Even as Indians observed the self-imposed Janta Curfew on Sunday, March 22, authorities in Poland have come up with a novel way of checking that residents are really self-quarantining. It, of course, involves an app.
Like other members of the European Union, Poland has introduced veritable measures to impede the spread of the coronavirus, Poland had 425 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including five deaths, as of March 20. The “Home Quarantine” app, introduced by Polish police, is intended for people under the mandatory 14-day quarantine after returning from abroad, and uses geolocation and facial recognition technology, to allow quarantined users to check-in with authorities to confirm that they are indeed staying at home. Users have to register a selfie on the app which then randomly requests more selfies throughout the day. The app notifies police if users fail to respond within 20 minutes. Police said penalties run as high as 5000 zlotys (1100 euros).
‘Make Good Art!’
That what author Neil Gaiman said in a commencement speech that remains a cult favourite among the creative community. In times of trouble, as well as triumph, make good art. That’s exactly what Daphne Sashin, who lives in Mountain View in California, did last weekend when she wrote on Facebook, “I sent an email to my neighbourhood on Tuesday asking if anyone was interested in drawing a picture or message outside their home to lift each other’s spirits during the shelter-in-place period. Everyone had until Friday at 12pm to make their pictures.
More than 60 homes signed up! Jack, Lucy and I were so proud of our masterpiece and it was delightful to see families walking and biking around the neighbourhood checking out all the entries in the chalk art ‘tour of driveways’.”Her neighbourhood delivered in spades, with all manner of artistic renderings, done with multi-coloured chalks on stone and concrete sidewalks.
While the news that dolphins have returned to the now mostly pristine waters of the Venice canals due to the ceasing of human activity may be fake, there’s no denying the positive impacts the global shutdown is having on the environment. Even in Delhi, the sounds of birdsong were particularly loud this morning, in the absence of running machinery, commerce, and traffic during the #JantaCurfew, while dogs happily gambolled across empty roads. Elsewhere, from Japan to the US, otherwise shy and wary animals are creeping into the shut down cities, leading to spotting of deer in public parks, bears in parking lots, and wild turkeys in school playgrounds. We can’t wait to see tigers on Janpath ourselves.