• In this daily round-up, we'll bring you a selection of the latest news updates on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today's big stories: how behaviors will change once restrictions ease and a rice ATM that's feeding the poor in Viet Nam.

1. How COVID-19 is impacting the globe

2. Prepare for a 'new normal' as lockdown restrictions ease
At a briefing on Monday 13 April, World Health Organization (WHO) officials stressed that countries easing lockdown restrictions will need to remain vigilant. These countries must continue physical distancing, ensure their health systems have equipment and capacity, and track and trace every case.

“We are going to have to change our behaviors for the foreseeable future," said Michael J. Ryan, Chief Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

3. A 'rice ATM' is helping to feed Viet Nam's poorest
A entrepreneur in Ho Chi Minh City invented an automatic dispensing machine that provides free rice for people out of work, reports Reuters. The tool is a response to the ongoing nationwide lockdown put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. The machine distributes a 3.3lb bagful of rice to waiting workers, many of whom are street sellers or people who earned a living from cash-in-hand jobs like housekeeping or selling lottery tickets.

People get rice from a 24/7 automatic rice dispensing machine, 'Rice ATM', during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, April 11, 2020. Picture taken April 11, 2020. REUTERS/Yen Duong - RC2I3G9U37O1
People get rice from a 24/7 automatic rice dispensing machine, 'Rice ATM', during the COVID-19 outbreak in Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam
Image: REUTERS/Yen Duong

4. How a fear of math could make some underestimate COVID-19's real risks
A number of math biases – held by a range of people, including children, college students and even some expert mathematicians – can lead some to make incorrect conclusions about coronavirus statistics, psychologists explained in a recent article for Agenda. Furthermore, math anxiety – the apprehension many people feel regarding mathematics – can lead others to completely avoid or not think deeply about the numbers they encounter in daily life. In a time of crisis and real-time data changes, misinterpreting numbers may lead to negative consequences – such as underestimating the deadliness of COVID-19.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

5. 3 ways to protect your mental health during COVID-19
Managing the stress brought on by the coronavirus crisis is key. These three tips can help:

  • Focus every day on what you can do and take action. Any action, no matter how small, can help you focus on the things you can control and change.
  • Leverage new tech tools. Apps for mental health, mindfulness and even symptom checking can bring comfort and relief.
  • Empower others. Connect with friends and family and give them your support, as research shows the most important public health messages have come from the people closest to us.