Like millions of others around the world, Gulf News Foreign Correspondent Mick O’Reilly is currently under Covid-19 lockdown. This is what life is like in social isolation in Ireland, where there are strict rules about who is allowed out, where, and under limited circumstances.
Tuesday May 19, 9am
IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?
A FIRST SLIGHT LIFTING OF MY RESTRICTIONS – BUT THERE’S A LONG WAY TO GO
On Monday, COVID-19 measures affecting me here in Ireland began to loosen slightly – phase one of a five-step strategy to try and return things to a sense of normalcy. As of Monday, I can:
* Go to work if my workplace has been told it can open under the current rules and in circumstances where I can’t do my job from home,
* Go to the shops for items I need,
* Exercise within five kilometres,
* Go out for medical reasons or to care for others,
* Go to meet friends or family outdoors in groups no bigger than four.
I’m also allowed play golf or tennis provided it is only with four people and within 5 kilometres of my home.
In each case, social distancing requirements will continue to apply. Some limited retail stores and garden centres also re-opened. Thankfully, it’s the first step in a long journey back – and that I’m here to see it. So many are not.
RESTRICTIONS ARE LIFTING IN SPAIN AND ITALY
Italy and Spain are among a number of European countries that began further easing their coronavirus lockdown restrictions on Monday.
Most businesses in Italy, including bars and hairdressers, are free to reopen after more than two months of nationwide lockdown measures. Spain meanwhile has slightly eased restrictions on some of its least affected islands. The measures follow consistent drops in the number of daily recorded deaths.
On Sunday, Italy recorded the fewest daily deaths since it entered lockdown in March.
It said 145 people had died with the virus in the previous 24 hours. This marked a significant drop from its highest daily death toll, which was more than 900 on 27 March.
In Spain, the daily death toll fell below 100 for the first time since it imposed its lockdown restrictions.
But officials are warning that complacency over the virus could lead to a second wave of infections.
Restaurants, bars, cafes, hairdressers and shops were allowed to reopen in Italy, providing social distancing is enforced.
Almost 32,000 people in Italy have died in the pandemic, and the economy is expected to shrink by nearly 10 per cent this year.
FOUR PHASES IN SPAIN
In Spain, some areas are also seeing restrictions ease. The country has a four-phase system for reopening, which authorities are applying at different speeds in different regions.
Most of Spain moved into phase one last week. Up to 10 people are allowed to meet together, provided they wear masks and socially distance, while bars and restaurants can open outdoor seating at half capacity. Cinemas, museums and theatres are also opening at reduced capacity.
Some Spanish islands – such as Lanzarote on the Canary Islands where I live for part of the year – have not been badly affected by the outbreak and moved into phase two on Monday, allowing shopping malls to reopen and gatherings of up to 15 people.
Barcelona, Madrid and parts of the north-west however remain in phase 0. Most restrictions will remain in place, but some small shops were allowed to reopen on Monday and funerals can be held for groups of up to 10 inside and 15 outside. This has been dubbed “phase 0.5” – an intermediate step in these regions.
EASING ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE
Belgium began reopening primary and secondary schools under strict conditions on Monday, with museums and zoos also opening their doors – albeit only to those who book online, to limit numbers.
The famous Acropolis reopened in Greece, and secondary school pupils are returning to class there as the country endures its first heat wave of the season. Temperatures hit 37 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
Greeks flocked to the seaside over the weekend when more than 500 beaches reopened. For many in Greece, it was a first foray into a big public venue since the country began easing its lockdown earlier this month, and it also coincided with the first heatwave of the year. Sun-seekers were required to respect distancing rules, which even stipulated how far umbrellas must be kept apart.
No more than 40 people were allowed per 1,000 square metres ,while umbrella poles had to be four metres apart, with canopies no closer than one metre, according to a government-issued manual, complete with diagram.
Restaurants, cafes and pastry shops restarted business at reduced capacity in Portugal while Poland’s beauty salons and hairdressers reopened, along with restaurants and cafes.
ROW OVER RE-OPENING ENGLAND’S SCHOOLS GETS NASTIER
For the past several days – for most of the past week actually – the UK government has been squaring off with teachers’ unions and local city and country councils across northern England over plans to re-open schools on June 1 for certain classes.
As I detailed here yesterday, the teachers – backed by the British Medical Association – and some councils say it’s simply too dangerous now to bring children back to school by June 1 as Prime Minister Boris Johnson detailed.
Schools will stay closed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland until September.
It’s a veritable war of worlds. Now, however, A government minister has not ruled out penalising regions in England if they refuse to reopen schools as the coronavirus lockdown is eased.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told Sky News ministers wanted to work in a “constructive way” with teachers and unions to address their “legitimate concerns” about pupils returning to the classroom.
Hartlepool and Liverpool councils have said they will not reopen schools next month.
UK LOCKDOWN RULES ARE ‘FRANKLY MADNESS’
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has said he would only allow teachers and children to return to school when it is safe to do so, while Labour leader of Gateshead Council, Martin Gannon, said the easing of the lockdown rules was “frankly madness”.
But Dowden says the schools will re-open. “It’s in the children’s interest to get them back to school and I hope that we can address the concerns that they have,” he said.
Pressed again on the prospect of sanctions, the minister responded: “I really hope that it doesn't come to that.”
There were talks between union representatives and the government’s scientific advisers designed to provide reassurances about the government’s plans – But a breakthrough appeared to be a remote prospect, with union leaders saying the meeting had raised more questions than answers.
The British Medical Association has said schools should not reopen until the numbers of coronavirus cases were “much lower”.
JOCKEYS GET BACK IN THE SADDLE
Many punters and horse lovers are chomping at the bit for the return of horse racing. Now comes word that Irish racing will resume at Naas on 8 June . And just days later, the Irish 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas, the country’s first Classics in 2020, will be staged at The Curragh on 12-13 June, Horse Racing Ireland said on Sunday. The Irish Derby, meanwhile, will remain in its traditional slot on the last weekend in June, leaving little chance that horses will be able to line up for both the Irish Derby and the Derby at Epsom, which is tentatively set for July 4.
Like the Irish Derby, the Irish Oaks (18 July) and Irish Champions weekend (12-13 September) also remain on their original dates, while Horse Racing Ireland’s plans to restart the industry after nearly three months of lockdown also include a return of jumps racing on 22 June. This is earlier than envisaged under a previous schedule, which proposed racing only on the Flat for a month after resumption.
STABLE STAFF AND SELF-ISOLATION
Runners from abroad will be allowed to contest Irish Group One and Group Two races only during June, but any stable staff travelling with them will be subject to an Irish government rule that anyone arriving in the country by air or sea must self-isolate for two weeks after arrival. This could, for practical purposes, rule out international participation in the Irish Classics, although the government rule does not apply to arrivals from Northern Ireland, which is linked to the British mainland by ferry.
While Irish racing will be delighted to have a date for a restart, however, prize funds will be significantly reduced over the coming months, with the most prestigious events seeing the biggest cuts.
But race meetings will be run under protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including health screening 24 hours beforehand and on-site temperature checks for all participants and officials before being allowed entry to the course.
SAUNAS ARE OUT OF BOUNDS
As racecourse saunas remain out of bounds, the weights for all races will be raised by 2 pounds.
The revised Irish fixture list to the end of June has only one blank day – 16 June – and 28 meetings, including four over jumps. Meetings will have eight races wherever possible, and a general maximum limit of 18 runners per race.
“We expect there to be significant demand for horses to run once we resume,” Brian Kavanagh, the chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said. “We will aim to provide some opportunities across the spectrum of age, gender and ability. We will have missed 11 weeks’ racing, which will take some time to catch up. We intend to do this over the course of the rest of the year, rather than immediately.
PROUD TO CELEBRATE NORWAY DAY
My stepson Scott joined in the Norway Day celebrations with his family on Sunday. Credit Supplied
May 17 is the National Day of Norway, and I spoke to some family members there who gathered to share the pride as the country comes out of hibernation.
Some family gathered in Oslo and watched as King Harald V was joined by his wife Queen Sonja, his son Crown Prince Haakon, his daughter-in-law Crown Princess Mette-Marit and their children Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus to wave Norwegian flags during celebrations at the Royal Palace.
It was a subdued celebration, in part because of social distancing requirement. And I spoke to other family members who went snowboarding in the hills near where they live in the north of the country, then joined in a family barbeque. Next year, no doubt, it will be bigger and back to normal.
…AND WATCH OUT FOR LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE
If coronavirus wasn’t the only danger facing us. Now comes work in Ireland that public health officials are worried about Legionnaire’s disease, which can be caused due to bacteria growth in appliances which have been left untouched due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The illness is a type of pneumonia which causes serious illness in people aged over 50 years, smokers, and those with underlying health conditions. Both Legionnaires’ Disease and its milder form, Pontiac fever, are caused by the growth of Legionella bacteria in water systems which are not adequately managed.
Irish health officials said that due to the current pandemic, many buildings have been closed or their use restricted.
“This can increase the risk of Legionella growth in the water systems and associated equipment including evaporative air conditioning systems, water fountains, showers, spa pools, and other equipment if the water systems have not been managed adequately,” they warned in a statement.
Dr Suzanne Cotter, Specialist in Public Health Medicine explained that “the illness is acquired by the inhalation of aerosolised water contaminated with Legionella bacteria”.
The fatality rate of the disease is about 10 per cent. The illness usually starts with flu-like symptoms including fever, tiredness, headache, and muscle pains. This is followed by a dry cough and breathing difficulties that may progress to a severe pneumonia.
HAS COVID-19 BEEN WITH US SINCE NOVEMBER?
For most of us, COVID-19 has been part of our lives since the middle of March. From checking my records, the first time I wrote any story on the coronavirus was on January 25, writing back than that the Chinese authorities had taken measures to seal off the city of Wuhan.
Over the past three weeks, however, it has emerged that coronavirus may very well have been circulating unknown. French public health officials said they believed they had a case towards the end of December. Now, however, comes word that they may have evidence of COVID-19 in two chest X-rays taken on November 16 and 18 last.
If indeed that is the case, then it certainly explains why this virus was able to take root long before authorities were aware of its potential danger. And that, of course, begs the question whether all was done to prevent this pandemic – though that seems a little pointless now given the extent to which we are all affected by the spread of coronavirus.
In France, officials there are trying to find patient zero – a very difficult task now more than six months on. Or, as Dr Michael Schmitt explains to NBC News, “we can only manage the future if we understand the past.”
A team of researchers in the city of Colmar in northeastern France said last week that they had identified the two November X-rays, showing symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus.
If confirmed, this is evidence that the virus was spreading in Europe two months before France declared its first cases Jan. 24 and well before COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, had been officially identified in China.
WEEKS BEFORE WUHAN ALARMS
Earlier this month, the French had confirmed a case of COVID-19 in a man on December 27 – the earliest known case in Europe. Officials in Wuhan confirmed the existence of the then-unknown illness with pneumonia-like symptoms to the World Health Organisation’s China office on December 31, but it wasn’t established as a new coronavirus until January 7.
Scientists believe mapping the spread of the disease in its early stages is key to understanding how to protect people and prevent a second outbreak.
“We can only manage the future if we understand the past,” said Dr. Michel Schmitt of Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Colmar, who led the new research. “Today, we clearly do not understand this outbreak.”
Under Schmitt’s leadership, his radiology department has spent the last few weeks poring over thousands of chest X-rays from late 2019.
Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist, global health expert at the University of Washington examined the scans for NBC and found them to be “consistent” with what he had seen treating COVID-19 patients, noting that the scans appear to show evidence of “atypical pneumonia.”
“This fits a pattern we're seeing with coronavirus — especially early coronavirus infection where you’re seeing some abnormalities in some parts of the lungs but not abnormalities everywhere,” he said. In many cases patients in that condition “have been just fine.”
LOKING FOR PATTERNS IN X-RAYS
Schmitt, who cautions against making conclusions from his early results, led his team in examining almost 2,500 chest X-rays taken from November 1, 2019, to April, looking for patterns. As well as the two suspected cases in mid-November, they identified 12 in December and 16 in January. After that, the numbers tick up dramatically.
If the virus arrived in the fall of 2019, rather than appear in February and explode across the country throughout March as has been assumed, the public health implications are very significant indeed.
“This could completely change the government's management strategy,” Schmitt says.
And while Schmitt’s team looked over old scans, Vincent Breton, a research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research or CNRS, launched a social survey in the same region to improve understanding of the raw medical data.
“At this point to understand the epidemic, we need feedback from citizens because we know so little about this virus,” he said, explaining how families are asked to fill out an online questionnaire describing everything from past symptoms to social interactions.
Breton’s goal is to cross-reference this data with medical data to pinpoint the path of the virus and identify areas and time periods in which people caught the virus. With that information, he explained, governments can make smarter decisions about what to reopen and when.
FIRST EPICENTRE IN FRANCE
Breton cites the city of Mulhouse, the country’s first epicentre, as an example of why their work and their coordination are so vital. In mid-February, a religious conference at a church in Mulhouse was widely reported as an accelerant in the region, but Breton says his team’s data suggests COVID-19 was already circulating weeks before the event.
“The testimonies are really rich, they show that people felt that something strange was going on, but they were not in a capacity to raise the alarm,” he explained. “That is something we can learn from this pandemic; we should think of new ways to raise alarm for emerging diseases.”
In Colmar, Schmitt said he is just beginning and his team will now look back to scans from October. The more information they have now, the more prepared they'll be for a possible second wave.
Dr. Yves Cohen, who led the Paris study, looked back at the records of intensive care unit patients from late last year who had flu-like symptoms but tested negative for pneumonia. He retested 14 patients and one tested positive for COVID-19. He urged all doctors around the world to do the same.
“To fight an enemy, we have to know the life of the enemy,” he said, echoing Schmitt. Last week, the World Health Organisation agreed, encouraging other countries to revisit old cases.
LOSS OF TASTE AND SMELL ADDED TO SYMPTOM LIST
OF course, the evidence of scarring on lungs provides a key clue to COVID-19 spread. But as things stand now – more than three months into it becoming a full-blown public health emergency and subsequent pandemic – doctors are still coming to grips with the full list of symptoms of coronavirus and how it affects different patients.
On Monday in the UK, doctors added the loss of taste and smell to the official list of symptoms for COVID-19. Medically known as anosmia, this will now be included in the government’s definition of what patients may experience when suffering with coronavirus.
The advice now says people should isolate if they have a new continuous cough, or fever, or anosmia.
The symptoms of loss of smell and taste have been reported in many patients for several weeks.
Some countries, including the US, have already added the symptom to help clinicians spot potential patients.
Since March, UK government advisers on new viruses at the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), have been monitoring anosmia and other potential symptoms.
They recently concluded anosmia should be added to the list.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE PICKING UP CASES
Deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam explained the change, saying it was important to “introduce it at the right time when we think it’s going to make a difference moving forwards to how we pick up cases”.
Professor Van-Tam, who has been advising the government on COVID-19, said adding the symptoms means 2 per cent more cases could be picked up. Research suggests anywhere between 13 per cent to more than half of COVID-19 patients experience anosmia.
But Professor Van-Tam refused to be drawn on the numbers, describing the data as “quite variable”.
There have been reports that loss of smell and taste is more frequent in women, but Professor Van-Tam said officials “aren’t in a position where we can be clear on that.
The list of symptoms for coronavirus patients is long, with some patients experiencing fatigue, abdominal pain or diarrhea.
Professor Van-Tam said when considering which symptoms would improve pick-up of cases, “we are looking for things that are not so common and non-specific that they would cause more confusion than clarity”.
The UK government, however, isn’t alone in facing criticism for not adding anosmia to the list of official symptoms sooner.
SICK, SCARED AND CONFUSED
Jennifer English was sick, scared and confused. For two weeks, English, a single mother from Oregon City, Oregon, had had no sense of taste, a fever that reached 39.1 degrees Celsius and an uncomfortable tightness in her chest.
English, 46, who helps manage a restaurant and bar, suspected that she had the coronavirus and worried that her health might worsen, leaving her incapable of caring for her son. But in phone calls and virtual appointments, doctors downplayed her concerns.
She then started experiencing dizziness so overpowering that it caused her to collapse on her bathroom floor in mid-April. English went to an emergency room and demanded a test for COVID-19. An emergency room doctor gave her the test but told her that she had likely had a panic attack — even though English has no history of anxiety — and sent her home.
Two days later, her test came back positive. English was relieved to finally have a diagnosis, but she didn’t get better, and doctors’ suggestions — to rest and take a prescription cough medicine — didn’t help.
She told NBC she joined a Facebook coronavirus support group on a friend’s suggestion and immediately felt validated: People from all over the world were describing fevers that lasted for weeks, fatigue that wouldn’t go away and a roller coaster of emotions as they coped with the unknowns of the novel illness, just as she was coping.
“That was huge, because I felt so alone at the time, and nobody was helping me,” said English, whose fever lingered for 31 days.
DOCTORS DON’T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS YET
COVID-19 is as mystifying as it is isolating. Those who get it are often separated from their loved ones, seeking answers the medical community doesn't yet have. As a result, millions of coronavirus survivors and relatives of patients are turning to a different source of information and support: one another.
“These are people who are at the scariest, most frightening moment of their lives, and they’re alone,” said Diana Berrent of Port Washington, New York, a photographer who founded Survivor Corps, the Facebook group that English joined, while Berrent had the coronavirus herself.
Her group now has more than 45,000 members.
Survivor Corps is among the biggest of such Facebook groups, but it is far from the only one: More than 4.5 million people have joined 4,000 US-based COVID-19 support groups, according to Facebook.
While medical professionals generally warn against relying on health information found online, in this case, some doctors have been open to crowd-sourced ideas — especially as symptoms persist.
STRUGGLING WITH SYMPTONS FOR WEEKS
Dr. Ashley Stoecker, a family medicine doctor with Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group in Illinois, joined a Facebook group, Long Haul COVID Fighters, at the suggestion of one of her patients who had been struggling with symptoms for weeks.
She posted a survey to gather data about symptoms and duration of the illness, as well as whether patients had tested positive or negative.
“Seeing my patients suffering for as long as they are and feeling like I don’t have anything to do for them is really difficult.” The goal has been to “learn from the people experiencing these things on a day-to-day basis to see if there are things that can help us put together a picture in a puzzle that we don’t have answers for at this point,” Stoecker said.
“We are basically just treating the symptoms, because we don’t have clear studies that have shown what can be helpful,” she said. “Seeing my patients suffering for as long as they are and feeling like I don’t have anything to do for them is really difficult.”
STEERING CLEAR OF MISINFORMATION
Like other social media platforms, Facebook has struggled to contain the spread of health misinformation and says it has taken an aggressive approach to moderating coronavirus content.
In April, it put misinformation warning labels on about 50 million pieces of COVID-19-related content. The company is also directing users who have liked or commented on coronavirus misinformation it has flagged to a website that debunks coronavirus myths to the WHO, NBC says.
In addition to the symptoms caused by COVID-19, the disease can complicate underlying, chronic medical conditions. Primary care doctors are trained to account for both and to treat them appropriately — something Facebook commenters who “decide to become Dr. Google” can’t do, said Dr. Jacqueline Fincher, president of the American College of Physicians.
“If you’re diabetic or hypertensive or have congestive heart failure, going through a major illness like this can certainly impact those,” she said. “Maybe your blood sugar is out of whack, and that’s why there's more fatigue.”
In the Survivor Corps group, nearly 30 volunteer administrators work to make sure all posts adhere to the page’s rules, Berrent said.
“You can’t tell other people medical advice — unless it’s ‘you need to go to the emergency room right now’. If you post a scientific theory that doesn’t have a scientific source attached to it or a YouTube video made in your kitchen or anything that is self-published, that gets taken down,” she said. “You can give your anecdotal information on your experience, but you can’t tell other people medical advice — unless it's you need to go to the emergency room right now’.”
DEALING WITH THE MENTAL COMPONENT
Vicki Judd, 49, of Mohawk, New York, recently asked Survivor Corps for input — not for medical advice, but for guidance on dealing with the mental health component of the coronavirus.
Judd, who works in information technology sales, had six weeks of severe coronavirus symptoms and spent a week on a ventilator, and she has been seeing a therapist to process the trauma. Three weeks into her recovery, she suddenly got a cough, a headache and slight fever.
Terrified that she could be relapsing, she polled the group on how to stay grounded. Responses came flooding in: Call the doctor to see whether it could be allergies; do breathing exercises; recognise that it could be the result of anxiety, given everything she has been through. Judd’s doctor ended up switching her allergy medications, and the symptoms went away.
The group was comforting from the moment Judd joined.
“It just made me sob and sob,” she said. “It was relief, excitement, sadness that somebody else knows what you're going through.”
REACTION TO MEDICATION
Christy Canter, 48, of Dallas, Georgia, was hospitalised twice in a week for breathing difficulties from COVID-19, and she got a rash shortly after she went home. The nurse she called said it was most likely a reaction to the medication she was given in the hospital. Curious whether others had gone through the same thing, Canter, a homemaker, asked the Survivor Corps group and was stunned when more than 100 people said they had and that it was also on their upper body like Canter’s was — and at the same point in their recovery.
“The group confirms all the things you went through or that you sensed or felt,” she told NBC. “It makes you realise, ‘OK, I wasn’t crazy. I’m not the only one’.”
Berrent conceived of Survivor Corps as a service organisation, and the group offers information on how and where to donate convalescent plasma, the antibody-rich blood product from people who have recovered from the disease, which is being infused as an experimental therapy into patients.
Some members of Survivor Corps say they take as much comfort in reading others’ stories as they do in sharing their own. Bill Cudnyj, 52, of Clifton, New Jersey, joined days after an 18-day hospital stay, during which he came so close to death that he called his wife to share all his passwords and tell her his wishes for his burial. He is still on an oxygen machine 24/7 at home, but he is actively participating in the group. “I like commenting, sharing, talking,” he said. “It gets you through things, because holding them in really doesn’t help.”
While the groups are overflowing with stories of triumph, not all the posts are positive. Among them are tragic updates from people informing the groups that their loved ones have died, often thanking members for their support.
They are heartbreaking for everyone, but for those who feared that they, too, would die, they can also bring survivor guilt.
“The older people obviously hurt my heart, but I’ll tell you, the younger people are what make me feel guilt-ridden,” said Judd, the New York woman who has been seeing a trauma therapist. “It hurts me.”
Canter, of Georgia, has found that the best outlet for the guilt is in helping others. She has her first appointment coming up to donate convalescent plasma.
For her, it’s personal: She recently found out that shortly after she was released from the hospital, the respiratory therapist who treated her had died of COVID-19.
“I don’t know if he got it from me or somebody else,” said Canter, whose respiratory therapist died shortly after she left the hospital. “I don’t know if he got it from me or somebody else. It’s just so many unanswered questions.”
VIRUS BUDDIES IN DUBAI AND ELSEWHERE
English, the single mother in Oregon, said the deluge of stories every day of those who are dying is overwhelming.
What has helped her the most is messaging friends she has made through social media: people in New York, Dubai and Italy whom she has dubbed her “virus buddies.”
“The biggest thing with those three has been laughing and crying, just a release of energy and frustration and everything else,” she said. “Depression is so bad with this.”
She plans to keep in touch with the friends she has made. “I’m hoping, at some point, to go visit all of them,” she said, “and go give them a big hug.”
That won’t be possible just yet. And until such a time as doctors and researchers fully understand how this virus spread and how it affects different people in different ways – that may take quite a bit of time too.
MEME OF THE DAY
This was also shared with me by Dave, who lives just outside Toronto. He was telling me on Facebook that it doesn’t look like he’ll have a job to go back when all of this is over.
HOW I’M PRETENDING TO GROW £10,000 IN PLAY MONEY
A great start to my trading week, with my portfolio growing by more than £430 on Friday’s close.
A reminder that this is all pretend, I started out in lockdown with £10,000 – about Dh45,000 to invest on the London Stock Exchange, I don’t pay for trade and I can only buy or sell when the market is closed. There’s no minimum on the amount of stocks I can buy, just as long as I can afford them.
Drax has been a bit of sleeper for me these past two weeks but it kicked into gear and closed at 208.50p, up almost 10 per cent on Friday’s closing price.
My 100 shares in drinks distiller Diageo were up more than £1 on the day, and this is how my portfolio stands now after Monday’s trading session
Net worth: £12,292.28
Diageo, 100 shares: £2845.00
Ocado, 100 shares: £1913.90
Drax, 2,600 shares: £5418.40
PowerHouse 1,200 shares: £2,100.00
Cash in hand: £14.98
£ gain on last trading day: £436.20
% Gain overall: 20.3 per cent
£ Gain overall: £2,292.28
COVIDIOTS, YOBS AND GOONS
Here’s my daily collection that serves as a reminder that covidiots prove that there are parallel universes out there.
MAN QUESTIONED OVER SPITTING AT STATION WORKER WHO DIED FROM COVID-19
British Transport Police have interviewed a man in connection with an incident involving a railway worker who died with coronavirus. Belly Mujinga died after being spat at by a member of the public claiming to have COVID-19 on the concourse of Victoria Station in London.
“Following a number of inquiries into an incident at London Victoria station on March 21, officers identified a 57-year-old man from London,” police said in a statement. “He was interviewed under caution today at a London police station. Detectives will continue to collate evidence and investigate the circumstances behind the incident.
Police said they are not looking to identify anyone further in relation to the incident.
Mujinga, 47, who had an 11-year-old daughter, died in hospital in Barnet, north London, on 5 April – 11 days after the attack.
Her husband, Lusamba Gode Katalay, said: “They weren’t given masks, or gloves, so they were exposed to everyone. It’s her employer, the company and the state who have to look at that.”
According to her family, Mujinga and her colleague had asked not to be sent back out and to instead work from inside the ticket office following the incident.
But their request was refused and they were told people were needed to work outside.
Staff at Victoria Station had expressed their shock at Mujinga's death and voiced fears for their own safety.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
I’m not an expert, but I might be able to help you make a bit of sense of this. And we can all get through it together. Isn’t this what this is all about.
Send your questions for me to Readers@gulfnews.com.
That’s it for now. Let’s check in with each other tomorrow. I have used files from Reuters, AP, DW, Sky News, Twitter and other European and North American media outlets in today’s blog. And remember to stay safe.
Mick O’Reilly is the Gulf News Foreign Correspondent based in Europe