Chemnitz – Online assembly

Chemnitz addressed all its inhabitants in a live stream assembly. The mayor, several deputy mayors, and high representatives from the health sector participated to the assembly. To put the limited time to good use, the administration collected questions in advance in addition to answering questions during the event. More than 2000 people watched the live stream and more will be able to watch the recording. After the event, answers to the questions were collected and published on the city’s website. Read more here (in German).

Contact: Marcel Krippner

Frankfurt – Solidarity with twin city Milan

The city of Frankfurt has donated €10,000 to help its northern Italian twin city of Milan in the fight against the corona virus. Mayor Peter Feldmann had promised the support to his Milan counterpart Giuseppe Sala in a letter on behalf of the city government. The amount was donated to the ‘Coronavirus. Fondo di mutuo soccorso’, Mutual Aid Fund. End of May, the city had organised the ‘Frankfurt World Conference’, a virtual meeting with its twin cities Milan, Italy; Birmingham, England; Eskisehir, Turkey; Philadelphia, USA; and Guangzhou, China. You can read more here (in German) and watch the sessions here and here. A school exchange with Guangzhou had to be postponed, while the schools are keeping contact, as you can read here (in German)

Contact: Hendric Fuchs

Paris – Updated overview of deconfinement measures

Paris started to gradually ease confinement on 11 May. Doing so has involved a host of measures, from distributing face masks and increasing testing, to information campaigns, reopening of schools, introduction of new bike lanes, and support measures for businesses, cultural institutions, NGO’s and other organisations that are now opening up. These measures are evolving as the situation progresses – read a full updated overview of these measures in English here, or in French here.

Contact: Jean-Yves Camus

Palermo – Boosting digital competence

The Innovation Service of the municipality of Palermo, in collaboration with other offices, created a ‘digital toolbox’ at the beginning of March 2020. This online space provides the tools, procedures and information necessary for the new style of working online, including:

  • national legislation for smart working,
  • the fast internal communications of the Google Group “Aquile Agili” (“smart eagle”, the eagle is the symbol of the municipality of Palermo),
  • the procedures for drafting the Deliberation acts compliant with the national law concerning digital agenda (CAD: digital administration code),
  • the management applications to work remotely at home,
  • tutorials for using digital signature, to manage video meetings, to draft and share documents with colleagues on Google Drive, and more.
Continue reading “Palermo – Boosting digital competence”

Bordeaux – Citizen dialogues

Bordeaux is launching two participatory schemes this week: A consultation, which invites residents to put forward ideas for coming out of the crisis and for improvements to local life, and the creation of a Citizens’ Committee, which met for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, 5 May, by video conference with the Mayor of Bordeaux, Nicolas Florian.

Residents can also express their views on the platform debats.bordeaux.fr by putting forward suggestions on five themes: Health, schools, food, mobility and local economy. These contributions are accessible to all and can be voted and/or commented on, prioritised and put forward for wider discussion. They will be catalogued and analysed by the city’s elected representatives and administrative officers, to support decision-making in respect of lifting the lockdown.

Continue reading “Bordeaux – Citizen dialogues”

Murcia – Citizen engagement

Murcia has seen a large increase in the use of the already implemented e-governance processes that started in 2015 and allow for citizens to complete over 209 bureaucratic procedures online (83% of all procedures in 2020 have been completed on-line) and also the citizen engagement and participation tools developed by Murcia City Hall. The following are two tools that Murcia is finding particularly useful during the crisis:

Continue reading “Murcia – Citizen engagement”

Nice – Digital crisis management

The Nice Côte d´Azur Metropolis has developed new digital crisis management tools from which Microsoft will draw inspiration to help other communities for free. In order to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic and the dissemination of masks to the entire population, the Nice has developed digital logistics management tools. Microsoft has praised the quality of work of the engineers of the Metropolis and will use it as inspiration to provide services to other French communities.

Continue reading “Nice – Digital crisis management”

Nice – Local shopping online

Created in partnership with the start-up Whishibam, the city of Nice is today launching a virtual trading platform, which will enable registered Nice merchants to easily sell their products and sell off their stock, generate immediate cash flow and benefit from a new showcase throughout the year. The launch of this virtual trade site in Nice complements other measures to support local economic actors and traders. Visit the website here

Contact: Elodie Ching

Reykjavik – Overview of measures

The city of Reykjavik, Iceland, has compiled a summary of measures taken in the coronavirus crisis. The document describes the different phases in response to the pandemic and how “aggressive testing, tracing and quarantining” has slowed the spreading of the virus. Iceland has introduced a tracing app which has been downloaded by one third of the population. Restrictions are eased since beginning of May. You can download the document here

Contact: Hilmar Hildar Magnúsarson

Kyiv – Unified centre for coordination

At the request of the mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko, a new centre is coordinating community, volunteer, and other organisations’ efforts to assist individual vulnerable sections of Kyiv’s population in the spread of new coronavirus infection.

Increased measures taken by the city include heightened sanitation of roads, bridges, public transport, as well as public utilities and public parts of municipally owned buildings. Further actions include the closure of all children’s playgrounds.

Read more here here and here

Contact: Maria Adomaytis

Glasgow – People make Glasgow

Scarlett Shaw (6) from Springburn thanking her local fire and ambulance crews

Glasgow Life has launched a new campaign aimed at uniting the people of Glasgow in an exhibition of positivity during the coronavirus pandemic. Tapping into a trend that has been widely embraced in recent weeks, the city is encouraging families and households across the city to create their own unique ‘People Make Glasgow’ posters and to display them alongside the rainbows already in their windows.

Continue reading “Glasgow – People make Glasgow”

Budapest – Waiting for you

“Budapest awaits!” is the message of a music and dance video, aimed at city residents and tourists. The film, created by the Budapest Festival and Tourism Center, shows the formerly cheerful and lively, but now empty city, waiting to see life returning to the streets and public spaces.

Budapest has also compiled a summary of measures the city has taken in the corona crisis. You can download the document here

Contact: Adrienn Magyar

Katowice – Business and NGO assistance packages

A new package of measures, worth 25 million PLN, exempts businesses from things like property tax, rubbish collection charges and rent in municipal buildings. Similar measures are being put in place for NGOs, as well as offering additional assistance for activities to control the coronavirus, and co-financing options for some labour costs. Read more here and here

Contact: Judyta Etmanska

Reims – Imagining the future

Reims has launched a digital platform to invite people to come up with ideas and solutions to pave the way to the ‘day after’. The city engages itself to implement projects collected on the platform that have been approved by popular vote. Projects can fall under areas such as: economic recovery, health and well-being, living together and support to culture. Read more here (in French)

Contact: Lucie Junet

Vienna – Overview of measures (updated)

Vienna has compiled a summary of measures the city has taken in the coronavirus crisis. They include the areas health and social care, public services, help for the economy, housing and homelessness, arts and culture, communication and citizen engagement as well as a part on ‘life after the crisis’. You can download the document here.

Contact: Michaela Kauer or stay up to date at @Stadt_Wien

Dusseldorf – Live Corona-Talks with the Mayor

Dusseldorf’s mayor Thomas Geisel is offering live talks online in which he and chosen speakers answer people’s questions concerning Corona. The talks are in a Q&A format and take place twice a week – Tuesdays and Fridays. Residents can send in their questions in advance or via the live chat. After the live streaming the talks can be watched on the city’s YouTube channel:

Lille – Web TV for city staff

Lille Metropole has launched a web TV for city employees in times of corona. The programme aims to foster social and professional cohesion and present the latest initiatives in response to the Covid-19 situation. This web TV is also an opportunity to give support and tips for workers confined at home, to share the daily life of staff still working in the city – and to give people something to smile about.  The programme is posted weekly on YouTube. You can watch the latest edition here (in French)

Contact: Christophe Bolot

Izmir – Crisis municipalism

The Turkish city of Izmir is organising its work in the corona crisis through a special governance. The city has established a Critical Incident Management Team with a Supreme Board, an Executive Board and a Science Board. A new directive provides those bodies with the necessary authority to take decisions in the crisis. The directive also regulates the cooperation of the metropolitan and the 30 district municipalities in Izmir, as well as with business and civil society. You can read more and download an overview of measures here and here on the municipality’s website

Contact: Ozan Sumerkan

Barcelona – Strategic approach

The Economic Response Coordination Center of the city, headed by the first Deputy Mayor, is leading the way on the economic reaction to the crisis. Divided into budget and reactivation measures, this division will allow for a better understanding of the city’s situation and a enhance the decision-making process. 25 million euros support package and taxes deferral are the first measures put in place by Barcelona’s city council. Read more here

Contact: Marta Puchal

Karlsruhe – Cross-border cooperation

Eurodistrict PAMINA, the European cross-border cooperation, provides an online updated overview of country-specific measures to answer questions posed by people travelling between France, Germany and Switzerland. Because of its geographical position and its role in PAMINA, Karlsruhe is promoting and coordinating this cross-border cooperation. Read more here and here (in French), and here and here (in German)

Contact: Regina Hartig

Florence – Digital solutions

Florence is using a digital approach to adjusting to the covid landscape.

The city has organised the following initiatives:

  • Web Portal for the promotion of open and home delivery shops – www.lebotteghedifirenze.it – more than 500 shops registered since lockdown
  • Asking for an economic contribution in tickets to buy food for people having businesses affected by the lockdown www.firenzebuonispesa.it – more than 5,000 inquiries in three days, more than €2 million in contributions offered to affected residents
  • Use of 2100 public WiFi hotspots for monitoring presences in outdoor squares and parks during lockdown
  • Use of traffic sensors for monitoring vehicles flow during lockdown
  • Use of GIS data and open data to optimise house-by-house delivery to citizens of protective masks.

Contact: Alessandra Barbieri

Lille – Civic reserve

Lille Metropole has initiated a ‘Metropolitan Civic Reserve’ for its employees not involved dealing with the coronavirus. This plan allows metropolitan officials to carry out solidarity actions during their working time to share the burden of caregivers. These actions include food and emergency aid, childcare for caregivers or security personnel, contact with isolated vulnerable people and blood donation, in the strictest compliance with the rules on containment and health safety. To date, more than a hundred metropolitan officials have volunteered to the metropolitan civic reserve. Read more (in French) here.

Nicosia – Overview of measures

The city of Nicosia, Cyprus, has compiled a summary of the municipality’s measures in the corona crisis, from confinement regulations over ‘solidarity baskets’ for the elderly to creative activities for kids, painting their vision of ‘Nicosia 2030’ while at home. The document also provides contact names for further information. You can download it here

Contact: Charis Theocharous

Madrid – Spanish cities call for budget flexibility

The seven biggest cities in Spain are asking the national government for permission to spend more resources on economic and social measures. In a joint declaration, the cities call for amendments of the Stability Act to allow for accumulated carryovers from previous fiscal years without limitations. They also ask for a relaxation of the criteria for budgetary stabilisation and the spending rule to increase public spending. You can read more here (in Spanish)

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Vilnius – Tech savvy help

In Vilnius, volunteers are matched with tasks submitted by people in need through the Strong Together volunteer coordination website. Social media, websites and direct messaging also helped local entrepreneurs raise around €600,000 to help fund the crisis efforts. And while information is dropped at everyone’s door mobilising even drones, medical facilities benefit from free internet. Read more here

Ghent – Signs to urge physical distancing

With the Easter holidays and good weather teaming up, Ghent finds it challenging to motivate residents to observe physical distancing. To tackle the issue the city has placed 20 large signs at the main entrance of busy places, and has tagged pavements and 300+ benches throughout the city with messages such as: “Walk on: Corona will not take a break either”. Read more here and find out what the other messages are

Contact: Els Uytterhoeven

Madrid – Find services in your neighbourhood

People in Madrid can search for shops and delivery services as well as for help from different organisations in their area by using a new digital district map. The initiative ‘Compartimos barrio’, ‘We share a neighbourhood’, has been launched by the city council to make trade and essential services visible during the COVID-19, operational in each district. It aims to supply people who for various reasons cannot go out on the streets or cannot cope alone with the confined situation. You can find the district map and read more here (in Spanish)

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Bristol – Volunteers and fundraising

Bristol has recruited an ‘army’ of volunteers through Can Do Bristol to help with response to coronavirus. They collect and distribute food. The city is also raising funds to support the local grant giving funder, Quartet Community Foundation who launched a Coronavirus Appeal Fund with funds distributed to local communities to address need.

Contact: Paul Davies

Bristol – Communication

Bristol is keeping information flowing about coronavirus and the local response. Internally, this takes the shape of regular bulletins for staff, to make sure that everyone is on the same page; externally this takes the form of a free telephone hotline open seven days a week for vulnerable residents, video updates from the mayor (see them here), clear information in several languages (watch it here).

Contact: Paul Davies

Dusseldorf – Rules against panic buying

In order to regulate the dispensed quantity of goods and counteract panic buying, the city of Dusseldorf has issued a general ruling. Supermarkets are instructed to only give out restricted amounts of goods in order to ensure a steady flow of goods for the population. The regulation follows disproportionate purchases of staple food, canned goods and toilet paper. Read more here (in German)

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Budapest – A message 4U

Foto: Tamás Lénárd

Lights from empty hotel rooms which form the message “4U!” – with this, the city of Budapest every night sends a sign of solidarity to other cities that are similarly affected by the corona crisis. The campaign from the Municipality of Budapest and the Hungarian Hotel and Restaurant Association aims to draw attention to the fact that cities and residents can only survive and overcome this crisis together and by looking out for each other and acting in a tolerant and empathetic way. The light and the attention people give each other gives hope and strength to many in this difficult time. Read more here

Contact: Adrienn Magyar

Budapest – Public awareness campaign

The municipality of Budapest has funded a series of posters and infographics sharing public information on new modes of public behaviour. In a small, public gesture, the city’s iconic Chain Bridge is also being illuminated in white light to honour the work of doctors, healthcare workers, and those helping combat the pandemic. Read more here and here

Contact: Adrienn Magyar

Lille metropole – Crowdfunding medical equipment

The University Hospital in Lille, with the technical support of Lille Metropole and Lille City, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for medical equipment in the Calmette Hospital, which has been transformed into a COVID-19 hospital with 140 dedicated beds. The aim is to enable the rapid acquisition of 20 pulsoxymeters and 10 reanimation respirators to be able to cope with massive hospital admissions for intensive care. The estimated cost of the purchase of this equipment is estimated at over €180,000. In less than 24 hours, the campaign had already collected €23,000. Read more here

Contact: Christophe Bolot

Stuttgart – Working with volunteers

A local online market place for Stuttgart based retailers, restaurants and service providers is now available to residents with the support of the city of Stuttgart. The platform was originally developed as a voluntary initiative and is free of charge. The city is also looking to work with volunteers, who have medical qualifications, to support people in shelters that are known to or suspected to have COVID-19. Read more here and here

Contact: Claudia Schulcz

Toulouse – Solidarity platform

Toulouse city and Toulouse Metropole have launched a new online platform, available to all citizens with internet access, which offers mutual assistance to take care of fragile people. Cities are able to publish both requests for help and/or areas in which they are able to help. An already existing service in the city in a 24/7 telephone service and an additional one for senior citizens only. Read more here and here

Contact: Isabelle Durou

Vienna – Overview of measures

Vienna has compiled a summary of measures the city has taken in the coronavirus crisis. They include the areas health and social care, public services, help for the economy, housing and homelessness, arts and culture, communication and citizen engagement as well as a part on ‘life after the crisis’. You can download the document here

Nice – A call to volunteers

Nice is calling for citizens to join the activities it performs daily to alleviate the difficulties brought on by coronavirus. These include home delivery of food shopping and medicine, recovery of certain foodstuffs from supermarkets, telephone contact with seniors, and walking pets. The city has launched an open call for anyone willing to join in these activities. Read more (in French) here.

Contact: Jérôme Sieurin

Turin – Solidarity network

As capital city of Piedmont, Italy, Turin is organising its measures in the corona crisis in close cooperation with the regional and national level. The Municipal Operational Centre is constantly in contact with the Crisis Unit of the Piedmont Region. Social services for the elderly are taking care of other people in need now, and a new system for the supply of free food has been created.

Continue reading “Turin – Solidarity network”

Lille Metropole – Business Continuity Plan

To ensure that basic public services are functioning even in the crisis, Lille Metropole has initiated its Business Continuity Plan. Services in the areas of mobility, water, energy, waste collection, youth grants, housing grants and public support to companies are handled by 500 agents, out of a total of 3,000 employees, from 18 departments. Since 17 March, after a total lockdown in France was announced, they are working in three teams, with 200 agents permanently on the ground and two standby teams. The plan had been drafted after the swine flu pandemic in 2009. Updates are made available online twice a week (in French).

Contact: Christophe Bolot

Sofia – Volunteer Platform

The Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova (in the picture with volunteers), has called on the Bulgarian capital’s citizens to volunteer time and energy to help those at risk – the elderly, people with long-term health problems, socially isolated. For a week, over 100 residents joined as volunteers, serving over 3,000 citizens who need assistance with food deliveries, other shopping, providing medication or a friendly social call. Over 60 local businesses support the volunteer work with donating food and other products. You can read more here (in Bulgarian)

Contact: Sevdalina Voynova

COVID-19 – Mayors call for European solidarity

Mayors of big cities across Europe call for cross-border solidarity during the corona crisis. In a joint statement of the network EUROCITIES, they urge a strong collaboration between all levels of government.

Message from the mayors: the corona crisis calls for European solidarity
Continue reading “COVID-19 – Mayors call for European solidarity”

Madrid – Taking out your rubbish

Madrid has joined a campaign that helps older people and those in need to bring out their rubbish. The YoTeAyudoConLaBasura initiative comes from the Rey Juan Carlos University. The city is giving the initiative the maximum possible visibility through social networks. This project seeks to help older people and those who need it in the daily work of disposing of their waste while the state of alarm decreed by the COVID-19 crisis lasts. More information (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Turku – Getting the information out

Turku has turned to Google Translator to make sure all 100 languages spoken in the city could be covered to get out useful information about the pandemic as quickly as possible. Migrant organisations, large companies and the Regional State Administrative Agency have helped to spread the word about where to find this information. Read more here

Contact: Mika Akkanen

Turin – Collecting free online services

Torino City Love lists a number of free online resources and actions offered by the city’s partners and other businesses from Italy and beyond. The offer includes resources on education, health, connectivity, collaboration solutions, tools to work and/or study remotely, collaboration solutions, and connectivity. Read more here and here (in Italian) for more measures

Contact: Antonella Detta

Stuttgart – Corona hotline for local companies and freelancers

Small companies and freelance workers in Stuttgart can get help via a new telephone hotline during the corona crisis. Experts from the fields of management consultancy, law, coaching or health offer advice about the virus, hygiene and work regulations and information on economic aid such as grants, support programmes, loans or short-time work.

Continue reading “Stuttgart – Corona hotline for local companies and freelancers”

Ghent – Online meeting of city council

In compliance with the coronavirus measures, the city council of Ghent, Belgium, held a digital council meeting this week. The 53 councillors participated online from their home computer. It was the largest digital council meeting ever held in Flanders. The city now wants to share its knowhow with other municipalities. Read more here

Contact: Els Uytterhoeven

Stuttgart – Keeping distance, sticking together

In a personal letter to the people of Stuttgart, mayor Fritz Kuhn calls for continued compliance with the rules and regulations under the corona confinement and thanks everyone for their special commitment. He writes: “The coronavirus has a firm grip on the world, including Germany and our Stuttgart. That’s why we must stick together in our city. ” Read more here (in German)

Contact: Claudia Schulcz

Guimaraes – Video message from the mayor

The mayor of Guimaraes, Portugal, Domingos Bragança, is using video communication to inform the 158,000 inhabitants about the city’s initiatives in the corona crisis. Those measures include the closing of schools and public buildings, parks and playgrounds. The city also supports elderly, isolated and disabled people with an exclusive telephone hotline and provides meals to children of health and security professionals.

Ljubljana – Psychological support

The Ljubljana Health Centre has ensured psycho-social support for anyone potentially struggling with the current epidemiological situation. The support is offered via phone or email. It has also been offered by some non-governmental organisations whose programs are co-financed by the city of Ljubljana.

Contact: Polona Novak

Ljubljana – Volunteering for the elderly

Ljubljana has connected with a network of local volunteers who want to make everyday life easier for the elderly. The people involved are workers and volunteers from the Home Care Institute (Zavod za oskrbo na domu) and Ljubljana’s cultural public institutes (e.g. theatres, galleries). From Monday to Friday, the volunteer project manager is using the Home Care Institute Ljubljana’s phone number to collect the contact information of those who wish to be called by volunteers. The volunteers talk to the elderly about their jobs and about how the city’s cultural institutes work, as well as about normal everyday things, in order to help the elderly overcome their feelings of loneliness.

Contact: Polona Novak

Ljubljana – Child care volunteers

When the Slovenian Government banned closed all organised child care, Ljubljana sent a request to kindergarten and elementary school principals to find out if any of their teachers and educators would be willing to volunteer to take children into care, either at the volunteer’s home or the child’s home. 53 educators from Ljubljana’s kindergartens and 26 teachers from Ljubljana’s elementary schools responded to the request. Due to the virus’ specificities, the volunteers can only be healthy people under 50, with no chronic illnesses and those who do not have small children at home. In this way the city has managed to guarantee child care for the children whose parents are obliged to work in extraordinary circumstances.

Contact: Polona Novak

Ljubljana – Bus drivers volunteer to deliver food

Ljubljana has organized home food delivery for children from at risk families and elderly citizens. Drivers of city buses are volunteering to perform the deliveries. Over 100 people have volunteered at the Ljubljana Public Transport (Ljubljanski potniški promet) public company.
Bus drivers have also started helping with urgent non-scheduled transport of people, organized by the Slovenian Red Cross. The transport is intended for people who urgently need access to essential services or errands.

Contact: Polona Novak

Zaragoza – Connecting businesses and citizens

Zaragoza has launched a platform for corporate solidarity contributions. The site connects the commitment and resources of private companies with the needs of Zaragoza society in order to face this emergency situation. Five work areas have been set up in which the different companies can lend their help: health, education, entertainment, technology and food. Read more (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Lorena Calvo

Tallinn – Hackathon for services

Tallinn is working together with local start-ups and communities to offer basic services for people in isolation. On Friday, March 13, 2020, Estonian startup foundation Garage48 launched an online hackathon to figure out ways to help communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the solutions is the web-based platform COVID-Help that connects volunteers from local communities with the most vulnerable members of those communities.

Today there are more than 2000 volunteers connected to this platform who offer practical help, like doing shopping for those in quarantine or just calling and talking to lonely elderly people and thus taking some of the stress off local social workers.

Contact: Kerttu Märtin

Brussels – Information in 10 languages

Brussels is making information about protecting yourself from the coronavirus available in through a poster in 10 languages: English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Turkish and Arabic. Other information about actions taken by Brussels-Capital Region authorities, by civil society and by companies, is available in three languages. Read more here.

Contact: Geert de Roep and Antoine Umbrain

Poznan – Information for locals, foreigners, and live mayoral broadcasts

Poznan is working to make sure that people have the best and most up-to-date information on COVID-19. This includes a special website for foreigners, available in Russian, English and Ukrainian, and a special phone helpline for Ukrainians The City opened a special helpline where they can call and ask for help and information. Learn more about it here.

The mayor is also keeping contact with locals through a daily Facebook live video confrerence with live translation in sign language. He presents the most recent news about a situation in the city and actions undertaken by local authorities and also answers questions from viewers. You can see the video conferences here.      

Other information on topics like public transport and childcare is made available on a website here (in Polish).

Contact: Anna Aleksandrzak

Barcelona – Health channel for the elderly

The VinclesBCN Service is adapting to COVID-19 and creating a health channel to answer questions from its 2,400 elderly users, who live alone. The health channel includes 21 COVID-19 information groups into which the users have been divided, through which the health team will pass on information that may be of interest to them concerning the pandemic.

With VinclesBCN, users can manage their social relationships by using a simple application installed on a tablet or smartphone. The profile of VinclesBcn users is a person over 65 years old, who is a registered resident of Barcelona and feels lonely. The 40 Social Services centers in the city are the main referrers, although the health service also refers people to the service.

More information here.

Contact: Marta Puchal

Antwerp – Platform for volunteering

Antwerp has launched a platform to facilitate the large number of volunteer initiatives that have erupted across the city. These initiatives aim to help residents who can, for instance, no longer walk to the store or pharmacy or take out their dog.

Residents who need help can report this via an online form or a free telephone number. Antwerp residents who do not only want to help people in their immediate vicinity can register as volunteers.  The help offered is very varied. For example, this could be a volunteer who goes to the store every day or one-off telephone help for a computer problem. Even if people want to talk to someone for a while, they can register. Above all, the platform wants to bundle very everyday practical help questions: write a card, chat over the phone, take care of animals, deliver soup, go to the post, do the grocery shopping, etc. Check out the platform (in Dutch) here.

Contact: Kris Van Berendoncks

Stuttgart – Coordinating volunteers

Stuttgart is coordinating a recent surge in volunteer efforts through collating and publishing offers of help, supporting and advising individuals and initiatives in volunteering, compiling ideas for delivering support without physical contact, and providing ideas on further possibilities for solidarity action.

The city is managing this through a new platfomr ‘Corona: Engagiert in Stuttgart’. Read more about the imitative (in German) here.

Contact: Claudia Schulcz

Stuttgart – Multilingual information

Stuttgart is providing information on the coronavirus and its effects on public life in German, English, Turkish, Arabic, Russian, Polish and Italian, as well as ‘plain language’ for those with comprehension difficulties and sign language. This information ranges from the latest decisions of the city to well-founded factual information. Read more here.

The city has also set up a hotline on coronavirus, which is available from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Contact: Claudia Schulcz

Poznan – Citizens volunteer

Many Poznan citizens want to help in fight against COVID-19. To coordinate these volunteers, the city is has prepared a form which people can use to declare what type of help they can provide and to which hospital. The city then uses this information to prepare workers to receive products and coordinate when a particular person can bring their help. Read more here.

Contact: Anna Aleksandrzak

Antwerp – City employees volunteer en mass to support triage

In Antwerp a triage system was established to isolate and provide appropriate care to patients infected with the coronavirus. A patient must first contact the GP by telephone. With mild or severe symptoms, the patient is directed to one of five triage points on the city’s territory, where a deeper triage occurs. The triage posts are an initiative of GP associations. However, they do not have enough people to perform all tasks there.

After a survey among its own staff, the city of Antwerp delegated volunteers to support the five triage stations that have been set up in the city’s territory. Hundreds volunteered. In less than two days, 10 coordinators and more than 100 call center, reception and security staff were found, selected, briefed, provided with work equipment and deployed in the triage stations.

Contact: Kris Van Berendoncks

Milan – Three levels of special action

The city of Milan has implemented a range of responses to coronavirus, organised around three levels. Current measures range from the suspension of access restrictions for certain types of vehicles to specific measures for waste collection. For example, the city has invested in disinfecting street containers where waste is collected and in an extra disinfection and sanitation of city streets. Read more here

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli

Nice – Drone informs people to follow containment rules

The city of Nice has been using a drone to fly over the city centre and the main roads to enforce the containment measures. Equipped with a loudspeaker, the drone repeats two pre-recorded messages: “Travel is prohibited except by exception” and “Please respect safety distances”. Read more (in French) and watch a video here and read about the public reactions here (in French).

Contact: Jérôme Sieurin

Bratislava – Cartoon communication on corona

The city of Bratislava has created a set of simple drawings that highlight key measures to fight the corona outbreak for citizens. The mayor commissioned a famous local cartoonist to draw a poster to inform citizens that has been distributed online and through posters across the city.

Bratislava offers to share the material with any city that needs such an easy to understand material – just send an email to inovacie@bratislava.sk. You can read more here

Botosani – Online council meetings

The authorities from Botoșani, Romania, have moved the city’s council sessions online during the corona crisis. The counselors voted for the necessary regulatory changes at their meeting. The system provides an online conference and voting system. Counselors have been trained to use the software, so physical meetings can be avoided under the confinement. You can read more here (in Romanian)

South Korea – Tracking people’s movement with new technologies

When a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 in South Korea, the government makes use of new technologies through GPS tracking, tracing credit card histories, and telephone records to see where a particular person has been. This comes alongside other measures such as banning all public gatherings. Of course, European concerns for privacy rights means that this kind of activity would be, at the least, highly controversial in Europe.

Read more about the European debate on privacy here and here

Global – Lessons from around the world

How prepared for pandemic are different cities globally?

Cities such as Taipei, Singapore and Hangzhou based their response on knowledge gained from dealing with previous epidemics and rapidly put in place measures such as isolation and social distancing, clear communication efforts and proactive surveillance – a difficult prospect for many Western cities.

Authorities in Singapore, for example, acted very quickly to trace back suspected contacts of the first patients, and offer widespread and freely available testing, with capacity to test more than 2,000 people a day. Furthermore, around 5,000 people – mainly close contacts of patients – have been isolated.

Read more here and here