In a week when the lockdown was extended in the UK, there were some positive news stories about coronavirus to cling to
Nearly a quarter of all people who have been confirmed as having coronavirus have recovered. That’s according to World O Meter, which reports almost 2.2 million cases worldwide, of which, it says, around 557,000 have recovered. What’s more, it adds, of the 1.5 million cases still active, 96 per cent are mild. Meanwhile, new cases of Covid-19 continue to fall in some of the hardest hit counties.
Image: Pille Riin Priske
As the UK government confirmed the lockdown would be extended for another three weeks, there were glimmers of hope from the continent. Austria has allowed small shops to reopen and Angela Merkel announced plans to ease Germany’s lockdown, with some shops due to reopen next week. Elsewhere, Denmark allowed schools to start back up, Spain reopened construction sites and bookstores reopened in parts of Italy.
Image: Claudio Schwarz Purzlbaum
The hero of the hour, 99-year-old army veteran Tom Moore has captured the heart of the nation by walking laps of his Bedfordshire garden to raise money for the NHS. Moore had hoped to collect £1,000 in donations by doing 100 sponsored laps of his backyard before his 100th birthday (30 April). Instead he has raised more than £17m. “Never in my wildest imagination did I think this would be possible,” he said.
The first new medical ventilator to treat people with symptoms of Covid-19 was given the green light this week. Firms including Airbus, Ford and a handful of Formula 1 teams have been working with Penlon, which makes medical devices, to modify an existing ventilator so it could be mass-produced. The new device was approved and the government has placed an order for 15,000 of them. The firms behind the ventilator aim to produce 1,500 a week by May.
Image: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann
Coronavirus is predicted to trigger the biggest drop in demand for fossil fuels ever recorded, with some experts claiming a 5 per cent reduction in carbon emissions is likely this year. Unless governments support clean energy projects in post-pandemic economic stimulus packages, however, this reprieve for the planet could prove brief.
Image: Marcin Jozwiak
DJs have been playing to empty dancefloors in Berlin in a bid to help the city’s nightclubs survive the pandemic. Sets are streamed online and stay-at-home ravers are encouraged to offer donations, which go to shuttered venues, many of which are “on the brink”. The initiative has been replicated in Manchester, where revellers attended a virtual rave at the now-defunct Hacienda nightclub.
Image: Kris Humphreys
This week we reported how sewing enthusiasts in the UK have been using their skills to make hospital uniforms for health workers fighting coronavirus. The initiative began after a nurse in London posted a request for scrubs in her local Mutual Aid group. Since then a small army of volunteers have got behind their kits to make scrubs. Read more about Scrub Hub and other initiatives here.
Image: REUTERS/David Klein
Cities is Germany have widened bike lanes so cyclists can practice social distancing. A trial in Berlin found the scheme improved cycle safety without hindering traffic; it is now reportedly being rolled out elsewhere in the city. The retreat of cars from urban areas was already happening before coronavirus, as we reported in this feature, which looked at how some cities are trying to go car-free.
Image: Flo Karr
Main image: A florist returns to work in Austria. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner