(MENAFN – Swissinfo) Peter Preisig demonstrates the rich notes of his “ singing bowl ” (Klanggshalen).
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I just received a letter from a friend in New Zealand that I think will interest readers of The Union. New Zealand has, of course, been very successful in fighting COVID-19; the country has a total of 1,802 reported cases, or about 37 cases per 100,000 population (compare the US and California, about 2,000 cases per 100,000 population each).
My friend described her current family life, and some of the precautions that are supporting New Zealand’s efforts. He said (name edited):
“Our second wave of ‘COVID-19 has so far only affected Auckland. There is one contained cluster that starts in cold storage and all cases are epidemiologically linked or have the same genome sequence but index cases remain unknown. A second smaller group has occurred in an evangelical church, which held illegal gatherings at the start of the second lockdown and could be reconnected to the main group. The four schools each reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 among their students, all church-related, but due to the Level 3 lockdown, the students weren’t considered contagious when they were last at school, so hopefully this means we’ve dodged the bullets. again. We only see a few cases every day but it is predicted that this time the virus will have “long tails”. School returned last week under strict restrictions but many reported only 60 to 70% attendance. There are only three people in hospital but two in the ICU.
Both xxx and xxxx have been a little unwell in the past week. At xxxx [company] all staff have temperature tests and questionnaires to fill out before they are allowed to enter work and school xxxx immediately ‘return’ xxxx when they realize he is not 100% so both of them went to our GP for a COVID-19 test and I am happy to report that both have negative results. xxxx has been working mainly from home since march only to come to work for important meetings because she and xxxx are considered vulnerable because of their asthma and allergies.
It has become increasingly difficult to remember what life was like before COVID-19 since the second lockdown. We’re always on high alert now: wherever we go, we give everyone a 1 or 2 meter wide bed, we wear masks, use tracker apps, and talk to people through perspective space! “
Many bicycle shops in Australia report doubled average sales
With narrower roads and pressure on public transportation, experts say now is the time to rebuild the city
They want safer bike paths, saying the economic and transportation benefits will be ‘big’
Cycling is experiencing an unprecedented increase in popularity due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
In 45 years of riding, the former Tour de France cyclist, Stephen Hodge, had never seen anything like it.
“The boom in walking and cycling when motor vehicle traffic crashes during COVID-19 is locked has never been extraordinary,” said Mr Hodge, who works for the cycling advocacy group, We Ride.
Bicycles in the $ 500 to $ 1,500 range are launched from bicycle shops as fast as mechanics can build, added Australia Bicycle Industries General Manager Peter Bourke.
“March and April had exceptionally good sales,” he said.
“We have seen many shops selling women’s motorbikes and children’s reach.”
Mr Bourke said it was not uncommon for customers to walk to the store and come out with four bicycles, one for each parent and each child.
So why is take-up so big?
Well, the gym has been closed – and cycling allows people to exercise without leaving their environment and without having to make close contact with others.
It also becomes safer with fewer cars on the road.
“All of these things have come together and just created a fantastic environment to get out and walk or tour around our local community,” Hodge said.
Around Australia, bicycle lanes are full of families. Some cycled for the first time, while others pulled their old bikes sometimes after decades of inactivity.
People like Laura Craddock, from Marrickville in western Sydney, who say her bicycle has been sitting on the porch collecting cobwebs – until now.
“I certainly cycle more – almost every day,” he said.
“I found this a great way to exercise but it also cleared my mind because it kept me quite far from my home.
“One of the things I appreciate is not being involved sitting in front of the screen.
“And my favorite part is my basket at the front – a long-held dream since I was a child that allowed me to pick up bagels and bread and groceries and carry various pieces and pieces as I toured.”
Big cities lead the charge
In Melbourne, a survey by the Bicycle Network conducted a calculation comparing the number of riders on the main bicycle lanes around the city from November last year to April this year and found an increase of 270 percent.
In Brisbane, bicycle traffic nearly doubled on the Kangaroo Point and Kedron Brook lines and increased 50 percent on the Bicentennial Bikeway.
In western Sydney, the Parramatta council has seen an increase of between 50 and 60 percent in the bikeways lane, while the Sydney City Council reported an increase in cycle traffic between 25 and 50 percent despite a decrease in overall movement of people.
Jessica Pratt, a 22-year-old professional cyclist riding with the Canyon-Sram team, had seen it firsthand during her training in Brisbane.
“When you go to practice and you see cyclists with smiles on their faces, they have fallen in love with bicycles they haven’t touched for a long time,” Pratt said.
“It’s amazing to see. I really hope people obey it.”
Can Australia make use of this moment?
Australian cities won’t suddenly change to Copenhagen or Amsterdam, but can they be bicycling more friendly?
Peter Bourke said Australia faces “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
“You see Paris, you see New York, you see London – these are the leading cities around the world that have shown that if you build them, they will come,” he said.
It’s not just about getting more people to exercise – there is an economic imperative to keep new riders on their bikes when Australia emerges from COVID-19 lockdowns.
“There is a huge tsunami of problems that have arisen from COVID to rebuild our economy, to restart and recover,” Stephen Hodge said.
“Nobody wants to take public transportation. So what are they going to do? They want to jump in their cars.”
And that has been mandated by the government, with NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian, for example, saying he wants to see the use of public transport “about 30 to 40 percent of capacity to ensure social distance”.
A survey released this week by the University of Sydney’s Institute of Transportation and Logistics Studies showed the number of people who thought traveling by car was the safest form of transportation growing 84 percent.
Conversely, confidence in traveling by bus and train fell 42 percent and 33 percent respectively, due to anxiety about cleanliness.
“The Damocles sword hangs above the country’s transportation minister,” Hodge said.
“If everyone gets in their car, the road will not move.
“That’s why the transportation authority is very focused on this now. The economic and transportation benefits are huge.”
‘Perfect opportunity’ to reshape the city
Hodge described this situation as a “storm of perfect opportunities” to reshape Australian cities.
He said the first journey of a new cyclist was key to keeping them on the bike – as long as it was a positive experience.
That’s for Krista Shearer in Sydney, Rosebery, who rode a bicycle for the first time in nine years this week and rode into town to work.
“It’s amazing, it’s fast, it’s nice to feel the wind in my hair and happy not to be on public transportation,” he said.
He benefits because he can ride most of the specialized bicycle lanes. But that is not always the case.
Anyone who rides a bicycle in Australia knows what it’s like to share a narrow road surrounded by cars.
They were already in the path of a bicycle that might walk only a few hundred meters before suddenly stopping.
Bastien Wallace of Bicycle NSW worried that the first experience of many racers would not be as good as Ms. Shearer’s.
“People who buy all these bikes will think: ‘I can try my journey to work’. They will do it once, they will get terrible fear or they will be thrown from their bikes and they will not ride again,” he said.
Ms. Craddock added perspective.
“I have ridden abroad in countries in Europe where it is ready for biking, and you feel much safer and freer,” he said.
“I think having more people and better infrastructure means you will feel much more confident to do it.”
This is a problem even for professional cyclists like Ms. Pratt, who was thrown from her bicycle and broke her jaw two months ago, only a few months after finishing ninth in her first Down Under Tour.
“Being hit by a car really hits a house just how fragile we are and how drivers sometimes don’t respect cyclists, which is quite sad,” he said.
“I’m a brother, I’m a daughter – yes, that could be a member of your family out there.”
Building a permanent bicycle path is not at all as expensive as a road, but it is time-consuming and expensive.
Mr. Hodge said there were alternatives. He cited Berlin as an example of a city that had created temporary bicycle paths that could be enforced in a few days.
“If there is a multi-lane road, a lane can be set aside for a cycleway while previously there might have been too much traffic to allow it,” he said.
“You can expand the trail to the highway with suitable barriers.”
Change has occurred
The Melbourne City Council said it would make a 12 kilometer temporary bicycle lane using a mixture of line marks and dividing barriers.
“We are looking for ways to use protection that may not be permanent,” said Melbourne Mayor Sally Capp.
New South Wales Transport Minister Rob Stokes has announced the council can apply for grants of up to $ 100,000 for temporary projects such as bicycle lanes or wide trails, and up to $ 1 million for mid-term pilot projects.
Sydney City Council is discussing how to install a temporary cycle.
Mr Hodge said this was a good start, but he wanted to see the Federal Government donate funds.
“The Federal Government will stimulate the economy locally, which is its mainstay, and allow people to walk and cycle more safely, at the right distance, exactly what we need to manage this demand when we exit COVID,” he said. the word.