Unusual tactics used by other countries to fight COVID-19

Many countires are testing new techniques to help ease restrictions without causing a second wave of coronavirus infection.

Unusual tactics used by other countries to fight COVID-19

Daily life around the world is changing dramatically as countries and local governments employ different methods to contain the spread of the coronavirus - while allowing society to keep functioning in some form.

Many nations are testing new techniques to help ease restrictions without causing a second wave of infection, while others are trying radical strategies to stop their case numbers from climbing.

These are some of the more unusual tactics:

Classrooms 2.0

For many countries, schools will need to reopen first, enabling parents to return to work and children to resume their education on an equal footing.

Denmark is showing how that can be done, starting with students aged under 12.

Schoolyards have been split into sections with tape and classes are smaller so that desks can be placed two metres apart.

Children arrive and take breaks at staggered intervals, wash their hands on arrival, then every two hours, and remain outside as much as possible. Surfaces including sinks, toilet seats and door handles are disinfected twice daily.

The Czech Republic has also begun a phased return starting with final-year students at college and universities, which is likely to be followed by primary school children, and high school students for one-on-one consultations.

Immunity cards

Chile will begin issuing digital immunity cards this week to people who have recovered from the coronavirus, according to an announcement from health officials yesterday.

The so-called "Covid cards" will be issued to people who tested positive for the virus and who have shown signs of recovery, following a 14-day quarantine.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said earlier this month that the UK was "looking at" the idea of an "immunity certificate," or passport, to allow those who have antibodies to "get as much as possible back to normal life."

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, said the idea of Americans carrying certificates of immunity to prove they have tested positive for the antibodies to the coronavirus might "have some merit under certain circumstances".

Weekend-only lockdowns

Turkey has enforced weekend-only lockdowns - 48-hour curfews affecting three-quarters of the population in 31 provinces.

During the week, the stay-at-home order only applies to those under the age of 20 or over 65.

All other citizens are in theory allowed to go out, although many small businesses are closed, restaurants are open for delivery or pick-up only, public places like parks are off limits, and banks have limited hours.

The Navajo Nation in Arizona has also enacted strict weekend lockdowns during which members cannot leave their homes.

In Libya, members of the public are only "permitted to walk" between the hours of 7am and 12pm and stores are only opened during these hours.

Age-specific restrictions

Turkey isn't the only country that has decided to restrict movement by age.

In Sweden, those aged 70 and over have been asked to stay at home.

Earlier this month, researchers from Warwick University in the UK proposed that young adults aged 20-30 who do not live with parents should be released from lockdown first.

Gender-based lockdowns

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra announced on April 2 that they were adopting gender-based measure because of its simplicity in visually detecting who should and shouldn't be out on the streets.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, only men can be outside; on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, only women are allowed.

Panama has been doing this since April 1, arguing the measure encourages people to stay at home since their loved-ones are not allowed to be outside. Some cities in Colombia, including its capital Bogota, are also only allowing men and women to leave the house on alternate days.

Women wearing protective masks to prevent the new coronavirus outbreak walk on a re-opened commercial street in Wuhan

Luck of the draw

Some parts of Colombia have also implemented additional measures. Cities including Cali and Medellin only permit citizens to leave their homes at certain times depending on their ID card numbers. This does not affect essential workers.

Under the eye of drones

Several countries have used drones to monitor locked-down citizens.

Italy's National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) authorised the use of drones to monitor the movements of citizens back in March.

Not long after the UK announced lockdown measures in late March, one police force posted a video of drone footage showing people walking through Derbyshire's Peak District National Park, amid growing concern around draconian tactics overreach by the authorities.

Commercial drone company Draganfly this month partnered with Australia's Department of Defence and the University of South Australia to deploy "pandemic drones" to "monitor temperature, heart and respiratory rates, as well as detect people sneezing and coughing in crowds".

China and Kuwait have used "talking drones" to order people to return home.

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Virgin boss declares airline is 'not collapsing'

Virgin will continue to operate while in voluntary administration, and is not collapsing, the airline's boss says.

Virgin boss declares airline is 'not collapsing'

Virgin will continue to operate while in voluntary administration, and is not collapsing, the airline's boss says.

CEO Paul Scurrah says today's announcement that the carrier was in administration was tough, but the plan was for the group to survive the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"This is a tough day for our airline ... (but) we're certainly not collapsing," he told reporters.

He said the airline had sought financial assistance from its shareholders, government and other parties but had failed to secure "the level of assistance we needed".

"This is obviously a very difficult decision," he said, but added it was the best option for the group to "emerge stronger on the other side of this crisis".

He said the voluntary administration would immediately freeze financial pressures on the group, allowing it to refinance and restructure.

"It is our absolute intention to emerge stronger. Australia needs a second airline and we are determined to make sure we are that airline," Mr Scurrah said.

Today's announcement came after a board meeting of its international shareholders voted against providing more financial support, and Virgin went into a trading halt on the stock exchange last week.

"Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration to recapitalise the business and help ensure it emerges in a stronger financial position on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis," the airline said in a statement to the ASX.

The board has appointed Deloitte has voluntary administrators.


It also confirmed the airline's frequent flyer program, Velocity, is a separate company and is not in administration.

"The decision comes as the Group has continued to seek financial assistance from a number of parties, including State and Federal Governments, to help it through the unprecedented crisis, however it is yet to secure the required support," the ASX statement said.

'This is not Ansett': Treasurer says Virgin will continue

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has declared Virgin going into voluntary administration does not spell the end of the airline.

"This is not liquidation," Mr Frydenberg said.

"This is not Ansett. This is not the end of the airline. "Rather, as the company itself has said in its statement, this is an opportunity for the company to recapitalise and come out stronger on the other side of the coronavirus crisis."

Mr Frydenberg said the Federal Government would not bailout the five large foreign stakeholders who own 90 per cent of the airline.

He added that the JobKeeper payment would continue to be available for Virgin Australia employees.

"The government's objective is to see two commercially viable airlines operating domestically in Australia," he said.

The carrier asked for $1.4 billion financial lifeline but that has been rejected by the government.


Founder Sir Richard Branson took to Twitter to say "this is not the end of Virgin Australia."


Finance Minister Mathias Cormann rejected calls for the Federal Government to buy a stake the airline, but said he wants to see two airlines remain in Australia.

He said he believes administration can find a sustainable private-sector solution to the company's future.

"The government is not in the business of owning an airline," the finance minister told ABC.

"But we do want to see two airlines continue and we believe that the opportunities (are) there out of the administration process for that to happen."

Virgin is 90 per cent foreign-owned, with Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Chinese conglomerates HNA Group and Hanshan owning 80 per cent between them, and Richard Branson's Virgin Group holding 10 per cent.

Virgin began in Australia in 2000 as Virgin Blue and became a major player in the domestic market after the collapse of Ansett Australia the following year.


Just because Virgin Australia has gone into voluntary administration, does not automatically mean it has disappeared forever.

When a company is facing grave financial difficulties (such as running expenses vastly out-stretching income coming in), it becomes insolvent.

To fix this, a business appoints an independent administrator who effectively runs a detailed accountancy check of the business to slash unnecessary costs.

Voluntary administrators may make several recommendations to help save a company, which include: finding a buyer to purchase the business as a complete package, or restructuring to cut down on overhead costs.

Most large-scale businesses such as Virgin Australia have already investigated extensive restructuring methods, so it largely comes down to whether the airline presents an attractive opportunity for a multinational with deep pockets.

For breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the and set notifications to on at the or

You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the , and the .

Source : 9 News More   

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