Project60, like Covid-19, knows no boundaries.  So today, as Ireland completes its first week of School Shutdown, we’d like to share with our friends and neighbours in the UK who are about to begin their own Corona Shutdown.  Schools locked their doors last Thursday night, 12/3, and everyone who could was advised to work from home, no gatherings of over 100, and social distance to be kept.  The pubs and bars were all closed Sunday 15/3 as social distance wasn’t working inside them.

Some facts, figures, and stories since then:

  • A guy set up a website, Feed The Heroes, at the weekend where anyone can donate a few bob to pay to restaurants still operating.  They in turn deliver food to front line medical staff who are working around the clock.  4 days on he’s raised €212,000 and now has a team of 10 arranging orders nationwide.  Many of the restaurants won’t accept payment.
  • After the Taoiseach’s “Calm before the Storm” address to the nation on Tuesday night, 24,000 volunteers came forward to join the front line staff, the next morning
  • Ireland is at 279 confirmed cases today.  This is expected to rise to 15,000 by the month end
  • Confirmed cases who are not seriously ill self isolate, a nurse telephones each of them 4 times a day
  • People who have been in contact with a confirmed case are called once a day by the Defence Forces (where tracking and tracing is going on) to check how they are
  • Drive In testing stations are open around the country  – you don’t leave your car, and keep the window closed until told to open it and get your swab taken
  • The largest test station is at Croke Park in Dublin, normally where you go to watch a match.  Total national capacity will allow 10,000 – 15,000 tests per day
  • The banks (and don’t we love them?) introduced a 3 month mortgage holiday yesterday for anyone in trouble
  • Contactless transactions to go up from €30 to €50 to reduce cash handling at the till
  • Supermarkets introduce the “Golden Hour”, from 9am to 10am, for the over 60’s only
  • Many banks, shops and pharmacies introduce outdoor queuing, limiting the number in the shop, and mark out social distances at check outs
  • Large supermarkets have sanitisation stations at the entrance – a rare opportunity to get hand sanitiser!
  • Large scale working at home means video conferencing goes through the roof
  • Teaching now being done on Microsoft Teams and other platforms, and everyone is learning as they go – teachers included
  • Exams have not been cancelled, which is causing a lot of stress, but Universities have now closed and instructed students to return home, domestic and foreign, and continue to learn online
  • Working at home introduces more flexible but longer days for parents,  after sharing the parenting during the day, they catch up on work in the evening
  • Grandparents can’t help with childminding as they are at risk – kids are vectors, not victims
  • Local communities set up WhatsApp groups for neighbours on their street to ensure the elderly are kept in touch
  • The elderly learn how to use WhatsApp so they can keep in touch with their grandchildren
  • Ireland now has the fittest population of dogs in Europe – walking the dog has not been banned

So its not all bad.  Strangers say hello in the street, from a distance; neighbours hang outside their houses chatting; its not rude to cross the road when you see someone coming; it is rude to reach across someone to take something off the shelf in the supermarket; and, amazingly, everyone (pretty much) is sticking to the rules.

Stay safe and stay strong.  We can do this.