#COVID19 – Connecting Communities
March 18, 2020
#COVID19 – Strengthening communities while keeping distance
March 26, 2020

#COVID19 – Stories around the World

World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) & INSPIRIT Creatives UG NGO,
MediaWise and MediaFocusUK

Strengthening connections
while keeping distance

News You Can Use

We are all vulnerable to this virus. This is a unique time for our communities all over the world as we work to combat this massive global threat. This blog aims to collect and share your stories and reflections that can help others to cope, thrive and build resilience…

Our communities are at different stages of response in different parts of the world. We can learn a lot from each other. Building on World Health Organization and other evidence-based guidance, this blog will gather and disseminate stories that inform, inspire and hopefully strengthen social connectiveness while we all practice physical distancing.

We invite you to contribute. At present we are looking for stories in the following areas:

May the force be with all of us.

Sabrina, Mike, Steve, Tuuli and Franklin for the Connecting Communities team

BLOG: https://www.inspiritcreatives.com/coronavirus-connecting-communities
Email: cccov19@gmail.com
See: https://www.whcaonline.org | https://www.inspiritcreatives.com/humanity
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12385075/ | Twitter: @connecting_comm
Newsletter: https://www.cccovid19.org

Disclaimer – We try to include stories that respect World Health Organisation COVID19 guidance. Links take you to full published stories. Our Connecting Communities team screens and selects stories but can not guarantee accuracy of reporting and mentions of any products does not indicate endorsement.

Isolation tips – what are you doing to make this a healthier, less stressful and more positive time?


Understanding not just what to do but why our individual actions are good for ourselves and humanity
There are lots of video and other messages out there explaining how this is much worse than flu and why isolation is needed…find ones that speak to you and share them…here is an African one for youth that makes key points clearly and quickly



Sharing stories about how we have changed our habits and spend our day
“Normally, I am not in the habit of talking or writing about myself. I am a painter, I make pictures, but these are unusual times. So- this morning I woke at 6 in the morning and stayed up to begin my day feeling to begin early  was a luxury. Other times, when I wake a 6 in the morning, I go back to sleep and wake around 8 or 8:30- that is also a luxury. Life is like dat- even in these unusual times! Luxe, calme, et volupte-  A major transitional painting by Matisse, the title of which comes from a Baudelaire poem- Invitation to a Voyage. Yes, a voyage!   
[Pardon my non-French.]” Barry Feldman , Artist, Greece

Hygiene behavior helpers– what are you doing to keep you and your family safe from Corona infection?


WHO guidance on wear masks, myth-buster, advice for health workers and workplaces. Clear and very helpful advice!

“Masks! If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.

  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.”



Special attention to older population
“In Belgium, supermarket Delhaize, has dedicated one hour from 8-9:00, each morning for over 65 year olds. While the supermarkets has been disinfected and shelves are filled up. They have also abandoned baskets and limit the amount of customers getting in at the same time.
People are encouraged to do sports and go out. The only limitation is to keep 2 meters distance, if meeting with a person who is not part of the family. Staying connected safely.” – Belgium



Identify risks and ways to avoid them in clear and compelling ways. Here Israeli Minister of Defense – tell families to isolate their elders from children completely- particularly because they can harbour virus asymptomatically. Without knowing it!

Community actions – what are you and your neighbours doing to help each other?


Neighbourhood action
“main focus is to set up a team to administer and support the set up of street level groups. “It’s not going to work if it’s centralised. If neighbours take it on, that’ll help grow trust and effectiveness…
With all the groups, one of the first steps is collecting people’s details: address, availability to volunteer, if they have a car, what type of support they can give – from walking a dog for a neighbour in isolation, to being on hand in emergencies and chatting with vulnerable locals. 
Clusters of roads have been allocated and people have moved to WhatsApp to streamline communications. While Facebook has been crucial for communicating and organising, it’s not used by everyone, so neighbours have sat outside two metres apart with masks on and organised themselves.
With this momentum has come the need to keep people’s information safe, manage resources and deliver the aid effectively.”

Bristolians are self-organising a phenomenal coronavirus fight back in ways that will outlast pandemic Bristol Cable 3/20/20

Reporting on what’s working
“Whether an effort fails, is marginally successful or works well,” they wrote, “it provides information crucial to democracy. It shows that people care. It helps new ideas circulate. It shows that incremental system change is possible. It shows that beyond your direct experience, there are other communities where people who look different from you are also trying to build a better society. This nurtures the respect that makes society work.”


Working remotely – how are you making new work realities productive?


Food industry reframing mission
 “Poco is just one of the many businesses in the city worried about surviving the coronavirus outbreak. The situation is so serious that some independent Bristol restaurants are about to launch a campaign to drive public support for the hospitality industry in the city, and lend a hand to the broader effort of feeding frontline workers and those who are vulnerable or self-isolating.
On Wednesday, nervous staff of a Bristol restaurant gathered via video link as one of thousands of businesses in Bristol planned their reaction to the coronavirus crisis. Staff were told that unlike many in the hospitality sector, nobody would be laid off at this stage, as the restaurant closes down and switches to a takeaway model. 
“Our mindset is one of family. First and foremost we want to look after our people and it’s a really scary time,” Ben Pryor, co-owner of Poco in Stokes Croft tells me. “Having an online meeting, it was really special to have that solidarity, we were really scared going into that, but we got back huge gratitude and love, which brought pretty much all the management team to tears.”

‘The government threw us under the bus’: How Bristol food businesses are working to survive coronavirus Bristol Cable 3/20/20

Virtual classrooms – how are you learning and training from home?


“Zoom is excellent platform for distance learning. If you are not at school and want to learn new skills while in isolation, there are large amount of virtual class rooms available. For example edX, Coursera and many others”

Public Policies – what policies are easing your burden?

Advocating for sensible action and communications

African Union Special Youth Envoy – Newsletter #COVID19
“We just sent out a newsletter on #COVID19 in #Africa covering latest stats, Africa’s preparedness, prevention measures and Call To Action for #Youth. You can also access it here https://bit.ly/3aao4sX and subscribe for future updates” – Aya Chebbi
Twitter: @auyouthenvoy_

Maintaining essential services – what is being done to keep food, mail, delivery, water, gas, telephone, internet, sanitation function well in your community?


Supermarkets – Adjust hours- recruit staff- change policies
“…Marks and Spencer Maximum two items per customer of frozen food, home products, groceries and eggs. The first hour of trading on Mondays and Thursdays will be for older and vulnerable customers, while on Tuesday and Friday it will be reserved for health workers and the police…”

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/03/supermarkets-ration-essential-items-to-prevent-coronavirus-stockpiling/


Each of us has an old, lonely neighbor who is much more vulnerable now. But he cannot be persuaded to stay at home and not put himself in danger if he has no one
Volunteers help elderly and single people in Russia during quarantine.Due to the fact that cases of coronavirus have been identified in Russia, local authorities recommended to reduce mass activities, strengthen preventive measures and quarantine. In Russia, quarantine measures began to apply last week.
Among us there are people whose work and the degree of protection depends on our welfare – delivery couriers, people who provide infrastructure, food supplies, health workers and other professionals who are unable to reduce the risk of disease, just staying home. The government strongly encourage everyone over the age of 60 to self-isolate at home for at least 3 weeks in a bid to shield them from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. NGOs call to make sure that  elderly and vulnerable neighbors has to have everything they need.In each region of the country, regional coordinators of volunteer headquarters for the elderly in the coronavirus situation have been identified.
This was announced that volunteers will help in the purchase of essential products and medicines.
All the preparatory work is now in full swing. On the website dobro.ru continues the registration of volunteers, who will be part of these activities and will be able to take part and provide assistance. More than two thousand people have registered as volunteers to help elderly people in an emergency situation (coronavirus), registration of volunteers continues. On the eve of the All-Russian People’s Front opened a “hot line” for citizens’ appeals, the formation of volunteer teams across the country to protect lonely elderly people from coronavirus continues. The “hotline” accepts applications from elderly people who need help. Medical volunteers will assist in processing applications from citizens in need of targeted assistance.The volunteers are not replace the state authorities.
Accordingly, the call centres will accept calls from citizens who need help and assistance. Applications will be forwarded to regional volunteer headquarters. If questions are not related to volunteer assistance, but to treatment and prevention, they will be transferred to the appropriate departmental hotlines, which are available in each region.The All-Russian People’s Front opened a hotline 8 800 200 34 11, which can be accessed by any elderly person in need of help. To date, almost three thousand people have registered as volunteers to help the elderly in an emergency situation (coronavirus), registration of volunteers continues at dobro.ru.
All volunteers will receive distance and face-to-face training. They will be provided with the necessary protective equipment. Everyone from 18 to 50 years old in the absence of chronic diseases can join the campaign. 
For a young, healthy person who has the opportunity to go to remote work and mastered all the benefits of the digital age in the form of contactless food delivery, subscriptions to your favorite TV series and online communication, quarantine does not seem so much a disaster. Wrapped in a blanket under a series of “Game of Thrones”, it’s easy to forget that there are people around who have no access to such benefits. And without the help of those around them who are in a better position than they are, these people can’t cope.” – Valery


Health Care – how are you as health worker managing, what are you doing to protect yourself and others, what innovations seem promising?

Respectful, honest and clear reporting from the frontline
Here is a piece from Pierluigi Lopalco – Professor of Hygiene in Pisa, for many years in Stockholm coordinator of vaccination strategies for the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Now returned to head response in Puglia, Italy – for non-Italian speakers- use google translate



Die Ansprache der Kanzlerin auf Englisch – The Chancellor’s address in English

African Union Special Youth Envoy – Action
Follow Twitter: @auyouthenvoy_


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