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Resilience First has highlighted a series of key points that emerged from the latest in a series of webinars it hosted focusing on the response to COVID-19. Contributors included a leading expert in architecture and urban design from the University of Nottingham in Ningbo China and a Chinese urban designer from Perkins and Will. 

If the UK is to find a successful route out of lockdown and avoid a deadly second wave of COVID19, it might need to follow China’s lead, pay greater attention to the detail, and accept a much higher level of individual monitoring than at present to control the virus, suggested webinar participants.

Dr Ali Cheshmehzangi, Head of Department, University of Nottingham, Ningbo said:

“One of the most important lessons from China is to pay attention to details in a reflective manner. The details are very important. Across China, cash transactions are minimised, taxi and food delivery driver temperatures are monitored and documented. The same is true for all university students attending lectures. All students at the University of Nottingham Ningbo have to pass through a checkpoint before they are allowed to enter the lecture theatre.”

“Adaptive measures and planning are key. Every single public premises you enter has to have temperature checks, you must have a documented green health code status to enter these buildings. Temperature checks, face masks and disinfectant all have to be used before entering a restaurant. Many of which are now open for business.”

“Wearing a face mask in public is important. Learning from Japanese culture you are protecting other people as well as yourself. The use of facial masks is a simple measure but very effective in reducing transmission to others.”

Eco Zhang, Urban Designer, Perkins and Will, said:

“Details do matter. In London we have designed a new office seating arrangement to comply with social distancing and a planned employee return approach taking into account transport modes and other factors almost on a person-by-person basis. Our Shanghai office in China has also developed and implemented a personal employee health recording system.”

“Technology is a key in this pandemic. We cannot approach business as usual. There has to be innovation and adaptation. The WeChatApp has already been able to cover almost all aspects of the daily routine in China from paying utility bills to booking a doctor appointment. The Alipay app allows users to generate a QR green status code, which they need to move freely about in the community.”

Robert Hall, Executive Director of Resilience First, said:

“If the UK is to find a successful route out of lockdown and avoid a deadly second wave of COVID19 in the Autumn, then we most likely need to learn some lessons from what seems to be working very successfully in China and other countries such as South Korea and Taiwan.

“As China has emerged from its lockdown with very few new cases, it has relied on very high levels of individual health monitoring, including checkpoints for access to all public premises such as lecture theatres and restaurants. It has also required citizens to carry a green health status QR code on their mobile phones to allow entry to buildings.”

“Here in the UK we are not used to such restrictions on our freedom of movement, but we have already accepted things that we one thought never possible and we might now have to do so as the price we pay for emerging from the pandemic successfully.”

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