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)

Braga – Partnering up with Shenyang

The Municipality of Braga will receive 10,000 disposable medical masks and 500 individual protection medical kits from the Chinese city of Shenyang. The two cities have a friendship agreement and want to become twin cities. Shenyang has also offered to share experiences regarding the fight against the corona virus and the management of crisis situations. Read more (in Portuguese)

Munich – Don’t stop creativity

To support artists and other creative workers, Kreative Deutschland together with some funding institutions, such as the Team of Excellence for the Culture and Creative Industries of the City of Munich, have initiated the campaign ‘Don’t stop creativity’, to share information about funding opportunities as well as inspirational ideas. Creative examples are also published on a website, such as a fashion crowdfunding project for home office wear. Read more

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

Pau – Home-meal service by the municipality

Municipal kitchens prepare meals for people who cannot go shopping : elderly, isolated, disabled, or single women with dependent children. These meals are delivered by employees of the city of Pau, usually working in municipal departments which are now closed, as swimming pools. The city has also opened a telephone hotline for psychological support where even politicians take turns to answer the calls. Read more here (in French)

Berlin – Rapid response strategy includes new hospital

The Berlin city government will build a new hospital for up to 1,000 voronavirus patients. Other measures being taken include reducing metro services, and updating its crisis response strategy.
The updated strategy aims to support people and businesses through offering measures such as tax relief for companies struggling with liquidity, or covering loss of earnings for cancelled events or when staff are quarantined.

Read more here

EU – Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative

European Commissioners Elisa Ferreira, responsible for Cohesion and Reforms; and Nicolas Schmit responsible for Jobs and Social Rights have sent letters to all the EU countries to inform them on the individual support they can receive under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative.

The letters, with individual country information are available here

Vienna – A new fund to help small and medium sized businesses

The municipality of Vienna, alongside Vienna Chamber of Commerce, is setting aside €35 million to allow a much quicker municipal response to changing business situations than normal legislation would allow. The largest portion of these funds will be used to help prop up companies of 10 employees or less when they suffer a decline in turnover of more than 50%.

Read more here

Krakow – Free psychological consultations over the phone

While many medical appointments are being cancelled due to the requisition of health workers for the management of the crisis, patients often still need support. In particular, the situation can be hard to manage in terms of mental health. Krakow has therefore decided to open free support through phone consultations. 

Read more here

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

Brussels – 15 places for homeless people

To avoid contamination in the winter shelters which can welcome up to 1,750 people every day, Brussels Capital Region, alongside the Red Cross, opened 15 smaller centres for homeless people as the city moves into a containment period. In addition, a mobile unit with medical staff has been set up, in order to allow for safe passage to hospitals, and to bring homeless people to these new centres.

Read more here

Milan – Creating a coordination centre for all over 65s services

The municipality of Milan has set up an operational base to organise the transport of goods (food, medicines or other basic necessities) and provide other support services for the over 65, as well as other people who have other chronic conditions or are  immunocompromised that have been ordered to stay at home.

A parallel action undertaken by the city includes the creation of seven food hubs for distribution to those unable to leave their home, and the training of 150 volunteers.

Read more here and here

London – Enhanced cleaning on public transport

London’s public transport company has committed to a new cleaning regime for its metro and bus network. This includes ensuring that all regularly touched areas, such as poles on buses, are wiped down every day with a strong disinfectant. Other new concepts include testing of a new cleaning agent that could potentially offer 30 days’ worth of viral protection, and testing a hygiene back-pack that would allow for this new disinfectant to be sprayed safely and quickly across the network.

Read more here

In a separate advice here London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has warned that London’s transport network foresees operating a weekend style service during the week, meaning less frequent travel options.

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