News headlines – May 2020

<<<    Later headlines
26 May 2020    Annabel Symes (Arnold & Watt 2015-19) makes epic journey home from Patagonia
12 May 2020    College singer-songwriters continue despite lockdown
7 May 2020    Heart surgeon Dr Joel Dunning (Craig 1986-91) retrains as ICU nurse
6 May 2020    Thank you from Old Eastbournians in the NHS
4 May 2020    A message from Eastbournian Society Director David Stewart
1 May 2020    Dr Guy Thwaites (Blackwater 1984-89) talks to BBC about Covid-19 response in Vietnam
>>>    Earlier headlines

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26 May 2020 - Annabel Symes (Arnold & Watt 2015-19) makes epic journey home from Patagonia

Annabel Symes (Arnold & Watt 2015-19) recently made an epic journey home from Patagonia, having been worried that she might be stranded there when lockdown restrictions were put in place.

Annabel, who was working as a volunteer hosting tourists at a remote ranch in the foothills of the Andes, had originally planned to return in April, but her flight was cancelled when Argentina introduced strict travel restrictions to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

After called the Foreign Office for help, Annabel and her partner had to embark on a lengthy horseback ride to the nearest road, a nine-hour taxi journey to the nearest town and finally a 17-hour bus ride to Buenos Aires airport. The ride to the road was made at night under a full moon, with mules carrying their bags.

British Embassy staff had to negotiate travel permits with different regional authorities to organise bus travel, book taxis and arrange cross-country travelling. The couple returned home alongside 200 other British travellers from Argentina on 8 May.

The journey was made even more urgent as the summer season was coming to an end, and any prolonged freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall would have made leaving the ranch impossible.

Annabel said: 'Once I realised I was stranded, I registered with the British Embassy. Communication was made challenging as the estancia only had patchy internet access via satellite which meant lots of cold WhatsApp conversations sitting on a tree stump in the middle of a field.'

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12 May 2020 - College singer-songwriters continue despite lockdown

The College's summer term continues with remote teaching and learning in operation for current pupils, and we thought you might be interested in how this operates in practice.

One example is the singer-songwriter workshop, which has continued to meet up and collaborate using Microsoft Teams.

Each week they aim to produce new material and this video shows how one recent workshop operated.

It includes what is descibed as 'a cheeky number about the lockdown' from Upper Sixth pupil Elo Quitmann, the daughter of OE Miles Quitmann (Blackwater 1977-80).

You can view the video at https://vimeo.com/415084437.

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7 May 2020 - Heart surgeon Dr Joel Dunning (Craig 1986-91) retrains as iCU nurse

Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Joel Dunning (Craig 1986-91) has retrained as an intensive care nurse to help in the fight against Covid-19.

Dr Dunning, who was known as Joel Desmond while at the College, started his ICU training in March, when the number of operations he would normally be performing was drastically reduced.

He initially spent two 12-hour shifts being supervised by ICU nurses at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where he did everything involved with the patient's personal care, including feeding them and rolling them to prevent bed sores.

In an interview at the time with the Daily Express, he said: 'I always respected my nursing colleagues and I know ICU nursing is intense, but my admiration of them has tripled in recent days.'

Medicine runs in the family; Joel's father was a GP and his mother an ICU nurse. He remembers: 'Mum would do a night shift, come home then take me to school. When I became a doctor, she always used to say, 'Respect the nursing staff', and at every stage of my career I have tried to uphold her principle. I love my normal work and will obviously return to it once we get through this crisis. But this experience will undoubtedly make me a better doctor.'

On Wednesday 6 May Joel was interviewed by Channel 4 News (pictured) in a report in which NHS staff expressed their concerns that with routine operations cancelled or postponed – and people frightened to come near hospitals – serious conditions could go untreated or undiagnosed, adding to the deadly impact of the virus. You can watch the report by clicking here.

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6 May 2020 - Thank you from Old Eastbournians in the NHS

We asked Old Eastbournians in the NHS to send us their stories and Joe Manjaly (Powell 1998-2002) has sent us this great picture as a way of saying thank you to everybody who is supporting key workers in the health service.

Joe is a consultant otologist, auditory implant and ENT surgeon at the Royal National ENT Hospital and University College Hospital in London, which he says is very much occupied by Covid-19 at the moment.

He's pictured here in the middle, outside UCH, and tells us that there is another photo of him in full PPE on his Instagram account @earsurgeonjoe.

His message to all OEs and Eastbournian Society members is: 'Thank you for supporting all of us in the NHS' and we are delighted to be able to pass this on.

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4 May 2020 - A message from Eastbournian Society Director David Stewart

Eastbournian Society Director David Stewart sent this message to Eastbournian Society members today:

We hope you are keeping well and staying safe in these extraordinary times. The College's virtual summer term is in full swing with remote teaching and learning in operation and we will keep you fully posted with our plans as instructions from the government allow.

We look forward to hearing their assessment and what they are going to say on 7 May. We know that many OEs and parents are on the frontline in the fight against the virus and please let us have your stories.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy this short video which serves as a reminder as to why a College education is so important and so precious. Please click on https://vimeo.com/412715181 to watch the video.

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1 May 2020 - Dr Guy Thwaites (Blackwater 1984-89) talks to BBC about Covid-19 response in Vietnam

Dr Guy Thwaites (Blackwater 1984-89) has been interviewed by BBC Radio about the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Vietnam.

Guy, an expert in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology, is Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), based in Ho Chi Minh City.

In the interview with BBC Radio 5 Live's breakfast show on 28 April, he was asked how Vietnam had managed to control the spread of the coronavirus. Guy said that the country acted quickly with some simple and effective measures, based on their experience with previous outbreaks of bird flu.

The borders were shut, infected people were quarantined and a robust programme of contact tracing was put in place. So far, the country has seen fewer than 300 cases and no deaths.

Guy was also asked about the accuracy of the figures, given the authoritarian nature of the Vietnamese government, but he said that he thought the figures were true. He said that being based in one of the largest infectious disease hospitals in the country, he would have expected to see far more cases had there been a bigger outbreak than had been reported.

You can listen to the interview here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000hmbm where it will be available for 30 days. The interview starts at 52 minutes into the programme.

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