday, as cinemas, museums and other cultural institutions reopened after a month-long COVID-19 lockdown. The Nordic country registered 28,780 new cases in the space of 24 hours and the number of coronavirus-related hospitalisations rose to 802, the highest in a year. Still, health authorities said earlier this month that the now-predominant Omicron variant was milder than initially thought and that around 29% of those in hospital were there due to reasons other than COVID-19
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Thailand to lower COVID-19 alert, ease curbs as infections slow

Thailand will lower its COVID-19 alert level and is considering easing more restrictions to boost its economy, its health minister said on Tuesday, in response to a slower infection rate. Among measures being considered are establishing more "sandbox" areas for tourists, who can skip quarantine if they stay in specified areas for seven days and undergo two COVID-19 tests. Nightclubs, pubs and bars will remained closed for now, however, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters, adding the COVID-19 alert level will be lowered to 3, from 4, on the government's 5-level system
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Japan PM plans stronger COVID curbs for Tokyo, 12 other regions

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday he planned to impose a state of quasi-emergency, meaning stronger COVID-19 curbs on dining and gatherings, on 13 regions including Tokyo from Jan. 21 to Feb. 13. He said the government had halted a programme where those vaccinated or with negative test results would be exempted from coronavirus restrictions as virus cases jumped.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Jan 2022

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Chile Toughens Mobility Limits in Santiago on Covid-19 Surge

Chile’s Health Ministry toughened mobility restrictions in Santiago’s Metropolitan Region and 45 other municipalities nationwide, as the government copes with a surge in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant. Fewer people will be allowed at events in homes and public spaces, and restaurants will cut seating capacity, the Health Ministry informed on Monday. Healthcare workers will also start receiving a second booster shot this week.
18th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Jan 2022

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Frustration over COVID-19 restrictions in increasingly isolated Hong Kong

Hong Kong is following mainland China's zero-tolerance approach to control COVID-19, rankling many residents of the international financial hub as much of the world shifts towards living with the coronavirus. Hong Kong effectively closed its borders and imposed social restrictions this month to deal with a spurt in COVID-19 infections due to the spread of the Omicron variant. Although the moves are less strict than those in parts of the mainland, they come after months of relative normalcy and are battering a city dependent on business travellers and accustomed to frequent dining out.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jan 2022

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Norway Eases Measures as It Prepares to Live With Omicron Wave

Norway is scaling back some of its infection restrictions as it moves into a new phase of the pandemic. The omicron variant has pushed infection rates to records, and the country now needs to ready itself to tolerate living with the virus, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters on Thursday. It isn’t possible to stop an omicron-driven wave, but the likelihood of hospitalization is lower and vaccination provides good protection against serious sickness, he said.
13th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

England to cut minimum COVID self-isolation to five days

The minimum COVID-19 self-isolation period in England will be cut to five days from seven if someone tests negative twice, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Thursday, a move that could reduce staffing disruption in businesses and infrastructure. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has fuelled a spike in COVID-19 cases to record highs in Britain, and the surge has cause major disruption to the staffing of hospitals, schools and transport as staff have to self-isolate.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters UK

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Jan 2022

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Swiss halve quarantine period to five days to cope with Omicron surge

Switzerland will halve its quarantine time to five days to help cope with a wave of coronavirus infections that threatens to hamstring the economy, the government said on Wednesday. Health authorities had given their blessing on Tuesday for the move, which comes as tens of thousands more people get infected every day due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus. Officials worry that the wave could overwhelm the health care system in a country where only two-thirds of the population has got two jabs and just 30% has had a booster shot.
12th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Jan 2022

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Japan to maintain strict border restrictions until end of February

Japan will maintain its tight entry restrictions to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus until the end of February, the prime minister said on Tuesday, though some exceptions for humanitarian reasons may be considered. Japan adopted some of the strictest border controls in the world when the Omicron variant emerged late last year, banning all new entry by non-Japanese people, including students and foreign family members of Japanese or permanent residents, except in exceptional circumstances.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Hong Kong unveils further steps to curb COVID-19 spread, boost vaccinations

Hong Kong will shut kindergartens and primary schools and start offering COVID-19 vaccines for children from the age of five, the city's leader said on Tuesday, as the financial hub grapples with an increase in coronavirus infections. Certain passengers meanwhile will be banned from transiting through Hong Kong for a month, Bloomberg News reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. It comes as the Chinese-ruled city has seen some local transmissions of the Omicron coronavirus variant after three months of no local coronavirus cases at the end of last year.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Nepal bans big public gatherings, closes schools amid COVID spike

Officials in Nepal have banned large public gatherings and closed schools across the Himalayan nation for nearly three weeks after a spike in coronavirus cases. Nepal reported 1,357 new cases on Monday, the biggest single-day jump since September last year, taking its total to 833,946 since the pandemic began. Its death toll from the coronavirus is 11,606.
11th Jan 2022 - AlJazeera

China: Twenty million under strict COVID lockdown amid fears Omicron could disrupt Beijing Winter Olympics

About 20 million people in China are now under a stay-at-home order after a third city brought in a strict COVID lockdown. Anyang in Henan province, with a population of 5.5 million, confirmed a lockdown after 84 cases were detected since Saturday - at least two of them Omicron. Mass testing is being carried out - established practice in China after even a handful of cases - and non-essential vehicles are banned from the streets.
11th Jan 2022 - Sky News

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Jan 2022

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Sweden to implement more COVID measures as Omicron squeezes healthcare

Sweden will introduce more measures to stem a rising number of COVID cases that have placed a greater burden on the healthcare system, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday. Sweden has seen the fastest spread of COVID cases in recent weeks as the Omicron variant has surged through the country. A record 60,000 cases were detected last week, despite limited testing capabilities. "The situation has deteriorated, without doubt. The level of infections in Sweden is at a historically high level," Andersson told a news conference.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

UK minister backs reduced COVID isolation period to ease workforce pressures

Reducing the self-isolation period for people who test positive for COVID-19 from seven days to five would help British employers that have been hard hit by absences, education minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday. The Omicron variant is still spreading in Britain and many businesses, schools and hospitals are struggling with staff shortages, fuelling calls for the rules on isolation after a positive test to be reduced further. Last month, health authorities in the United States shortened the recommended isolation time for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Jan 2022

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Germany tightens dining rules due to Omicron, loosens quarantine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and regional leaders tightened the rules for restaurant and bar visits but shortened COVID-19 quarantine periods on Friday in response to the Omicron variant. Scholz added that all 16 state leaders supported the implementation of a general vaccination mandate and that the Bundestag lower house of parliament would discuss drafts of it soon. Under new measures decided on Friday, people in Germany who have received a booster shot will not have to isolate after being in contact with someone who was infected with the coronavirus.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Jan 2022

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China's Henan adds COVID curbs as cases rise, Xian official apologises

More cities in central China's Henan province imposed COVID restrictions as infections there rose sharply, while authorities in the northwestern city of Xian apologised on Thursday to a woman whose miscarriage during lockdown stirred public outrage. Henan reported 64 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Wednesday, up from just four a day earlier, official data showed on Thursday. While those numbers are small by global standards, and no cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant have been reported so far in Henan, several cities there imposed new limits on travel and other activities in response.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Austria decides new COVID-19 measures including shorter quarantine

Austria will impose new COVID-19 measures from Saturday and the government is still working on a draft law to make vaccinations compulsory from Feb. 1 as the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said on Thursday. Austria managed to slash daily COVID-19 cases with its fourth full coronavirus lockdown between November and December last year, but Omicron is pushing the numbers up again. "We need to do everything we can possibly do together to prevent another lockdown," Nehammer told a news conference after the federal government met provincial leaders and pandemic task force experts.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Belgium suffers record COVID cases, adapts quarantine strategy

Fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Belgium's daily cases of COVID-19 reached a new peak this week, with health experts warning of between 30,000 and 125,000 cases a day by mid-January in the nation of 11 million. "The fifth wave has started. The weekly average has risen by 82%," virologist Steven Van Gucht told a news conference following a government meeting on the coronavirus situation. Home to the European Union institutions and NATO, Belgium registered 27,199 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 3, beating a record set in Nov. 2020, and hit a fresh high of over 28,000 on Jan. 4, as Omicron hit the country a little later than Britain, Spain and France.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Jan 2022

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U.S. CDC backs previous advice for 5-day isolation; no test needed

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday backed its week-old guidance for people seeking to end their COVID-19 isolation at five days, adding they could take a rapid antigen test if they want to and can access one, but is not requiring that. The agency had been pressured by health experts to institute a test requirement after it cut in half its guidance last week for people to isolate after a COVID-19 infection to 5 days from 10. It said the move was based on science around transmission of the virus. On Tuesday, the CDC added an explanation on its website, saying that a review of 113 studies from 17 countries showed that most transmission occurs early in the course of infection. It said the average period of infectiousness and risk of transmission was "between 2-3 days before and 8 days after symptom onset."
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters on MSN.com

Yuzhou: Second Chinese city forced into Covid lockdown

China has put a second city into total lockdown after just three asymptomatic Covid cases were discovered. Yuzhou - which has a population of 1.1 million - saw its transport system shut down and all but essential food stores closed overnight. It follows a similar lockdown in Xi'an, where 13 million have been confined to their homes since 23 December. The strict measures come ahead of the Lunar New Year and the Winter Olympics due to be held in Beijing.
5th Jan 2022 - BBC News

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Jan 2022

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Lockdown of Chinese City Leaves 13 Million Stranded

A week and a half into one of the biggest pandemic lockdowns in China, residents of Xi’an voiced desperation online about challenges in getting food and medical care. China’s Covid-19 count remains low in comparison with other countries, hovering at around 100 a day. In the past few days, about 90% of cases have been in Xi’an, the city of terracotta-warrior fame in China’s northwest, which has confirmed 1,758 total Covid-19 infections since Dec. 9, a high number for China. Most of the cases have been mild, officials said. No deaths related to Covid-19 have been reported anywhere in China in the past 11 months, including Xi’an.
4th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Delhi imposes weekend curfew as COVID cases multiply, chief minister tests positive

Authorities in India's capital Delhi on Tuesday ordered people to stay home over coming weekends, with COVID-19 cases quadrupling in a week. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the most senior elected official in the capital's administration, was one of the 37,379 new COVID-19 cases reported in India in the space of 24 hours. Kejriwal, who announced his infection the day after addressing an election rally without a mask, is among scores of political leaders - including Prime Minister Narendra Modi - holding events across India in front of large crowds.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Jan 2022

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U.S., Europe Weigh Isolation Requirements as Omicron Disrupts Daily Life

European governments are relaxing some quarantine requirements to help keep daily life open with new Covid-19 infections surging, while the top U.S. infectious-disease expert suggested health authorities might tighten isolation measures. Countries have been grappling with isolation requirements, trying to balance health concerns as the Omicron variant takes hold, with the risk that those quarantine periods sideline medical staff, teachers and other workers for so long that hospitals, schools and other workplaces are unable to function effectively. Throughout the pandemic, Europeans have typically been required to self-isolate for 10 days if they or a close contact have tested positive for the virus. Some governments are responding to the threat of breakdown by shortening or otherwise easing their quarantine rules.
3rd Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 positive cases can be released from isolation without a test

On Thursday states agreed to seven-day isolation with negative test on day 6 But now leaders have agreed that no test is necessary for asymptomatic people Close contacts and Covid patients can simply leave isolation after seven days This is because people are rarely infectious after having Covid for a whole week
31st Dec 2021 - Daily Mail

South Africa lifts curfew as it says COVID-19 fourth wave peaks

South Africa has lifted a midnight to 4 a.m. curfew on people's movement with immediate effect, believing the country has passed the peak of its fourth COVID-19 wave driven by the Omicron variant, a government statement said on Thursday. The country made the changes based on the trajectory of the pandemic, levels of vaccination in the country and available capacity in the health sector, according to a press release issued by Mondli Gungubele, a minister in the presidency. South Africa is currently at the lowest of its five-stage COVID-19 alert levels.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Hong Kong says Omicron has breached its strict COVID-19 restrictions

Hong Kong's health officials said on Friday the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has made its way past some of the world's toughest COVID 19 restrictions, with the city reporting its first cases outside its strict quarantine system. The findings raise risks that the global financial hub might keep its borders shut well into 2022. It has largely isolated itself from the world hoping in turn to open the border with mainland China for a limited number of business travellers.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Ireland relaxes COVID-19 testing rules, cuts isolation period

Ireland on Thursday became the latest country to cut the isolation period for some people who contract COVID-19 and relax requirements for tests as a record number of cases for the fourth time in a week overwhelmed testing facilities. With the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus accounting for 92% of all infections, the health department reported 20,554 new cases, more than double the record in any previous wave to bring the 14-day infection rate to 2,300 per 100,000 people.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Dec 2021

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'Just want to go home': China's Xian in COVID lockdown for 7th day

A lockdown of 13 million people in the Chinese city of Xian entered its seventh day on Wednesday, with many unable to leave their residential compounds and relying on deliveries of necessities as new COVID-19 infections persisted. Xian reported 151 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, or nearly all of the 152 cases nationwide, bringing the total number of local Xian cases to nearly 1,000 during the Dec. 9-28 period. No cases of the Omicron variant have been announced in the city so far.
29th Dec 2021 - Reuters

CDC cuts isolation time for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases to 5 days

U.S. health authorities on Monday shortened the recommended isolation time for Americans with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said the asymptomatic people after isolation should follow five days of wearing a mask when around others. It also recommended a five-day quarantine for those exposed to the virus who are unvaccinated or are over six months out from their second mRNA dose or more than two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and not yet boosted. The quarantine period should be followed by strict mask use for an additional five days.
28th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Dec 2021

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Greece expands restrictions to contain Omicron variant surge

Greece on Monday announced further restrictions effective from Jan. 3-16 to contain a further upsurge in COVID-19 infections including the Omicron variant, targeting mainly night-time entertainment venues. As confirmed new COVID-19 cases surged to a record of 9,284 on Monday, resulting in 66 deaths, the health minister said that under the new measures, high-protection masks would be compulsory at supermarkets, public transport and eating establishments. Bars and restaurants will have to close at midnight and no standing customers at entertainment venues will be allowed. There will also be a maximum limit of six people per table.
27th Dec 2021 - Reuters

China puts city of 13 million in COVID lockdown before Olympics

China has put a city of 13 million people into lockdown over an increase in coronavirus infections, just weeks before it is set to host the Winter Olympics. The restrictions in the city of Xi’an in the northeastern Shaanxi province took effect on Thursday, with no word on when they might be lifted. They are some of the harshest since China imposed a strict lockdown last year on more than 11 million people in and around the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019. One person from each household will be allowed out every two days to buy household necessities, a government order said.
24th Dec 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Dec 2021

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Portugal imposes post-Christmas COVID-19 curbs as Omicron cases surge

Portugal on Tuesday ordered nightclubs and bars to close and told people to work from home for at least two weeks starting on Saturday to control the spread of COVID-19 over the holiday period. "This still isn't the normal Christmas we are used to," Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference. "If we do not adopt these measures now, the consequences on everyone's lives will be much worse after Christmas and the New Year." Costa also announced capacity restrictions at stores and said a negative coronavirus test would now be required to stay at hotels or go to events.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Austria tightens restrictions as it braces for Omicron wave

Austria is introducing restrictions including a 10 p.m. closing time to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant after Christmas and prevent it being imported from Europe's hardest-hit countries, a senior health official said on Wednesday. Austria began emerging from its fourth full coronavirus lockdown 10 days ago. While that three-week lockdown slashed daily COVID-19 infections, the country is bracing for another surge because of the extremely contagious Omicron variant, of which several hundred cases have been confirmed so far.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Dec 2021

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Sweden hardens COVID curbs amid worries over Omicron

Sweden will urge all employees to work from home if possible and impose tighter rules for social distancing, the government said on Tuesday, as it ratchets up restrictions to fight a surge in new infections and the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. The number of new virus cases in Sweden, which sparked international attention last year for its rejection of hard lockdowns, have shot up in recent weeks after a calm autumn when most restrictions were phased out. Hospitalizations and intensive care cases are still among the lowest per capita in Europe, but have also begun rising.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Iceland Tightens Covid Curbs Amid Surge in Cases

Iceland is taking stronger measures to quell a surge in Covid-19 cases after daily infections reached a record. The North Atlantic island’s government cut the number of people allowed at gatherings to 20 from the current 50, Health Minister Wilum Thor Thorsson said on Tuesday. When rapid tests are in use, 200 people will be allowed to gather, down from the current 500. The new rules take effect at midnight. “We are very worried,” Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir told local media after a government meeting. “Uncertainty over how effective vaccinations are against the new variant calls for the government to react.”
21st Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Germany to Impose Tighter Curbs as Nation Braces for Omicron

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pushed through tighter social-distancing restrictions to stave off the threat of a “massive” surge of the omicron Covid-19 variant just as families gather for the Christmas holidays. The latest measures, which add to existing curbs that mainly affect the unvaccinated, include limiting gatherings to 10 people starting Dec. 28. The restrictions, which Scholz negotiated with regional leaders on Tuesday, also apply to those who are inoculated or have recovered from the virus. “We can’t close our eyes to the next wave that’s beginning to appear in front of us,” Scholz told reporters in Berlin after meeting the country’s 16 state premiers. The chancellor said Germans should celebrate Christmas, but cautiously.
21st Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Spain Faces New Restrictions Despite High Vaccine Rates

Despite vaccination rates that make other governments envious, Spain and Portugal are facing the hard truth that, with the new omicron variant running rampant, these winter holidays won't be a time of unrestrained joy. Portugal on Tuesday announced a slew of new restrictions over Christmas and the New Year, making working from home mandatory and shutting discotheques and bars beginning Saturday night. Also, a negative test result must be shown to enter Portuguese cinemas, theaters, sports events, weddings and baptisms until at least Jan. 9.
21st Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Businesses fret as South Korea reimposes COVID-19 curfews

As clocks struck 9 p.m. this week, customers packed up and left restaurants and other eateries across South Korea as a reimposed curfew designed to help stem a surge in coronavirus infections sparks fears of economic disaster for some businesses. Last week authorities announced a series of social distancing measures lasting until at least Jan. 2. They include limiting gatherings to no more than four people and forcing restaurants, cafes and bars to close by 9 p.m. (1200 GMT). The measures came just six weeks after highly-vaccinated South Korea eased many restrictions to try to "live with COVID-19." Since then daily cases and serious infections have hit record highs, adding to strains on the country's medical system.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand delays border re-opening over Omicron concerns

New Zealand on Tuesday postponed its phased border re-opening plans until the end of February over concerns of the rapid global spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The South Pacific nation had just started easing some of the world's toughest pandemic measures and its international border restrictions were to progressively loosen from January, with all foreign tourists allowed into the country from April. Non-quarantine travel, which was to have opened for New Zealanders in Australia from Jan. 16, would be pushed back until the end of February, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at a press conference in Wellington.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Thailand reinstates mandatory COVID-19 quarantine over Omicron concerns

Thailand will reinstate its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for foreign visitors and scrap a quarantine waiver from Tuesday due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The decision to halt Thailand's "Test and Go" waiver means visitors will have to undergo hotel quarantine, which ranges between 7 to 10 days. Meanwhile, a so-called "sandbox" programme, which requires visitors to remain in a specific location but allows them free movement outside of their accommodation, will also be suspended in all places except for the tourist resort island of Phuket.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Dec 2021

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Dutch streets deserted as snap Christmas COVID lockdown starts

Article reports that Dutch urban centres were largely deserted on Sunday as the country began a snap lockdown that, aimed at stemming an expected COVID-19 surge caused by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, left people's Christmas plans in disarray. Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the shutdown on Saturday evening, ordering the closure of all but essential stores, as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places from Sunday until at least Jan. 14. In Rotterdam, police used a water cannon to disperse a group of around 1,000 people who had gathered outside the city's main soccer stadium, ahead of a clash between local team Feyenoord and bitter rivals Ajax Amsterdam.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters

No lockdown before Christmas, Germany says

Germany's health minister Karl Lauterbach ruled out a Christmas lockdown on Sunday but warned a fifth COVID-19 wave could no longer be stopped and backed mandatory vaccination as the only way to stop the pandemic. "There will not be a lockdown before Christmas here. But we will get a fifth wave - we have crossed a critical number of Omicron infections," Lauterbach said, speaking on broadcaster ARD. "This wave can no longer be completely stopped." In another interview with BILD, Lauterbach added that he did not expect there to be a "hard lockdown" after the holidays either.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Netherlands starts 'painful' Christmas coronavirus lockdown

Dutch urban centres were largely deserted on Sunday as the country began a snap lockdown that, aimed at stemming an expected COVID-19 surge caused by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, left people's Christmas plans in disarray. Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the shutdown on Saturday evening, ordering the closure of all but essential stores, as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places from Sunday until at least Jan. 14. In Rotterdam, police used a water cannon to disperse a group of around 1,000 people who had gathered outside the city's main soccer stadium, ahead of a clash between local team Feyenoord and bitter rivals Ajax Amsterdam.
19th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Officials draw up plans for two-week 'circuit breaker' lockdown

Plans for a two-week circuit breaker lockdown after Xmas are being drawn up. Leaked minutes from a SAGE meeting said restrictions are needed 'very soon.' During the Thursday meeting, the experts backed a ban on indoor social contact. It is believed that they want fresh measures to come in before January 1
19th Dec 2021 - Daily Mail

Germany to impose quarantine on travellers from Britain from Monday

Germany will impose quarantine on travellers from Britain from midnight on Monday and require a negative COVID-19 test for entry into the country, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Saturday. Germany's regional health ministers had urged the national government on Saturday to introduce tougher rules on people arriving from Britain, where the Omicron coronavirus variant has sparked a surge in infections. At a meeting, the ministers called on Berlin to classify Britain as a virus-variant area, enforcing a two-week quarantine on all travellers including those who are vaccinated.
18th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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France halts British visitors, EU nations tighten borders as Omicron rises

France imposed travel restrictions on travellers from Britain on Thursday due to surging COVID-19 cases there, and several European countries also strengthened border controls on visitors from other EU states. Plans for Christmas celebrations in Europe and many countries across the globe have been thrown into disarray by the rapid spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant, which emerged in Hong Kong and Southern Africa last month.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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UK COVID cases hit record; Top doctor warns of worse to come

Professor Chris Whitty described the current situation as two epidemics in one — with omicron infections rising rapidly even as the country continues to grapple with the older delta variant, which is still causing a large number of infections. Public health officials expect omicron to become the dominant variant across the U.K. within days. Omicron already accounts for a majority of cases in London. The U.K. recorded 78,610 new infections on Wednesday, 16% higher than the previous record set in January. While scientists are still studying the risks posed by the highly transmissible omicron variant, Witty said the public should be braced for the figures to continue rising in coming weeks. “There are several things we don’t know,” Whitty said. “But all the things we do know are bad, the principal one being the speed at which this is moving. It is moving at an absolutely phenomenal pace.”
15th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Dec 2021

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COVID-19: All countries on red list to be removed as 'less effective' in slowing Omicron - Javid

All 11 countries on the UK's travel red list will be removed as the system has become "less effective in slowing the incursion" of the Omicron variant, the health secretary has announced. Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that the nations will be removed from 4am on Wednesday, so arrivals will no longer have to isolate in a government-approved quarantine hotel for two weeks at the cost of £2,285. The 11 countries currently on the red list are: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
14th Dec 2021 - Sky News

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Austria ends Covid lockdown restrictions for vaccinated people

Austria has ended lockdown restrictions for vaccinated people across most of the country, three weeks after reimposing strict rules to combat a rising wave of coronavirus infections. The rules, which vary by region within the country, largely allow for the reopening of theatres, museums and other cultural and entertainment venues on Sunday. Shops will follow on Monday. Some regions are reopening restaurants and hotels on Sunday, while others will wait until later in the month. In all cases, there will be an 11pm curfew for restaurants, and masks will still be required on public transport and inside stores and public spaces.
12th Dec 2021 - The Guardian

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Dec 2021

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Polarized Austria Ends Lockdown as Vaccine Mandate Looms Large

Austria ended a nationwide coronavirus lockdown for most people on Sunday, while keeping restrictions for the unvaccinated as it presses ahead with the boldest incentive in Europe to boost inoculations. Starting Sunday, vaccine-rejectors can only leave their homes to go to work, where they’ll need to provide a negative coronavirus test every two days, and for essential shopping and daily exercise. Entry to other venues will be barred. Life will slowly return to normal for people who’ve had a vaccine or have recently recovered from the virus, with regions implementing a patchwork of easing schedules.
12th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Austria’s Restrictions on the Unvaccinated Appear to Be Working

Austria, one of the worst-hit countries in Europe’s latest Covid-19 surge, has seen infections plummet and vaccination rates soar after imposing a lockdown and saying it would make the shots mandatory next year. The measures, and the steep fall in new cases since they were announced, could offer some options to countries in a region where infections are still rising rapidly or plateauing at a high level. The Alpine republic introduced a lockdown and said it would mandate vaccines beginning next February on Nov. 22, when the weekly rolling average of daily new cases exceeded 1,500 and hospitals in areas with low vaccination rates were struggling to cope with the influx of patients.
11th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Swiss mull limited lockdown as COVID-19 cases rise

Switzerland may have to impose another limited lockdown to break the momentum of rising coronavirus cases that threaten to overwhelm its healthcare system, the government said on Friday. "This is really a critical phase. The trends are going in the wrong direction," Health Minister Alain Berset told reporters in Bern as the cabinet launched consultations with regional authorities and social partners on the way forward. The government said it may expand the requirement for proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus for access to many indoor venues, which would leave out unvaccinated people even if they have negative test results.
11th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Austria plans to fine vaccine holdouts up to 3600 euros a quarter

Austria's conservative-led government on Thursday gave details of its plan to make coronavirus vaccines compulsory, saying it will apply to people 14 and over and holdouts face fines of up to 3,600 euros ($4,071) every three months. Roughly 68% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Many Austrians are sceptical about vaccines, a view encouraged by the far-right Freedom Party, the third biggest in parliament.
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Slovakia to re-open shops for vaccinated, others face longer lockdown

Slovakia will on Friday re-open non-essential shops and some services for those vaccinated against COVID-19 while at the same time extending a lockdown for others and closing some schools, Health Minister Vladimir Lengvarsky said. The central European country of 5.5 million people has struggled with one of the world's worst coronavirus waves in the past few weeks, and shut shops and services for all people for two weeks ending Dec. 9. Lengvarsky had sought to extend the general lockdown until Dec.16, and to ease it for the vaccinated from Dec. 17.
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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S.Korea considers expanded COVID-19 home care as new cases top 7000

South Korea will consider expanding home treatment of COVID-19 patients, a health official said on Wednesday, as both new daily infections and severe cases hit record highs, putting hospital capacity under strain. Infections in South Korea have skyrocketed this month after the government began to ease restrictions under a so-called "living with COVID-19" scheme in November. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 7,175 new coronavirus cases and 63 deaths for Tuesday, the first time daily infections topped 7,000, while hospitals treated a record 840 critical and serious cases.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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The explosion of Covid PTSD cases is a mental health crisis in the making

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, people working in the trauma field knew the psychological toll would be colossal. In the spring of 2020, I began interviewing professionals about the mental health fallout of the pandemic, specifically its impact on frontline medical staff. During the first wave, two in every five intensive care staff in England reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. That work continued for almost a year, during which time a second wave hit and the initial traumas were exacerbated. But it wasn’t only frontline workers who were experiencing trauma symptoms: Covid has posed perhaps the biggest threat to mental health in England since the second world war. Now, at the tail end of 2021, the pandemic is still not over. The NHS forecasts that nationally, there will be 230,000 new cases of PTSD as a result of Covid-19.
7th Dec 2021 - The Guardian

Austria plans to lift lockdown, but not for the unvaccinated

The unvaccinated will stay in lockdown when Austria lifts its wider general lockdown on Sunday, Chancellor Karl Nehammer confirmed on Tuesday, a day after he took office. Austria went intolockdowntwo weeks ago to counter a surge in daily COVID-19 infections to record levels, with restaurants, bars, theatres and non-essential shops shut to all but take-away business. Hotels are closed to tourists. Infections have plunged since but intensive-care bed occupancy is still rising.
7th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Slovak health minister proposes extending lockdown till Dec 16

Slovakia's health minister said on Monday he would ask the cabinet to extend a lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 infections by one week until Dec. 16. Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million, has grappled with one of the world's worst coronavirus waves in the past few weeks and introduced a lockdown that shut most shops and services on Nov. 25. Under the lockdown, Slovaks are allowed to school and work but non-essential movement between districts is banned, as well as most public gatherings and events. Non-essential shops are closed.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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WHO says measures used against delta should work for omicron

Measures used to counter the delta variant should remain the foundation for fighting the coronavirus pandemic, even in the face of the new omicron version of the virus, World Health Organization officials said Friday, while acknowledging that the travel restrictions imposed by some countries may buy time. While about three dozen countries worldwide have reported omicron infections, including India on Thursday, the numbers so far are small outside of South Africa, which is facing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and where the new variant may be becoming dominant. Still, much remains unclear about omicron, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, or whether it can evade vaccine protection.
3rd Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

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Sweden says could impose new COVID-19 measures next week

Sweden could impose new restrictions as early as next week to fight the coronavirus pandemic and a rising tide of infections, its public health agency said on Thursday. New measures could include general advice such as keeping a distance from other people and wearing a face mask on public transport, the agency said, but gave no precise details. It also said it might recommend employers to enable staff to "to some degree" work from home.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Lebanon reintroduces some COVID-19 prevention measures

Lebanon will impose a night-time curfew starting Dec. 17 on non-vaccinated people for three weeks and make full vaccination mandatory for all workers in several sectors due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, the COVID-19 committee said on Wednesday. Vaccination will be mandatory for all civil servants and workers in the health, education, tourism and public transport sectors as of Jan. 10, the committee said. A new coronavirus variant found in South Africa and detected in several countries was determined as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization last week and has led to strengthening COVID-19-related restrictions around the world.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea hits new COVID-19 record, halts quarantine exemptions to block Omicron

South Korea's daily coronavirus case numbers rose to a new high on Thursday, as authorities halted quarantine exemptions for fully vaccinated inbound travellers for two weeks in a bid to fend off the Omicron variant. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 5,266 cases for Wednesday, a day after the daily tally rose above 5,000 for the first time amid concerns over a sharp rise in patients with severe symptoms. South Korea will require a 10-day quarantine for all inbound travellers for two weeks starting Friday, halting exemptions given earlier to fully vaccinated people, the KDCA said.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Germany to impose restrictions on unvaccinated to break COVID surge

Germany on Thursday imposed restrictions on the unvaccinated as it sought to break a dramatic surge in daily coronavirus infections exacerbated by the discovery of the Omicron strain. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor Olaf Scholz agreed with leaders of Germany's 16 states to bar the unvaccinated from access to all but the most essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and bakeries. They also agreed to pass legislation in the national parliament to make vaccination mandatory.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

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U.S. tightens travel rules as more countries secure borders to quell Omicron

Heavily mutated Omicron is rapidly becoming the dominant variant of the coronavirus in South Africa less than four weeks after it was first detected there, and the United States on Wednesday became the latest country to identify an Omicron case within its borders. The first known U.S. case was a fully vaccinated person in California who returned to the United States from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive seven days later. The person had mild symptoms and was in self-quarantine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told reporters at the White House.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Austria extends COVID-19 lockdown by 10 days

An Austrian parliamentary committee on Tuesday, as widely expected, approved a decree extending the country's COVID-19 lockdown by 10 days, bringing its total duration to 20 days, which the government has said is the longest it will last. Faced with surging daily coronavirus infections, the conservative-led government introduced the lockdown on Monday of last week, the first country in Western Europe to reimpose a lockdown this autumn.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Australia delays border reopening as Omicron cases rise

Australia said on Monday it would delay the reopening of its international border by two weeks after reporting its first cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Prime Minister Scott Morrison convened a meeting of his national security committee and said it received advice from Australia's chief health officer to delay the reopening after the first cases of the new variant were detected on Sunday.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Singapore, Malaysia reopen land border amid worries over the Omicron variant

Singapore and Malaysia reopened one of the world's busiest land borders on Monday, allowing vaccinated travellers to cross after nearly two years of being shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although travellers welcomed the chance to reunite with family and friends, there were concerns the border might be closed again due to the new Omicron coronavirus variant. As many as 300,000 Malaysians commuted daily to Singapore before the pandemic. The sudden closing of the border in March 2020 left tens of thousands stranded on both sides, separated from families and fearing for their jobs.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

High COVID case count, Omicron prompt S.Korea not to relax curbs

South Korea said on Monday it has shelved plans to further relax COVID-19 restrictions due to the strain on its healthcare system from rising hospitalisation and death rates, as well as the threat posed by the new Omicron variant. President Moon Jae-in said the crisis had deepened and called for a united response to prevent the variant from entering the country, including the mobilisation of more personnel and tightening contact tracing.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Japan to bar all foreign visitors over Omicron variant

Japan says it will bar the entry of all foreign visitors from around the world, just weeks after a softening of strict entry rules, following the emergence of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. “We will ban the (new) entry of foreigners from around the world starting from November 30,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters, saying the measures would take effect on Tuesday. Over the weekend, Japan tightened entry restrictions for people arriving from South Africa and eight other countries in the region, requiring them to undergo a 10-day quarantine at government-designated facilities. Monday’s announcement means Japan will restore border controls it eased earlier this month for short-term business visitors, foreign students and workers.
29th Nov 2021 - AlJazeera

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Omicron Identified as Covid-19 ‘Variant of Concern,’ Triggering Global Fears

A fast-spreading new strain of the coronavirus first detected in southern Africa is a global “variant of concern” and might pose a higher risk of people falling ill with Covid-19 for a second time, the World Health Organization said Friday, as governments around the globe restricted travel from the region. WHO said there was also preliminary evidence that the variant, which it named Omicron after the Greek letter, was more transmissible than the Delta variant that is currently dominant world-wide, and other virus strains. Health authorities in Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong and Botswana said they had detected first cases of the variant. Although scientists were still figuring out the exact effects of the variant’s many mutations, its discovery highlights the continued threat posed by an evolving virus to the world’s emergence from the pandemic. The travel restrictions imposed by many countries, including the U.S., raised fears that there could be further setbacks to the reopening of economic and social life, including in Western countries with high vaccination rates.
27th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Australia starts 14-day quarantine for citizens travelling from southern Africa

Australia will introduce 14-day quarantine for citizens and their dependents travelling from nine countries in southern Africa due to the new coronavirus variant, its health minister said on Saturday. "Anyone who is not a citizen of Australia or their dependents, and who has been in African countries where the Omicron variant has been detected and spread within the past 14 days will not be able to enter Australia," Health Minister Greg Hunt told a press briefing.
27th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Portugal reimposes rules as COVID-19 cases rise

Portugal, which has one of the world's highest rates of vaccination against COVID-19, announced it would reimpose restrictions to stop a surge in cases, ordering all passengers flying into the country to show a negative test certificate on arrival. "It doesn't matter how successful the vaccination was, we must be aware we are entering a phase of greater risk," Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference on Thursday. "We have seen significant growth (in cases) in the EU and Portugal is not an island," he added.
26th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Czechs shut bars and restaurants early, hoping to avoid COVID lockdown

The Czech government on Thursday ordered bars and clubs to close at 10 p.m. and banned Christmas markets in an attempt to stem one of the world's highest coronavirus infection rates. The new restrictions also include a maximum attendance of 1,000 people at culture and sports events, stopping short of the sweeping lockdowns in neighbouring Austria and Slovakia, where infection rates are even higher. Just hours after the new restrictions were announced, the presidential office said President Milos Zeman was taken to hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus, although local media reported he showed no symptoms.
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Italy tightens screws on COVID unvaccinated, extends shot mandate

Italy on Wednesday tightened the screws on people unwilling to take an anti-COVID vaccine, sharply restricting access to an array of services and making vaccines mandatory for a wider group of public sector workers. Italy acted as much of Europe is increasing restrictions to try to grapple with a new wave of the pandemic. Under the Italian measures, which will come into force from Dec. 6, unvaccinated people will not be able to enter venues such as cinemas, restaurants and sports events, Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government said in a statement
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Slovakia follows Austria into lockdown amid record surge in COVID cases

Slovakia's government followed the example of neighbouring Austria on Wednesday and ordered a two-week lockdown to quell the world's fastest rise in COVID-19 cases as the number of people sick in hospital reached a critical level and vaccination levels remain low. Restaurants and non-essential shops will close as part of the measures and movement will be limited to trips for essential shopping, work, school or medical visits, along with walks in nature, government officials said.
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Slovakia's COVID cases rise by record as government prepares lockdown

Slovakia's government followed the example of neighbouring Austria on Wednesday and ordered a two-week lockdown to quell the world's fastest rise in COVID-19 cases as the number of people sick in hospital reached a critical level and vaccination levels remain low. Restaurants and non-essential shops will close as part of the measures and movement will be limited to trips for essential shopping, work, school or medical visits, along with walks in nature, government officials said.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Austria's lockdown is looking infectious

Austria’s lockdown may spread as quickly as Covid-19. On Friday, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced a national lockdown beginning on Monday and introduced Europe’s first vaccine mandate. Austria and its neighbours had been hoping that a targeted lockdown for vaccine holdouts might avert blanket restrictions, however soaring infection rates have already stretched intensive care facilities to the brink.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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COVID-19: Austria coronavirus lockdown feels not just like a health crisis, but also a cultural, social and political storm

On Saturday, the streets of Vienna were packed with shoppers. Today, they were quiet, if not deserted. Yes, this is lockdown, but it isn't quite the eerie emptiness of 18 months ago. Instead, the Austrian capital feels like it's closed for business. The clothes shops, the ice rinks and, of course, the Christmas markets. All shut. Maria Fridrichovsky normally sells chestnuts in one of the markets. She told me she is "angry" at what has happened, bemused that only 65% of the Austrian population is vaccinated against COVID. "I feel very sad because the companies are closed down," she said. "We sell chestnuts and potatoes to the people. It should be lovely here at Christmas. "But now it's so hard - many people are calling up by telephone - what can I do? What can I tell them? It's so sad."
23rd Nov 2021 - Sky News

Germany considers more COVID-19 curbs, compulsory vaccines as cases soar

Germany should impose further restrictions to try to stop a fourth wave of coronavirus infections, outgoing Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Tuesday as more politicians backed the idea of compulsory vaccinations. The surge in infections comes at a difficult time as Chancellor Angela Merkel is preparing to hand over to a new government after a national election in September. The leaders of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats, who are trying to form a new coalition, were due to break off their talks on Tuesday to meet Merkel to discuss the pandemic, sources close to the negotiations told Reuters.
23rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Slovakia "intensively" looking at COVID lockdown possibility, PM says

The Czech Republic and Slovakia banned unvaccinated people from hotels, pubs, hairdressers and most public events from Monday after COVID-19 cases filled hospital intensive-care wards, and were mulling harsher steps to stem the resurgent pandemic. The central European neighbours both acted a step behind Austria, which first set restrictions on unvaccinated people but went for a full lockdown on Monday as the region became the world's latest COVID-19 hotspot.
23rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Austria re-enters COVID-19 lockdown as cases soar again in Europe

The German health minister has warned citizens that they would be either “vaccinated, cured or dead” from COVID-19 by the end of winter as several European countries impose restrictions amid surging infections. “Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead,” Jens Spahn said, as he urged more Germans to get the jab. As intensive care beds fill up fast, Germany’s worst-hit regions have ordered new shutdowns, including the closure of Christmas markets. In regions with high hospitalisation rates, the unvaccinated will be barred from public spaces like cinemas, gyms and indoor dining. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany’s current COVID restrictions, including barring the unvaccinated from certain public spaces “are not enough”.
22nd Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com

Singapore health minister says return to strict COVID-19 curbs a last resort

A return to stricter COVID-19 curbs in Singapore will be a "last resort", Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Monday, as the city-state partially eased limits on social gatherings and dining out under its calibrated reopening approach. Ong also said the international travel and tourism hub would continue to open "travel lanes" with more countries for vaccinated visitors. Singapore is gradually granting small groups of vaccinated people increased liberties, resuming in-person business events and permitting quarantine-free travel from select countries as it ramps up its vaccine booster programme. "I feel it's important to do it this way, because it minimizes the chance of us having to backpedal too frequently," Ong told Reuters in an interview on Monday for the upcoming Reuters Next conference.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand to end tough COVID curbs, adopt new virus-fighting system

New Zealand will adopt a new system of living with the coronavirus virus from Dec. 3, which will end tough restrictions and allow businesses to operate in its biggest city, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. New Zealand remained largely COVID-19 free until August but has been unable to beat an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant, forcing Ardern to abandon an elimination strategy and switch to treating the virus as endemic.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Austria imposes full COVID lockdown, makes vaccination mandatory

Austria will become the first country in Western Europe to reimpose a full coronavirus lockdown to tackle a new wave of infections and will require its whole population to be vaccinated by February, its government has said. Friday’s announcement came as roughly two-thirds of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. The country’s infection rate is among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 991 per 100,000 people. Austria had introduced a lockdown for all those who were unvaccinated on Monday but since then, infections have set new records.
20th Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com

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Germany to limit public life for the unvaccinated

Germany will limit large parts of public life in areas where hospitals are becoming dangerously full of COVID-19 patients to those who have either been vaccinated or have recovered from the illness, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. The move is necessary to tackle a "very worrying" fourth wave of the pandemic that is overburdening hospitals, she said. "Many of the measures that are now needed would not have been needed if more people were vaccinated. And it isn't too late to get vaccinated now," Merkel said.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Belgium extends mask use, enforces home working as COVID-19 spikes

Belgium tightened its coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, mandating wider use of masks and enforcing work from home, as cases spiked in the country's fourth COVID-19 wave. From Saturday, all people in indoor venues such as cafes and restaurants will need to wear a mask unless seated and the rule will apply to those aged 10 or older. The previous age threshold was 12. Nightclubs may have to test their guests if they want to let them dance mask-free. People wanting to eat in a restaurant or go to the theatre already must present a COVID pass, showing vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Austria's focus shifts to full lockdown as COVID-19 cases keep rising

Pressure on Austria's government to impose a full COVID-19 lockdown grew on Thursday as its worst-hit provinces said they would adopt the measure for themselves since infections are still rising despite the current lockdown for the unvaccinated. Roughly 66% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Its infections are among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 971.5 per 100,000 people. As winter approaches, cases have surged across Europe, prompting governments to consider reimposing unpopular lockdowns. The Netherlands has imposed a partial lockdown that applies to all, but Austria has sought not to impose extra restrictions on the fully vaccinated.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Portugal's Madeira Island Imposes Curbs on Unvaccinated People

The Portuguese island of Madeira will impose new restrictions on unvaccinated residents and visitors amid a surge in coronavirus cases across Europe. People who have not been vaccinated will be banned from attending public events such as concerts from Saturday, Miguel Albuquerque, the president of Madeira’s regional government, said in a televised press conference on Thursday. Unvaccinated people are allowed to attend mass or go to the supermarket as long as they show a negative Covid-19 test. The use of masks will become mandatory in public spaces. Mass testing will also be carried out on a weekly basis to try to contain the spread of the virus, Albuquerque said.
18th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Greece Is the Latest European Country to Restrict the Unvaccinated

Greece will tighten restrictions on people unvaccinated against the coronavirus as rising cases and hospitalizations strain the nation’s health systems. It joins Germany, Austria and other European countries in attempting to pressure more people into getting their inoculations. "Even those who are still hesitant can change their minds by listening to what the unvaccinated who get sick have to say,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised national address on Thursday. Almost nine out of every 10 people in Greek ICUs with Covid-19 are unvaccinated, he said.
18th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

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Europe Fights Winter Covid Surge With New Restrictions for Unvaccinated

It’s getting harder to be a vaccine holdout in Europe and continue with life as usual. As governments battle another wave of the outbreak, new restrictions are being introduced, many aimed at the unvaccinated. That’s adding to the pressure on those who’ve resisted the shot so far. Germany is proposing to limit access to the workplace to people who are inoculated, recovered or provide a negative test, and those who have refused shots are increasingly banned from cafes and hairdressers. The country, which has seen a surge in cases, has a vaccination rate below that of Italy, Spain and Portugal.
18th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Austrian COVID cases hit record on third day of lockdown for unvaccinated

Austrian coronavirus infections hit a new daily record on Wednesday, the third day of a lockdown for those not fully vaccinated aimed at halting the surge. Roughly 65% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated against the virus, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Austria also has one of the highest infection rates on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 925 per 100,000 people. Soaring infections across Europe as winter approaches are prompting governments to consider reintroducing unpopular lockdowns.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Germany Plans Stricter Covid Restrictions for Unvaccinated People

Germany is heading toward stiffer restrictions on people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, as authorities across Europe seek to rein in a renewed surge of the disease. Europe’s largest economy is grappling with its worst outbreak in the pandemic, posting a fresh record in its contagion rate on Tuesday. The country’s response has been complicated by a change in power, with Chancellor Angela Merkel in a caretaker role while negotiations to form a new government proceed. Under pressure to act, lawmakers from the potential ruling coalition are planning to introduce legislation later this week that would impose tougher curbs on people who haven’t been inoculated, including requiring tests to go to work and take public transportation.
16th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Slovakia plans curbs on those unvaccinated for COVID-19 as hospitals fill up

Slovakia's hospitals are in a critical situation dealing with a surge in coronavirus infections and the government will approve measures on Thursday to limit access to services for unvaccinated people, Prime Minister Eduard Heger said. Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, prompting countries like Slovakia and neighbouring Austria to re-introduce restrictions in the run-up to Christmas.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Japan to ease quarantine for people inoculated with J&J COVID-19 vaccine

Japan intends to ease quarantine rules by the end of November for people inoculated with Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, the Nikkei daily reported on Tuesday. Japan last week took a first step in its planned phased re-opening of borders, which centres on business travellers. But that plan's easing of quarantine rules for inbound business travellers did not cover people inoculated with J&J's COVID-19 vaccine.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Back in lockdown: Streets in the Netherlands are deserted as curfew comes in after protests over new Covid restrictions

Streets of Rotterdam were quiet and empty tonight following introduction of rules closing nightlife by 8pm. Around 200 protestors clashed with riot police and were blasted with a water cannon in The Hague on Friday. It comes as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the return of a partial Covid lockdown in the country. Bars, restaurants, shops will close from 8pm and social distancing measures are set to be reimposed
15th Nov 2021 - Daily Mail

Austrian unvaccinated lockdown starts amid COVID resurgence

Austria took what its leader called the “dramatic” step Monday of implementing a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people who haven’t recently had COVID-19, perhaps the most drastic of a string of measures being taken by European governments to get a massive regional resurgence of the virus under control. The move, which took effect at midnight, prohibits people 12 and older who haven’t been vaccinated or recently recovered from leaving their homes except for basic activities such as working, grocery shopping, going to school or university or for a walk — or getting vaccinated. The lockdown is initially being imposed until Nov. 24 in the Alpine country of 8.9 million. It doesn’t apply to children under 12 because they cannot yet officially get vaccinated — though the capital, Vienna, on Monday opened up vaccinations for under-12s as part of a pilot project and reported high demand.
15th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

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Austria brings back COVID-19 lockdown, this time for the unvaccinated

Austria is the first European country to reinstate the same restrictions on daily movements that applied during national lockdowns before vaccines were rolled out, though this time they only affect a minority of the population. "We are not taking this step lightly but it is necessary," Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference announcing the new measure, under which the unvaccinated can only leave their homes for a limited number of reasons like going to work or shopping for essentials.
14th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Philippines Keeps Loose Virus Curbs in Capital Region

The Philippines is keeping its loose coronavirus restrictions in the Manila capital region until Nov. 30 as daily cases decline and vaccination picks up. The capital, which accounts for a third of economic output, will remain under Alert Level 2, the second-lowest under a five-tiered system, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement on Saturday. Provinces near Metro Manila will also be under the same level. Relaxed restrictions on public movement have been in placed since Nov. 5, and minors have been allowed in indoor establishments. Under Alert Level 2, indoor restaurants, gyms and cinemas can operate at half capacity, while outdoor establishments can open at 70% capacity.
13th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Dutch Are Back to Partial Lockdown After Record Infections

The Netherlands is entering another lockdown after coronavirus infections hit records in recent days, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. “We have a very difficult message tonight combined with drastic measures,” Rutte said at a press conference in The Hague on Friday. The country will enter a partial lockdown with bars and restaurants that need to shut down effective from Saturday 8 p.m. local time, Rutte added. Non-essential shops must close at 6 p.m. He strongly urged people to work from home as much as possible while there also will be a limit to invite a maximum amount of 4 people to socialize at home. The package will be reviewed Dec. 3, Rutte said.
12th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

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Austrian Covid Hotspot to Impose Lockdown for Unvaccinated

The Austrian region with the highest coronavirus infection rate plans to impose a lockdown for unvaccinated people, as worsening outbreaks force authorities across central Europe to seek stronger incentives to get inoculated. Upper Austrians who haven’t taken the vaccine will only be allowed to leave home for work and to buy everyday goods from Monday, several newspapers said Thursday, citing state leader Thomas Stelzer. The national Covid task force has also recommended a similar measure for Salzburg.
11th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Denmark to impose COVID-19 isolation for travellers from Singapore

Denmark will impose self-isolation requirements on travellers from Singapore, its embassy in the city-state said on Thursday, following a surge in COVID-19 infections. Singapore was removed this week from a European Union list of non-EU countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. "Singapore is now considered a high risk country for travel to Europe," the embassy of Denmark in Singapore posted on Facebook.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Dutch consider new partial lockdown as coronavirus cases hit record

The Dutch government on Thursday was considering whether to impose Western Europe's first partial lockdown since the summer, as new coronavirus cases jumped to the highest level since the start of the pandemic. A surge in infections that started when social distancing measures were lifted late September has put pressure on hospitals throughout the country, forcing them to scale back regular care to treat COVID-19 patients. New coronavirus infections in the country of 17.5 million have roughly doubled in the last week and hit a record of around 16,300 in 24 hours on Thursday.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Aucklanders return to malls as New Zealand eases lockdown in biggest city

Article reports that sShops and malls in New Zealand's biggest city Auckland flung their doors open for the first time in three months on Wednesday as the city, which is at the epicentre of the country's coronavirus outbreak, gradually reopened. Retail stores filled up within hours of reopening due to pent up demand while some shoppers reportedly queued up outside malls overnight to take advantage of early bird offers at some stores.
10th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Covid-19: Majority in NI 'want to keep working from home'

A majority of workers in Northern Ireland would like to work from home even after pandemic restrictions are fully lifted, a survey has suggested. YouGov surveyed 1,000 local workers online during August, weighted to give a representative sample of adults in work. It was carried out for the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. The survey suggests that of those working fully from home, only 3% wanted to return to their office full time.
9th Nov 2021 - BBC News

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Denmark Will Bring Back Some Restrictions as Covid-19 Cases Soar

Denmark, which has one of Europe’s highest vaccination rates, plans to re-introduce some restrictions to halt a recent spike in Covid-19 contamination cases. Danes will have to again present so-called corona passports to attend public events, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference late on Monday. The move follows a recommendation from health authorities that the country reclassifies the virus as a disease that poses a critical threat to society.
8th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Russia ends workplace shutdown but COVID numbers stay high

Most Russians went back to work on Monday for the first time in more than a week as a nationwide workplace shutdown was lifted across most regions, even though the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and deaths are hovering near record daily highs. President Vladimir Putin announced last month that Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 would be paid "non-working days" - an attempt to slow the surge in cases by imposing the strictest nationwide restrictions since the early months of the pandemic last year.
8th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Action needed now to avoid lockdown, say German state leaders

Germany's COVID-19 situation is entering a very difficult period with rising numbers of intensive care patients, health minister Jens Spahn said, as German state leaders warned the country may need a new lockdown unless it takes urgent action. Spahn said he had agreed with regional health ministers that in future everyone should be offered a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine six months after receiving their previous injection. "This should become the norm, not the exception," Spahn said at a news conference on Friday.
5th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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COVID-hit China keeps vigil at borders, restricts local tourism

China is on high alert at its international ports of entry to reduce the risk of COVID-19 cases entering from abroad, and it has stepped up restrictions within the country amid a growing outbreak less than 100 days before the Beijing Winter Olympics. The National Immigration Administration (NIA) said on Thursday it would continue to guide citizens not to go abroad for non-urgent and non-essential reasons. The dramatic drop in Chinese travellers since early last year has left a $255 billion annual spending hole in the global tourism market
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Philippines Eases Virus Restrictions in Manila Capital Region

The Philippines will ease coronavirus restrictions in the Manila capital region from Friday until Nov. 21 as infections eased. The Southeast Asian nation’s virus task force decided to place the capital -- which accounts for a third of economic output -- under Alert Level 2 where businesses can operate at higher capacities, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement late Thursday.
4th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

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Top Sage expert Jeremy Farrar quits amid ‘concerning’ Covid-19 rates

Sir Jeremy Farrar has revealed he quit the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) last month, warning of “concerning high levels of transmission” in Britain and vowing to focus on his role as a clinical scientist. The director of the Wellcome Trust was a leading member of the government’s Covid-19 advisory body during the pandemic. He was reportedly pushing for ministers to enforce a so-called “vaccine plus” strategy that includes measures such as mask wearing, ventilation and continued testing, according to Sky News. However, the government has so far declined to enforce stricter measures – which it refers to as plan B – and is sticking with its current, more relaxed guidance.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Independent

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China won't give up on its zero-tolerance COVID policy soon - experts

China will not give up on its zero-tolerance policy towards local COVID-19 cases any time soon, some experts said, as the policy has allowed it to quickly quell local outbreaks, while the virus continues to spread outside its borders. To stop local cases from turning into wider outbreaks, China has developed and continually refined its COVID-fighting arsenal -- including mass testing, targeted lockdowns and travel restrictions - even when those anti-COVID measures occasionally disrupted local economies.
2nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

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COVID-19: Walk-in sites now offering coronavirus booster jabs across England without appointment

The move comes as the government announces that Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and Suffolk will become 'Enhanced Response Areas' for tackling the COVID pandemic - sparked by a rise in cases in older populations and growing pressure on local health and education services.
1st Nov 2021 - Sky News

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S.Korea eases curbs in first step toward 'living with COVID-19'

South Korea said on Friday it will drop all operating-hour curbs on restaurants and cafes and implement its first vaccine passport for high-risk venues such as gyms, saunas and bars, as it tries to "live with COVID-19". The first phase will go into effect on Monday and last for a month, officials said, with plans calling for all restrictions to be scrapped by February. "Beginning November 1, our community will take the first step of resuming our normal life," Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said at a televised government meeting. "However, we must be aware that this doesn't mean the fight against coronavirus is over, but a new beginning."
30th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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Moscow locks down as Russian COVID-19 deaths surge to new highs

The Russian capital brought in its strictest COVID-19 related lockdown measures in more than a year on Thursday as nationwide one-day pandemic deaths and infections hit new highs amid slow vaccination take-up across the world's biggest country. Moscow's partial lockdown, in which only essential shops like pharmacies and supermarkets are allowed to remain open and schools and state kindergartens are shut, comes ahead of a week-long nationwide workplace shutdown from Oct. 30
28th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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China doubles down on COVID-zero strategy

An expansive compound of buildings covering the equivalent of 46 football pitches was recently erected on the outskirts of Guangzhou, China’s bustling southern metropolis. The sprawling complex of three-storey buildings contains some 5,000 rooms and is the first of what is expected to be a chain of quarantine centres built by the Chinese government to house people arriving from overseas as it forges ahead with its zero-tolerance approach to COVID.
27th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera

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Hong Kong to tighten COVID-19 rules, seeks to open to China

Hong Kong will tighten COVID-19 restrictions despite a lack of local outbreaks to better align with China’s policies and increase chances of quarantine-free travel between the territory and mainland, leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday. It will step up contact tracing, such as requiring the use of its LeaveHomeSafe app in government premises to record the coming and going of visitors. It will also tighten quarantine rules to exempt only emergency workers or those in essential industries such as logistics. Currently, those exempt from quarantine include airline crew, banking and insurance executives, directors of public companies, as well as crew members on cargo and passenger ships, among others.
26th Oct 2021 - The Independent

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China Locks Down Thousands in North as Delta Outbreak Spreads

China locked down a county that has seen the most Covid-19 cases in the nation’s latest delta outbreak, as an initial flareup in the northwest quickly spirals into a nationwide surge. Ejin, a county in China’s Inner Mongolia region, asked its 35,700 residents to stay home from Monday and warned of civil and criminal liabilities should anyone disobey the order, state broadcaster CCTV reported, citing a local government statement. The small county bordering Mongolia is the current outbreak’s hotspot, home to nearly one-third of the more than 150 infections found over the past week in the mainland. The lockdown comes a day after a warning from National Health Commission officials that the outbreak would continue to worsen after spreading to 11 provinces in about a week. China reported 38 Covid infections on Monday, half of which were found in Inner Mongolia.
25th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Dutch consider new coronavirus curbs as infections soar

The Dutch government may impose new coronavirus restrictions to reduce pressure on hospitals struggling to deal with a swelling number of COVID-19 patients, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Monday. Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have been rising for a month and reached their highest level since July in recent days, after most social distancing measures were dropped in late September. The new wave of infections has driven up the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals faster than predicted this month, De Jonge said, and many hospitals are already cutting back regular care again to deal with coronavirus cases.
25th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid vaccines: Brits double-jabbed abroad still forced to self-isolate despite having UK approved shots

People who were double-jabbed abroad are still being forced to self-isolate after being pinged by Test and Trace, despite their vaccines being recognised by the UK Government, i can reveal. Self-isolation rules were scrapped on 16 August for people in England who have received both doses of a Covid vaccine and are identified as having come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. However, the exemption does not apply to people who received both vaccine doses outside of the UK.
25th Oct 2021 - iNews

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Austria Threatens New Lockdown for Unvaccinated as Cases Spike

Austria has laid out a framework for potential new lockdown measures to apply only to unvaccinated people, as Covid-19 inoculations lag and cases rise sharply. “I will do everything I can to ensure that the health system in this country does not reach its limit and is not overloaded because we have too many procrastinators,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said in a statement Saturday. If the number of Covid patients in intensive care units hits 500, or 25% of the country’s capacity, unvaccinated people would be barred from hotels and restaurants. If ICU capacity reaches one-third, or 600 units, a lockdown would go into effect for the unvaccinated, who would only be allowed to leave their homes for certain reasons.
23rd Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

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Singapore extends restrictions after reporting highest single-day Covid-19 deaths

Singapore will extend its Covid-19 restrictions for another month after the city-state reported 18 new deaths from the disease on Wednesday, its highest number of the pandemic. In a news release Thursday, Singapore's Ministry of Health said current measures would be extended to November 21, to help contain case numbers, which rose by more than 3,800 on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, given the continuing pressures on our healthcare system, more time is needed for the situation to stabilise," the ministry said in its statement, adding hospitals were braced for "a sustained, heavy patient load." "(The ministry) is doing whatever we can to support and bolster the hospitals," the statement said.
21st Oct 2021 - CNN

Latvia is first country to reimpose lockdown in Europe’s new Covid wave

Latvia has announced a month-long Covid-19 lockdown after an unprecedented surge in infections, becoming the first country in Europe to reimpose far-reaching restrictions amid a new wave of cases in countries across the continent. The Baltic country has one of the highest rates of new Covid cases relative to population in the world, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after successfully keeping the virus at bay for months. “Our health system is in danger … The only way out of this crisis is to get vaccinated,” the prime minister, Krišjānis Kariņš, said on Monday evening at an emergency government meeting. He said the country’s low vaccination rate was to blame for the surge in hospital admissions.
21st Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Parts of northern China brace for more COVID-19 lockdowns and curbs

Parts of northern China are bracing for more COVID-19 curbs as a wave of cases raises concerns of a broader outbreak, with three areas enforcing lockdowns, some schools halting classes, and an aerospace firm delaying work on a rocket project. China reported 13 new domestically transmitted cases for Oct. 20, bringing the total number since Oct. 16 to 42, data from the National Health Commission (NHC) showed on Thursday.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters

Moscow to reintroduce lockdown measures from Oct. 28 to combat COVID-19 case surge

Moscow will reintroduce lockdown measures from Oct. 28 to combat surging COVID-19 cases, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday, with all shops, bars and restaurants due to close, except those selling essential goods, such as supermarkets and pharmacies. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday approved a nationwide week-long workplace shutdown from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 and said regional leaders could introduce other measures at their discretion. Russia reported a record daily high of both coronavirus-related deaths and new COVID-19 infections on Thursday.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters

Melbourne readies to exit world's longest COVID-19 lockdown

Millions in Melbourne are readying to come out of the world's longest COVID-19 lockdown later on Thursday even as cases hover near record levels, with pubs, restaurants and cafes rushing to restock supplies before opening their doors. Since early August, residents in Australia's second-largest city have been in lockdown - their sixth during the pandemic - to quell an outbreak fuelled by the highly infectious Delta strain.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters

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Russia Orders People Not to Go to Work as Covid-19 Deaths Mount

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered people to stay off work for at least a week while Latvia has introduced a monthlong Covid-19 lockdown as deaths climb, driving renewed fears of another wave of infections as winter sets in. Mr. Putin signed a decree Wednesday approving a period of nonworking days, as the government calls them, beginning Oct. 30 and stretching to Nov. 7 to encourage people to stay home and slow the spread of the virus. Regional governments where infection rates are especially virulent can speed up or prolong the measures, with employers continuing to pay their staffs as they stay home. Latvia, which until recently had outperformed other European countries in containing the virus, on Monday announced a slate of strict measures, including a nationwide 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and closures of schools and nonessential retail after the seven-day average of deaths in the tiny Baltic state more than doubled last week.
20th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Singapore extends COVID-19 curbs for a month as cases spike

Singapore will extend its social curbs to contain the spread of COVID-19 for around a month in order to ease the pressure on the healthcare system, the government said on Wednesday. The city-state in late September reimposed curbs that include limiting social interactions and dining out to two people in order to slow virus transmission. However, daily cases have continued to rise and hit a record 3,994 on Tuesday. While Singapore has vaccinated more than 80% of its 5.45 million population, asymptomatic or mild cases have been rising steadily, spreading the virus and mounting pressure on hospitals and medical staff.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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Two northern Chinese areas enforce lockdown in COVID-19 outbreak

China reported nine new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases on Oct. 18, the highest daily tally since the end of September, with the latest outbreak prompting two northern border areas to enforce a lockdown. Under a national policy of zero tolerance of domestic coronavirus clusters, cities with new infections have quickly tracked down and tested contacts of infections and sealed off higher-risk areas. Five of the nine new local cases were found in the northwestern city of Xian in Shaanxi province, and two were in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, data from the National Health Commission (NHC) showed on Tuesday.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Russia proposes week-long workplace shutdown as COVID deaths hit new record

Moscow's mayor announced four months of stay-home restrictions for unvaccinated over-60s on Tuesday and the Russian government proposed a week-long workplace shutdown as the national death toll from COVID-19 hit yet another daily high. The moves reflected a growing sense of urgency from the authorities as they confront fast-rising cases and widespread public reluctance to get injected with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. Moscow, a city of 12.7 million, ordered people over the age of 60 to stay home for four months starting on Oct. 25 unless they are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID, and for businesses to move at least 30% of their staff to remote work.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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Latvia Plans to Reimpose Lockdown After Covid Spike

Latvia plans to impose a 4-week lock down to slow the spread of coronavirus after a surge in cases threatened to overwhelm hospitals, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said, according to the Leta newswire. The Baltic country will impose the stricter measures, including restrictions on schools, shops and public events from Oct. 21 until Nov. 15, Leta reported. The government still must confirm the decision on the proposed measures.
18th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces COVID-19 roadmap to reopening as state records zero local cases

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has outlined a roadmap to reopen the state's borders to COVID-19 hotspots for fully vaccinated people by Christmas. Fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed to enter Queensland without the need to quarantine from December 17. It comes as the state recorded zero new locally acquired COVID cases in the past 24 hours, while more than 8,000 people remain stranded interstate, having applied for border passes to enter Queensland. Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland would begin a phased border reopening for fully vaccinated people from November 19.
18th Oct 2021 - ABC News

New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown in battle on Delta variant

New Zealand's biggest city of Auckland will retain its lockdown for two more weeks in the battle on the Delta variant of coronavirus, as the country pushes to step up vaccinations, Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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Melbourne to ease world's longest COVID-19 lockdowns as vaccinations rise

Melbourne, which has spent more time under COVID-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials said on Sunday. By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of 5 million people will have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March 2020. Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires.
17th Oct 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand faces growing calls for ‘circuit breaker’ Covid-19 lockdown

The nation of 5 million was largely virus-free until mid-August, when it was hit by an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant. Health ministry data shows cases have been concentrated among people from the indigenous Maori community, who are also the least likely to be vaccinated
16th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post

Fully vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia to serve shorter quarantine period from Oct 18

Fully vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia will undergo a shorter quarantine period of seven days from Monday (Oct 18), Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on Friday. They can serve their quarantine at home, if suitable, or at quarantine stations, said Ismail Sabri after a meeting of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Pandemic Management. “Travellers who are not vaccinated or have not been fully vaccinated will have to undergo 10 days’ quarantine at the quarantine station,” he said. The quarantine period for close contacts will also be reduced to seven days at home for those fully vaccinated. It will be 10 days for those unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
16th Oct 2021 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore

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Melbourne set for COVID lockdown exit despite record cases as vaccinations spike

Melbourne will exit months of COVID-19 lockdown next week helped by a faster-than-expected vaccine uptake, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday, ahead of schedule even though daily infections hit a record the same day. In the worst day of an outbreak of the Delta variant coronavirus that began in early August, Victoria logged 2,297 new cases on Thursday, up from 1,571 the day before and the highest for any Australian state or territory since the pandemic began. Eleven people died, bringing the total toll in the latest outbreak to 125.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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WHO advisers recommend 3rd COVID vaccine dose for highest-risk groups

The group, called the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), said people in the immunocompromised groups should be offered an additional dose in the vaccine series, since they are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination with the standard series and are at high risk for severe disease. WHO leaders have previously urged countries to postpone broader use of booster doses to free up more vaccine for countries that had much less access to supplies. SAGE said its third-dose recommendation applies to all vaccines that the WHO has approved for emergency use. They include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, and Sinovac. For Sinopharm and Sinovac, two inactivated vaccines from China, SAGE said a third dose should be offered to people ages 60 and older as part of an extended primary series. It added that a third dose of a different vaccine could be considered, based on vaccine supply and access. However, SAGE urged countries to prioritize 2-dose coverage in that age group, then administer third doses, starting with the oldest age groups.
12th Oct 2021 - CIDRAP

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Covid-19 Australia: Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirms ACT will lift its lockdown this week

The ACT is set to end its harsh lockdown restrictions by the end of the week, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has confirmed. The territory's leader announced Canberra will officially emerge from lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday as the state increases its vaccination coverage. 'Case numbers are expected to increase as restrictions are eased, but being fully vaccinated provides you with protection,' he said.
12th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19 curbs in Sydney could ease early amid surge in vaccinations

New South Wales could ease more restrictions in Sydney a week earlier than planned on Oct. 18 as Australia's most populous state races towards its 80% double-dose vaccination target, the government said on Wednesday. The southeastern state is expected to hit the mark over the weekend, beating forecasts, and officials previously promised to relax further restrictions on vaccinated residents on the first Monday after reaching that milestone. "If we hit 80%, we've always said it will be the Monday following," state Premier Dominic Perrottet told ABC Radio. "We will have this discussion with our team on Thursday and we will make a decision to be announced on Friday."
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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Virus czar ‘optimistic’ about COVID-19 decline, but says restrictions to remain

Falling coronavirus infection rates are an encouraging sign that a recent wave is coming to an end, national virus czar Salman Zarka said Monday, but warned against the country dropping its guard too soon. Zarka held a video press briefing in which he reviewed the declining coronavirus infections and plans to ease the quarantine regime for school children who are exposed to virus carriers. He said health officials are “optimistic that we are exiting the fourth wave” but cautioned, “we are not there yet.”
11th Oct 2021 - The Times of Israel

Indonesia cuts quarantine to 5 days as borders reopen further

Southeast Asia’s largest economy will allow arrivals from 18 countries and reduce the minimum quarantine period to five days, from eight previously, said Luhut Panjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime and investment affairs who’s overseeing the pandemic response. He didn’t specify which are the 18 countries. The country has gradually eased border restrictions, starting with the resumption of offshore visa applications and followed by the reopening of tourist spot Bali to foreign visitors this week. People’s mobility has started to bounce back as cinemas and gyms are reopened, with daily Covid-19 case and fatality numbers continuing to ease to the lowest since June 2020.
11th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post

Sydney opens to vaccinated after 100-plus days of lockdown

Sydney hairdressers, gyms, cafés and bars reopened to fully vaccinated customers on Monday for the first time in more than 100 days after Australia’s largest city achieved a vaccination benchmark. Sydney planned to reopen on the Monday after 70% of the New South Wales state population aged 16 and older were fully vaccinated. By Monday, 73.5% of the target population was fully vaccinated and more than 90% have received at least one dose. Some businesses opened at midnight due to demand from people impatient to enjoy their freedom. More pandemic restrictions will be removed at the 80% benchmark, and New South Wales residents will be free to travel overseas for the first time since March last year.
11th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

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As Sydney readies to exit lockdown, doctors fret re-opening is moving too fast

Australian doctors warned a too-rapid easing of COVID-19 curbs in Sydney could put pressure on health systems and risk lives, as the city prepares for key restrictions to be relaxed next week after more than 100 days in lockdown. Stay-at-home orders are due to be lifted on Monday after New South Wales state this week hit its 70% target of full vaccination for its adult population, and owners of restaurants and other public venues are now scrambling to arrange supplies and staffing. While an easing of restrictions on travel for Sydneysiders outside of their local government areas had previously been flagged, authorities on Thursday also decided to bump up permitted limits for home gatherings, weddings and funerals - earning the ire of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus: as Australia plans border reopening, stranded citizens wait with anxiety, trepidation

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to ease strict controls on overseas citizens returning home within weeks and to cut quarantine for those who have been vaccinated to seven days at home – rather than 14 at a hotel But with promises of being able to return home for Christmas 2020 still ringing in their ears, many stranded Australians dare not hope the ordeal is over,
8th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post

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Lone, remote workers and business travellers

The UK’s successful vaccination programme means employees are now starting to return to offices and travel more on company business. However, even with this hybrid and agile working pattern, employees continue to work alone more than ever before. This means that, as we move into a post-lockdown environment, it’s now more important than ever to protect the safety and well- being of employees. However, the new and different working landscapes present further challenges to employers and employees alike. Here is the conundrum for the pharma and life sciences sectors: whilst employers have always had long-standing health and safety at work and duty of care obligations to protect their lone/remote working staff – historical evidence shows that in practice, this employee population has been overlooked by employers.
7th Oct 2021 - PharmaTimes

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The Psychological Benefits of COVID-19 Boosters

Scientists don’t agree on whether approving COVID-19 boosters for certain non-elderly Americans, as the CDC did recently, was the right move. The president, the CDC, and the FDA have issued a series of conflicting statements on the issue. Some experts have indignantly resigned. Others have published frustrated op-eds. President Joe Biden, who got a booster shot this week and called on other eligible Americans to do the same, remains enthusiastic. The split between Biden-administration scientists, such as Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, and other scientists over boosters might seem confusing. One possible explanation for it has largely escaped notice: Vaccinated Americans seem to really want boosters, which means that the shots could have benefits that go well beyond extra protection against COVID. Those benefits could be psychological and economic—and, for the president, political.
6th Oct 2021 - The Atlantic

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'It's Like There's No Covid': Booster Shots Bring Tel Aviv Back to Life

Tel Aviv’s mayor has a message for cities struggling to reopen: Covid booster shots are allowing his city to roar back to life. The mass distribution of third shots in Israel has driven down new cases and hospital admissions, allowing restaurants and shops to fill up with customers. New variants of the disease could change the pandemic’s trajectory again, but for now, the boosters are working, Mayor Ron Huldai said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “On the streets of Tel Aviv now, it’s like there’s no Covid,” said Huldai, 77, who has run Tel Aviv for more than two decades since he was elected in 1998. He said 99% of city workers are vaccinated.
5th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

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New Zealand drops COVID-19 elimination strategy under pressure from Delta

New Zealand on Monday abandoned its long-standing strategy of eliminating coronavirus amid a persistent Delta outbreak, and will instead look to live with the virus and control its spread as its vaccination rate rises. The Pacific nation was among just a handful of countries to bring COVID-19 cases down to zero last year and largely stayed virus-free until an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant in mid-August frustrated efforts to stamp out transmission. "With this outbreak and Delta the return to zero is incredibly difficult," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference in a major policy shift.
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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New Zealand widens Covid lockdown as Delta spreads outside Auckland

New Zealand’s Delta Covid variant outbreak has spread beyond Auckland, prompting the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, to put additional regions into a snap lockdown. There were 32 new coronavirus cases on Sunday in the country’s largest city, which has been in lockdown since mid-August, and two cases in the Waikato region, some 147km (91 miles) south of Auckland. Ardern announced on Sunday that parts of the region will go into a five-day lockdown. She added that the government will decide on Monday whether Auckland’s 1.7 million residents will remain sealed off from the rest of New Zealand.
3rd Oct 2021 - The Guardian

S.African president Ramaphosa eases COVID-19 restrictions to lowest level

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has eased restrictions aimed at combating the coronavirus pandemic to the country's lowest alert level, the second such loosening this month as the country looks to open up its economy ahead of the summer holiday season. In a televised address, Ramaphosa announced the country would move down one level in a five-tier system of restrictions, where five is the highest, to an 'adjusted level 1' as South Africa emerges from its third wave dominated by the Delta variant of the virus.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

US, UK adults report pandemic-related distress, disruptions

Yesterday in JAMA Network Open, Johns Hopkins University and University of California Los Angeles researchers analyzed self-reported health and psychological status among nationally representative survey respondents worried about eviction or foreclosure in November 2020. Among 1,218 study respondents, 128 (12%) reported that they were behind on rent or mortgage payments or didn't know if they could afford the next payment. Just over half (51%) of all participants were women, 46% were 30 to 54 years old, 45% were 55 and older, 69% were White, and 13% each were Black or Hispanic. Of the 128 housing-insecure respondents, 42 (34%) said they were behind on rent or mortgage payments, 55 (38%) said they had little to no confidence that they could afford the next payment, and 31 (28%) reported both. Of all participants, 46% reported moderate to severe psychological distress, and 18% said they were in fair to poor health. Respondents with unstable housing reported more distress (57% vs 45% in housing-secure participants) and poorer health (30% vs 16%).
1st Oct 2021 - CIDRAP

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Melbourne cases hit record despite two months of lockdown

Melbourne's COVID-19 cases surged to record levels on Thursday with officials blaming illegal home gatherings to watch a key sporting event for the spike as a hard lockdown to combat the spread of the Delta variant neared two months. Authorities in Victoria, home to Melbourne, estimated nearly a third of Thursday's 1,438 new infections could be traced back to home parties last weekend to watch the Australian Rules Football Grand Final on television.
30th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Women followed lockdown rules more closely than men, study shows

The first Covid lockdown showed that women followed rules more closely than men, according to a new study which branded the restrictions a ‘live social experiment’. Researchers looking at 15% of the Austrian population’s behaviour said that everyone tended to make significantly longer phone calls during the crisis. Men were found to be less likely to accept having their movements restricted by lockdown measures and tended to return to normal more quickly, along with younger people. Scientists looked at anonymised mobile phone data from 1.2 million Austrians between February and June 2020, to study the impact of the first lockdown on behaviour in the central European country.
29th Sep 2021 - Metro

Sri Lanka to lift quarantine curfew on Oct. 1 as COVID-19 cases decline

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday instructed related authorities to lift the existing nationwide quarantine curfew over COVID-19 on Oct. 1 as the South Asian country has seen a decline in coronavirus infections.
29th Sep 2021 - Xinhua

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Sydney's unvaccinated warned of social isolation when COVID-19 lockdown ends

Sydney residents who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 risk being barred from various social activities even when they are freed from stay-at-home orders in December, New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned. Under a roadmap to exit lockdown in Australia's biggest city, unvaccinated people are already subject to delays in freedoms that will be gradually granted to inoculated residents between Oct. 11 and Dec. 1. Berejiklian said people who choose not to be vaccinated could be barred entry to shops, restaurants and entertainment venues even after the state lifts all restrictions against them on Dec. 1.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Japan to lift emergency COVID-19 curbs, but gradually

Japan will lift a coronavirus state of emergency in all regions on Thursday for the first time in nearly six months, as the number of new cases and deaths falls and the strain on the medical system eases, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said. Daily cases have fallen nationwide from more than 25,000 last month to 1,128 on Monday, but the opening will be gradual with some curbs on restaurants and large-scale events staying in place for about a month.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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New Zealand to begin letting people isolate at home as it looks to ease border curbs

New Zealand is to begin allowing small numbers of vaccinated travellers to isolate at home instead of in state-run quarantine facilities as part of a phased approach to re-opening its borders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. The pilot project starting next month will be open to 150 people, who must be New Zealand citizens or residents and are fully vaccinated, Ardern said at a news conference. "While this is a pilot, it gives you a sense of where we intend to go on our borders," Ardern said, adding that the government was working on a wide range of options for allowing people back in safely.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Sydney's COVID-19 lockdown to end sooner for the vaccinated

Australian authorities announced plans on Monday to gradually reopen locked-down Sydney, unveiling a two-tiered system that will give citizens inoculated for COVID-19 more freedoms than their unvaccinated neighbours for several weeks. Movement restrictions across New South Wales, the country's most populous state and home to Sydney, will be lifted gradually between Oct. 11 and Dec. 1 as vaccination rates push through 70%, 80% and 90%. However, people who are not fully inoculated will be barred from joining the vaccinated to resume community sports, dining out, shopping and other activities until the final date.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Birds Flocked to Pandemic-Silenced Cities

As Covid-19 spread through the United States in the spring of 2020, previously bustling cities fell silent. A new study shows that the dip in noise in the early months of the pandemic led to an increased abundance of birds, like hummingbirds, warblers and raptors, in cities. The study published today in Science Advances is the latest to suggest that even a moderate drop in noise pollution could allow some animals to better thrive in urban areas. The flock to cities included "everything from birds like hawks and eagles all the way down to small songbirds and even hummingbirds," says Michael Schrimpf, study co-author and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Manitoba's Natural Resources Institute, to NPR’s Scott Neuman. "The actual physical environment didn't change," Schrimpf says. "What did change was the activity of people in those spaces."
25th Sep 2021 - Smithsonian Magazine

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Australians find silver lining in lockdowns as wealth booms

Australians are finding a silver lining to lockdowns as super-cheap credit lifts the value of homes and shares to record highs, a windfall of wealth that gives consumers the means to spend big once restrictions ease. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Thursday showed net household wealth surged A$735 billion ($531.48 billion) in the June quarter to A$13.3 trillion, or A$522,032 for every man, woman and child. "Aussie households have never been wealthier," said Ryan Felsman, a senior economist at CommSec.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Ukraine tightens coronavirus lockdown curbs

Ukraine tightened coronavirus lockdown curbs on Thursday, restricting large events and occupancy at gyms, cinemas and cultural sites, after a recent steady increase in new infections. Ukraine imposed a nationwide "yellow" code after cases dropped over the summer, allowing it to lift lockdown restrictions. This week, however, the government extended a state of emergency that allows authorities to impose curbs until year-end to rein in infections. The health ministry has said it plans compulsory coronavirus vaccinations for those in occupations such as teaching and employment in state institutions and local governments.
23rd Sep 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

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Birds Thrived During Covid-19 Lockdowns, New Study Shows

From hummingbirds to eagles, birds across North America flocked to once frenetic urban areas that had locked down in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new study based on millions of observations by amateur bird-watchers. Populations of dozens of bird species rose significantly around city centers, major roads and airports apparently in response to the lull in human activity, a research team led by scientists at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg found. Some species were as much as 14 times more numerous during the lockdowns than before pandemic restrictions were imposed.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Ukraine tightens COVID-19 lockdown restrictions from Sept 23...

A Ukrainian government commission decided on Tuesday to tighten coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Sept. 23 as the number of new infections has increased sharply, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said. Ukraine lifted lockdown restrictions as cases dropped over the summer but has now imposed a nationwide "yellow" code which restricts mass events and limits the occupancy rates of gyms, cinemas and other culture venues.
21st Sep 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

India asks UK to revise COVID quarantine rules, warns retaliation

India’s foreign minister has urged the United Kingdom for an “early resolution of quarantine issue” in the wake of a new British rule requiring Indians visiting there to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated. England and Scotland will ease pandemic restrictions from early October, but the list of countries with approved vaccines does not include India, despite the country using a locally made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK.
21st Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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New Zealand eases coronavirus curbs in Auckland amid hope Delta variant outbreak now under control

New Zealand eased coronavirus curbs slightly in Auckland on Monday, as the government expressed confidence that there was no widespread regional transmission of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. But tough restrictions will continue even after midnight on Tuesday, when the alert level drops to 3 from 4 in the city of about 1.7 million at the centre of the latest Delta outbreak. Schools and offices must still keep closed, for instance, with businesses limited to offering only contactless services.
20th Sep 2021 - Evening Standard

Vietnam capital Hanoi to ease coronavirus curbs this week

Vietnam's capital Hanoi will further ease its coronavirus restrictions from this week, the government said, with new cases on the decline and the majority of its adult population partially vaccinated. Most construction projects can resume from Wednesday, authorities said late on Sunday, adding further easing would follow, with average new daily cases down to just 20.
20th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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New Zealand, Australia travel bubble suspended for longer amid Delta outbreaks

New Zealand suspended quarantine-free travel with Australia for a further 8 weeks on Friday, extending a halt in the so-called travel bubble between both countries, as they deal with fresh outbreaks of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
17th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Melbourne Expects to Exit Its Sixth Lockdown in Late October

Melbourne will exit its sixth lockdown since the pandemic began once 70% of Australia’s Victoria state is fully vaccinated, authorities said Sunday as they outlined plans to unwind virus measures next month. Limits on “reasons to leave your home and the curfew will no longer be in place” once that target is met around Oct. 26, Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters. “Lockdown will be off.” Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues in the nation’s second-most populous city will be allowed to operate outdoors with up to 50 people who have received two shots. Schools are expected to start reopening on Oct. 5.
19th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

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The government’s winter Covid plan can prevent another UK lockdown – if we all work together

Prof Devi Sridhar is chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh. He writes: 'To avoid a lockdown, we need the various components of the system – vaccination, behavioural changes and widespread testing – to work together. Covid-19 is still here, and we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Let us hope this autumn brings a move away from a divided society arguing over how serious Covid-19 is, to one where we collectively work towards managing this problem, slowing the spread of the disease, and saving lives and livelihoods.'
16th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19 Australia: Queensland health to send text messages to track people in home quarantine

Australians in home quarantine will soon receive timed text messages to ensure they are isolating or face a visit from the cops as part of a compliance crackdown in Queensland. The texts are part of the state's new Covid-19 laws - which come into effect immediately - that give people in home quarantine a ten minute window to respond as part of a real-time check in system. Health Minister Yvette D'Ath told parliament on Thursday residents who are isolating at home after returning from to the state will receive daily text messages at random times of the day from Queensland Health.
16th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

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Sydney nightly curfew to end as COVID-19 vaccinations hit fresh milestone

A curfew imposed on more than two million people in the 12 Sydney suburbs hardest hit by the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant will end on Wednesday night, authorities said, stopping short of easing more lockdown restrictions. Officials said first-dose COVID-19 vaccination levels have reached 80% of the New South Wales (NSW) adult population, while the dual-dose rate in Sydney's home state stands at 48% now. That's above the national average of 43%, but well below the 70% level that will trigger the easing of other curbs first imposed three months ago. Authorities expect to achieve the 70% rate around the middle of next month, and plans to relax more restrictions once it has climbed to 80%.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

China imposes local lockdowns as COVID-19 cases surge

China tightened lockdowns and increased orders for mass testing in cities along its east coast Wednesday amid the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. Checks have been set up in toll stations around the city of Putian in Fujian province, with a dozen of them closed entirely. The nearby cities of Xiamen and Quanzhou have also restricted travel as the delta variant spreads through the region. The National Health Commission on Wednesday said an additional 50 cases had been diagnosed in various parts of Fujian, most of them in the Putian region.
15th Sep 2021 - The Independent

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Covid-19 hotel quarantine could last 'three or four years' in Australia

Covid-19 hotel quarantine could be in place for three or four years but Australians returning from overseas may be allowed to isolate at home by Christmas. Jane Halton, a former public servant who conducted a review of the quarantine system last year, said hotel quarantine could last even longer if a new Covid-19 variant evades vaccines. 'In three or four years' time I'll be quite surprised if we're using these kinds of arrangements unless for example there's a very nasty new variant,' she told ABC radio
14th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Philippines to test localised lockdowns in capital region

The Philippines' capital region will exit wide-scale coronavirus restrictions from Thursday, as the government launches a pilot test of localised lockdowns, amid efforts to balance reopening the economy and containing the spread of the coronavirus.
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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South Africa loosens COVID curbs as third wave eases

South Africa will ease COVID-19 restrictions and shorten its nationwide curfew from Monday after a decline in infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address. Authorities will also extend the hours of alcohol sales, the president said, further relaxing restrictions introduced in June to combat a third wave of cases caused by the Delta variant. "While the third wave is not yet over, we have seen a sustained decline in infections across the country over the last few weeks," Ramaphosa said.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam's biggest city to keep virus curbs, flight resumption sought

Vietnam's coronavirus outbreak epicentre Ho Chi Minh City will extend its restrictions, state media reported on Monday, as the capital Hanoi and several provinces sought an easing of curbs and the aviation authority proposed domestic flights resume.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

COVID lockdowns only used as last resort, says UK PM's spokesman

Britain's government will only introduce a new COVID-19 lockdown as a last resort, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, after the country's health minister signalled he did not expect to see them used again. "The ability to do that is retained as you would expect, but it would only be done in a last resort and as I said we are in a very different position thanks to the strength of our vaccination programme than where we were when it was necessary to take those steps previously," the spokesman told reporters.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters UK

New Zealand keeps Auckland in strict lockdown to beat Delta

New Zealand extended a strict lockdown in its largest city on Monday, requiring 1.7 million people living in Auckland to remain indoors for at least another week to snuff out small outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant of coronavirus. Health authorities recorded 33 new cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 on Monday, all in Auckland, which was higher than 23 and 20 cases reported over the weekend.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Covid-19: Pupils will not have to 'routinely self-isolate'

Pupils in the same class as a positive Covid case "will not routinely be asked to isolate and book a test", ministers have said. Health Minister Robin Swann and Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said the Public Health Agency (PHA) would take a "more targeted approach" to contract tracing.
11th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Auckland COVID cases drop again as New Zealand presses on with Delta curbs

New Zealand reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, all in locked down Auckland, its biggest city, as the country looks to limit the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
10th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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How to help a remote coworker through a tough time

Because life is full of bumps in the road, often employees must navigate personal challenges and work. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, divorce, caregiving demands, or illness, when someone in your office is facing tough times, the signs are typically visible. And coworkers may rally around the individual with comforting words, gestures of kindness, and other means of help. But in remote and hybrid worlds, the signs can be harder to spot and the support harder to give. With so many employees onboarded remotely over the past year and a half, you may not feel as if you know your colleagues well enough to offer a personal word of support or other gesture. But there are still ways you can tune in to your coworkers’ needs and help them when they’re going through tough times.
9th Sep 2021 - Fast Company

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Work From Home? 6 Ways to Stay Focused and Avoid Burnout

As we edge toward remote-work burnout, it’s getting harder to stay focused and productive. Even our diversions are digital—“breaks” to play phone games bloat into 30-minute lapses—exacerbating our lack of human connection and our minds’ tendencies to wander. According to Kirsten Clacey, a remote-work expert who co-founded the Remote Coaches, spontaneous interactions can help combat the unfocused WFH malaise some folks are feeling. To create “playful moments,” she recommends beginning each meeting with five minutes spent “connecting as humans.” But you also have to carve out a personal life within your work life.
8th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Hong Kong relaxes Covid quarantine rules for travellers from mainland China

Hong Kong will allow people from mainland China to visit without having to face its quarantine procedures in the city’s first serious relaxation of its strict Covid-19 entry requirements for tourists. But critics of the Hong Kong government’s quarantine policies, which will begin on September 15, said it was another sign the Asian financial centre was prioritising a travel bubble with mainland China over the international links important to executives living in the city.
7th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

Sweden to lift most remaining restrictions this month

Sweden will push ahead with easing Covid-19 restrictions at the end of this month, removing most curbs and limits on public venues such as restaurants, theatres and stadiums, the government said. With most adults vaccinated, Sweden has gradually eased some restrictions during a summer lull in the pandemic. While it has seen infections mount in recent weeks amid the rapid spread of the more contagious Delta variant, deaths from the disease have remained low.
7th Sep 2021 - RTE.ie

Philippines defers new COVID-19 plan, maintains capital curbs

The Philippines capital region will remain under the second strictest coronavirus containment measures, a senior official said on Tuesday, despite a day earlier announcing a relaxation of curbs to spur business activity. Imposition of the more relaxed "general community quarantine" in Metro Manila has been deferred, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said, without giving a reason.
7th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Emergency covid-19 mental health pop-up clinics set up in Sydney

Ten new pop-up mental health clinics have opened to assist NSW residents. Most are in the hard-hit western Sydney suburbs ravaged by coronavirus. Anyone in distress can seek advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14)
6th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Ireland takes next step in easing of restrictions

Ireland will continue with a major easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday, with live music returning and larger crowds allowed at indoor venues. The Irish Government confirmed last week that it would be embarking on a phased easing of Covid-19 restrictions, which will eventually see the removal of the vast majority of public health regulations by the end of October. The numbers permitted to attend outdoor sports events increases from Monday, while restrictions on indoor venues will be eased, with larger crowds permitted.
6th Sep 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

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Schools grapple with thousands in isolation or quarantine as delta variant rages

In the U.S., schools that have opened their doors to students amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus already are grappling with how to best continue teaching students when hundreds and sometimes thousands of them are in quarantine. Some schools have sent students home with packets of self-guided work to submit at the end of each day or when on-campus classes resume. Others have temporarily switched to virtual learning. And in some cases, schools have canceled classes altogether while campuses are closed or kids are in quarantine.
4th Sep 2021 - NBC News

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New Zealand says fall in COVID-19 cases shows Delta lockdown working

New Zealand reported a drop in new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, which authorities said was a sign that a nationwide lockdown was helping to limit spread of the infectious Delta variant.
2nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

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In Indonesia, drone deliveries provide lifeline for isolating COVID patients

A group of drone enthusiasts in Indonesia are using their aerial skills to help during the pandemic by providing a contactless medicine and food delivery service to COVID-19 patients isolating at home. Armed with five drones, the seven-member team have been working around the clock in Makassar, the capital of the South Sulawesi province, since early July to provide deliveries.
1st Sep 2021 - Reuters

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New Zealand COVID-19 cases drop for second day in a row

New Zealand reported 49 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, dropping for a second day in a row since the latest outbreak forced the country into a tight lockdown this month. The total number of cases in the outbreak is 612, with 597 in Auckland and 15 in Wellington.
30th Aug 2021 - Nasdaq

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Australia’s Melbourne to extend sixth COVID-lockdown

Lockdown in Melbourne was due to end on Thursday, but authorities say this is no longer possible due to rising cases.
30th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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Parents, experts say students pay the price for hybrid model of schooling

With a new school year underway next month, several school boards in Ontario are returning to the so-called hybrid learning model, where one educator simultaneously teaches students in class and those logging in from home. In certain cases, even remote students learning on their own schedule are part of the class. The system was tested out widely in K-12 schools last year as a remote learning option during the COVID-19 pandemic and is back on the table this year after the province announced online learning would continue. But critics say it forces a teacher to do too many things at once and compromises the quality of learning for students
29th Aug 2021 - CBC.ca

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New Zealand's Ardern says lockdown working to limit Delta spread

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the strict nationwide lockdown enforced to stamp out COVID-19 was helping limit the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, even as the number of new cases rose on Thursday. New Zealand reported 68 new cases on Thursday taking the total number of people infected in the latest outbreak to 277. Of the total cases, 263 are in Auckland and 14 are in the capital Wellington.
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters

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From ‘quarantine academies’ to virtual substitutes, how schools are teaching students in isolation because of COVID-19

As Illinois schools welcome students back to fully reopened classrooms this month amid another coronavirus surge, educators face a thorny question: How do you teach students who are quarantined by COVID-19? The dismantling of pandemic-era remote and hybrid instruction programs across the U.S. this fall arrives by state proclamation and on the urging of U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Remote instruction can be offered to students while they are under quarantine, Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Carmen Ayala said earlier this summer. But despite pleas from some parents who want a full-time e-learning option to continue, districts including Chicago Public Schools are reserving their virtual programs for students who qualify as medically fragile and have documented health conditions.
25th Aug 2021 - Yahoo News

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Government-approved PCR provider claims firms are being left to self-regulate

There is 'no regulation' governing Covid testing companies, one boss warns. No one is checking up on the firms, which Brits must use if travelling abroad. And nearly 20% of Government-approved providers charged misleading prices
24th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

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Millennial women want remote work, but many fear they'll miss opportunities if not in office, according to report

As companies start to map out their return-to-office work plans, many millennial women are feeling conflicted about the pros and cons of working remotely, according to a recent survey by theSkimm. Of the more than 1,600 participants in the survey, theSkimm found that nearly two-thirds of millennial women view remote work as a priority, including 43% who said remote work is very important or extremely important moving forward and 22% who said they would no longer consider working for an employer if work-from-home wasn’t an option in the future.
23rd Aug 2021 - CNBC

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East Belfast community worker calls for communities to come together to combat loneliness

A East Belfast community worker has said he was shocked to see the levels of loneliness among elderly and vulnerable people during the pandemic. Gareth Wright, 21, has led a Covid support group in the Ardcarn area where he and a group of 12 volunteers have helped people with shopping and food deliveries as well as making reassuring phonecalls to keep in touch with those they are helping. However, during that time he says that he was shocked to see how lonely and vulnerable some in his community had become and wanted to encourage others to try and make an effort to tackle this in their areas.
22nd Aug 2021 - Belfast Live

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Isolation alerts from Covid-19 app continue to fall following ‘logic’ tweak

The number of people instructed to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app has continued to fall, reaching its lowest number since the week to June 23. A total of 261,453 alerts were sent to users of the app for England and Wales in the week to August 11, down by 18% on the previous week when 317,519 were pinged. The latest Government figures cover the first full week when the “logic” behind the tool was tweaked to alert fewer people who have been in close contact with someone that tested positive for coronavirus.
19th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard

Singapore to pilot home isolation for fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients

Singapore would pilot a home isolation for fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms soon, the Ministry of Health said in a press release on Thursday. With much more local and global data showing that fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients have a much lower risk of developing severe disease, "we are piloting a home-centric care model" for the management of COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms from Aug. 30, said the ministry in a statement. These patients will spend the first few days in a medical facility before moving to home isolation. By then, the viral loads of vaccinated patients would have dropped, said MOH.
19th Aug 2021 - Xinhuanet

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Covid-19 news: New Zealand begins nationwide lockdown

New Zealand has begun a nationwide lockdown in a bid to contain the delta variant of the coronavirus. So far 10 cases have been confirmed in the outbreak, but modelling suggests the numbers could rise to between 50 and 100. “From the experience of what we’ve seen overseas, we are absolutely anticipating more cases,” prime minister Jacinda Ardern said. The level 4 alert, the highest level, means people other than essential workers can only leave home for groceries, healthcare, covid-19 tests and exercise. The lockdown will cover the entire country for at least three days, and remain in place in Auckland for a week. New Zealand had been free of local covid-19 infections since February, and only 21 per cent of the total population has been fully vaccinated.
18th Aug 2021 - New Scientist

'Covid made things worse for me': Older people felt lonely and neglected during pandemic

Hope and optimism are returning for older people but a new report also shows the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic led to loneliness and a feeling they were being neglected. The report, published by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (Tilda), uses the experiences of 4,000 older people involved in the project to outline just how the pandemic has affected them since March 2020. According to the report, entitled In Their Own Words: The Voices of Older Irish People in the Covid-19 Pandemic, a fifth of respondents said they felt they had the capacity to cope or demonstrated resilience to the challenges of the public health emergency, while a similar percentage of people referred to increased feelings of social isolation or loneliness. Many said their greatest challenge was coping with the loneliness brought on by the pandemic, while others voiced their frustration at feeling neglected and disregarded by the media or public health commentators
18th Aug 2021 - Irish Examiner

Brain fog: how trauma, uncertainty and isolation have affected our minds and memory

Before the pandemic, psychoanalyst Josh Cohen’s patients might come into his consulting room, lie down on the couch and talk about the traffic or the weather, or the rude person on the tube. Now they appear on his computer screen and tell him about brain fog. They talk with urgency of feeling unable to concentrate in meetings, to read, to follow intricately plotted television programmes. “There’s this sense of debilitation, of losing ordinary facility with everyday life; a forgetfulness and a kind of deskilling,” says Cohen, author of the self-help book How to Live. What to Do. Although restrictions are now easing across the UK, with greater freedom to circulate and socialise, he says lockdown for many of us has been “a contraction of life, and an almost parallel contraction of mental capacity”.
18th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

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Covid-19: Hong Kong to halt shorter quarantine for those tested with antibodies, as new rules trigger travel plan chaos

Hong Kong will no longer allow incoming travellers who test positive for Covid-19 antibodies to undergo a shorter compulsory quarantine, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday. Following the advice of a scientific committee under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP), fully vaccinated travellers entering Hong Kong from “medium-risk” and “low-risk” areas who test positive for antibodies will have to undergo at least 14 days of quarantine, said Lam.
17th Aug 2021 - Hong Kong Free Press

Japan to extend COVID-19 emergency lockdown

Japan was set on Tuesday to extend its state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions to Sept. 12 and widen curbs to seven more prefectures, as COVID-19 cases spike in the capital and nationwide, burdening the medical system.
17th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Over-60s struggle with loneliness during lockdowns, research finds

Coping with loneliness during lockdowns was the greatest challenge many over-60s dealt with, new research has found. Many older people said the longer the period of loneliness, the harder the experience, and the more sorrow expressed at being forced to adjust to the restrictions. Many described how as time passed, they felt less connection to the wider community and were more likely to report feelings of fear. The findings emerged from a report compiled by researchers at the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (Tilda) at Trinity College Dublin.
17th Aug 2021 - the Irish News

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Covid-19: Relaxation of NI self-isolation comes in effect

Fully-vaccinated close contacts of people who have Covid-19 no longer need to automatically self-isolate. Instead, they should get a PCR test on day two and day eight of what would have been their 10-day isolation period. A number of changes to Covid-19 restrictions made by the NI Executive last week come into effect on Monday. More than six people can now sit together in pubs and restaurants and conferences can resume.
16th Aug 2021 - BBC News

Australia extends COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, reinstates night curfew

Australian authorities reinstated a night curfew and extended COVID-19 lockdown measures in Melbourne for another two weeks to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant.
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Sydney records deadliest day of COVID-19 pandemic, Melbourne lockdown extended

Sydney lockdown extended statewide as Australia faces 'worst' COVID episode Sydney lockdown fines raised as Australia faces 'worst' COVID-19 situation
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

What are England and Northern Ireland’s new rules on self-isolation?

England and Northern Ireland have, from Monday, followed Scotland and Wales in relaxing rules so that people who are fully vaccinated no longer have to self-isolate if they are close contacts of people testing positive for Covid-19. They are advised to get a PCR test – the more reliable method of determining whether they have Covid-19. It will not be compulsory and they will not have to self-isolate while they wait for the result. The new guidance will apply to people who had their final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before coming into contact with a positive case.
16th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Scots with mental health issues more anxious about Covid easing

Scottish adults who are living with physical or mental health conditions are significantly more anxious about the easing of coronavirus restrictions, a study has found. In a survey of more than 2,000 people, the Mental Health Foundation found around 61 per cent of those who had long-term physical or mental health problems were “fairly” or “very” anxious about the easing of restrictions. This compared to 45% of the general population of Scottish adults who said they felt this way.
16th Aug 2021 - Herald Scotland

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Aug 2021

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Postcard initiative aims to send ‘message of love and thanks’

Postcards embedded with seeds are being delivered to people who did neighbours a good turn during the pandemic in an attempt to combat loneliness caused by Covid-19. The biodegradable cards, administered free of charge by the Great Care Co-op in Dalkey, south Dublin, can be planted in pots or directly into the soil and are emblazoned with the message: “Just to say I care”. Danielle Neilson, a carer with the Great Care Co-op, said the initiative was about reaching out to the many people – particularly among older age groups – feeling lonely and isolated as a result of the pandemic. “The intention is to send a message of gratitude to a loved one or neighbour that has been helpful or kind to you throughout the pandemic,” she said
15th Aug 2021 - The Irish Times

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Aug 2021

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Covid-19 Australia: Canberra to go into a seven day lockdown after confirmed Covid case in the ACT

Canberra will go into a snap seven day lockdown after a confirmed case of COVID-19 emerged in the ACT. The territory has confirmed its first case of Covid-19 in over a year as ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced a strict seven day lockdown during a media conference on Thursday. Minister Barr said the seven day lockdown will begin from 5pm on Thursday as shoppers fled to supermarkets eager to stock up on supplies ahead of the deadline
12th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

France to strengthen COVID-19 lockdown in Guadeloupe island

France will strengthen lockdown rules in the overseas territory of Guadeloupe to rein in the spread of COVID-19, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday, as spikes in infections in its Caribbean islands overwhelm hospitals. The French overseas territory of Martinique on Tuesday entered a tougher lockdown for three weeks to tackle the pandemic with the closure of beaches and shops selling non-essential items and restrictions on people's movements. Authorities in Martinique have also advised tourists to leave the island.
12th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Aug 2021

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Covid: Self isolation for double-jabbed close contacts to end on 16 August in England

Self-isolation for fully vaccinated people who come into contact with a person who tests positive for Covid will end on August 16, the Government has announced. Double-jabbed people contacted by NHS Test and Trace currently have to self-isolate for 10 days if they come into contact with someone who has the virus. But the government have been keen to alter the rules after vast amounts of people have been “pinged” by the app in recent weeks, causing businesses to complain that staff were unable to return to work. Health secretary Sajid Javid has now said if fully vaccinated people are contacted by NHS Test and Trace do not have to self-isolate are instead advised to get a PCR test from August 16 onwards.
11th Aug 2021 - The Independent

What Covid rules mean for shared accommodation — and how to survive self-isolation

More than a year into the pandemic, almost every student in the UK has either experienced self-isolation or knows somebody who has. With a large portion of young people still unvaccinated by the end of the 2020/2021 academic year, students were especially vulnerable to infection. In recent weeks, horror stories about students charged for living in rented households past their lease because they were required to isolate there have made headlines as cases sharply rose throughout campuses with the lifting of restrictions.
11th Aug 2021 - The Times

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Aug 2021

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Australia expands Covid-19 lockdown as Sydney records its highest daily case count

Australia's most populous state has expanded its Covid-19 lockdown to include a rural town and the coastal region of Byron Bay, as the city of Sydney recorded its highest daily case count since the beginning of the pandemic. There were four deaths and 356 locally transmitted Covid-19 infections confirmed in New South Wales on Monday, almost all of which were in Sydney, state premier Gladys Berejiklian said during a press conference on Tuesday morning.
10th Aug 2021 - CNN

France's Martinique island imposes tougher COVID-19 lockdown

France’s overseas territory of Martinique will enter a tougher lockdown for three weeks from Tuesday to tackle a COVID-19 outbreak on the West Indian island, a local government official said on Twitter. Authorities in Martinique also advised tourists to leave the island. Martinique had already imposed an evening curfew but the tougher lockdown, set to start from 7 p.m., will shutter shops selling items that are not essential, close beaches and clamp down on people’s movements.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Aug 2021

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Covid-19: Quarantine-free travel from France resumes as UK rules change

Fully vaccinated people can now visit France without quarantining on their return to the UK, after travel rule changes came into force at 04:00 BST. Brittany Ferries said it had received a "surge" of bookings following the rule changes announced on Thursday. But travel agents said the relaxation of quarantine for one of the UK's most popular destinations came "too late to save the summer". Meanwhile, travellers in Mexico had to rush back to avoid hotel quarantine. Under the latest changes to the UK's traffic light system for travel, the rules have been relaxed for a dozen countries
9th Aug 2021 - BBC News

Australia expands COVID lockdown over concern virus has spread from Sydney

Australia expanded a COVID-19 lockdown to a rural town and the coastal region of Byron Bay on Monday, as fears grew that the virus has spread from Sydney to the northern tip of the country's most populous state.
9th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Aug 2021

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Isolation, anxiousness, depression: What it's like becoming a mother during the COVID-19 pandemic

Considering the uncertainty, stress and isolation of the past year, there are lots of reasons to be concerned about the impact that might have had on the mental wellbeing of new mums. Dr Darby Saxbe, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California, researches how becoming a parent affects people. But when COVID-19 hit, Dr Saxbe's regular research stopped and she quickly turned to studying how the pandemic was affecting expectant parents. Her research found that expectant mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic had elevated levels of psychological distress, perceived stress, loneliness, and other behavioural changes.
7th Aug 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Aug 2021

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Israelis told to 'stop embracing', elderly urged to get booster as Covid-19 cases spike

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is warning that Israelis over 60 are at risk unless they go get their third booster shot immediately.
5th Aug 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

Australia's second most populous state Victoria to enter seven-day lockdown

Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, will enter a seven-day lockdown on Thursday after a fresh outbreak of COVID-19, state Premier Daniel Andrews said
5th Aug 2021 - Reuters

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Vietnam to halve quarantine time for fully vaccinated visitors

Vietnam will slash the duration of mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors from two weeks to just seven days, its health ministry said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its biggest COVID-19 outbreak yet. Vietnam successfully contained the virus for much of last year using a targeted testing and centralised quarantine programme but has since late April been faced with a surge in cases fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant. The country's borders are closed to all visitors apart from returning Vietnamese citizens, foreign experts, investors or diplomats, all of whom were subject to 14 days of quarantine at centrally-managed facilities.
4th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Aug 2021

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French territory of Guadeloupe to go into new lockdown to tackle COVID-19

France’s overseas territory of Guadeloupe will to go into a new lockdown for at least three weeks to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, said the local Guadeloupe authority on its Twitter account, as France battles a fourth wave of the virus. The authority said the French West Indian island’s new lockdown would start on Aug. 4, with the re-introduction of a curfew running from 8 p.m. (0000 GMT) until 5 a.m. (0900 GMT) the following day, and limitations on people’s movements.
3rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Sydney COVID Lockdown Could Be Eased if Vaccination Rate Hits 50%

Australian authorities said they could ease a COVID-19 lockdown that demands Sydney's five million people stay home until the end of August if half the population is vaccinated, even as new infections linger near a 16-month high.
3rd Aug 2021 - U.S. News & World Report

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Aug 2021

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Indonesia extends COVID-19 restrictions for outside Java

Indonesia extended restrictions outside Java island by another week in efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus, local media reported on Sunday citing an interior ministry senior official. The highest level of restrictions was extended until Aug. 9 for regions outside Java categorised as "Level 4" areas, or areas that have a high level of infections and hospital's bed occupancy rate, Safrizal Z.A., a senior official at the Home Affairs Ministry, told local media. Workers employed by non-essential businesses will continue to work from home and shopping malls will remain closed.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Australia tightens COVID curbs as Brisbane extends lockdown, army patrols Sydney

Australia's Queensland state on Monday extended a COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane, while soldiers began patrolling Sydney to enforce stay-at-home rules as Australia struggles to stop the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreading. Queensland said it had detected 13 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours - the biggest one-day rise the state has recorded in a year. The lockdown of Brisbane, Australia's third-biggest city, was due to end on Tuesday but will now stay in place until late on Sunday. "It's starting to become clear that the initial lockdown will be insufficient for the outbreak," Queensland state Deputy Premier Steven Miles told reporters in Brisbane.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Thailand and Vietnam extend COVID measures

Still in the grips of COVID-19 surges mainly fueled by the Delta (B1617.2) variant, Thailand and Vietnam extended lockdowns and other measures for the worst-hit parts of the countries. In other global developments, an outbreak in Australia's Queensland state flared again, and the greater Sydney area continues to report high daily case totals.
2nd Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

Millions under strict lockdown in China after Covid outbreak

Millions of people have been confined to their homes in China as the country tries to contain its largest coronavirus outbreak in months with mass testing and travel curbs. China reported 55 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Monday as an outbreak of the fast-spreading Delta variant reached more than 20 cities and more than a dozen provinces. Local governments in major cities including Beijing have now tested millions of residents, while cordoning off residential compounds and placing close contacts under quarantine.
2nd Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Aug 2021

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End isolation for people with two Covid-19 vaccines, says Labour

Labour has called on the government to bring forward the date exempting double-vaccinated people from self-isolation rules by more than a week. Under current plans the exemption comes into force on Monday August 16 but Sir Keir Starmer says he wants to see the rules to change on Saturday August 7 in an attempt to end the “summer of chaos” caused by the pingdemic.
30th Jul 2021 - The Times

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Jul 2021

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Sydney under strict new lockdown rules as cases soar

Millions in Sydney began their harshest lockdown since the pandemic began on Friday as COVID-19 cases spiked to record levels in Australia's largest city with state and national leaders set to meet to discuss the country's reopening plans. With Sydney, the capital of New South Wales state, struggling under record surge of cases, officials toughened curbs across eight local council areas, where most new infections were being reported, and sought the military's help to enforce lockdown rules.
30th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Cambodia to impose COVID-19 lockdowns in areas bordering Thailand

Cambodia is set to launch a lockdown in eight provinces bordering Thailand from midnight on Thursday, in a bid to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters

India's Kerala state orders lockdown as COVID-19 infections rise

India's southern state of Kerala on Thursday announced a two-day lockdown as federal authorities planned to send experts to fight the spread of infections in the country's leading COVID-19 hotspot.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters India

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Jul 2021

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Covid-19: Quarantine risk grows for British tourists as Spain infections soar

A sustained surge in Covid-19 cases in Spain, driven by a big increase in Delta-variant infections, is threatening its tourist industry. Although the rate shows signs of stabilising, with the total standing at 702 cases per 100,000 over a 14-day period — up from 700 on Monday — it remains well over the “very high” threshold rate of 500 per 100,000. The latest figures will do little to ease fears that Spain could soon be on the amber-plus list for the UK, which would mean British holidaymakers having to quarantine on their return.
28th Jul 2021 - The Times

Norway again postpones end to COVID lockdown

Norway postponed for a second time on Wednesday a planned final step in the reopening of its economy from pandemic lockdown, due to the continued spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the government said. “A new assessment will be made in mid-August,” Health Minister Bent Hoeie told a news conference. Measures that will be kept in place to halt the spread of COVID-19 include bars and restaurants being limited to table service and limits of 20 people on gatherings in private homes.
28th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Mental illness tied to higher risk of COVID hospital care, death

The first study, published yesterday, was led by researchers from the CEReSS-Health Service Research and Quality of Life Center in Marseille, France. It consisted of 16 observational studies from seven countries involving 19,086 patients with COVID-19 and mental illness from December 2019 to July 2020. The countries were Denmark (1 study), France (2), Israel (1), South Korea (3), Spain (1), the United Kingdom (1), and the United States (7). Regardless of the primary medical risk factors for severe COVID-19, patients with mental illnesses (eg, addiction, depression) were more likely to die of COVID-19 than their peers in pooled crude and adjusted analysis (crude odds ratio [OR], 1.75; adjusted OR [aOR], 1.38). Patients with the severe mental illnesses included in the study—schizophrenia and bipolar disorder—had the highest ORs for death, with a crude OR of 2.26 and an aOR of 1.67.
28th Jul 2021 - CIDRAP

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Jul 2021

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Covid-19: Relief at the lifting of restrictions from a widow who spent lockdown alone

Earl Sewell was one of the first to die with coronavirus in Birmingham. His widow, Jean, spoke about being plunged into lockdown almost straight after his death, and her relief restrictions are being lifted. Earl Sewell died on 16 March 2020, just as England was realising the ferociousness of the pandemic. His family, who had visited him in hospital just before his death, had to isolate immediately, leaving them facing challenges they could not have expected.
27th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Jul 2021

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Virtual contact worse than no contact for over-60s in lockdown, says study

Virtual contact during the pandemic made many over-60s feel lonelier and more depressed than no contact at all, new research has found. Many older people stayed in touch with family and friends during lockdown using the phone, video calls, and other forms of virtual contact. Zoom choirs, online book clubs and virtual bedtime stories with grandchildren helped many stave off isolation. But the study, among the first to comparatively assess social interactions across households and mental wellbeing during the pandemic, found many older people experienced a greater increase in loneliness and long-term mental health disorders as a result of the switch to online socialising than those who spent the pandemic on their own.
26th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Covid quarantine to be dropped for some Britons vaccinated abroad

Some Britons who have been double-vaccinated abroad will soon be able to travel to the UK more easily as the government prepares to recognise jabs administered overseas. Current restrictions mean only those who have been fully inoculated by the NHS are able to take advantage of avoiding quarantine if coming from countries graded amber under the traffic light system.
26th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Jul 2021

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Sparked by pandemic fallout, homeschooling surges across US

Although the pandemic disrupted family life across the U.S. since taking hold in spring 2020, some parents are grateful for one consequence: They’re now opting to homeschool their children, even as schools plan to resume in-person classes. The specific reasons vary widely. Some families who spoke with The Associated Press have children with special educational needs; others seek a faith-based curriculum or say their local schools are flawed. The common denominator: They tried homeschooling on what they thought was a temporary basis and found it beneficial to their children.
25th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Jul 2021

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Pets And Pet Owners Face Separation Anxiety As Workers Return To The Office

The phenomenon of the pandemic pet was one of few positive triumphs of 2020. Demand for pets surged. Americans, working from home or furloughed, sought out animal companionship. Some shelters struggled to keep up with it. For many workers, though, the cozy days of remote working are coming to an end. And separation anxiety looms. Over 30% of owners have sought advice from veterinarians on making the transition to in-person work easier for their pets, according to a March survey from Banfield Pet Hospital. Upon returning to the office, 68% of Gen Z owners and 42% of millennials plan to hire dog walkers or reserve spots in doggy day cares.
22nd Jul 2021 - NPR

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jul 2021

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Australia, under lockdown, sees worrying jump in COVID-19 cases

Australia's two largest states reported sharp increases in new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a blow to hopes that lockdown restrictions would be lifted with more than half the country's population under stay-at-home orders. New South Wales (NSW) state, home to the country's most populous city Sydney, reported 110 new cases, up from 78 the day before, nearly four weeks into a lockdown of the city and surrounding areas to contain an outbreak of the virulent Delta variant.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jul 2021

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Iran orders week-long shutdown in Tehran amid fifth COVID wave

Iran imposed a one-week lockdown in the capital and a nearby province on Tuesday as daily COVID-19 caseloads hit a record high amid a fifth wave of the pandemic, state television reported. The lockdown affects Tehran and Alborz provinces, with only essential businesses allowed to stay open. Most offices, theatres and sports facilities must shut down in an effort to prevent the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, the TV said.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

More than half of Australia's population under COVID-19 lockdowns

South Australia joins Victoria and Sydney in lockdown. New cases ease slightly in New South Wales, Victoria. 21 NSW cases spent time in community while infectious.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jul 2021

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Hanoi tightens restrictions as COVID clusters spread in Vietnam

Vietnam's capital Hanoi urged its citizens to stay at home from Monday and ordered a halt to all non-essential services due to new clusters of COVID-19 infections in recent days, the authorities said on Sunday. The city, which had already halted indoor restaurant service and closed salons as well as gyms, also stopped rail and bus passenger services to and from provinces in the south which have seen the biggest increases.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Singapore advises unvaccinated people to stay home as cases rise

Singapore's health ministry on Sunday "strongly" advised unvaccinated individuals, especially the elderly, to stay home as much as possible over the next few weeks, citing heightened concerns about the risk of community spread of COVID-19. The country reported 88 new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest daily toll since August last year, driven by growing clusters of infections linked to karaoke bars and a fishery port.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Australia prolongs COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria amid Delta outbreak

Australian authorities said Victoria state would extend a COVID-19 lockdown beyond Tuesday to slow the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, despite a slight drop in new infections in the state and nationwide.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Jul 2021

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Covid-19: PM and chancellor to self-isolate in U-turn

In U-Turn, UK's Johnson to Quarantine After COVID-19 ContactU.S. News & World ReportCoronavirus latest news: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak reverse decision to not self-isolate after getting 'pinged'Telegraph.co.ukBoris Johnson and Rishi Sunak WILL self-isolate after being 'pinged'Evening StandardView Full coverage on Google News
18th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Thailand expands lockdown areas as COVID-19 cases surge

The Thai government on Sunday announced plans for a tighter lockdown in Bangkok and high-risk provinces next week, suspending most domestic flights and expanding curfew areas after the country reported a third straight day of record COVID-19 case numbers. Thailand reported 11,397 infections and 101 deaths on Sunday, bringing the cumulative total to 403,386 cases and 3,341 fatalities, the vast majority from an outbreak since early April that is being fuelled by the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta COVID-19 variants.
18th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Jul 2021

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Covid-19: Quarantine rules for double-jabbed 'should be eased faster'

People who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the UK will no longer have to self-isolate when they arrive into Northern Ireland from an amber country from Monday, 19 July. The NI Executive previously set 26 July as the date for easing travel rules. The latest relaxation of coronavirus travel restrictions was announced by Stormont's Department of Health. But it also announced that the Balearic Islands and British Virgin Islands are to be added to the amber list.
15th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Australia's Melbourne to begin COVID-19 lockdown Friday night -ABC

The Australian state of Victoria was ordered into a five-day lockdown on Thursday following a spike in COVID-19 infections, joining Sydney as the country's two main population hubs battle an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Delta strain prompts Spain’s Catalonia to restore curfew

Barcelona and the surrounding northeast corner of Spain are curtailing public activity again to stem an outbreak of the delta variant of the coronavirus that is running wild among unvaccinated younger people and placing hospitals under growing pressure. Regional authorities in Catalonia were waiting for a judge to sign off on restoring a nightly curfew in towns with populations over 5,000 which surpass the rate of 400 infections per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days. The curfew is intended to discourage social gatherings where the virus spreads.
15th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Jul 2021

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What working from home means for women

Women may be more likely to want to work from home than men. They’ve also had a harder time doing so, reporting higher rates of stress, depression, and sheer hours worked — especially if they have kids. This paradox is a result of women trying to do the best thing for their careers while also navigating an unfair role in society and at home. In other words, women need more flexible work arrangements, because women have more to do. While the ability to work from home has been a godsend for working parents who were able to keep their children and jobs safe during the pandemic, it’s also exacerbated deeply ingrained gender inequality.
14th Jul 2021 - Vox.com

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jul 2021

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COVID-19: PM's easing of England's restrictions is 'irresponsible', BMA says

Boris Johnson's decision to press ahead with easing coronavirus restrictions in England is "irresponsible", senior doctors have said - although a government minister has admitted COVID rules could return this winter. The prime minister announced on Monday that most of the last remaining restrictions in England would be axed from 19 July. This was despite modelling showing that there could be 1,000 to 2,000 hospital admissions per day, with deaths reaching between 100 and 200 per day by mid-August, when the peak of the current wave is expected.
13th Jul 2021 - Sky News

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Dutch PM apologises for easing of COVID-19 curbs as cases soar

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte conceded on Monday that coronavirus restrictions had been lifted too soon in the Netherlands and he apologised as infections surged to their highest levels of the year.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Sydney braces for extended lockdown amid COVID-19 outbreak

The prospect of an extended lockdown in Sydney loomed on Monday as Australian health officials reported yet another record daily rise in COVID-19 cases for the year, fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant. New South Wales state reported 112 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, almost all in Sydney, despite the country’s biggest city entering its third week of lockdown. Case numbers have been at record levels for at least three days. There was, however, a glimmer of light as the number of newly-infected people who were out in the community while infectious dropped to 34 from 45 on Sunday.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters Australia

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Locked-down Sydney warned worse may be ahead, COVID-19 cases at 2021 high

Australia's New South Wales state reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired coronavirus infections this year on Saturday, with authorities warning that worse may yet to come for Sydney, which is in a three-week hard lockdown. There were 50 new cases of community transmission in the country's most populous state, up from 44 a day earlier, the previous 2021 record high. This brings the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant to 489 cases.
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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WHO warns of ‘epidemiological stupidity’ of early Covid reopening

As England moves towards an anticipated “big bang” lifting of coronavirus restrictions on 19 July, a senior World Health Organization official has warned countries to lift their Covid-19 restrictions slowly so as “not to lose the gains that [they] have made”. The comments from the UN global health body’s head of emergencies, Mike Ryan, were not aimed directly at Boris Johnson’s much-trumpeted reopening. However, they will be interpreted as grist to the mill of those health experts who have been arguing that England is moving too fast at a time when infections are surging.
8th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

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What are the Covid-19 symptoms for people who are fully vaccinated?

People who have received two doses of a Covid vaccine are less likely to be fall seriously ill or die from the virus, but they may still feel unwell if they become infected. The symptoms commonly associated with coronavirus are a high temperature,
7th Jul 2021 - The Independent

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‘It isn’t over’: WHO warns against easing COVID curbs too soon

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned governments around the world against easing COVID-19 restrictions too soon, saying countries that did so risked paying a heavy price for rushing back to normality. Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, the UN health agency’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan said a new wave of infections could be round the corner and noted that for much of the world, the pandemic was just getting started.
6th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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COVID-19: Care home visits will not 'completely go back to normal' following the final stage of lockdown easing, says minister

Care home visits will not "completely go back to normal" after the final stage of England's roadmap out of COVID restrictions, a minister has said. Social care minister Helen Whately said the country is "on track" to ease restrictions on 19 July in line with the government's plan but warned that there will still have to be "some precautions" around care homes.
5th Jul 2021 - Sky News

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The Zoom Revolution Empowers Women to Speak Up

After 14 months working from home, I have mastered the art of digital collaboration. What began as a clumsy series of video chats from my kitchen counter—plagued by technological difficulties and unfamiliarity—quickly became the most efficient and effective way to connect with colleagues and clients across the globe. I am proficient in BlueJeans, Teams, Webex, Meet, Chime and 8X8, but I have a black belt in Zoom, my preferred videoconferencing tool. I personalize my background, admit participants, put up my hand, pull up presentations, and mute and unmute myself as needed.
2nd Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Italy to enforce 5-day quarantine for England soccer fans

Italy intensified its warnings to England soccer fans on Thursday to stay away from the European Championship quarterfinal match against Ukraine on Saturday, saying they shouldn’t count on getting into the Stadio Olimpico unless they can prove they have observed five days of quarantine since arriving from Britain. In addition, the state police imposed a mandatory block on the sale and transfer of any tickets starting Thursday and the cancellation of coupons sold to British residents starting last Monday.
1st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid-19 lockdown left NI young people in limbo, says research

Lockdown left many children and young people "feeling like they were in limbo", according to research carried out for Stormont's Education Committee. Many said that not seeing friends and family, not being in school and not playing sport had been the most difficult aspects of lockdown. A lot said they "loved" being back at school. Hundreds of children and young people's views were received as part of the "My life and learning in lockdown" project.
1st Jul 2021 - BBC News

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'The effects will linger': US kids’ long-term health in jeopardy after pandemic schooling

After more than a year of isolation, widespread financial insecurity and the loss of an unprecedented amount of classroom time, experts say many of the youngest Americans have fallen behind socially, academically and emotionally in ways that could harm their physical and mental health for years or even decades. “This could affect a whole generation for the rest of their lives,” said Dr. Jack Shonkoff, a pediatrician and director of the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University. “All kids will be affected. Some will get through this and be fine. They will learn from it and grow. But lots of kids are going to be in big trouble.”
30th Jun 2021 - USA Today

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Google is giving Brits incorrect Covid-19 advice

Google shows incorrect answers to queries on self isolation, investigation says Users have been told they don't have to self-isolate when the NHS says they do Google is reportedly fixing the problem after a request from the UK government
29th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

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I tested positive for Covid-19 twice in two cities. The responses were vastly different

Pauline Lockwood is a Senior News Editor for CNN, based at the network's Asia-​Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong. She writes: "As someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 in both Britain and Hong Kong, I've experienced the worst of both worlds. In one, I fell victim to the complete failure to check the disease's spread, and in the other I got caught up in a zealous system intended to completely eradicate Covid-19. The pandemic's true tragedy is that the virus has killed nearly four million people worldwide, but it has also come with widespread repercussions. After undergoing four quarantines, the one when I actually had Covid-19 was the least traumatic. For me, pandemic measures have been far harder to deal with than the disease itself."
28th Jun 2021 - CNN

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Do children and people with two Covid vaccines need to self isolate?

Yes, people who are fully vaccinated still need to self-isolate and need to keep doing so for the duration of the 10 day quarantine period. This is because you can still be a carrier, even if you have received both doses of the jab. The government website states: ‘If you are instructed to self-isolate you must do so because there is still a risk that you might spread infection to others, even if you have been vaccinated and feel entirely well yourself.’ Failure to self-isolate for 10 days can result in a fine of £1,000, increasing to £10,000 for repeat offences under the current rules.
27th Jun 2021 - Metro.co.uk

HEE launches virtual training for NHS on loneliness and social isolation

Staff across the NHS and care sectors can now access a range of evidence-based interventions and information on how to refer or signpost people who may be at risk of loneliness and social isolation. A new e-learning resource has been developed by Health Education England (HEE) in collaboration with Public Health England and the Campaign to End Loneliness.
23rd Jun 2021 - Nursing Times

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Covid-19: 'Not yet appropriate' to ease care home visiting rules

Visiting at care homes cannot be eased any further yet, Northern Ireland's chief nursing officer has said. Charlotte McArdle contacted care home providers and trust officials with the news, in an email seen by BBC News NI. Public health colleagues have decided it would "not yet be appropriate" to move to the next stage of relaxing restrictions, the email read. Visiting at care homes has been restricted to try to protect residents from Covid-19. A four-stage plan for easing was launched at the beginning of May 2021.
24th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Vaccinated Israelis may need to quarantine because of Delta variant

Israel empowered health officials on Wednesday to quarantine anyone deemed to have been exposed to an especially infectious variant of COVID-19, even if they were previously vaccinated or recovered from the disease with presumed immunity. The decision followed a warning by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday over new outbreaks caused by the Delta variant, with daily infections rising after weeks of low plateau credited to Israel's record mass-vaccination drive.
24th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Should schoolchildren still have to self-isolate?

More than a quarter of a million children are absent from school in the UK because of coronavirus, prompting calls for a different approach to testing and quarantining of pupils that puts children's needs first. With children at extremely low risk from the virus and more than three out of every five UK adults now fully vaccinated, is it time for a change in policy?
24th Jun 2021 - BBC News

A perfect storm: the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of young people

Mental health services for children and young people were struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic, but data suggest they are now reaching crisis point. NHS figures, analysed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and published in April 2021, show that 80,226 more children and young people were referred to mental health services between April 2020 and December 2020, up by 28% on 2019​. In addition, the analysis revealed that the number of children and young people needing urgent or emergency crisis care — including assessments to see if someone needs to be sectioned because they or others are at risk of harm — had increased by 18% compared with 2019.
23rd Jun 2021 - The Pharmaceutical Journal

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HEE launches virtual training for NHS on loneliness and social isolation

A new e-learning resource has been developed by Health Education England (HEE) in collaboration with Public Health England and the Campaign to End Loneliness. It is intended to provide information to help health and care staff to recognise people who may be at risk from loneliness and social isolation and to understand the potential negative outcomes for health. The resource includes training on “handling conversations and interactions” with people at risk, said HEE in a statement.
23rd Jun 2021 - Nursing Times

Covid: Parents concerned about impact of isolation on learning

Pupils are facing "huge" disruption to their learning in Greater Manchester and Cheshire due to spikes in Covid-19 cases in schools, parents have said. More than 170,000 pupils are self-isolating across England, with thousands in the North West areas. One mother said providing home learning was "really difficult", while another said remote lessons were a "poor substitute for being in the classroom". Head teacher Simon Kidwell said schools "urgently need a plan for September". The two areas have some of the highest Covid infection rates in England and have seen thousands of pupils needing to self-isolate due to sharp rises caused by the Delta variant.
30th Nov -0001 - BBC News

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'Stolen moments': Families anguish over separation from dying COVID patients

In-depth interviews with 19 adult family members of patients lost to COVID-19 during the first pandemic wave in France uncover difficulties forging a bond with intensive care unit (ICU) staff, being separated from their loved ones at the time of greatest need, and grief over "stolen moments." Led by researchers at Saint Louis University Hospital in Paris, the study involved semi-structured, in-depth phone interviews conducted with family members of COVID-19 patients who died in one of 12 ICUs in seven regions of France in April and May 2020. The interviews took place 3 or 4 months after the patients' deaths, and the results were published yesterday in JAMA Network Open.
22nd Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Quarter of a million children in England missed school last week due to Covid

A quarter of a million children in England missed school last week because of Covid infections, self-isolation or school closures, making it the most disrupted week since schools fully reopened in March and prompting calls for pupils to be vaccinated. The upsurge has been most marked in northern centres such as Oldham, where Covid-related absences in schools are more than double the national rate. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said that self-isolation rules for children needed to be reformed to avoid further disruption to their education. The national figures from the Department for Education (DfE) showed that one child in every 30 at state school was out of the classroom on 17 June, including 9,000 pupils with confirmed Covid-19 cases, 16,000 with suspected cases and more than 7,000 whose schools had shut entirely because of Covid outbreaks.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Guardian

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Dublin charity urge public to reach out and combat loneliness being felt by elderly during Covid pandemic

A Dublin charity is urging the public to reach out and combat loneliness being felt by older people. ALONE encourages members of the public to change one person’s day by reaching out to an older person in their lives whether it’s an neighbour, friend, relative or someone they don’t really know that well in order to #ChangeOneDay. They are calling for the public to: “Call 1 – Nominate 1 – Change 1’ – call one older person, nominate a friend to do the same, and change one person’s day for the better.
21st Jun 2021 - Dublin Live

Covid-19: Matt Hancock hopes to scrap isolation for double-jabbed contacts

Plans to ease Covid restrictions in England on 19 July are "looking good", the prime minister has said. Boris Johnson said that was based on the efficacy of vaccines against identified variants. But he warned there could be a "rough winter for all sorts of reasons", including a resurgence of flu. It comes as the health secretary said he hoped to exempt fully vaccinated people from the requirement to isolate for 10 days when contact-traced. Asked during on a visit to a laboratory in Hertfordshire whether he could rule out further lockdowns this winter, Mr Johnson said: "You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven't budgeted for, or accounted for.
21st Jun 2021 - BBC News

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Vaccinated people set to be exempt from self-isolation rules if they take Covid-19 test every day instead

People who have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine could become exempt from self-isolation rules later this year, one of the Government’s leading scientific advisers has confirmed. Susan Hopkins of Public Health England said 15,000 people were already enrolled in a trial under which they take daily coronavirus tests after coming into contact with a Covid-19 patient or returning to the UK from abroad. The health service is hoping to recruit another 25,000 volunteers to gather evidence on whether the testing regime can remove the need to quarantine, without creating an unacceptably high risk of spreading new infections.
20th Jun 2021 - iNews.co.uk

English councils refuse six in 10 requests for Covid self-isolation pay

Almost two-thirds of workers in England seeking grants to help them self-isolate are being refused help, sparking warnings from trade unions that a key policy to limit Covid-19 is “failing” in the face of rising infections. Councils are continuing to refuse more than six out of 10 applications despite the government increasing funding for the vital anti-Covid system in March to £20m a month, freedom of information requests by the Trades Union Congress found. One council, Hackney in east London, said it had rejected 91% of requests for the £500 payments. saying that the government’s criteria were “extremely tight”. It had to reject some requests because they did not produce the right paperwork even though it acknowledged it can be difficult if families are ill or self-isolating.
19th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

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Treasury accused of 'recklessly' suppressing information relating to covid isolation sick pay

The Treasury has been accused of “recklessly” suppressing information relating to a sick pay scheme for people forced to self-isolate during the height of the second wave of the Covid pandemic. According to emails at the start of 2021 between civil servants seen by Politico, the department instructed government officials not to publicise how furlough could be used to access payments during the isolation period. Supporting people – particularly those in low-paid jobs – has been a major point of contention during the crisis, with scientists and opposition MPs repeatedly criticising the amount of financial support on offer for those required to self-isolate.
17th Jun 2021 - The Independent

Having a strong life purpose eases loneliness of COVID-19 isolation, study finds

Why can some people weather the stress of social isolation better than others, and what implications does this have for their health? New research found that people who felt a strong sense of purpose in life were less lonely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
17th Jun 2021 - Science Daily

£500 self-isolation payments to be widened to more low-income workers in Harrogate

Self-isolation payments of £500 are to be made available to more low-income earners in the Harrogate district. The one-off payments were introduced by the government and administered by Harrogate Borough Council from September to compensate for any loss of earnings workers may suffer as a result of having to self-isolate because of Covid. More than £119,000 has been allocated to the council but as of this month around £68,000 remains unspent so officials have proposed to widen the rules around who can apply.
17th Jun 2021 - Harrogate Advertiser

Covid-19: UK and Japan connect to tackle loneliness

Britain and Japan on Thursday announced joint plans to overcome the stigma of loneliness accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting the need to put in place policies that help to ‘connect’ people and communities. Britain appointed the world’s first minister for loneliness in 2018 and Japan recently appointed its first minister for loneliness and isolation, Tetsushi Sakamoto. Officials said the measures include regular meetings on the issue between the UK and Japan, sharing knowledge on loneliness measures and policy, and raising awareness in the United Kingdom (UK) and Japan, and within the global community.
17th Jun 2021 - Khaleej Times

COVID-19: Home quarantine rule for travellers to UK 'just doesn't work', says Professor Neil Ferguson

A home quarantine rule for travellers to the UK "just doesn't work", a top epidemiologist advising the government has warned. Professor Neil Ferguson, part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), suggested that anything other than the tough border restrictions imposed by countries such as Australia and New Zealand was "window dressing". The government has been facing calls to scrap its "amber list" of countries, from which people returning to the UK have to quarantine for 10 days at home.
17th Jun 2021 - Sky News

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Easing of Covid isolation rules on care home resident trips welcomed

Moves by the government to ease restrictions covering the movements of care home residents in England have been largely welcomed by organisations representing the social care sector. Residents will be able to spend more time with family and friends, including overnight stays, without needing to isolate, as part of an easing of visiting rules announced on Monday by the prime minister. They can currently only leave their care home for a visit if it is outdoors or for high-priority reasons, such as a GP appointment, but will soon be able to do so for more social reasons without isolating.
15th Jun 2021 - Nursing Times

How to help employees dealing with loneliness

Lockdown has precipitated a huge shift in our understanding of how and where employees can work, and hybrid working has gained momentum as a way to benefit from a more autonomous and agile workforce. However, remote working has not been a panacea. While enhanced autonomy has benefits for both employers and employees, the loss of in-person collaboration and networking opportunities risks remote workers being left isolated, feeling disconnected from friends and colleagues. The UK government has recently released guidance for employers, which it hopes will act as the starting point of a wider conversation about what organisations can do to address loneliness.
15th Jun 2021 - People Management

TransPennine Express Join The Fight To End Loneliness

TransPennine Express (TPE) has joined the fight to end loneliness in the UK by partnering with the Campaign to End Loneliness. The announcement of the partnership comes during Loneliness Awareness Week (14th-18th June) and TPE is taking steps to inform customers, colleagues and people who live in and around the places they serve about support services and tips to help tackle loneliness. There are more than 9 million people who suffer from loneliness in the UK and this figure has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as people have struggled to see family and friends. Now the train company is aiming to be part of the solution and to help bring people together.
15th Jun 2021 - Business Up North

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Why Covid has left us at a crossroads over loneliness - Kenneth Watt

After over a year of restrictions on how we work, socialise and interact with the rest of the world, many of us have endured periods of intense loneliness and even more experienced feelings of isolation. The impacts of loneliness are well documented. It is not just bad for our mental wellbeing, it can be devastating for our physical health and productivity, as well as communities and public services. As restrictions lift and we see groups of people back playing sport in parks and catching up with friends in beer gardens, loneliness is not going away for all. In fact, there is a risk that as some parts of society start to connect again, loneliness is further locked in for others.
14th Jun 2021 - The Scotsman

Befriending services could help tackle Scotland's loneliness crisis

In the last year, the levels of loneliness across Great Britain have grown. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics found 7.2 per cent of people “often” or “always” felt lonely, up from five per cent before the pandemic. That’s around 3.7 million adults. But at the same time, the pandemic has also encouraged community spirit. Between March and June last year, 2.2 million people in Scotland volunteered as a befriender, either formally or informally, according to Volunteer Scotland.
14th Jun 2021 - Holyrood.com

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Office connections a lifeline for workers

For all the complaints and comedies about office politics and getting along with co-workers, it seems most Australians missed going into a workplace during COVID lockdowns. New research has found 70 per cent of Australians say they find their most meaningful and regular social connections at work - outranking even their homes and community. And when it comes to which location they prefer to do jobs from, the data is clear: most do not want to work from home all the time. The desire to return to a group workplace is strongest among Gen-Z workers (aged 18 to 26), who also report the most impact on their mental health of coronavirus-related isolation.
13th Jun 2021 - 7News.com.au

Suicide Attempts Among Teen Girls Spiked During the Pandemic, CDC Finds

Suicide attempts among adolescent girls spiked as the coronavirus pandemic raged, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a study released Friday. May 2020 marked the beginning of a rise in emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts in teenagers ages 12-17 generally, but especially among girls. From Feb. 21 to March 20 2021, suicide attempts were up 50 percent from the same period in 2019 among girls 12 to 17 and 3.7 percent among boys of the same age.
11th Jun 2021 - Daily Beast

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People’s odds of loneliness could fall by up to half if cities hit 30% green space targets

One in four Australians feel lonely on three or more days a week. Our longitudinal study, just published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, finds adults in neighbourhoods where at least 30% of nearby land was parks, reserves and woodlands had 26% lower odds of becoming lonely compared to their peers in areas with less than 10% green space. For people living on their own, the associations were even greater – in areas with 30% or more green space the odds of becoming lonely halved. This is good news for cities around the world – including Barcelona, Canberra, Seattle and Vancouver – that have set targets of 30% green cover.
9th Jun 2021 - The Conversation US

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Opinion: Isolating during the covid-19 pandemic warped our brains. It’s time to confront that.

Need advice, after a year in isolation, on how to make small talk, how to get dressed after a year in soft pants or how to turn down invitations? Advice writers at major publications, including this one, have you covered. But for many the trickier challenge will be figuring out how the time they spent alone has distorted their views of the world. A new movie and comedy special may be helpful starting points for that process of self-examination. Netflix’s thriller “The Woman in the Window” had the good fortune to be delayed from 2019 to this May, which made it timely, if not very good. A lot of the potential audience has spent a year locked away like the film’s agoraphobic protagonist, troubled psychologist Anna Fox (Amy Adams), trying to draw conclusions based on limited firsthand knowledge of the world outside. If “The Woman in the Window” is about the way physical isolation cuts off firsthand experience, Bo Burnham’s Netflix comedy special, “Bo Burnham: Inside,” is about how much the Internet falls short as an alternative for real-world interaction.
9th Jun 2021 - Washington Post

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Covid canvas: Chennai artist uses self-portraits to describe illness, isolation

When Bala Govind Kumar, a 25-year-old visual artist, contracted Covid-19 and had to be quarantined, he decided to use his skills for self-portraits, conveying what he was going through. Bala, who works as an assistant art director to a production designer, tested positive for Covid-19 in April and was in home isolation. This was when he began recording himself, and used the videos for his portraits. Bala says he wanted to unburden himself of his pain and hence channeled his negative emotions into art. The pictures he produced during this period describe his experience of isolation and illness.
8th Jun 2021 - The Indian Express

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Red Cross Red Crescent warns of the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and young people in Europe

The mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will have far-reaching impacts for entire generations, warned the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Several studies by Red Cross and Red Crescent societies across Europe show an alarming pattern, which requires increased efforts to tackle inequity and assist those most in need. Antónia de Barros Mota, head of Mental Health/Psychosocial Support for IFRC Europe, said: “The mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are like invisible scars or hidden wounds. Young people and children are suffering stress, bereavement and loneliness, which can worsen as time passes. Their parents may have lost their jobs. Lockdowns and other restrictions continue to hamper their access to education, training and work.”
7th Jun 2021 - ReliefWeb

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The cure for pandemic loneliness? Friends of a different generation.

Research from Washington University in St. Louis and John Hopkins University School of Medicine shows that intergenerational volunteering is good for older people’s mental health and physical functioning (including improved mobility, stamina, and flexibility). A meta-analysis of 16 studies, published by Mikaela B von Bonsdorff and Taina Rantanen in “Aging Clinical and Experimental Research,” showed that volunteering in old age predicted better self-rated health, functioning, physical activity and life satisfaction, as well as decreased depression and mortality. The intergenerational friendship movement had been gaining momentum long before the pandemic. But one legacy of the pandemic could be creating more opportunities for young adults to bond with their elders, connections that could play an important role as we work to reimagine elder care in the United States
4th Jun 2021 - Washington Post

Coronavirus affecting mental health 'the norm,' research shows

Mild cases of Coronavirus can impact mental health just as much as severe cases, research by University College London (UCL) has found. Scientists analysed 215 studies from 30 countries, which found that 23 per cent of people who had contracted Covid-19 went through depression. Anxiety was also experienced by 16 per cent of patients.
4th Jun 2021 - LBC

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‘Ugliest phase of my life’: How Covid is leaving a permanent scar on mental health of elders

“My body was falling apart, it was very weak, the feeling of fatigue was intense. I did wonder at some points whether I would survive this,” said 73-year-old Prabir Chakravorty as he recalled his 25-day isolation period after testing positive for Covid on April 26. With over 28 million cases of Covid reported in India alone, self-isolation and self-quarantine are crucial to minimise the spread and among the first recommendations to patients. However, the negative physical, psychological, and social effects of isolation are apparent among the elderly population, especially those suffering from pre-existing mental illness.
3rd Jun 2021 - The Indian Express

Overcoming loneliness during COVID-19 and onward

The World Health Organization (WHO) says although we need to stay apart physically, we need to connect with one another now more than ever. When feelings of loneliness happen too often, it can become chronic and have a negative impact on physical and emotional health. Since the start of the pandemic, Canadians — more specifically, seniors — have been feeling lonely. Becoming more social might sound hard at first, but if you’re retired, you may have more free time than you used to — and more opportunities to improve your social well-being. One key to overcoming feelings of loneliness is to think about ways you can start feeling connected to others. Consider the tips below to help you feel connected.
3rd Jun 2021 - SaltWire Network

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After COVID, research on social isolation and loneliness is needed more than ever

With nearly 70% of Americans over the age of 65 now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, many older Americans are once again safely hugging their (fully vaccinated) loved ones and returning to regular activities after more than a year’s hiatus. We’re all glad to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but in addition to the tragic loss of life, COVID-19 magnified the already-dire problem of social isolation and loneliness among older adults. NIA has a robust history of promoting research to help understand how we can reduce loneliness and enhance social connection among older adults to improve physical and mental health outcomes. The pandemic underscored that rigorous research on the health impact of social isolation and loneliness — and the development of interventions to prevent or address these conditions — are needed now more than ever.
2nd Jun 2021 - nia.nih.gov

Parents: Kids are clamouring for great outdoors after Covid

Most parents see outdoor play as the key to combating loneliness that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused children. New research suggests more than half believe their children have been more lonely amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the report from the NSPCC. Two in three parents believe play has become more important for their children since the start of the pandemic, and 79 per cent think playing outside will be vital for children's wellbeing.
2nd Jun 2021 - Worcester News

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Mental health of mothers more negatively affected by Covid school closures than fathers, research finds

Researchers have found that mothers experienced worse mental health while schools were closed during lockdown. Meanwhile, there was no impact on the mental well-being of fathers. Research by the University of Essex’s Institute for Social and Economic Research, in conjunction with the universities of Surrey and Birmingham, found that the mental health of mothers suffered as schools were forced to shut. In addition to their day jobs, women were tasked with childcare and homeschooling during this time, which led mothers of pre-teen children to feel more lonely, lose confidence and have difficulty sleeping.
1st Jun 2021 - The Independent

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Concerned that returning to work will impact your mental health? Here's how to set boundaries

It’s no surprise that mental health has taken a hit during the Covid pandemic. A December survey from the U.S. Census Bureau found that 42% of U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, up from 11% in previous years. But there are aspects of pandemic life — working remotely, staying home and opting out of social situations, for instance — that have made life and managing their mental health easier for some. While many are struggling to balance childcare or feeling overwhelmed by isolation, others prefer the flexibility of remote work and telemedicine, and are grateful not to have to participate in social functions.
31st May 2021 - CNBC

COVID lockdowns have made young Germans more lonely — report

The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to an increase in loneliness among Germany's young people, according to a study published Sunday in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. A total of 56% of people aged between 16 and 29 years who took part in a survey reported that they have "frequently" felt lonely since the onset of the pandemic Since March 2020, Germany has implemented far-reaching restrictions on private and public life in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, which have included curfews and forbidding gatherings, although there have been periods where these have been loosened.
30th May 2021 - Deutsche Welle

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Australian State Probes Pandemic’s Loneliness Impact

Containing Covid-19 has been Australia’s North-eastern state, Queensland’s priority during the pandemic, and now the state will investigate how lockdown and limits on visitors affected mental health. Social isolation and loneliness are the subjects of a parliamentary Inquiry amid a pandemic in which one of the most effective weapons has been limiting contact between family and friends. “In 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the personal stressor most experienced by Australians during the Covid-19 pandemic was loneliness,” Communities Minister Leeanne Enoch said on May 27.
27th May 2021 - The Tennesse Tribune

Covid-19: Nova Scotia safe isolation program has put up hundreds of people throughout pandemic

Since the pandemic first began, Nova Scotia has provided accommodations to nearly 500 people to help them isolate safely away from other people after contracting COVID-19. “They’re primarily hotels, mostly used in the Central Zone,” said Health Minister Zach Churchill about the voluntary safe isolation sites. The province currently has 60 sites available and 44 people are using them right now to isolate. Self-isolation is a key tool in our toolbelt to fight back against the spread of COVID-19,” said Churchill.
27th May 2021 - Global News

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Vaccines minister confirms self-isolation won't end on 21 June for fully vaccinated

In England, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed that fully vaccinated people will likely still need to self-isolate if they come into contact with someone with Covid once all restrictions are removed on 21 June. Zahawi told MPs today that “even if you have had two doses of either vaccine – and I have had this in my own family – you can still contract Covid, and therefore you should be isolating and quarantining”.
25th May 2021 - City A.M.

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Feeling lonely? Try cranking up the volume

With COVID-19 keeping many people isolated and alone, one way to combat the loneliness is by cranking the volume up on your favourite song, show or movie, new research suggests. Researchers at Australia’s James Cook University found that people who felt socially isolated preferred higher volumes, from music to background noise, compared to those who felt they were socially accepted. “Loud noises are not only desired following social exclusion, they are also effective at mitigating the negative psychological effects of social exclusion, such as social pain, feelings of anger, loneliness, and worsened mood,” lead author Adam Wang from James Cook University said. Wang and his colleagues think this breakthrough could help people who are struggling through continued isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
25th May 2021 - CTVNews

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England pilots new support initiatives to boost self-isolating in higher COVID areas

New support initiatives will be piloted in nine areas of England with higher COVID rates, including from variants, as part of government efforts to boost testing and self-isolation, the health ministry said on Monday. The incidence of infections in Britain is still low but clusters of the Indian variant, believed to be more transmissible than the dominant Kent variant, are growing, and could derail plans to further ease lockdown measures. A total of 12 million pounds ($17 million) will be provided by government for accommodation for those in overcrowded households, social care support and communications assistance for those who don’t have English as their first language, among other steps.
24th May 2021 - Reuters

A million over-65s ‘still at risk of loneliness as UK lockdown eases’

A review by 10 leading charities has found that a million people over 65 in the UK are likely to remain at risk of chronic loneliness despite the easing of coronavirus restrictions. Loneliness, social isolation and living alone are all associated with an increased risk of early death, the Older People’s Task and Finish Group has said. The group, part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Tackling Loneliness Network, also says that so many support organisations closed for good during lockdown that millions of older people are continuing to suffer loneliness, depression and deteriorating physical health.
24th May 2021 - The Guardian

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How to conquer loneliness and social isolation

Over the last year, we isolated from each other to avoid a potentially deadly virus. Sadly, however, many older people had plenty of practice with social isolation well before COVID-19 entered the lexicon. As we age, loneliness is a risk factor for physical and mental decline. Add anxiety and depression to the mix and you’re looking at the possibility of a shorter lifespan. “Prevention needs to be the mantra,” said Marc Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist at Miami Jewish Health in Miami. Taking proactive steps to combat loneliness engages the brain and raises the odds that you’ll tend to your personal needs—from maintaining good hygiene to taking your prescribed medications as directed.For starters, devise a plan to resist the pull of isolation. Realize that if you don’t do anything—if you wait around for others to contact you—you’re likely to perpetuate the status quo.
23rd May 2021 - Marketwatch

England pilots new support initiatives to boost self-isolating in higher COVID areas

New support initiatives will be piloted in nine areas of England with higher COVID rates, including from variants, as part of government efforts to boost testing and self-isolation, the health ministry said on Monday. The incidence of infections in Britain is still low but clusters of the Indian variant, believed to be more transmissible than the dominant Kent variant, are growing, and could derail plans to further ease lockdown measures. A total of 12 million pounds ($17 million) will be provided by government for accommodation for those in overcrowded households, social care support and communications assistance for those who don't have English as their first language, among other steps.
23rd May 2021 - Reuters UK

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st May 2021

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Charity warns of lasting impact of pandemic on children and young people

The  coronavirus pandemic could leave a legacy of anxiety and poor mental health and wellbeing among  British  children and  young people, Barnardo’s has warned.  Polling by the UK’s children’s charity shows the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in Britain could still be worsening a year on after the pandemic first struck. In an online poll conducted by YouGov, Barnardo’s asked more than 4,000 children and young people aged eight-24 across Great Britain about how they were feeling now compared to before the pandemic. “Barnardo’s has consistently warned that the negative effects of the pandemic could last a lifetime if children and young people don’t have the right support. Our survey adds further weight to the argument that children must be front and centre of the Government’s plans for the post-COVID period."
20th May 2021 - Charity Today

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COVID-19: A crisis for 'years to come' - How lockdowns put children under 'unprecedented' levels of distress

Nicole Renshaw is a mental health nurse and is doing a routine and increasingly frequent part of her job - seeing children who have arrived in hospital after they have self-harmed. Before the pandemic, A&E attendances by children with psychiatric conditions had tripled in the last 10 years. Now, month on month, the numbers arriving at hospital are continuing to rise. Nicole works for the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) at Pennine Care NHS Trust. The CAMHS team is dealing with a surge in referrals - self-harm, suicide attempts, anxiety - a grim but growing list of troubles. "There is going to be a section of people in our society who are kind of surviving through this now and are in total survival mode," said the trust's lead clinical psychologist, Dr Chantal Basson. "And as we come out of the pandemic, we're more likely to see the mental health impact on those young people and families. I think we might be feeling the tremors, but I think the impact may well yet to be seen."
19th May 2021 - Sky News

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Warning of continued isolation despite May 17 Covid rules easing

The easing of coronavirus restrictions from today has been welcomed as a "positive step to starting to rebuild our communities" - but there are still fears people will be left isolated. Jo Reeder, chief executive of BSEVC - which runs services such as community transport for those at risk of isolation - said: “The easing of lockdown is of course a positive step to starting to rebuild our communities and to encourage individuals to start to re-engage. "Many people will relish this - but we need to be mindful that there will also be people that may find this new found freedom daunting after such a long time and with this could come feelings of anxiety and uncertainty."
18th May 2021 - East Anglian Daily Times

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'Covid has created huge amounts of hidden emotional distress'

Much has been written and said already about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our mental health. One of the hidden side effects of this is emotional distress and Dr Ann-Marie Creaven from the University of Limerick and mental health specialist Dr Harry Barry recently joined the Today With Claire Byrne show on RTÉ Radio One to discuss this topic. It's important that we accept it's the situation and not us that's abnormal. "It's OK to feel like crap sometimes, which we all do", says Barry. "I think it's really important that we work hard on the lifestyle changes. Make sure you get enough sleep. Do the alcohol detox. Don't drink from Monday to Friday. Try and get out for your bit of exercise. Try and for example, limit your technology. Shut down technology. Stop answering all your emails.
17th May 2021 - RTE.ie

Telangana Covid-19 patient builds himself an isolation bed on tree

An 18-year-old tribal student from Telangana’s Nalgonda district, who tested positive for Covid-19 on May 4, built himself a makeshift isolation chamber atop a tree-- where he stayed put for 12 days-- to protect his family from the virus since his family house didn’t have a separate room to quarantine him.
17th May 2021 - Hindustan Times

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Lockdown has encouraged older people to embrace technology, reconnect and build new relationships

The COVID-19 lockdown was a catalyst for many older people to embrace technology, reconnect with friends and build new relationships with neighbors, according to University of Stirling research. Understanding the coping mechanisms adopted by some over 60s during the pandemic will play a key role in developing interventions to help tackle loneliness, isolation and wellbeing in the future.
14th May 2021 - News Medical

If people don’t get paid to self-isolate, UK Covid cases could rise again

The British government has failed to provide adequate support for people self-isolating during the pandemic. Too many still fear they won’t be able to afford time off work should they need to stay at home. Compliance with self-isolation has been worryingly low, with some surveys showing that only around a half of people with Covid-19 symptoms stick to the legal requirement to self-isolate. Evidence suggests that financial barriers are a key reason people don’t comply, but the government has failed to fix this blind spot by protecting people from lost earnings when they are required to isolate. With social restrictions set to ease further, now is the time to address this critical flaw in the government’s pandemic response. Any failure to provide vital self-isolation support could undermine the government’s entire roadmap out of lockdown, putting paid to everything from the vaccine rollout to the expensive test-and-trace system.
14th May 2021 - The Guardian

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COVID-19 Loneliness

As the world slowly sheds the weight of COVID-19, there is an opportunity for psychiatrists to pause and consider the role they are about to play in the coming months and years. Never before has the entire modern world been subjected to such collective feelings of fear, uncertainty, anxiety, and sorrow—and loneliness. Psychiatry often relies on pharmaceuticals to treat mental illness; this pandemic serves as a good reminder that the best cure for loneliness can be as simple as kindness and compassion.
13th May 2021 - Psychiatric Times

Covid patients in Karnataka to get home isolation kits within one hour of test results

In order to help Covid-19 affected patients in the state, Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan announced medical kits will be sent to those under home isolation. According to the DCM of the state, five lakh kits will be procured, and measures will be taken to see that they reach the doorstep of the infected within 1 hour of getting the Covid-19 positive test result. He said authorities had been directed to ensure the systematic delivery of home isolation medical kits starting from May 15.
13th May 2021 - Livemint

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Covid Support Buddies launch to tackle loneliness and give support

A new county-wide Covid Support Buddy scheme is being launched by local charity Community Action Suffolk (CAS). The project, funded by Suffolk County Council, will develop a network of specialist "Buddies" to help people impacted by Covid-19. If people need to self-isolate, a buddy could help with tasks such as shopping or dog-walking or just make contact to reduce loneliness. The aim is for existing community groups to add a Covid-Support buddy to their ranks, supported by the Covid Support Development Officers at CAS
12th May 2021 - East Anglian Daily Times

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Health experts: Vaccinated people can relax about their Covid-19 risk

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said he will not go into restaurants or movie theaters, even though he’s vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says vaccinated people should continue masking up indoors and avoiding large gatherings. News outlets have reported on “breakthrough infections” of Covid-19 among the fully vaccinated. All of this can make it seem like getting vaccinated may not be enough to liberate people from the fear of getting sick and the precautions they’ve taken to avoid the coronavirus in the past year. So I posed a question to experts I’ve talked to throughout the pandemic about Covid-related precautions: How worried are you about your personal safety after getting vaccinated? They were nearly unanimous in their response: They’re no longer worried much, if at all, about their personal risk of getting Covid-19. Several spoke of going into restaurants and movie theaters now that they’re vaccinated, socializing with friends and family, and having older relatives visit for extended periods.
11th May 2021 - Vox.com

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Covid’s cruellest blow? Keeping the dying from their loved ones

No other disease in our lifetimes has required hospitals to be almost completely purged of visitors, even at the end of life. In place of the deathbed vigil – families clustered round the one they love, watching, waiting, clasping, holding – Covid has torn parent from child, sister from brother, husband from wife, grandparent from grandchild. We have been forced to exile the one group of people who matter more than anyone else when death draws near. This particular cruelty of Covid disrupts a fiercely primal need. Across cultures, eras and institutional settings, what we crave in extremis is the same. Someone to cling to, preferably someone we love, their presence an antidote to fear and pain.
10th May 2021 - The Guardian

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Covid-19: UK's minister for loneliness funds new plans to tackle isolation

Diana Barran, who is the third minister for loneliness in the United Kingdom since the portfolio was carved out in January 2018, has allocated £4 million to tackle the modern scourge of isolation and loneliness, as Covid-10 restrictions ease following a considerable decline in new viral infections. The Boris Johnson government said on Saturday that the fund would support a series of projects to bring people together. Officials said the amount would be shared among charity and community groups and grassroots organisations involved in tackling social isolation. Projects across England, include songwriting workshops in Devon, dance classes in Bedfordshire, and online chat services in Durham, are in the works.
8th May 2021 - Khaleej Times

As the Covid-19 crisis ebbs in the U.S., experts brace for some to experience psychological fallout

The end of the emergency phase of the pandemic is in sight in the United States, at least for now. But as the weight of the crisis is lifted, experts are also anticipating a long-term impact on people’s mental health. For some people, the feelings of anxiety and depression that emerged during the pandemic will resolve as routines resume — people go back to the office, social connections are reformed, the seeming danger of activities dissipates. But others will face new or worse mental health issues that persist or even appear down the road, a number that could be quite large given the magnitude of despair and disruption. That burden, however big, stands to put an even greater strain on an already stretched mental health system.
7th May 2021 - STAT News

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Children’ Mental Health Took A Massive Hit During Lockdown, Says UK Study

Children’s mental health took a serious hit during lockdown, according to a new Oxford University study. And younger children were particularly affected, with those aged four to 10 experiencing a much greater range of difficulties throughout the pandemic than older children. The highest levels of mental health issues were seen when restrictions were at their most stringent, while reported difficulties have decreased in line with children returning to the real, as opposed to the virtual, classroom. The findings emphasize the need to focus on mental health - rather than catching up on ‘lost learning - as the priority for children re-emerging from lockdown
6th May 2021 - Forbes

Precautions to take when you have COVID-19 patient at home

The second wave of coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc in India. And this time the disease is even more contagious than the last wave. It becomes increasingly difficult to protect oneself from the virus when you have someone at home who has tested positive. Most people are advised to isolate themselves at home until they have any serious complications. Apart from taking care of the patient, one has to protect themselves from catching the disease. From wearing a mask inside the home to washing hands frequently, there are some simple things that one must do to stay safe
6th May 2021 - ETimes

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Could you have ‘Covid-19 anxiety syndrome’? 7 tips for coping

After more than a year of restrictions and paranoia about the killer virus in our midst, it’s only natural that people are still feeling a little anxious about Covid-19. But some people aren’t just a little anxious – new research suggests one in five may have ‘Covid-19 anxiety syndrome’, where they’re locked into a state of continuous anxiety and fear of contracting the virus. The research, by London South Bank University ( LSBU ) found one in five of 286 UK-based survey participants scored highly on the Covid-19 anxiety syndrome scale in February and used forms of coping such as a constant attention to threat, worry, avoidance and excessive checkin
5th May 2021 - The Independent

Health bosses’ advice to tackle lockdown loneliness and anxiety

In England, health bosses have said it’s “ok to take small steps” if you’re anxious about heading out after lockdown restrictions are lifted. The Campaign to End Loneliness has also warned that those particularly affected by lockdown and left feeling lonely could be left behind. A recent ONS study between October 2020 to February 2021 put North and North East Lincolnshire among the places with the highest rates of reported loneliness.
5th May 2021 - The Lincolnite

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Covid-19: Care home residents can go on outdoor trips without isolating

Care home residents in England can now go on low-risk trips - such as to relatives' gardens or a local park - without having to self-isolate for 14 days when they return. It comes after some families say they have felt "powerless" because of "restrictive" visits. One woman said her mother had not been outdoors for more than 12 months and it would be "amazing" to take her outside. Campaigners now want the rule change to become law, rather than just guidance.
4th May 2021 - BBC News

Fire-juggling at home? Lockdown easing a relief for Hungarian circus artists

After months of practising aerial acrobatics suspended from the ceiling in her tiny apartment in Budapest with only her cats for an audience, Hungarian circus artist Eszter Kovacs is relishing the prospect of performing in front of people again. With COVID-19 restrictions beginning to ease in Hungary, where 40% of the population are now vaccinated, outdoor shows in parks and at cafe terraces are now possible and hopes are rising for a vibrant summer of festivals and concerts. Kovacs, whose skills also include fire-juggling, maintained her fitness during lockdown through a daily regime of yoga, long walks and acrobatic exercises using two flexible hoops hanging from the ceiling of her 24-square-metre living space.
4th May 2021 - Reuters

I am suffering from depression. How should I deal with Covid isolation?

When one tests positive for Covid-19, the first thing they are asked to do is isolate themselves. However, it is not easy to do so if the person is diagnosed with depression. IndiaToday.in got in touch with doctors to ask them what a person suffering from depression should do to deal with Covid isolation.
4th May 2021 - India Today

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Anxiety around socialising again is very real – so how can you tackle it in the moment?

Given the pandemic has made socialising in person near enough impossible for the past year, it’s understandable some people may be feeling nervous about restrictions easing and going back to our old routines. Social anxiety isn’t just about feeling a bit nervous around mingling with strangers though, it’s a mental health disorder that can affect work, school, and your other day-to-day activities. If you suffer from it, the thought of a packed pub garden can quickly set you on edge. There are some quick tips for easing social anxiety you can adopt if you find yourself feeling worried
3rd May 2021 - The Independent

Covid: Care home isolation rule axed for low-risk trips in England

Care home residents will be able to leave their home for low-risk trips without having to self-isolate for 14 days afterwards, the government says. The rules will be relaxed in England from Tuesday, allowing for walks or garden visits without self-isolation. The government says a fall in Covid cases means it is "much safer" for care home residents to go outside. The charity John's Campaign says it is a "chink of light" for residents and their families. But co-founder Julia Jones said she wanted to see the full guidance before making a decision about the charity's threat of legal action against the government's 14-day self-isolation requirement.
2nd May 2021 - BBC News

Covid: Daily tests could replace quarantine for those exposed to virus

Self-isolation requirements for individuals who have been in contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus could be relaxed as a result of a major new study utilising rapid testing. Daily lateral flow tests will be given to as many as 40,000 people who have a positive Covid-19 contact in the government-backed research announced on Sunday. Instead of the 10 days of quarantine currently required, the participants will be sent a week’s worth of tests and will be able to go about their lives as before, as long as the results are negative.
2nd May 2021 - ITV News

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Apr 2021

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Calgary senior overcomes loneliness by spreading simple gestures of love

Helen Jusic, 84, has called Calgary’s community of Bridgeland home for almost 35 years. But once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she felt lonely and isolated in her home. As a people person, she craved connection. She went out to find happiness and discovered she had something extraordinary to give. Her daily routine includes one hour to spread joy to her neighbourhood. Every day, she stands at an intersection near her home giving countless strangers good wishes. She blows them kisses, sends them air hugs and tells them, “I love you.” She said her simple gestures of love have taken away her anxiety and endeared an entire community.
29th Apr 2021 - Global News

Social networks as an antidote to loneliness

The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on young people’s mental health. Youth care researcher Levi van Dam suggest with international colleagues that mentors chosen by young people themselves from their own social environment could be used to help them. Van Dam and his colleagues set out the tried and tested benefits of this form of support in the leading scientific journal ‘JAMA Psychiatry’. Various studies alarmingly report the major impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the mental health of young people and increased loneliness, depression and anxiety. It’s not only youth care and mental health care professionals that can help in this regard, say Van Dam and his colleagues, young people’s social networks can also be used as a buffer to help them.
29th Apr 2021 - Mirage News

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Online friendships helping Americans battle pandemic loneliness

Ever since the pandemic started, 67% of Americans feel more alone than ever before, says new research. A poll of 2,003 Americans found that 55% feel like they've completely lost their sense of community in the past year, too. A study conducted by OnePoll aimed to see how COVID-19 has affected Americans and discovered the sad fact that 62% felt like they had absolutely no one to talk about their loneliness or isolation with during the quarantine period. As people began feeling more and more isolated and alone in the past year, Americans turned to the internet for a source of comfort and community. Over half of those polled say online friendships take much less energy to maintain than real-life ones, with 52% saying they actually feel more comfortable opening up to people they only know online.
28th Apr 2021 - Yahoo News UK

No, Remote Therapy Hasn't Worked For Everyone During The Pandemic

Privacy problems, tech issues and fears of being overheard by family or housemates have been just some of the hurdles people with mental health issues have faced when attending therapy remotely during the pandemic. After the March 2020 lockdown was announced, many saw their face-to-face therapy appointments swiftly moved online or conducted over the phone. A year on, while some have benefited from this way of communicating, more than a third (35%) of people surveyed by the mental health charity Mind said online or phone-based support from NHS was difficult to use, while a quarter (23%) said their mental health had actually got worse as a result.
28th Apr 2021 - HuffPost UK

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I am Covid positive in home-isolation. What to eat? Dietitians answer

If you are suffering from Covid-19 and are in home-isolation, it is imperative that you follow a balanced diet apart from consuming prescribed medicines in order to recover soon. Weakness is one of the major side-effects of battling the deadly virus and the loss of taste and smell often forces patients to refrain from eating. However, that can hinder the recovery process as proper nutrition is an absolute must in order to defeat the virus if you contract it. IndiaToday spoke to two dietitians, who prescribed several dos and don'ts that caregivers must keep in mind while looking after Covid-19 patients at home.
27th Apr 2021 - India Today

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Covid-19: Preparing to leave lockdown with social anxiety

Life may appear to be returning to a new "normal" as the Covid-19 lockdown eases. While many relish the idea of going back to their more usual routines, some with pre-existing anxiety may find the changes challenging. Naomi Quinn, 45, is anxious about a reduction in restrictions. "My fear is, as soon as things go back to normal people won't wear their masks, sanitise their hands and they might disregard the rules," she explained. Naomi, who lives with her daughter, Megan, in Swatragh, a small village in County Londonderry, has been dealing with anxiety for years. She said: "When you're in the middle of a panic attack, it's so real. In that moment, I believe I'm having a heart attack or a stroke.
26th Apr 2021 - BBC News

I Successfully Made It Through Two Weeks Of COVID-19 Isolation. Here’s How You Can Too

Kashish Malik writes about her experience of isolation and has tips on how to get through it: "Some of us, like me, who are innately positive human beings pull through by making routines while there are many more who stay isolated with their thoughts which more often than not are unhappy ones. In the middle of this crisis, and being a patient myself if there is one thing I have learned then it is that all COVID-19 struggles are different. So instead of comparing our situation with one another, we should learn from each other. By sharing our stories, we may end up giving valuable information which someone somewhere can use to cope with their own situation."
26th Apr 2021 - shethepeople.tv

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Self-Compassion Is Key To Survive Working From Home

As the world moved en-masse to remote working as a result of Covid-19 there was initial bonhomie of a world stripped clean of the much-unloved aspects of working life, such as the commute and the open-office distractions. Over a year on, however, and the sheen is beginning to wear off, with people suffering from burnout, an eroding work-life balance, and isolation as social contact with one's peers is restricted to Zoom socials. New research from York University suggests that the key to coping with remote working is to exhibit high levels of self-compassion. The researchers specifically looked at how the loneliness that is almost an endemic part of remote working life at the moment might impact not only our mental health but also our behavior at work.
25th Apr 2021 - Forbes

COVID-19 took mental health to a dark place. The healing work starts now

The coronavirus pandemic has wrought mental health havoc across the world. "As the pandemic struck, there was a large and immediate decline in mental health in many countries worldwide," reads the 2021 World Happiness Report. Mental health improved after the initial shock but, the report cautions, "a significant proportion of people had mental health [in 2020] that was persistently and significantly lower than before COVID-19." In the US, 42% of respondents to a CDC survey in December reported anxiety or depression symptoms, an increase of over 200% from the 2019 average. In the UK, 31% of respondents to a September study reported depression severe enough to justify "high-intensity psychological support." One positive sign is that online therapy sessions done through tools like Zoom have become far more common. It's not just that people have gone from the therapist chair to the lounge room, but rather "underserved and underrepresented" groups that normally shun in-person therapy feel comfortable opting for e-therapy done in their own home
23rd Apr 2021 - CNet.com

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Feelings of isolation worse now than at any point during pandemic: report

A year into the pandemic, a new report by HR company Morneau Shepell says that feelings of isolation are taking their greatest toll yet on Canadians. The company released its monthly Mental Health Index report, showing a negative mental health score among Canadians for the 12th consecutive month. “The past year has been defined by relentless change and drastic declines in Canadians’ wellbeing, as individuals across the country were forced to constantly shift their way of living,” said Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer. “One year into the pandemic, it’s clear that while there have been many changes to our routine, the declining state of Canadians’ wellbeing remains a constant.”
22nd Apr 2021 - CTV News

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‘It could result in a pandemic of loneliness’: Peers report on how digital Covid lives altered wellbeing

Despite the obvious perks that the online world brought when our world changed overnight, there are long-term implications of moving to a digitised world – especially when many are still lacking basic access to the internet and thus risk being further shut out down the line. To presume that technology is universally the great leveller is a mistake. The House of Lords today publishes a report, “Beyond Digital: Planning for a Hybrid World”, looking at our digital futures. The report highlights the risk that this could have in developing a “pandemic of loneliness”. This is already well reported. According to a survey of UK adults by the Mental Health Foundation, which took place nine months into Covid-19 restrictions in late November, one in four (24 per cent) said they had feelings of loneliness in the “previous two weeks”. Figures from ONS suggested that in the first lockdown about 2.6 million adults felt lonely “often” or “always”.
21st Apr 2021 - The Independent

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Should you tell people you got the Covid-19 vaccine? Here's what to consider

Sharing your vaccine status with friends and family and on social media can mean an outpouring of support -- and it also can mean unwanted scrutiny, questions or even backlash. There are also concerns around social life. Sharing your status could mean unwanted social pressures to hang out when you don't feel comfortable returning to life before Covid-19. Some who qualified to get the vaccine earlier than others worry about jealously or judgment from friends or acquaintances if they disclose their status. Some worry their employers may force them back to the office before they feel safe returning if they share their vaccine status.
20th Apr 2021 - CNN

Covid-19: Suicide rate 'did not rise during first lockdown'

The number of suicides in England did not rise following the first national lockdown in 2020, research has found. Charities had reported more people seeking mental health support, leading to fears the number of suicides would also increase. But University of Manchester scientists found a broadly similar rate from April to October 2020 to that seen between January and March. The findings are in line with research from other high income countries. Using real-time surveillance data, which records suicides as they occur but before an inquest is held, academics studied suicides in areas of England covering some 13 million people - around a quarter of the population.
20th Apr 2021 - BBC News

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Amid raging second COVID-19 wave, the elderly battle loneliness and anxiety

In India, the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult for people who have been living independently and are elderly. Besides being highly susceptible to the virus, their old age has also made it difficult for them to commute and socialise, adding to their loneliness and anxiety. "Though I manage to get essential items, it is the loneliness and anxiety that has been really bothering me," said Sarin, who became eligible for anti-coronavirus vaccination last month after the health ministry said people aged 45 and above account for about 88 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in India making them the most vulnerable section of society. The septuagenarian said, "I am not very tech-savvy but I learnt to buy basic items online."
18th Apr 2021 - Economic Times

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Young adults' coping strategies against loneliness during the COVID-19-related quarantine in Greece

COVID-19 and the related quarantine disrupted young adults’ academic and professional life, daily routine and socio-emotional well-being. This cross-sectional study focused on the emotional and behavioural responses of a young adult population during the COVID-19-related quarantine in April 2020, in Greece. The study was conducted through an online survey. A total of 1559 young adults, aged 18-30 years, completed Steele’s Social Responsibility Motivation Scale and the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale, and answered questions about compliance with instructions, quarantine-related behaviours and coping strategies. According to the results, participants displayed a relatively high sense of social responsibility and a trend towards moderate feeling of loneliness; young women reported significantly higher levels of loneliness than men.
18th Apr 2021 - DocWire News

Loneliness won't end when the pandemic ends

In 2018, nearly half of Americans reported sometimes or always feeling alone. Recent findings suggest that during the pandemic, over one in three Americans face "serious loneliness." The "loneliness epidemic," as some experts call it, was a problem well before Covid-19. And while physical reunion is now in sight, it'll take more than dinner parties to reach the marrow of a complicated and deeply cultural problem. There is a distinction between loneliness and the social isolation that Covid-19 has required over the past year. While isolation is more quantitative and objective -- the reality of fewer social contacts -- loneliness is a feeling. "Loneliness is thought to be more of a subjective, distressing feeling," Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, told CNN. "It's often defined as the discrepancy between one's actual and desired level of connection." And because loneliness is a feeling, it varies widely.
18th Apr 2021 - CNN

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One in three say self-isolating has negative effect on wellbeing

More than a third of adults in England have found self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19 has had a negative effect on their wellbeing and mental health, new figures suggest. Some 36% of adults surveyed said self-isolation had a negative impact, while 59% reported no effect and 4% said it had a positive effect. Around three in 10 people (28%) reported a loss of income, while 14% of those who had been working prior to self-isolating – either in or outside their home – said they were not paid during the self-isolation period.
15th Apr 2021 - Shropshire Star

Covid-19 pandemic likely have 'profound' effect on mental health

Mental health problems associated with the Covid-19 pandemic are "likely to be profound and felt for many years". That is according to a newly-published research paper on suicide from the Northern Ireland Assembly. It said there was "emerging" evidence the mental health of younger people in particular had been "disproportionately affected". The paper warned, though, conflating declining mental health with suicide and suicide risk should be avoided. It said to do so could increase the risk of normalising suicidal behaviour.
15th Apr 2021 - BBC News

How Working From Home Changed Wardrobes Around the World

Have months of self-isolation, lockdown and working from home irrevocably changed what we will put on once we go out again? For a long time, the assumption was yes. Now, as restrictions ease and the opening up of offices and travel is dangled like a promise, that expectation is more like a qualified “maybe.” But not every country’s experience of the last year was the same, nor were the clothes that dominated local wardrobes. Before we can predict what’s next, we need to understand what was. Here, eight New York Times correspondents in seven different countries share dispatches from a year of dressing.
15th Apr 2021 - The New York Times

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Loneliness is rampant. A simple call, or hug, may be a cure

Rampant loneliness existed long before COVID-19, and experts believe it’s now worse. Evidence suggests it can damage health and shorten lives as much as obesity and smoking. In addition to psychological distress, some studies suggest loneliness may cause physical changes including inflammation and elevated stress hormones that may tighten blood vessels and increase blood pressure. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who has called loneliness a public health crisis, points out that much of the world including the U.S. ’’was struggling with remarkably high levels of loneliness before COVID-19.” “The pandemic has shed new light on this struggle and reminded us of an unmistakable truth: we need each other,” he said in an emailed statement.
14th Apr 2021 - Associated Press

Young People Hit Hardest By Loneliness And Depression During Covid-19

Loneliness can be a risk factor in a range of health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and domestic abuse. All problems that are unsurprisingly increasing as we continue to remain isolated during the pandemic. However it would appear that one demographic is feeling the effects of isolation more than others. A CDC online survey indicates that young people between the ages of 18-24 are more likely to suffer mental health problems during the pandemic than any age group. According to this survey, 63% of young people are suffering significant symptoms of anxiety or depression. Weissbourd and his team argue that tackling loneliness and associated mental health issues would require a “robust social infrastructure” and suggests that key social and cultural institutions including workplaces, schools and colleges, and religious and secular community organizations, can be far more intentional and systematic about connecting us to each other through events and initiatives.
14th Apr 2021 - Forbes

Farmers turn to technology as pandemic increases social isolation

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a rise in social isolation and loss of community engagement among farmers, while a significant majority want online buying and selling in the marts to continue post-pandemic, a major report on the sector shows.
14th Apr 2021 - Irish Times

Brain fog: how trauma, uncertainty and isolation have affected our minds and memory

Before the pandemic, psychoanalyst Josh Cohen’s patients might come into his consulting room, lie down on the couch and talk about the traffic or the weather, or the rude person on the tube. Now they appear on his computer screen and tell him about brain fog. They talk with urgency of feeling unable to concentrate in meetings, to read, to follow intricately plotted television programmes. “There’s this sense of debilitation, of losing ordinary facility with everyday life; a forgetfulness and a kind of deskilling,” says Cohen, author of the self-help book How to Live. What to Do. Although restrictions are now easing across the UK, with greater freedom to circulate and socialise, he says lockdown for many of us has been “a contraction of life, and an almost parallel contraction of mental capacity”.
14th Apr 2021 - The Guardian

Beware the ‘last mile, first smile’ syndrome when we near the end of the Covid-19 pandemic

As frontline health care workers emerge from the work that has consumed them since March 2020, they will be shading their eyes to accommodate to the optimistic sunlight of a post-Covid world. For many doctors, nurses, and other frontline health care workers, this transition may be challenging in ways that might expose them to profound risk of burnout, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even suicide. Fighting Covid-19 day in and day out, being exposed to the danger of infection and worrying about bringing the virus home; the psychological trauma and moral injury sustained while treating patients who died alone with health care workers playing the role of family members; having to prioritize care while balancing a shortage of medical gear, time, and attention — all of these can induce a heavy emotional toll. Transitioning medical teams into the post-Covid-19 era needs to be planned, supported, and done with the precision of a delicate surgical procedure
14th Apr 2021 - STAT News

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Lockdown loneliness: How Fife mum’s Covid-safe group helped new parents beat the baby blues

In Scotland, a Fife mum struggling with lockdown loneliness has formed a new group to help other parents in the same situation. Kiri Stone gave birth to baby Tove in March last year, just a week before lockdown was imposed. Baby groups suddenly stopped and socialising with friends was banned, leaving Kiri feeling isolated. The first-time mum decided to take matters into her own hands and began looking at Covid-safe ways to meet other people with babies once restrictions eased. And within weeks, she launched Wild Fife Babies and Bairns which meets outdoors for socially-distanced walks. The group has proved immensely popular and now has a waiting list of people who want to join.
13th Apr 2021 - The Courier.co.uk

New Catalent sponsorship kicks Town foundation's loneliness support scheme up a notch

The community foundation funded by Swindon Town Football Club is tackling loneliness with the help of sponsorship from Catalent. STFC's charitable arm launched the Tackling Loneliness Together initiative in summer along with 72 other English Football League clubs. So far, more than 600 people aged 60 and above have been contacted over the phone and through socially-distanced doorstep visits to provide a bit of friendship and social contact during the months of lockdowns and shielding.
13th Apr 2021 - Swindon Advertiser

COVID-19: Lockdown is main reason for drop in coronavirus cases and deaths - not vaccinations, says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has warned that the reduction in coronavirus infections, hospitalisations and deaths "has not been achieved" by the rollout of COVID vaccines. The prime minister, speaking the day after the latest easing of lockdown restrictions, instead said it was the national shutdown that had been "overwhelmingly important" in driving down COVID rates.
13th Apr 2021 - Sky News

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Pets eased children's loneliness in Covid lockdown

Family pets help children better manage feelings of stress and loneliness, which have been greatly exacerbated by virtual schooling as a result of the pandemic, shows a new survey. According to UNICEF, at least one in seven children — or 332 million globally — has lived under nationwide stay-at-home policies for at least nine months since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, putting their mental health and well-being at risk. The Mars Petcare survey of parents reveals that more than eight in 10 parents found that their family pet helped their child feel less lonely during lockdown, with more than three-quarters feeling that day-to-day interactions with their cat or dog reduced their child's stress and anxiety.
12th Apr 2021 - freepressjournal.in

What Covid-19 Taught Us About the High Cost of Isolation

If we didn’t know it or believe it before the pandemic, the hard reality is now unavoidable: Social isolation cripples and it kills. As a doctor I knew the science of social isolation before the pandemic. But the pandemic has opened our eyes to the tragic consequences of loneliness in a way that was impossible before. Now, as life slowly returns to normal, let’s not close our eyes to what we’ve learned. Let’s acknowledge that despite our best efforts and technology, there is a missing element to living life by text, phone and video chat that must be illuminated and studied. And let’s make sure to take the lessons of the past year and apply them to our post-pandemic world.
10th Apr 2021 - Wall Street Journal

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'Lockdown loneliness' in Reading revealed

A third of people in Reading who say the coronavirus pandemic has affected their well-being put it down to “lockdown loneliness”, new figures suggest. Mental health charities have called for people's mental health and wellbeing to be made a priority in the recovery from Covid-19. Tom Madders, director of campaigns at mental health charity YoungMinds, said young people have experienced loneliness and isolation as Covid-19 has limited their social lives, education, or led to job losses. “It’s important that young people know where to go to get support for their mental health if they are struggling and that they can access help as soon as they need it,” he added.
10th Apr 2021 - Reading Chronicle

Students crushed by stress, depression are back in class. Here’s how schools are meeting their needs

Americans of all ages say the pandemic has taken a toll on their mental health, but the trend has been especially pronounced among young people. The rate of children ages 11 through 17 who were screened last year for anxiety and depression was 9% higher than it was in 2019, according to a Mental Health America report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows the number of children sent to emergency rooms for mental health conditions skyrocketed from April to October last year. For high schoolers, the biggest stressors have been the sense of disconnect from friends and loved ones and difficulties focusing on school or work, according to survey data by YouthTruth. But the mental health challenges won't magically disappear once students trickle back into school buildings.
11th Apr 2021 - USA Today

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Are remote workers bottling up their stress?

Research suggests remote workers are more likely to bottle up their stress than their office-based peers, with disastrous consequences. A recent survey of more than 1,000 employees found remote employees are more likely than in-person employees to not speak with anyone regarding their workplace stress. To determine how stressed employees are at the moment, researchers used the Perceived Stress Scale (PPS). The scale showed that almost three-quarters of those polled are experiencing moderate or high levels of overall stress. Around one in three respondents said they are very or extremely stressed by work specifically. In addition, people were more likely to say they won’t talk to anyone about their work-related stress when working remotely.
8th Apr 2021 - Yahoo News UK

After COVID-19, post-traumatic growth could bring creativity, joy back into your life, but perhaps not until 2024

To achieve post-traumatic growth, sufferers of trauma must first recognize and accept the ways in which core beliefs have been shattered by an event, said psychologist Richard Tedeschi, who along with colleague Lawrence Calhoun defined and began to research the phenomenon back in the mid-1990s. Accepting that an emotional earthquake has occurred, he said, allows humans to grow in five specific domains: appreciation of life, relationships with others, new possibilities in life, personal strength and spiritual change.
8th Apr 2021 - USA Today

Lockdown loneliness rates in Leicester are one of the worst in England

Lockdown loneliness rates were about twice the national average in Leicester during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new study. 14.3 per cent of people in the city felt lonely between October 2020 and February of this year - almost twice England's average of 7.3 per cent, reveals data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The problem is worse in areas with high concentrations of younger people and higher rates of unemployment. Loneliness rates were almost always lower in the countryside compared with urban areas.
8th Apr 2021 - Leicester Mercury

'Heartbreaking': How Nurses In Brazil Are Helping Covid Patients Handle Their Loneliness Amid Isolation

Nurses in a Brazilian Covid isolation ward have come up with an innovative idea to help isolated patients deal with their loneliness. The nurses have created a sense of artificial touch by using two disposable gloves filled with hot water. They tie them together around patients’ hands. A photo of the same has gone viral after it was shared by Sadiq Sameer Bhat of the Gulf News. Along with the image, he wrote, "'The hand of God' - nurses trying to comfort isolated patients in a Brazilian Covid isolation ward. Two disposable gloves tied, full of hot water, simulating impossible human contact. Salute to the front liners and a stark reminder of the grim situation our world is in!" Many Twitter users have shared the tweet and described the image as being ‘heartbreaking’
8th Apr 2021 - abpLive

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How can you make friends while learning virtually at university?

One of the biggest challenges that face university students who are studying virtually is how to make friends and connect with fellow students. With most classes and social events occurring on Zoom, opportunities to meet new people can be limited. However, making friends isn’t impossible. Here, current international students share ways in which they have made friends through their screens.
7th Apr 2021 - Times Higher Education

Your guide to avoiding Covid-19 when visiting extended family

They can also "visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing." But there are exceptions. If, for example, you're fully vaccinated and visiting ...
7th Apr 2021 - CNN

Loneliness during pandemic ‘greater in areas with more young people’

Levels of loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic have tended to be greater in areas with high concentrations of younger people and higher rates of unemployment, new figures suggest. People in areas with higher crime rates or with higher levels of anxiety were also more likely to report feeling lonely. Loneliness rates were lower in countryside areas compared with urban and industrial locations, however.
7th Apr 2021 - Evening Standard

3.7m over-16s in Britain often or always feel lonely, ONS finds

Almost one in 14 people aged 16 or over in Great Britain say they are lonely, up 40% since last spring, according to the Office for National Statistics. Between April and May last year one in 20 people aged 16-plus surveyed said they felt lonely “often” or “always”, and that increased significantly between October and February this year to a proportion equating to 3.7 million people. Vivian Hill, the chair of the British Psychological Society Covid-19 isolation and confinement group, said: “The pandemic has just brought it [the loneliness epidemic] into really sharp focus, and it’s exacerbating the situation."
30th Nov -0001 - The Guardian

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Call for more social prescribing to tackle pandemic loneliness

Access to social prescribing services must be expanded to help tackle the mental health consequences of loneliness and isolation caused by Covid-19, according to a report published by two medical royal colleges. The report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists shows that many people who would benefit from social prescribing stand to miss out as services are not evenly available across the country, largely due to variability in priority and spending between local areas.
6th Apr 2021 - Personnel Today

Mental health must be an essential part of the Government’s levelling up plan

As the impact of Covid on physical health thankfully starts to ease, the long-term implications of the pandemic on the mental health of the population is something that we can’t ignore. While many of us have been keeping in touch with others virtually, the absence of real human interaction can lead to increased stress levels and feelings of isolation. Older and vulnerable people may have felt this isolation hardest, with many having to shield for the best part of a year. But loneliness – and the mental health issues that stem from it – are not just a problem for older generations. The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness found that loneliness can affect anyone, regardless of age or background but it particularly impacts carers, refugees and disabled people. Backed by £500 million of funding, the Government recently launched its Mental Health Recovery Action Plan. It is welcome news but to be effective, it’s absolutely vital that funding is focused and targeted at the most deprived communities
6th Apr 2021 - iNews.co.uk

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UK to ease restrictions to allow care home residents two visitors

Britain will allow care home residents in England two visitors later this month, giving some grandparents the chance to meet their grandchildren for the first time, the government said on Saturday. To stop COVID-19 being spread in care homes which were badly hit during the initial outbreak of the disease last year, the government imposed tight restrictions on access during the latest strict lockdown which began in January. Last month, measures were eased to allow each care home resident one indoor visitor, and from April 12, this will be doubled. Parents will be allowed to bring babies and very young children, allowing some people the chance to meet the newest members of their family for the first time.
3rd Apr 2021 - Reuters

Covid: Many students say their mental health is worse due to pandemic

Almost two-thirds of university students in the UK say their mental health is worse because of the Covid pandemic, a survey suggests. The Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) report says ministers must "take heed" of the poll as restrictions ease. A total of 56% are not expecting any more face-to-face teaching in this academic year, but 66% of them are living in their student accommodation. The Department for Education has given £70 million to help students in need. Although school pupils across the UK have now returned to their classrooms, and other restrictions imposed because of the pandemic are being eased, university students are still mainly being taught online.
3rd Apr 2021 - BBC News

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Covid-19: Few people with symptoms are self-isolating, study finds

Fewer than one in five people request a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms, while the number who follow full self-isolation rules is low, a large study of the test and trace system has found. The report, published in the British Medical Journal, also found only half of people knew the main Covid symptoms. These include a cough, high temperature and loss of taste or smell. Experts said the findings suggested the impact of the £37bn NHS Test and Trace system was "limited". The Department for Health and Social Care said test and trace had saved "countless lives", adding that the latest ONS data found the "overwhelming majority" self-isolated when asked to.
1st Apr 2021 - BBC News

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Loneliness in Mid-Life Linked to Higher Odds for Alzheimer's

Middle-aged folks who feel persistently lonely appear to have a nearly doubled risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease, a new study reports. If you take steps to counter your loneliness, however, you might actually reduce your dementia risk, the researchers found. It might be that people who can recover from loneliness are more psychologically resilient and better able to respond to age-related brain changes, said senior researcher Dr. Wendy Qiu, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.
30th Mar 2021 - HealthDay

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Covid jab: One dose in care homes gives 'substantial' protection

A single dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine was effective at stopping 62% of coronavirus infections in care homes, a study has found. A team at University College London (UCL) looked at data from 10,000 adults in England with an average age of 86. The research also suggested those who did catch the virus after vaccination may be less infectious. "Our data suggests that both vaccines are effective in frail, older adults," said UCL's Dr Maddie Shrotri. The study analysed coronavirus test-result data for 10,412 long-term residents, all aged over 65, at 310 care homes.
29th Mar 2021 - BBC News

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Covid-19: Importance of touch and other lockdown lessons

As society begins to gradually emerge from this latest lockdown, what have people learned in the past year? BBC News NI put that question to three people who had vastly different experiences of lockdown. Maria, who is originally from County Cork and now lives in Belfast, also started online cafes for adults with learning difficulties. While technology provided a lifeline, it was denial of touch which proved the hardest part for Maria. "Just not being able to reach out and touch another human being."
28th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Self-isolation after Covid contact will be necessary for ‘years’, government adviser warns

People will have to self-isolate after coming into contact with Covid-19 for many years as the UK learns how to “live with this virus”, a government adviser has warned. Mark Woolhouse, a professor of epidemiology, said the test-and-trace system is here to stay – as are some social distancing measures. He also admitted to being “nervous about a full relaxation in June”, calling the idea of emerging from the lockdown “in one great bound” wide of the mark. “I still suspect that looking forward – and I am talking now right through 2021 and into the years ahead – that we are still going to have to be alert to coronavirus,” Prof Woolhouse said.
28th Mar 2021 - The Independent

Spaniards cut back on drink, took more sedatives during pandemic - study

Spaniards cut back on alcohol and almost halved their binge-drinking during the pandemic as the lockdown shuttered bars and nightclubs, a survey by Spain’s Observatory for Drugs and Addiction found on Friday. At the same time, the consumption of unprescribed sedatives increased and internet use jumped, as people spent more of their leisure time browsing, and more youngsters turned to online gambling, the survey showed.
26th Mar 2021 - Reuters

France's lockdown vice? Cheese

French households feasted on cheese last year as they turned to home cooking and sought gastronomic comfort during coronavirus lockdowns that shuttered the restaurant trade. The amount of cheese purchased by French shoppers for at-home consumption increased by more than 8% in 2020, compared with just 2% the previous year, according to figures from farming agency FranceAgriMer and market data firm Kantar. That was part of a shift in food consumption in many countries last year as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, with households initially bulk buying staples like pasta and flour, and later settling into home-eating habits with extra purchases of products like butter. In France, mozzarella saw the steepest rise in demand among major cheese categories, with a 21% volume jump, followed by a 12% increase for raclette - a winter favourite eaten melted with potatoes and cured meats.
26th Mar 2021 - Reuters

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Focus - Covid-19 pandemic leaves lasting toll on mental health in France

Successive lockdowns, social distancing and travel bans have sparked a global mental health crisis, with global rates of anxiety and depression soaring in recent months. To mark one year since France entered its first Covid-19 lockdown, our reporters visited psychiatric wards in the centre of the country to get a better understanding of the impact of the pandemic on citizens' mental health.
25th Mar 2021 - FRANCE 24

‘Shielding isn’t the right word – the Government isolated us’: Covid shielders reflect on a year of quarantine

This week marks a year since health authorities began contacting 1.3 million people across England considered clinically extremely vulnerable and told them to shield from Covid-19. The guidelines, advising those affected to stay at home, were originally expected to last no longer than 12 weeks. Instead, increasing numbers of people were included under the guidelines, reaching around 2.2 million by the time shielding advice ended in August last year. But when England went back into lockdown in January millions of people were told to shield again. Some hadn’t ever stopped over fears of contracting the virus, and in February the sheilding criteria was changed causing a further 1.7 million people to be added to the list.
25th Mar 2021 - iNews.co.uk

The High Cost Of Loneliness: The Other Price Older Adults Are Paying For Covid-19

For months, families and operators of long-term care facilities have been telling me about the indirect toll the covid-19 pandemic has taken on residents. Not on those who have sickened or died from the virus, but on those whose quality of life has been severely harmed by the social isolation it caused. Now, we are beginning to learn more about the devastating consequences for seniors who may have been spared by the virus but suffered nonetheless. An important new study by the research firm Mathematica for the Connecticut Dept of Public Health finds that during the early months of the pandemic, nursing home residents were significantly more likely to become depressed, lose substantial amounts of weight, suffer incontinence, and lose cognitive function. And most striking, these conditions occurred at high rates even among those residents who did not contract the virus.
25th Mar 2021 - Forbes

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COVID-19: How a year in lockdown has affected young people's mental health

In January, ten months into our year of lockdowns, a Yale university study found that frequent and longer face-to-face social interactions are associated with lower loneliness rates. But physical contact has reduced by 74% compared with pre-pandemic levels, a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found. Studies in Luxembourg and the US concluded similar drops. One way to see how our social interactions have decreased is to look at the journeys we made since that first lockdown a year ago.
24th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Action needed to tackle post-Covid 'loneliness emergency', MPs say

Britain needs more benches, public toilets and street lighting to encourage lonely people to start mixing socially again once the lockdown ends, MPs and peers say. Action is needed to tackle a “loneliness emergency” that the Covid pandemic has exacerbated by denying people contact with family and friends, the parliamentarians say. The call comes as new polling by the British Red Cross shows that more than a third (35%) of Britons feel less connected to their community than they did before Covid-19 struck and 39% do not think their feelings of loneliness will go away once the restrictions on everyday life lift.
24th Mar 2021 - The Guardian

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Lockdown's unlikely friendship between French pensioner and British student

For Jacqueline Tolu, a 98-year-old French woman, and Elliot Bellman, a 20-year-old student living in his parents’ house in England, the COVID-19 pandemic upended their lives but also led to an unlikely friendship. Tolu has endured isolation in her care home near Paris because visits are restricted during the pandemic, while Bellman’s plans to be in France this year studying French were torpedoed by the virus. For the past six months, the two have been having weekly chats over Skype, brought together by a scheme called Shareami that pairs elderly people with language students.
23rd Mar 2021 - Reuters

Covid: More walking and family chats post-lockdown - poll suggests

Working from home, walking and shopping locally are among the lockdown behaviours that look likely to remain popular after pandemic restrictions are lifted, according to a new survey. The study for BBC News and King's College London, conducted by Ipsos MORI, suggests virus regulations may have a lasting impact after Covid. Some 40% of 2,200 people surveyed said they expected to walk more than before. And staying at home appears to have connected people to their neighbours.
23rd Mar 2021 - BBC News

A lonely planet

The peer-reviewed literature on the topic of social isolation and loneliness during COVID-19 is prolific, with Google Scholar returning close to 20,000 results on the query. And while, for the most part, these research papers are centred on the impact of quarantining and isolating on the elderly and/or on people who live alone (irrespective of age), there is wide acknowledgement that we do not know the full impact of COVID-19 on social isolation and loneliness. And it may be years before we do.
23rd Mar 2021 - PMLiVE

One year on: Shielding Brits describe agony after 12 months of loneliness and fear

Two young disabled women recount their experience of being locked indoors for the past 12 months as activists warn the disabled face a "cliff edge" if support ends with shielding on April 1 in England
23rd Mar 2021 - The Mirror

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UK less anxious but more lonely than a year ago, a study into the emotional impact of lockdown reveals

The UK will emerge from lockdown a less anxious but more lonely nation according to a landmark study which paints a mixed picture of the pandemic’s deep emotional impact on adults. Anxiety about the pandemic has become less common, falling from 62 per cent of those surveyed in March 2020 to 42 per cent in February 2021. However, loneliness has become much more common, increasing from 10 per cent of those surveyed in March last year to 26 per cent last month. Feelings of loneliness have not returned to their pre-lockdown levels at any point over the past year, including when most restrictions were lifted over the summer.
22nd Mar 2021 - iNews.co.uk

Scots report rise in loneliness levels rise as Covid anxiety decreases

Feelings of loneliness and hopelessness have increased among Scottish adults in the past year, new research has found. There was also a rise in the number of people who thought about suicide, according to the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health in the Pandemic study. Researchers found that feelings of loneliness have become much more common over the past year, increasing from 11% of those surveyed in March last year to 29% in February this year. However anxiety about the pandemic has fallen, from 64% in March last year to 44% last month.
22nd Mar 2021 - The National

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A year of Covid-19 has made us lonelier – now’s the time for connection

According to a survey of UK adults, taking place nine months into Covid-19 restrictions, one in four adults in the UK said they experienced feelings of loneliness. The levels of loneliness, according to the Mental Health Foundation, ‘were higher in young people, people who are unemployed, full time students and single parents’. If you are feeling lonely, psychologist Andrew Bridgewater adds that right now, the best thing someone can do to seek support during these times — realistically — is to talk about how you’re feeling with someone who will listen and not judge.
20th Mar 2021 - Metro UK

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COVID-19: Isolation increases risk of immunological disorders, immunologist says

As Canada continues to weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been concerned with the potential impact that extended isolation could be having on the mental wellness of our youth as continued lockdowns, distanced learning and gathering limits leave children with significantly less time interacting with others and their typical environments. One viral immunologist is aiming to bring attention to what he calls the “underappreciated effect” our pandemic is having on the physical health of children, as time spent in isolation has been amplifying an already present epidemic of allergies, asthma and even auto-immune diseases in the country.
18th Mar 2021 - ElliotLakeToday.com

Elderly with hearing difficulties experienced memory loss, loneliness during Covid-19 lockdown

People aged over 70 years with hearing difficulties experienced heightened depression, loneliness and memory problems during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to an online survey conducted by UK health experts. "The impact of social isolation has been massive on the elderly population, but our survey shows that people with hearing impairment have been more substantially affected," said Professor Annalena Venneri from the University of Sheffield's Neuroscience Institute. Venneri, who is also the co-author of the study, said measures put in place to help limit the spread of the virus —such as face coverings and social distancing — have limited the social interaction of the elderly people to a greater extent.
18th Mar 2021 - Firstpost

GPs in England should prescribe art and gardening to combat Covid issues - study

Thousands more people should be prescribed art classes, group gardening projects and nature walks on the NHS in a bid to improve physical and mental health, it has been claimed. A report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists says patients are missing out on “social prescribing”, even though it could help combat the mental health fallout from the pandemic. Social prescribing can include activities such as attending a new skills workshop, playing football in a local team, taking some form of education or training, or helping local elderly residents with their gardening. It can be used to help deal with loneliness and improve physical and mental conditions.
18th Mar 2021 - Wales Online

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Loneliness may be the biggest threat to productivity right now

As companies prepare for the logistics of returning to work, the mental-health crisis of their employees looms large. Surveys show anxiety and stress affect productivity and retention; TELUS International says 80% of workers would consider leaving their current employer for one that focuses more heavily on mental health. How can workers and managers solve for burnout and loneliness as a part of our transition to the workplace of the future? The twin pandemics are hitting workers hard, but also represent an opportunity to rethink and reconnect dynamics among teams. That’s the message of two new books on the subject.
17th Mar 2021 - Fortune

Don’t lose sight of senior loneliness now that some restrictions are lifted

With social activities and events consistently delayed or canceled for almost a full year, seniors have become increasingly vulnerable to feelings of depression and isolation. Many already struggled with isolation from others, but it only increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those with access to technological tools like Zoom, FaceTime or Skype, video communication has helped to ease (if not completely alleviate) the pain of separation from family. But for seniors in skilled nursing facilities who may not have ready access to computers or technical assistance, continued estrangement and isolation during ongoing or sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks will cause secondary concerns that care providers must keep front of mind as the pandemic continues. Providers must be nimble and remain ready to again rely on technology options and other tools they’ve used to engage and serve residents since last March.
17th Mar 2021 - McKnights Long Term Care News

How to protect your physical and mental health while staying home during the pandemic

While it may be necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic for a person to stay home to protect themselves and others, there are ways to lessen the potential adverse mental and physical health effects. In this article, we discuss why staying home all the time during quarantine or lockdown can prove difficult. In particular, we focus on how to treat or lessen the mental and physical health impacts of staying home.
17th Mar 2021 - Medical News Today

Coronavirus shielding advice to end on 1 April - Hancock

More than 3.7 million vulnerable people in England will no longer have to shield from the coronavirus from 1 April. It comes as the numbers of Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions have declined for the past couple of weeks. Letters will be sent out to this group in the next two weeks. In them, people will still be advised to keep social contacts at low levels, work from home where possible and stay at a distance from other people. Since 5 January, they have been asked to stay at home as much as possible to reduce their risk of being exposed to the virus. But at a Downing Street press conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed shielding guidance, which had been extended to 31 March for all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, would end on 1 April.
17th Mar 2021 - BBC News

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Can Nextdoor Cure Loneliness?

Loneliness and other pandemic-related factors have catalyzed a mental health crisis across the U.S., contributing to depression and substance abuse. As we do everything the CDC advises to keep our bodies safe, we must remember to protect our mental health as well. This includes combatting loneliness, an underlying issue that could have devastating consequences. Nextdoor is trying to do just that, and its growing popularity is a testament its urgent relevance. The hyper-local social networking app connects people in the same community (common conversation themes include lost cats and restaurant recommendations) and saw massive growth as everyone sequestered in their homes and maybe for the first time realized that... yes, they have neighbors. The platform became a hub for community news and local entertainment during the pandemic, a virtual way to feel intimate connection with those down the block.
16th Mar 2021 - Marie-Claire

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Mitigating Covid’s unequal impact on the workforce’s mental health

When the Covid crisis hit in March 2020, many claimed the virus didn’t discriminate but, as the pandemic has swept over the nation, it’s clear the impact is being felt differently. Nuffield Health’s recent white paper, for example, discusses how several societal groups are at greater risk of experiencing mental ill-health in the wake of Covid. However, the situation marks an opportunity to bring about permanent positive change. So how can businesses make sure their mental health support offering is relevant and accessible to address the challenges now and in the future?
15th Mar 2021 - People Management

Mid and East Antrim network’s new tackling loneliness campaign

In Northern Ireland, a new seven-week awareness campaign to help combat isolation in the community has been launched by the Mid and East Antrim (MEA) Loneliness Network. The network is a collaboration of organisations committed to addressing vulnerabilities in people of all ages and from all walks of life. The initiative comes when the impact of loneliness has been more widely felt right across society during the Covid-19 crisis with the British Red Cross recently calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to develop a cross-departmental strategy to tackle the problem.
15th Mar 2021 - Larne Times

Campaign to tackle loneliness in Staffordshire launches

The new ‘Let’s Beat Loneliness Together’ campaign by Staffordshire County Council will help raise awareness of the issue and promote the services available to those affected by it. The campaign will also support those individuals or volunteers who want to do something themselves to help reduce loneliness in their local community. A residents survey carried out by the county council in January 2021 about the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted that loneliness over the past twelve months and the restrictions was a concern for many. 80% of those questioned said that not seeing wider family and friends was an issue and 55% said they felt concerned about vulnerable family and friends.
14th Mar 2021 - Tamworth Informed

Covid singles are supposedly lonely and miserable. But some of us are thriving instead

Bella DePaulo is the author of “Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After”. She writes: "I’m single. I always have been. I also live alone. Because of the pandemic, I have not stepped foot in a restaurant or even a grocery store for nearly a year. Apparently, I am supposed to be suffering." "I fully acknowledge that for some single people, the pandemic has been a miserable experience (as it also has for many couples and families). But I am not one of them. Sure, I miss meeting my friends at restaurants and movie theaters and meandering through crowded farmers markets, and I would love to go get my own damned groceries. I have also lost a substantial chunk of income. But in other ways, I am doing fine, and nothing about the pandemic, not even after all this time, has made me yearn to be coupled or to even live with other humans."
13th Mar 2021 - NBC News

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8 tips to try to maintain health while working from home

Working from home can be beneficial in many ways, but it can also present several physical, mental, and social challenges. Health tips for those working from home include wellness fundamentals, such as eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise. However, it is also important to address the psychological and social challenges of remote working, such as loneliness and blurred lines between a person’s job and home life. In this article, we explore how to maintain optimal wellness while working from home.
14th Mar 2021 - Medical News Today

Half of COVID survivors note lingering signs of depression

More than half of a sample of US COVID-19 survivors reported symptoms of major depressive disorder months after recovery, a research letter today in JAMA Network Open reports. A team led by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University analyzed internet-based nonprobability survey and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) responses from 82,319 adult coronavirus survivors delivered in eight waves from June 2020 to January 2021. The PHQ-9 is a nine-question depression screening tool with 0 to 27 possible points; 10 or more points indicate moderate depression.
12th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

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Experts warn of loneliness epidemic worsening alongside COVID-19

A growing epidemic of loneliness is affecting large swaths of the U.S. population, exacerbated by isolation measures advised by health officials during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts say the country needs to be addressing the massive public health concern now, particularly as widespread vaccination is still months away. Researchers for years have recommended standardized guidelines to address social isolation and loneliness, similar to those offered for diet and exercise. People with balance — in activities including family time, sleep, diet, exercise and work — tend to be less lonely.
11th Mar 2021 - The Hill

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Coronavirus: Women struggling with more anxiety and loneliness than men

Women are suffering from more anxiety and loneliness than men as a result of the pandemic, which has hit their well-being hard, latest data by the Office for National Statistics revealed. The study said women were more likely to be furloughed, and consistently spent more time on unpaid childcare and unpaid household work throughout the pandemic. But women are trying to remain positive through it all. Trudy Simmons, founder of The Daisy Chain Group, which provides mentoring for women entrepreneurs, noted that "it's been an anxious and overwhelming twelve months for so many but as a community of women entrepreneurs, we have leant on each other for support, encouragement and that all-important motivation to keep going."
10th Mar 2021 - Yahoo News

Women did nearly TWICE the amount of housework and childcare as men during the first Covid-19 lockdown, survey reveals

Researchers gathered housework and childcare data from UK men and women during the first lockdown last year. On average, women did nearly twice the amount of both chores as men.
10th Mar 2021 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

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Thailand introduces 'yacht quarantine' in tourism revival bid

Travellers to Thailand will be able to spend mandatory two-week Covid-19 quarantine on a yacht. The Bangkok government hopes that the new initiative will bring 1.8 billion baht (£42 million) in yacht tourism revenue. The initiative is aimed at reviving the country’s struggling tourism industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic.
9th Mar 2021 - Travel Weekly UK

State to indemnify quarantine hotels against Covid-19 related legal action

Hotels used for the new mandatory quarantine regime will be indemnified from any legal actions taken by people who catch Covid-19 on the premises under a scheme approved by Cabinet on Tuesday. Under the plans which were brought to Cabinet by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, the State will indemnify hotel providers and subcontractors working on site for risks that don’t form part of their normal business operations. The Irish Times understands that hotels will be indemnified from any legal actions taken by people staying at the facility who catch Covid-19 on the premises.
9th Mar 2021 - The Irish Times

'We knew so little': the young film-makers who captured early quarantine life

While New York plunged into survival mode, the three aspiring documentarians, all involved with the youth film-making program DCTV Youth Media, picked up their cameras. Their short films, collected along with two others in HBO’s Covid Diaries NYC, observe the dizzying freefall days of early quarantine, from the corrosive fear of sending off loved ones to frontline jobs to the toll of isolation, the family strain of sudden unemployment to the summer’s electric charge of protests for racial justice. The six-minute films are all the more impressive in their brevity, each memorializing, in casual, stripped-down fashion, an individual thread of the generational catastrophe spinning through New York.
9th Mar 2021 - The Guardian

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East Devon school's virtual playground boosts pupils' mental health in lockdown

An East Devon Primary School created a virtual playground during lockdown in a bid to boost pupil mental health. Broadclyst Community Primary School (BCPS) used digital technology to set up an after-lessons online socialise space, saying the wellbeing of its youngsters was ‘high on the agenda’. The school created the online space to enable children to mix with chat with their friends, classmates and support staff after lessons ended. Beth Schoter, a teacher at Broadclyst Community Primary School, was recently asked to speak at Discovery Education’s Learning for Now — an online conference to help educators use technology and digital media as support in the classroom during the coronavirus.
8th Mar 2021 - East Devon News.co.uk

COVID-19: Care homes allow indoor visits from nominated friends and family

Care home visits from a nominated friend or relative will be permitted in England from today - but hugging and kissing residents is still off limits. Every care home resident will be able to nominate someone to visit them indoors, while residents with the highest care needs can receive more frequent visits from a loved one who will provide essential care and support. Visitors will have to carry out COVID-19 tests prior to the visits, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and be asked to keep physical contact to a minimum.
8th Mar 2021 - Sky News

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Covid: Mental health money for children's services

In England, money to support children and young people's mental health after the "disruption" of the pandemic has been cautiously welcomed. It is part of a £500m pot for mental health services across the board, announced in November. The government confirmed £79m would be allocated to support children in school and in the community. Charities and campaigners said the pandemic had significantly impacted young people's mental health. One in six young people are now estimated to have a mental health problem, according to Emma Thomas, head of charity Young Mind.
6th Mar 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19 lockdown has significantly increased loneliness, social issues among women

Social distancing guidelines have reduced the spread of COVID-19, but lockdowns and isolation also have created or aggravated other well-being concerns, reports new research. Mayo Clinic investigators found a significant increase in loneliness and a decrease in feelings of friendship during the pandemic. The study, published Feb. 20 in the journal Social Science & Medicine, also showed disproportionate negative effects among women and those with poorer health. The researchers say that while physical distance is important during the pandemic, distance within and among relationships can cause undue harm to a person's mental health and well-being.
7th Mar 2021 - News Medical

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COVID-19 pandemic has increased loneliness and other social issues, especially for women

Social distancing guidelines have reduced the spread of COVID-19, but lockdowns and isolation also have created or aggravated other well-being concerns, reports new research. Mayo Clinic investigators found a significant increase in loneliness and a decrease in feelings of friendship during the pandemic. The study, published Feb. 20 in the journal Social Science & Medicine, also showed disproportionate negative effects among women and those with poorer health. "A conscious effort should be made to make meaningful social connection with others," says Jon Ebbert, M.D., a Mayo Clinic internal medicine physician and senior author of the study. "During times of social strain and stress, it is important to not only be helpful to one another, but also be present."
4th Mar 2021 - EurekAlert

More than 90% of students ‘struggling with loneliness and stress in pandemic’

More than 90% of students say they are struggling with loneliness, stress and feeling disconnected, a Sinn Fein survey has found. The Student Wellbeing Survey found that four out of five students say their college experience is negatively impacting their mental health in the pandemic. More than 90% reported feeling increasingly lonely, while some 93% of students have found it difficult to stay connected with friends. The survey of 600 students reveals how many are struggling to receive an education while living and studying in “inappropriate environments”.
4th Mar 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

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Countering the Stress and Loneliness of Covid-19

Stay-at-home orders, quarantining, and other public health measures have forced people indoors, leading to increases in loneliness and mental health issues. While the stress persists, it is important for people to maintain both their physical health and their mental health, says Jocelyn McDonnell, a therapist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University. Even though it can be hard to work up the motivation, exercising and maintaining physical health can relieve anxiety. “With the uptick of anxiety and depression due to isolation, exercise is a proven way of decreasing both of these diseases,” says Kristen Neisler, clinical assistant faculty in exercise science at DePaul University. McDonnell says it is imperative for people to have a balance when following the news and pandemic developments in order to maintain their well-being and prevent extra anxiety and stress. She recommends that people set timers and be intentional about how much news they consume, as well as how much time they spend on social media.
3rd Mar 2021 - Chicago Health Magazine

The Detail: Covid-19 lockdowns make us lonely, but why does it matter?

It's Auckland's fourth time locking down because of Covid-19, but for many it's not just about being locked inside; it's being locked out of meaningful, face-to-face connections. Today The Detail's Jessie Chiang looks at the impact of loneliness for different communities and why it's such a big issue.
3rd Mar 2021 - Stuff.co.nz

Teens' mental health claims skyrocket in pandemic

Mental health insurance claims for US teens roughly doubled early in the COVID-19 pandemic over the same period in 2019, according to a Fair Health report released yesterday. The white paper, the New York nonprofit's seventh in a series on the pandemic, is the result of analysis of more than 32 billion private healthcare claims filed on behalf of people aged 0 to 22 from January to November 2020 compared with those filed during the same period in 2019. The study found that mental health claims for patients aged 13 to 18 skyrocketed 97.0% in March and 103.5% in April 2020. In contrast, medical claims fell 53.3% in March and 53.4% in April.
3rd Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

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Talking on the phone for 10 minutes a day can help beat loneliness, says new study

Talking to a loved one on the phone for 10 minutes a day could help to ease the pangs of loneliness, new research has found. According to a study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, those who received brief phone calls over the course of a month reported feeling 20% less lonely on average. While the way we communicate with others has changed since the start of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, this research highlights just how important picking up the phone is.
2nd Mar 2021 - Country Living

Public Health England launches free Psychological First Aid training course for caregivers, to help protect children and young people

Public Health England has launched a psychological first aid training course for anyone who works with or cares for children and young people aged up to 25. The COVID-pandemic has had a huge impact on children, with many reporting that it has made them feel more stressed, lonely, and worried. The online Psychological First Aid (PFA) course offers training on how to provide practical and emotional support to children and young people affected by emergencies or crisis situations. Commenting on the training course, Clare Perkins, Director of the Mental Health Programme at PHE explained how children are amongst the worse impacted by the significant disruption caused by the pandemic, due to being stuck at home and unable to interact with friends.
2nd Mar 2021 - fenews.co.uk

Why kids are hitting the pandemic wall

As we near the one-year anniversary of the pandemic and associated social distancing measures, kids and parents alike are grieving the end of how our lives used to be. It doesn't even matter how dramatically kids' lives have changed, experts say. The fact that disruption has become normalized is traumatizing enough. Leslie Forde, founder of Mom's Hierarchy of Needs, a think tank in Boston that researches how mothers can reduce stress and prioritize self-care, has surveyed or interviewed more than 1,600 families about the effects of the pandemic on school-age children since Covid-19 began. Her takeaway: Navigating constant change has gotten old for all of us.
1st Mar 2021 - CNN

Therapists Say A Year Of Isolation Has Taken Its Toll On Many Chicagoans’ Mental Health

As the world begins to return to normal, many people remain mentally scarred by the seismic life changes caused by an ongoing pandemic that has already left a death toll not seen since the 1918 influenza outbreak. Therapist John Hughes, co-founder of the Chicago Center for Relational Health, said it’s important to reach out to friends and family who live alone and might be struggling with isolation — and make sure to follow up. He also suggested avoiding text messages that ask questions like “how are you doing?,” which can be “burdensome” if it forces an explanation of struggles. Instead, Hughes suggests acknowledging that a friend or relative is having a tough time at the outset of a conversation and then go from there.
2nd Mar 2021 - WBEZChicago

Covid-19: Quarantine hotels 'unsafe' for returning pupils

Parents and teachers have called for international pupils to be allowed to self-isolate at their school, rather than in a "quarantine hotel". In a letter to the government on behalf of 500 schools, the Boarding Schools Association said hotel accommodation was unsafe for pupils. James Davidson said the thought of his daughter quarantining on her return to school from Abu Dhabi made him anxious. The government said parents should accompany children during quarantine.
2nd Mar 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Pair fined £10,000 each for avoiding hotel quarantine after Dubai trip

In the UK, a man and woman have been fined £10,000 each for failing to quarantine after returning from Dubai, police have said. Merseyside Police said fixed penalty notices for failing to comply with travel regulations were handed to two people from the Wirral after they avoided a direct flight back from the country, which is currently on the foreign travel red list, to one of the specified ports of entry required for quarantine.
2nd Mar 2021 - Sky News

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St David's Day launch for new Gwynedd service to combat loneliness

A new virtual support service is being introduced in Wales. The new bilingual virtual befriending service, developed by Eryri Co-Operative Cyf, is available for people living in Gwynedd and aims to help those impacted by loneliness and isolation, who're socially excluded from their communities. E-Sgwrs/E-Chat has been developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic as a way of reaching out and communicating with people that have been affected. The team will offer regular contact (weekly, fortnightly, or monthly as required) through a virtual chat so that the individual can see the person they are talking to, thus providing a friendly face whom they can trust to make a difference in their lives.
1st Mar 2021 - inyourarea.co.uk

Covid: How many people get self-isolation payments?

About two-thirds of people in England and Wales trying to access the £500 self-isolation support payment are being rejected, according to figures obtained by BBC Reality Check. The government announced the payment in September, saying it would "ensure that those on low incomes are able to self-isolate without worry about their finances". It estimated just under 4 million people would be eligible. The government's scientific advisors, Sage, have warned repeatedly that concerns over money could lead to people breaking the rules on self-isolation
1st Mar 2021 - BBC News

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Councils to provide grocery shopping to stop people breaking Covid self-isolation rules

People forced to self-isolate with coronavirus will be given help with day to day chores, such as food shopping and care provision for family members, under a shake up of the Government’s test and trace programme. Rishi Sunak is expected to announce millions in additional funding for local authorities to provide extra assistance to ensure people remain at home when asked to self-isolate in his Budget next week. It follows growing concerns within the government over the persistent failure to ensure people remain in quarantine when they test positive for Covid-19 or if they come into contact with someone who has.
27th Feb 2021 - iNews.co.uk

Experts notice pandemic's mental health toll on German youth

A recent survey by the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf found that about one child in three is suffering from pandemic-related anxiety or depression or is exhibiting psychosomatic symptoms like headaches or stomach aches. Children from poorer and immigrant families are disproportionally affected, according to the survey. Pollina, who immigrated from Russia with her family in 2019, worries about forgetting much of her German since she only speaks Russian at home. She’s one of 150 youngsters from underprivileged families who, before the pandemic. regularly spent time after school at a youth support program on the eastern outskirts of the German capital.
27th Feb 2021 - Associated Press

Mindfulness, laughter and robot dogs may relieve lockdown loneliness – study

Robotic dogs, laughter therapy and mindfulness could help people cope with loneliness and social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers at the University of Cambridge have found. The team at the university’s School of Medicine, led by Dr Christopher Williams, reviewed 58 existing studies on loneliness and identified interventions that could be adapted for people living in lockdown or under pandemic-related social distancing measures. Several of the studies involved initiatives to combat loneliness and isolation in nursing and care homes, likely to be hit hard under lockdown. Psychological interventions seemed the most effective overall
17th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

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'Zoom fatigue': Like being in an elevator with people staring at you nonstop for 8 hours a day

Video apps like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and Google Meet have been used for many different things during the pandemic, including job interviews, work meetings, school, yoga classes, check-ins with friends and family. It can feel exhausting to sit and talk in front of a camera. Researchers at Stanford University looked into the science behind people’s collective “Zoom fatigue.” Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, says “Zoom fatigue” is a generic term for feeling drained after sitting in front of any kind of video conference for much of the day. He says Zoom has become the generic term for videoconferencing, and he’s not trying to vilify the company. They should even be thanked for making their software free and easy to use, he points out.
25th Feb 2021 - KCRW

COVID-19: New ad campaign urges people to keep staying at home despite coronavirus transmission rates declining

An advertising blitz has been launched to encourage people to keep staying at home until COVID-19 restrictions can be lifted. The campaign also urges them to continue with mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing. And it appeals to people to understand the importance of remaining in lockdown, despite declining coronavirus transmission rates, the success of the vaccine rollout and the launch of the roadmap out of lockdown.
25th Feb 2021 - Sky News

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Lockhart: Mental health impact of COVID-19 ‘significant’

Local health experts say the mental health impact of COVID-19 on the Cayman Islands community is “significant” – even as scientific data continues to be collected. “Viktor Frankl said that an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior. So what we’re going to be looking for as the norm over the next 18 to 24 months or so is a lot of dysfunction. How severe that dysfunction is going to be… I don’t want to be an alarmist… we will find out,” Mental Health Commission Chairman Dr. Marc Lockhart said as he addressed the Alex Panton Foundation’s 4th Annual Youth Mental Health Symposium Saturday. However, Lockhart said he’s confident the country will not be defeated by the challenges ahead.
21st Feb 2021 - Cayman Compass

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Remote working: What the UK’s last lighthouse keepers can teach us about isolation

If there is anyone that knows what it’s like to spend long periods of time alone, it’s lighthouse keepers. Serena Coady gets advice from former custodians about how to weather the loneliness of the pandemic
23rd Feb 2021 - The Independent

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Don't ignore 'lockdown fatigue', UK watchdog tells finance bosses

Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday. Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists. Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.
22nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

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Hold my hand: English care home visits allowed from March 8

Care home residents in England will be allowed one regular visitor from March 8, the government said, as it starts to ease COVID-19 lockdown measures, underpinned by the rollout of vaccines to older and clinically vulnerable people. Older people living in care homes have been offered the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as part of a programme that has seen almost 17 million shots given to date.
20th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Mental anguish in COVID-19 survivors, young US adults

A research letter by Italian investigators published yesterday in JAMA Psychiatry details a study of 381 patients in Rome who had sought emergency care for COVID-19 and were given a psychiatric assessment 1 to 4 months after recovery, from Apr 21 to Oct 15, 2020. One-hundred-fifteen of 381 patients (30.2%) were diagnosed as having PTSD, while 17.3% had depression, 7.0% had generalized anxiety disorder, 0.7% were hypomanic, and 0.2% were psychotic. Women made up 55.7% of the PTSD diagnoses, and patients with PTSD reported higher rates of a history of psychiatric disorders (34.8%) and delirium or agitation when ill (16.5%) and the persistence of more than three coronavirus-related symptoms after recovery from infection (62.6%).
19th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

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How have COVID-19 pandemic school closures impacted the health of children globally?

As the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to challenge public health, most recently by the emergence of new variants of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), schools in many regions of the world continue to be largely closed. It has been estimated that from March to May 2020, this affected up to 1.5 billion children and young people (CYP). A new study by researchers in the US and the UK explores the damage caused by school closures to educational progress, health, and well-being in CYP globally. Surprisingly, the damage appears to be far less than was originally thought. The team has released their findings on the medRxiv* preprint server.
18th Feb 2021 - News-Medical.Net

COVID-19: Parents who lost teenagers to suicide in lockdown issue warning - 'there's going to be a lot of PTSD'

As authorities wrestle with how to safely reopen schools, there is evidence in the US that closures have taken a huge mental health toll on students and their families. "450,000 people and counting in the US have died of COVID, and that's a terrible thing," said Dylan's father Chris. "I'm fortunate in that I don't know any of those people. But I do know one person who committed suicide.
18th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Associations between feelings/behaviors during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and depression/anxiety after lockdown in a sample of Chinese children and adolescents.

Children and adolescents may be more susceptible to mental disorders due to COVID-19 pandemic than adults. This study aimed to identify correlated factors for depression/anxiety among children and adolescents after COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. An online survey by cluster sampling was conducted after lockdown in 5175 Chinese children and adolescents with informed consents from their parents. The 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire and the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scales with 10-point cutoff were used to measure depression and anxiety, separately. Stepwise logistic regression was conducted. Stata 15.1 Version was used.
18th Feb 2021 - Physician's Weekly

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Lockdown may have boosted well-being for some

A study of people who care for children finds that COVID-19 lockdowns have provided some unexpected benefits. Survey respondents report four areas of personal growth that have been given an opportunity to flourish when busy lives were interrupted. People reported positive changes in their family relationships, spiritual well-being, and more. The study suggests ways we may emerge from the pandemic strengthened by the experience.
17th Feb 2021 - Medical News Today

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What is ‘lockdown fatigue’ and how can you beat it?

When it was confirmed the UK would enter a third national lockdown in January, people had prior experience so it might not have felt like as big a shock. However, a shared sentiment by users of social media and the general public is that there’s been an overwhelming sense of struggle this time, with many finding it harder to cope. This lockdown fatigue manifests in different ways. What are the signs of lockdown fatigue and how can you try to beat it?
16th Feb 2021 - Metro

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Covid-19: Five ways to avoid lockdown eye strain

Millions of people are using screens more than ever before. Many who are working or studying from home are staring at laptops and other devices all day. Most schoolchildren currently have no other way of accessing classes. For some, the new ways of working are taking a toll on their eyes. Itchiness, blurry vision and headaches - or eye strain - are among the common problems. More than a third (38%) of respondents to one survey, carried out for the charity Fight for Sight, said their eyesight had worsened since the start of the pandemic. Another survey put the figure at 22%. Eyesight experts say people with persistent problems should visit an optician, which are open in lockdown. But there are things that many of us can do to keep our eyes healthy.
14th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Despair Deepens for Young People as Pandemic Drags On

Life seemed promising last year to Philaé Lachaux, a 22-year-old business student in France who dreamed of striking out on her own in the live music industry. But the onset of the pandemic, leading to the loss of her part-time job as a waitress, sent her back to live at her family home. Now, struggling to envision a future after months of restrictions, Ms. Lachaux says that loneliness and despair seep in at night. “I look at the ceiling, I feel a lump in my throat,” she said. “I’ve never had so many suicidal thoughts.” “The pandemic feels like a big stop in our lives,” she added. “One that puts us so low that I wonder, ‘What’s the point?’”
14th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

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Children need screen time balance during days of virtual learning

As COVID-19 continues to spread, social distancing remains a reality for Americans, Linda Inmon, Cooperative Extension Program associate of the Family and Consumer Sciences for the University of Arkansas, said. Because of this, everyone’s screen time has greatly increased. “Some parents are understandably anxious about the amount of time their children are spending in front of the computer screen,” Inmon said. “They wonder how much screen time is too much. They also want to find ways to better manage their children’s habits when it comes to computers and telephones.” First and foremost, parents should not stress too much as they figure out how to solve the problem. They can sort out issues related to household screen time by following these tips
14th Feb 2021 - Times Record

Coronavirus: Germans' mental health worse in second lockdown — study

People living in Germany are struggling with their mental health more during the current shutdown than they had during the first, according to interim research results published by Saarland University on Saturday. Researchers at the university have been monitoring 1,500 men and women for a year to measure the psychological and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The time period has spanned two lockdowns — the first in mid-March to mid-April 2020 and the second, which began in mid-December and is ongoing. Both lockdowns have seen much of public life curtailed, including the closures of schools, public institutions as well as shops and gastronomy businesses except for takeaway.
13th Feb 2021 - DW (English)

Covid-19: How England's hotel quarantine will differ from Australia's

England's rules on quarantine hotels for travellers arriving from Covid "red list" countries are less stringent than those enforced in Australia. The BBC has seen a copy of the government's official requirements for hotel operators ahead of the policy starting on Monday. It spells out the rules for handling travellers for 11 nights of quarantine. The UK government said its hotel quarantine measures were "in line with those in other countries". And it promised to update guidance for hotels "imminently".
13th Feb 2021 - BBC News

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Working from home boredom: how to cope with monotony

Here’s how to break up your daily routine if you’re finding working from home monotonous, according to an expert. Although you’ve probably dealt with boredom at some point or other before the pandemic, this kind of sustained monotony can be detrimental to your mental health. It’s one of the reasons why so many people are feeling unmotivated, lethargic and experiencing low mood at the moment. Without the stimulation of ‘normal’ life to keep you going, its understandable if you’re hitting a wall. Within Covid-19 restrictions, there are a number of things you can do to break up the day and make your current arrangement seem more exciting (many of which don’t involve more screen time).
11th Feb 2021 - Stylist Magazine

CDC: people who have received two Covid-19 vaccine doses can skip quarantine

People who have received the full course of Covid-19 vaccines can skip the standard 14-day quarantine after exposure to someone with the infection as long as they remain asymptomatic, US public health officials advised. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late on Wednesday the vaccines have been shown to prevent symptomatic Covid-19, thought to play a greater role in the transmission of the virus than asymptomatic disease. “Individual and societal benefits of avoiding unnecessary quarantine may outweigh the potential but unknown risk of transmission (among vaccinated individuals),” the CDC said.
11th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

You’re not lazy — Why you need to stop feeling guilty in lockdown, according to an expert

Retailers are calling for more financial support from the government after the UK’s Covid lockdowns in 2020 cost £22bn in lost non-food sales. The high street was hit by its biggest fall in sales for non-food stores on record – down 24% – as footfall decreased by two-fifths, according to data from the trade body the British Retail Consortium (BRC). While many retailers continued to sell online, that did not make up for sales lost from shops. Profits were also affected by the cost of setting up and operating home delivery systems.
11th Feb 2021 - CNBC

Quarantine hotel chaos as booking website crashes minutes after launching

In the UK, the government's plan to quarantine international arrivals in hotels has today been thrown into chaos as its booking website crashed minutes into its launch, while travellers were not allowed to reserve rooms for the first two days. Arrivals from a 'red list' of 33 countries - who will only be allowed to fly into one of five airports - will be expected pay £1,750 to quarantine for 10 full days (11 nights) in designated hotels from Monday. Those who attempt to evade quarantine by providing false information face a fine of up to £10,000, and up to 10 years in prison, while those who do not book a hotel place before arriving in England face a £4,000 fine. But as the booking website for the scheme was launched, searches at Birmingham, Glasgow and Heathrow airports showed they weren't 'any applicable hotels' for passengers to stay in.
11th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

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Australia tennis chief urges strict quarantine for Tokyo Olympics

Making the Olympics safe from coronavirus will be difficult for Tokyo without stiff quarantine measures that will also inspire athletes and spectators with the confidence to attend events, Australia’s top tennis official said on Wednesday. The Japanese capital is expected to welcome 11,000 athletes at the end of July, when it holds the summer Games postponed from last year because of the virus, but is not currently considering wholesale quarantine for them. Speaking on the sidelines of the Australian Open, the first major Grand Slam event to host crowds, the chief executive of Tennis Australia said his experience of organising the contest suggested the Olympics needed rigorous quarantine measures.
10th Feb 2021 - Reuters

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Study to examine psychological impact of lockdown

A new study looking at the psychological impact of Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns is under way at Dundalk IT. The study is being led by University College London and is being carried out in 23 countries, including Ireland, the UK, Australia, USA, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Turkey and Norway. Researchers say there is no research on how lockdown during a pandemic, involving restrictions to freedom of movement, is perceived by the general population.
9th Feb 2021 - RTE Online

Covid: Domestic abuse victims 'may be stuck' in lockdown with abusers

More support is needed to reach domestic abuse victims trapped in lockdown with their abusers, charities have warned. In August, Dyfed Powys Police received 900 reports of domestic abuse compared with 350 incidents a month in 2017. While reports have risen, there are fears many victims in rural areas are not seeking help. The West Wales Domestic Abuse Service (WWDAS) said many could not reach out for help while stuck at home. Chief Executive Michelle Pooley said that while the charity had seen more people referred for support, people living in tight-knit rural communities were less likely to seek help.
9th Feb 2021 - BBC News

‘Covid-19 is wrecking people’s mental health’

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic is destroying our ability to connect with friends and family, disrupting our routines and consequently damaging our mental health, a professor of psychology has said. “If you had designed a disease that was specifically figured out to wreck our mental health, Covid would be it,” Prof Laurie Santos told BBC Hardtalk’s Stephen Sackur. Humans hate uncertainty, but the pandemic is seeing constantly changing lockdowns and a continued flux about when things will improve, all of which is bad for our mental health, she explained.
9th Feb 2021 - BBC News

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I've been in Covid quarantine in South Korea – there's a lot Britain can learn

The UK government’s decision to require overseas arrivals from “high risk” countries to self-isolate in hotels has triggered a debate on the effectiveness of enforced quarantine in government-run facilities. Some have balked at its cost and restrictive character while others have dismissed the measure as half-baked and too little, too late. My experience in a quarantine facility for Covid-19 patients in South Korea might be illuminating in this regard. Last November, I flew into South Korea to spend a holiday with my family. To sum up the complicated arrival process at Seoul: I was required to download a Covid-19 tracking app, had my temperature checked and was whisked away by pre-approved taxis to the public clinic nearest to my home to take a PCR test. I was then required to self-isolate for more than two weeks at home.
8th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Bad online experiences for children ‘invisible’ to parents during lockdown

When Australia’s online safety investigators are investigating coercive child sex abuse material, which involves children being urged to perform sexual acts for the camera, there is often a concerning common factor: parents are having a conversation just metres away. “Our investigators can hear the parents’ voices in the next room,” said Julie Inman Grant, the country’s eSafety commissioner. “This is happening under parents’ noses, in the home.” The commissioner is ramping up calls for parents to improve awareness of their children’s digital lives, as young people’s reports of negative online experiences – including unwanted contact, cyberbullying and harassment – have spiked during the coronavirus pandemic.
8th Feb 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

Sharp rise in smoking linked to loneliness in lockdown

People who felt distressed and lonely during the country's lockdown last autumn were three times more likely to smoke more, a new study has found. The results of the survey, undertaken by University of Otago, Wellington researchers professor Janet Hoek, Dr Philip Gendall, associate professor James Stanley, Dr Matthew Jenkins and Dr Susanna Every-Palmer, have been published in the international journal, Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Dr Every-Palmer said people who felt lonely or isolated almost all the time were more than three times more likely to increase their cigarette intake than those who were never lonely
8th Feb 2021 - New Zealand Herald

Inspire the kids: the best culture for children in lockdown

Actors, authors, musicians and Observer critics share tips for filling the after‑homeschool hours – from uplifting family films to creative apps, dance tutorials and sonic journals
8th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

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Nadhim Zahawi: Coronavirus vaccine refuseniks face visit from the persuaders

People who have not accepted vaccination offers could get knocks on the door from council staff in an attempt to convince sceptics “home by home”, the vaccines minister has suggested. Nadhim Zahawi said the NHS was already trying to “identify to individual level the people that we need to reach” to ensure that all over-70s had a chance to get a jab by February 15.
5th Feb 2021 - The Times

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How to heal the 'mass trauma' of Covid-19

When the pandemic is over, how should we process the memories of what happened? Ed Prideaux discovers counter-intuitive answers from the science of trauma. "After the pandemic ends, the effects of the mass trauma it has inflicted will linger across societies for years. How might we understand this mental fallout? And what does the science of trauma suggest that we should – and shouldn't – do in order to heal?" "Covid-19 is a mass trauma the likes of which we've never seen before. Our most complex social extensions, and the building-blocks of our personal realities, have been coloured indelibly. The ways we live and work together, and view each other as common citizens: everything means something different in the viral era, and with potentially traumatic effect. All pandemics end, however. And this one will. But to forget the trauma, move on, and pay it no mind, won't help. It'd be a disservice to history and our own minds. Maybe to the future, too. "
4th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID's mental-health toll: how scientists are tracking a surge in depression

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, new fast-spreading variants have caused a surge in infections in many countries, and renewed lockdowns. The devastation of the pandemic — millions of deaths, economic strife and unprecedented curbs on social interaction — has already had a marked effect on people’s mental health. Researchers worldwide are investigating the causes and impacts of this stress, and some fear that the deterioration in mental health could linger long after the pandemic has subsided. Ultimately, scientists hope that they can use the mountains of data being collected in studies about mental health to link the impact of particular control measures to changes in people’s well-being, and to inform the management of future pandemics.
4th Feb 2021 - Nature.com

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COVID-19: SEND children suffered 'profound disruption' during first lockdown, report

Young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) experienced "profound disruption" to their well-being and family life during the first lockdown, according to new research. The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, paints a "concerning picture" of teachers and professionals struggling to support pupils and their families. Almost all (98%) providers said they had pupils who would find it hard to keep to social distancing, while 75% had pupils who require personal care which involves close contact with others.
3rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

The rise of parental burnout in lockdown

On top of usual household duties, for the last 10 months parents have been educating children, working remotely and keeping relationships intact - so it's no wonder they’re feeling the strain of lockdown. Even Kate Middleton has urged parents to seek help when they need it. Dr Punam joins us to discuss the warning signs of parental burnout and what you can do about it.
3rd Feb 2021 - ITV News

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Latest lockdown is leading to more of us looking for help

More couples are seeking relationship counselling as extended Covid lockdowns take their toll on household harmony, with one psychologist reporting a 30pc increase in calls for help. The stresses of homeschooling, working from home, job losses, financial worries and possible addictions and mental health deterioration can be devastating to even the healthiest of relationships. “When Covid caused the first lockdown last March there was a feeling that the country was all in it together and put their shoulders to the wheel, that it would be over soon. But now nearly a year later people are tired and exhausted,” said Mary Johnston, specialist in counselling with Accord CLG.
2nd Feb 2021 - Independent.ie

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Home workouts: Why you should reconsider your fitness goals this lockdown

In the UK, a survey's found that two fifths of us are doing less exercise in this lockdown compared to the first one in Spring 2020. "If you cast your mind back to April, it was pretty beautiful every day, whereas now there are less daylight hours," Dr Ian Taylor says. He's a psychologist at Loughborough University and specialises in what motivates us when it comes to sport and exercise. Ian says there are a few things you can do to try and get into a positive mindset about exercise and make it seem a lot less daunting. "Remove barriers as you'll be surprised how many of them mount up against your motivation," he says. "Going for a walk is very easy because you don't need to change your clothes or move furniture out the way for example, or worry about your [gym] kit being spread all over the house".
1st Feb 2021 - BBC News

No gym required: How seniors can exercise during lockdown

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it's crucial for homebound older adults to find safe and effective ways to exercise, an expert says. At-home workouts can help strengthen muscles, improve balance, increase blood flow to the heart, boost the immune system and reduce stress, according to Summer Cook, an associate professor of kinesiology and an expert on senior fitness at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham.
1st Feb 2021 - Medical Xpress

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Martin Lewis urges everyone to claim £124 for working from home

In England, those who are working from home are being encouraged to go online and claim up to £124 they are entitled to. The advice comes from Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis who has explained that money is available to home workers even if they have worked from home for only one day since last April. Many people have been unable to return to their offices due to the pandemic and could be missing out on Government cash. The available money is a reduction in the amount of income tax a person pays, and is designed to help those who work from home with their overheads
31st Jan 2021 - Chronicle Live

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Why Couch to 5k has kept us on the run for 25 years and especially in lockdown

If you started in January you might be on week three, or you may be just about to begin. Perhaps you’ve completed the whole thing and feel like Mo Farah, or you’ve come to an impasse and are going back to the start. Of course, you may have no intention of doing Couch to 5k, but you’re likely to know somebody who has, as a million people downloaded the running app in 2020. The premise is simple: download the free, NHS-endorsed app and, over nine weeks, it guides you through a programme of three runs a week, starting in week one with a few minutes of walking alternated with a few minutes of running, for half an hour, and ending in week nine with a solid 30 minutes of running
28th Jan 2021 - iNews.co.uk

Blue-chip UK employers try to soothe parental lockdown pain amid fears of burnout

From unlimited paid time off to laptops for children, some of Britain’s blue-chip employers are trying to persuade parent employees juggling jobs and childcare during the pandemic that they have their backs. A third British lockdown from Jan. 5, that shut schools to most children and confined many workers to their homes, has exacerbated a childcare crisis that unions warn could herald a drain of talent that disproportionately impacts women. On Wednesday, the government said schools will remain largely closed for at least another six weeks. Some banks, professional services firms, law firms and insurers are offering staff flexible working arrangements, reduced hours and increased emergency leave alongside benefits such as free counselling and parent buddy schemes.
28th Jan 2021 - Reuters

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Lockdown cabin fever? 56 tried, tested and terrific ways to beat the boredom

Shaun Ryder keeps chickens, while Mel Giedroyc organises chutney tastings. These small, affordable suggestions won’t end lockdown misery – but they might help: 56 ideas for stuff to do in lockdown
27th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

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Lockdown exercise: why getting outside can boost your wellbeing

Encouraging people to walk has long been on the agenda of public health bodies and air pollution campaigners, but it took a national lockdown for many of us to build a habit. There’s hope that it could have a long-term positive impact on both our health and London’s notoriously dirty air. While anecdotal evidence and data collected by organisations such as Breathe London appeared to show a dramatic reduction in air pollution during the first lockdown, a new international study led by University of Birmingham found that while there were significant reductions in urban air pollution levels around the world, these were smaller than expected.
26th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Why you need to give yourself a break right now (and how to do that)

This time around, we're tired of lockdown. Just getting through each day is a victory in itself. Of course, the long, dark evenings and miserable weather don't help - alongside not knowing exactly when this is going to end - and a lack of any obvious results or reward is prompting many to break the lockdown restrictions. Such difficult circumstances call for more effective coping mechanisms. Whether you're struggling with working from home, worrying that your homeschooling isn't up to scratch, or are giving up your time to protect and support others as a key worker, chances are you're probably feeling low, unmotivated and a little helpless. Perhaps you're finding it difficult to stay positive, or are convinced that everyone's doing a better job than you are. Maybe you feel overwhelmed with how much you have to deal with, or are in despair over the constant barrage of bad news. The answer, first and foremost, according to executive coach Lisa Quinn, is to give yourself a break.
26th Jan 2021 - harpersbazaar.com

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Young people on growing up in lockdown: ‘All we want is to be heard, not ignored’

Throughout the pandemic, decisions made by adults have had a significant impact on all aspects of young people’s lives, yet some teenagers feel their voice and experiences during the pandemic have not been heard. The political has become personal for many, leading some young people to become increasingly engaged with politics and involved in community action. Research undertaken by my colleagues and I at the University of Huddersfield and consultancy Ecorys, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, has been exploring young people’s experiences during lockdown, including their engagement and involvement with politics. The research project, Growing up under COVID, involves 70 young people aged 14-18 in the UK, Italy, Lebanon and Singapore.
25th Jan 2021 - i on MSN.com

How to deal with nightmares about working from home

While the loss of the super-early morning wake up and commute could be seen as a positive thing, for some the bad is definitely starting to outweigh the good. Unfortunately, working in our pyjamas is no longer quite such a novelty. According to the NHS, losing that clear divide between work and home coupled with the lack of co-worker camaraderie, teamwork and support is causing a lot of people to feel stressed, bored and anxious. According to a recent survey of 1,000 people, carried out by online printing specialists instantprint, workplace dreams have been on the rise during the pandemic. Needless to say, they really haven’t been all that sweet. In fact, it was found that a massive 75% of those surveyed said work-based dreams have been nightmares recently. And, with more than half (52%) of people dreaming about work more than ever, its causing distress.
25th Jan 2021 - Metro.co.uk

Why it's ok to miss your workmates - and how to keep friendships going remotely

The shift to home-working has been the silver lining of the pandemic for a lot of people, but there are downsides. Loneliness is becoming a big problem for people spending all their time at home, instead of heading into the office. For many people, co-workers are their main course of social interaction during the day. And for some, work friendships go beyond having someone to join you on the coffee run — and extend beyond the 9-5. In a 2018 survey conducted by researchers at Olivet Nazarene University, 82% of respondents reported having at least one work friend. Nearly 30% said that they had a work best friend. According to a recent survey of 2,000 people by the behavioural science consultancy Mind Gym, more than half of said they miss office “small talk” and building relationships with colleagues (59.7%).
25th Jan 2021 - Yahoo Finance UK

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Covid-19: Five ways to avoid lockdown back pain

Millions of people are less physically active than they were before Covid-19. For those working from home, the morning walk to the bus stop has gone. Days on end can be spent hunched over a laptop without ever leaving the house. A survey of people working remotely, by Opinium for the charity Versus Arthritis, found 81% of respondents were experiencing some back, neck or shoulder pain. Almost half (48%) said they were less physically active than before the lockdown. Another study by the Institute for Employment Studies found 35% reporting new back pain while working from home. Physiotherapists and other back pain experts say those with serious or persistent problems should seek professional help, but there are things that many of us can do to help ourselves.
24th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Six ways to stop burnout as working from home set to become 'new norm' for many

As much as some of us might miss the office, it’s definitely time to accept that working from home isn’t going anywhere. After three lockdowns, it’s easy to start feeling burnt out with working from home and dreading the morning ‘commute’ from your bed to your desk. To help keep things fresh, we've come up with six practical ways you can stop the burnout and keep your work/life balance in order – even when your work and your life are both stuck inside.
24th Jan 2021 - Lancashire Telegraph

UK to quarantine visitors from nations with high COVID-19 risk, Daily Mail says

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is preparing to force travelers from countries where there is a high risk of COVID-19 to go into quarantine for 10 days after arriving in Britain, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday. Travelers from Brazil and South Africa, and neighbouring countries, will be met on arrival and escorted to hotels to quarantine, under plans being discussed by UK ministers, the Daily Mail said
24th Jan 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

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Having plants at home improved psychological well-being during lockdown

An international study coordinated by the Research Group for Urban Nature and Biosystems Engineering (NATURIB) from the University of Seville's School of Agricultural Engineering emphasises that having plants at home had a positive influence on the psychological well-being of the dwelling's inhabitants during COVID-19 lockdown. Researchers from the Hellenic Mediterranean University (Greece), the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco (Brazil) and the University of Genoa (Italy) participated in the study along with representatives from the University of Seville. This study, published in the scientific journal Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, evaluated the role played by plants at home during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
21st Jan 2021 - EurekAlert!

Sick of lockdown? Fancy some culture? Here are the best events online this week

A few suggestions to Irish readers and others for cultural highlights online this week
21st Jan 2021 - Irish Times

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Lockdown, quarantine and self-isolation: How COVID restrictions affect our mental health

In the year since the city of Wuhan, China, went into the world's first coronavirus lockdown, we have all had to live under some form of pandemic-related restriction. Some countries have opted for strict national lockdowns, like the one currently in place in the UK, while other countries such as Taiwan have opted for border closures and mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals. Such different approaches to restricting movement have different effects on our well-being.
20th Jan 2021 - Medical Xpress

The silent epidemic: Abuse against Spanish women rises during lockdown

Fewer Spanish women were killed by their partner or ex-partner in 2020 than in previous years, but that statistic masks a rise in gender-based violence as COVID lockdowns left victims confined with their abusers, rights groups and officials say. Emails to abuse helplines soared nearly six-fold in April, the first full month of Spain’s lockdown. “Control-based violence - which doesn’t murder, but is insidious and devastating - grew, because violent partners already had women under their physical control,” Victoria Rosell, the ministry’s top official on gender abuse issues, told reporters on Wednesday. In 2020 overall, calls to the government’s abuse helpline rose 15% while emails increased more than 230%, but contact with victims was often lost as enforced cohabitation pushed women to seek help silently to avoid partners’ reprisals.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Having plants at home improves psychological well-being during lockdown

An international study coordinated by the Research Group for Urban Nature and Biosystems Engineering (NATURIB) from the University of Seville's Escuela Técnica Superior of Agricultural Engineering emphasizes that having plants at home had a positive influence on the psychological well-being of the dwelling's inhabitants during COVID-19 lockdown. Researchers from the Hellenic Mediterranean University (Greece), the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco (Brazil) and the University of Genoa (Italy) participated in the study along with representatives from the University of Seville.
20th Jan 2021 - Medical Xpress

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Six practical ways to stop the ‘working from home burnout'

There are plenty of good things about working from home. Our hair has enjoyed a break from dry shampoo abuse, we’ve been able to live perpetually in pyjama bottoms and setting an alarm for five minutes before we log on has meant more time snuggled under the sheets. But while commutes might be a thing of the past for many of us, sometimes the journey from bed to desk is a tough challenge in and of itself. So how can you stop the burnout and keep your work/life balance in order? Video conference call provider PowWowNow has five practical ways to change things up
19th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

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Make your kitchen more 'working from home' friendly during lockdown

With more of us working from home, the kitchen can double up as a home office and cooking space with a little planning and preparation. Here are some top tips to make your kitchen working from home (WFH) friendly. The amount of people working remotely has skyrocketed in 2020, with 47 per cent of the UK workforce mostly WFH in April 2020 compared to 5 per cent of the population mainly working from home in 2019 according to an ONS Government survey].
18th Jan 2021 - Newbury Today

Get smart: the best online courses to become an even better you this lockdown

This year hasn’t started the way we’d hoped, but there are silver linings to finding ourselves at home again. This time round, we know what we’re doing (more running at lunch, fewer Zoom quizzes), which frees up space for new activities. If we have to be cooped up for the first few months of the year, we may as well do something useful with it. That guitar gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe? A chance to dig it out. That children’s book you told yourself you’d start in lockdown 1.0? Third time lucky. From (finally) learning to fix a puncture, to perfecting your handstand, this is your ultimate self-improvement guide.
18th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Wristband that tracks the wearer's emotional state could let bosses monitor employees' wellbeing while working from home in lockdown

A £50 wristband created by a British health technology firm is helping people track the wellbeing of their friends, family and employees in lockdown. Moodbeam features two buttons that the wearer simply has to press throughout the day depending on their mood – yellow for happy and blue for unhappy. This is logged alongside both sleep and activity and is available for other people to view on an associated app. It means users can view the moods of their loved ones during lockdown on their smartphone and know when to check in with them with a quick message. Companies could also buy the wristbands in bulk for their employees while they're working from home and may feel isolated.
18th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 having 'devastating effect' on children

Northern Ireland's mental health champion is among child health experts warning of the "devastating effect" of the coronavirus pandemic on children. Professor Siobhan O'Neill was among more than 50 signatories to a letter calling children's welfare "a national emergency". It was published in the Observer newspaper on Sunday. Professor O'Neill was appointed Northern Ireland's interim mental health champion in June 2020. She is also professor of mental health sciences at Ulster University (UU).
18th Jan 2021 - BBC News

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Covid-19: Lockdown could 'lose a generation' of young people

A "whole generation of young people" could be lost to education during the Covid-19 lockdown because they do not have access to digital learning, a leading charity warned. Schools have been closed to most children, meaning remote-learning at home with lessons via the internet. Rae Tooth, of the Villiers Park Education Trust, is concerned about children without computers. The government said it was providing thousands of laptops for pupils. Ms Tooth, chief executive of the Trust, told BBC Politics East that "digital poverty" hits the ability of children to learn if they have no access to the internet, (or can only access if via smartphones with small screens).
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Rise in suspected child abuse cases after lockdown

The number of reported incidents of children dying or being seriously harmed after suspected abuse or neglect rose by a quarter after England's first lockdown last year, figures indicate. The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel received 285 serious incident notifications from April to September. This is an increase of 27% from 225 in the same period the previous year. The data also includes children who were in care and died, regardless of whether abuse or neglect was suspected.
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

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Embrace green spaces, shut screens to keep lockdown blues at bay

If you want to beat lockdown and social distancing blues, head to green spaces and switch off TV, computer and smartphone as this will dramatically improve your mental health, say researchers, as several countries impose fresh restrictions amid surge in Covid numbers. Being outdoors, particularly in green spaces, can improve mental health by promoting more positive body image, and lowering levels of depression and anxiety. A new study, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, said that spending time outdoors and switching off our devices is associated with higher levels of happiness during a period of Covid-19 restrictions.
14th Jan 2021 - The Statesman

Coronavirus lockdown: 1 in 4 people in the UK drinking more than usual under Covid restrictions

A quarter of people in the UK drank more than usual during the first lockdown, with younger women and those suffering from anxiety especially prone, a UCL study has found. More than 30,000 adults were questioned about their drinking behaviour between 21 March and 4 April for the study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Just over a third (34.3 per cent) were not drinking but among people who drank, 48.1 per cent reported drinking about the same, 26.2 per cent reported drinking more and 25.7 per cent reported drinking less than usual.
14th Jan 2021 - iNews

Covid-19: Mysterious cluster in Brisbane a warning to stop using hotels for managed isolation, experts say

Australian health authorities have evacuated a Queensland hotel and are considering alternative isolation facilities – including mining camps – following an outbreak of the highly contagious UK strain of Covid-19, prompting questions about New Zealand's response. On Wednesday 129 hotel guests were transferred from the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane to an undisclosed facility and required to isolate for another 14 days after six previously identified cases from the hotel were found to be linked. Australian-based New Zealand epidemiologist professor Tony Blakely said the guests were moved from the building because the cause of the outbreak had not been confirmed. The further isolation was needed because they could have been exposed to the virus through the hotel’s ventilation system.
14th Jan 2021 - Stuff.co.nz

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To thrive in lockdown, keep looking forward

A recent study, by researchers at the University of Surrey in the UK, has explored some strategies for maintaining emotional well-being during lockdown. It suggests that the most effective strategy for managing the emotional burden of lockdown may be to train one’s perspective forward — toward positive aspects of the future. In their study, the researchers investigated the value of three emotional strategies for dealing with lockdowns: nostalgia, or sentimentally looking back toward previous, better times; gratitude, or thinking about the good things currently in one’s life; best possible self, or picturing good things in the future
13th Jan 2021 - Medical News Today

Lockdown gives us time to learn the art of letting go

Maturity and experience have a way of helping us to move on but what do we do when the art of letting go becomes difficult? Or when the situation, as the world currently stands, becomes so unmoving that we must accept a loss of control? We are at a time in our lives when letting go is proving terrifying considering we have already lost so much control over our lives and our environment with restrictive, unprecedented measures. In any situation where letting go and moving on is beneficial to our mental health, we are ultimately faced with a challenge to let go of a huge amount of control over our own lives. Susan McKenna, social care advocate and author at Bookhub Publishing, says: “This is a time of profound uncertainty with the global Covid-19 pandemic. It is a time when we have all been forced to look into ourselves and draw from our own resiliency. We are given an opportunity to reimagine how and why we engage as we do with the world and our communities.”
13th Jan 2021 - Irish Times

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Jan 2021

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Covid: Eyesight risk warning from lockdown screen time

An eye health charity is recommending people learn the "20-20-20" rule to protect their sight, as lockdown has increased people's time using screens. Fight for Sight advises looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes you look at a screen. Out of 2,000 people, half used screens more since Covid struck and a third (38%) of those believed their eyesight had worsened, a survey suggested. Opticians remain open for those who need them, the charity said.
12th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Jan 2021

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Covid: Are lockdown rules changing? Public Health England answers your questions

As coronavirus cases continue to rise and strong restrictions continue across the UK, people are wondering how it will all end. Vaccinations centres have opened across the UK, but who will get the jabs, and when? Restrictions are being reviewed, but what if people don't follow them? We're watching very carefully, it is early days. We won't really know until next week, or maybe the week after whether these restrictions have had the effect that we very much hope for. Every single day these things are reviewed. It's a balance between the need for what human beings want to do with what they we need to do to keep people protected. It will be kept under review. Radio 1 Newsbeat put your questions to Professor Yvonne Doyle, who is Public Health England's medical director and director for health protect
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Jan 2021

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Five tips to get reading again if you’ve struggled during the pandemic

Like many people, you may have resolved this New Year to read more in 2021 and spend less time on your screens. And now you may be wondering how to find the time to do it, especially in lockdown conditions, with different time constraints and anxieties pressing on us. One solution is to go with shorter bursts of reading. Our Summer 2020 pop-up project, Ten-Minute Book Club, was a selection of ten excerpts from free literary texts, drawn from a wide range of writing in English globally. Based on our larger project, LitHits, each week the book club presented a 10-minute excerpt framed by an introduction from an expert in the field and suggestions for free further reading. We found that the top two things people responded to were the core idea of brevity and the quality and diversity of the literature.
8th Jan 2021 - The Conversation

Lockdown 3.0: an opportunity to join up thinking

As we embark on what may be the very early stages of Lockdown 3.0, our fears for the future are made darker both by a real uncertainty about the course of the next few months and by the knowledge that it did not have to be like this. It is tempting to attribute such comment to hindsight, but in fact we have been led by a government which has egregiously disregarded what is actually little more than common sense. A health emergency of this potential scale required a strategic and systems-based approach from the start. This approach should have led early on to the production of a coherent plan with clear purpose. It should throughout have shown itself nimble to adapt in real time to new circumstances and to new knowledge.
9th Jan 2021 - The BMJ

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Jan 2021

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COVID-19: What a winter lockdown means for mental health - and tips for coping

After two national lockdowns in the spring and autumn of 2020, England is preparing for another - but this time it will fall in the darkest days of winter. Experts have raised concerns about the impact less sunlight, uncertainty about the new coronavirus variant and more restrictive measures coming into force again could have on people's mental health. Sky News unpicks the problems and looks at some tips for coping
7th Jan 2021 - Sky News

How to mitigate the impact of a lockdown on mental health

The Covid-19 pandemic is impacting people's mental health. But what helps and hinders people in getting through a lockdown? A new study led by researchers at the University of Basel addressed this question using data from 78 countries across the world. The results hint at the pivots and hinges on which the individual's psyche rests in the pandemic. At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, little was known about the impact of population-wide governmental lockdowns. What was known was taken from restricted quarantines of small groups of people. "On the one hand, such drastic changes to daily routines can be detrimental to mental health," explains Professor Andrew Gloster from the University of Basel, co-leader of the study now published in PLOS One. "On the other hand, because the entire population was more or less equally affected during the lockdown, it remained unclear whether this impact would occur." To address this question, Gloster and his international colleagues conducted an online survey in 18 languages. Almost 10,000 people from 78 countries participated, giving information about their mental health and overall situation during the Covid-19 lockdown.
7th Jan 2021 - EurekAlert!

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Jan 2021

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COVID risk 'extraordinarily high' if lockdown rules ignored - official

The risks for Britons without COVID-19 vaccinations were extraordinarily high if people don’t follow the current lockdown rules, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Tuesday, adding that the risks will not disappear in the spring. “If people don’t take the ‘stay at home’ seriously, the risk at this point in time, in the middle of winter with this new variant, is extraordinarily high,” Whitty said. “We shouldn’t kid ourselves ... this just disappears with spring.”
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Working from home? You can claim £125 back from the tax man with no strings attached

In England, millions of people who have been sent home due to lockdown restrictions could be in line for a £125 rebate from HMRC. A little known 'working from home' tax rule means anyone who has been told to work from home during the pandemic can claim financial relief, up to the value of £125, to spend on bills and other home working essentials. Even better, you only need to have worked one day from home to claim the refund - meaning millions of people could be eligible. The money can be used to pay for items such as office equipment, stationary and even printer paper.
7th Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Jan 2021

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Varadkar urges employers to facilitate remote working

In Ireland, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has asked employers to facilitate their staff to work from home wherever possible at this "critical time" in the ongoing fight against Covid-19. "Christmas and New Year have passed and the vast majority of people are now back at work," Leo Varadkar said in a statement today. "We are now in the middle of a third wave of the virus and the increase in infections, hospitalisations and numbers in ICU is extremely concerning," Mr Varadkar said. Mr Varadkar said he was asking employers to encourage and accommodate their employees to stay at home unless they are essential workers.
6th Jan 2021 - RTE.ie

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Jan 2021

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How to be a successful remote employee

In the US, many offices remain closed in anticipation of vaccine distribution, and a significant number of people who acclimated to working from home during the pandemic will decide to stick with it indefinitely. That makes it more important than ever for companies and employees to get remote onboarding right.
5th Jan 2021 - Quartz

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Jan 2021

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What can we learn from the great WFH experiment?

...I mention this because we are at a turning point in the pandemic. Many people, myself included, have largely been working from home. For months it has been hard to shake the feeling that this will last for ever. Now we are contemplating a vaccine-fuelled return to normality — maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. What the 2014 Tube strike teaches us is that temporary disruptions can have permanent effects. Sometimes there are scars that do not heal; sometimes a crisis teaches us lessons we can use when it has passed.
31st Dec 2020 - Financial Times

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Dec 2020

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How to fight loneliness in lockdown

After months of lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders, some experts worry about a rise in the number of people feeling alone, especially young people and older adults. But resilience is also widespread, and studying loneliness can reveal a variety of ways to combat it. “In light of the pandemic, there are ways that we can increase that sense of connection or reduce feelings of loneliness in ways that we may be able to do safely at a distance,” says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University. “One of the things that research has shown is that social support is incredibly helpful in times of stress.”
29th Dec 2020 - The Independent

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Dec 2020

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Two million elderly facing Christmas alone to get 'greatest gift' of someone to chat to

Elizabeth is just one of the two million older people who will be spending Christmas alone this year. The pensioner has been housebound because of the pandemic – but a new phone service set up by Age UK is helping to spread some festive cheer. The charity estimates that more than half of elderly people won’t see their friends or family this Christmas. So with that in mind, I joined their team of trained volunteers for a day to see how the phone service is helping to combat loneliness among the over-60s. Elizabeth was first on their list of people to call and it was easy to imagine her face lighting up at the sound of a friendly voice. In a chat with volunteer Clare, she says: “It’s been a difficult week but I feel so much better today.
22nd Dec 2020 - Mirror

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Dec 2020

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Five things I learned about working remotely as an introvert

From boosting your leadership presence to protecting your mental health, now is as perfect a time as any to learn how to truly thrive as an introvert in the remote or hybrid workplace.
22nd Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Loneliness could worsen as COVID-19 disrupts Christmas, UK charities warn

Tighter restrictions across Britain at Christmas are an “abject disaster” for mental health and could drive many into further isolation, charities said on Monday. Mental health experts and charities warned that loneliness and mental health problems arising from months of lockdowns could worsen as Britain banned millions from meeting after the discovery of a more infectious strain of the coronavirus. “There’s no escaping that it will be a difficult time both in the Christmas period and in January,” said Antonis Kousoulis, director of the Mental Health Foundation, who is researching the impact of COVID-19 on people’s mental health.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Dec 2020

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Covid vaccine: More than 130,000 vaccinated in UK in first week

More than 130,000 people have been vaccinated in the first week of the UK's vaccination programme. Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who is in charge of vaccine rollout, tweeted 137,897 people had been given their first doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech jab between 8 and 15 December. He described it as a "really good start" for the programme. The figure only captures the start of the community vaccination programme run by GPs which launched on Monday. About 200 of these local vaccination clinics are expected to be up and running by the end of the week.
19th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Dec 2020

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Don’t see grandparents over Christmas if possible, Priti Patel says

Millions of people across Britain should not see their grandparents if possible over the Christmas period, a Cabinet minister said today. Home Secretary Priti Patel also urged families to “change their plans” if they were planning to travel long distances to see relatives during the festive season after surges in Covid-19 cases in parts of the country, including London. Asked on Times Radio if the Government guidance now boiled down to not meeting up with elderly relatives this Christmas where possible, Ms Patel said: “I think it does as we are seeing rising infections across the country.
17th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Dec 2020