Tracking the latest coronavirus headlines from the KQ, including resources for researchers, businesses and public.

Updated 19 January 2021


Knowledge Quarter partners are temporarily closed following the Government’s tier 5 announcements, announced on the 4 January 2021.

Business and Local Government

  • Read the latest statements from Camden Council and Islington Council on the national lockdown, which include help lines for emergency food deliveries and financial support.
  • As of 23 August 2020 Camden Council had issued 3,850 awards to eligible businesses under the two government business grant schemes, totaling £72.4m. The deadline closed on 28 August. The Council has published extensive guidelines on reopening your business safely.
  • Islington Council had been awarded £2.8 million by the Government to distribute to businesses that experienced a significant fall in income as a result of Covid-19, and fell outside the scope of the existing Government business grant schemes. Applications to the Discretionary Grants Fund closed Friday 28 August 2020. More information about available support for your business can be found on their COVID-19 business support page.
  • To support the local economy, Islington Council has created a directory listing the businesses in the borough that are still able to safely operate and tradein one form or another.
  • 77% of UK manufacturers say that the pandemic has made their business more open to implementing advanced technological innovations such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, the internet of things or 5G, according to new research commissioned by Digital Catapult.
    (Published 6 January 2021)
  • Islington Council is continuing its campaign of ‘people-friendly streets’, reducing cut-through traffic on targeted roads to allow for safer cycling and social distancing. Canonbury West is the latest ward to experience the 18-month experimental traffic order, with other wards to follow.
    (Updated 28 August 2020)
  • Arup has released Space Explorer – spatial analysis software that allows businesses to analyse how staff move about their spaces, predict the likeliest points of infectious interaction and plan for the safe reoccupation of a building.
    (Published 5 June 2020)

Open Access Resources

Biomedical Science

Data Science

  • In its evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry, the Royal College of Physicians recommended expanding the use of new digital technologies in outpatient care. The pandemic has brought on a revolution in virtual appointments and consultations that the RCP believes should be at the heart of a ‘digital first’ patient care service.
    (Published 26 November 2020)
  • As part of its ‘Data against Covid-19’, EIT Digital has published the list of ventures and innovation activities that will receive €7.6 million in funding.
    (Published 13 August 2020)
  • Researches from the Alan Turing Institute have been advising NHSx on the contact tracing app in use on the Isle of Wight. The researchers have been looking at the problem of accurately estimating health risks associated with distance the between a symptomatic user’s app alerting another user within Bluetooth range. Here’s a brief update of their work and a paper currently under review.
    (Published 6 July 2020)
  • Researchers at the Alan Turing Institute recently published Ethical guidelines for COVID-19 tracing appsa series of sixteen ethical questions, based on the successes and limitations of existing digital contact tracing measures around the world, that should be foremost in the minds of developers and government officials planning to launch such an app.
    (Published 28 May 2020)
  • Camden Council is leading a quartet of London local authorities that have received additional funding to share best practice and develop plans to control local coronavirus outbreaks using the Government’s ‘test and trace’ service.
    (Published 25 May 2020)
  • The Alan Turing Institute has repurposed its work on London’s air quality to provide policy makers with a near-real time picture of activity across London. Project “Odysseus” will generate historic profiles of activity, using multiple data sources, and measure these against a map of current activity to understand how effectively the lockdown and the steps to withdraw from it are working.
    (Published 14 May 2020)
  • The Alan Turing Institute is working with the Royal Society on the Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic (RAMP) initiative, leading on urban and social simulation models. RAMP is a large network of volunteer data modellers advising government.
    (Published 29 April 2020)
  • UCL researchers have launched ‘Virus Watch’, a large data study monitoring how easily and in what manner the virus spreads. The team were awarded funding by the UK Research and Innovation, after responding to the recent call for innovative COVID-19 research projects.
    (Published 17 April 2020)

Policy, Advocacy and Research

  • The Department of Health and Social Care has removed a number of non-clinical training modules from the accreditation programme, which returning doctors must complete in order to volunteer as COVID-19 vaccinators. The move comes after pressure from the Royal College of Physicianswhich called into question the level of bureaucracy for experienced former clinicians. Matt Hancock announced the decision at the RCP’s Medicine 2021 conference on 7 January.
    (Published 7 January 2021)
  • Earlier this month, the BMA GP committee England and NHS England agreed an enhanced service for general practices in England to lead the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The BMA has published details of the rollout and additional guidance for practices online.
    (Updated 3 December 2020)
  • Braving a holiday abroad? The British Medical Association has produced a very helpful guidance poster to help you travel safely. You can download it and take it on holiday with you.
    (Published 29 June 2020)
  • A fourth survey from the RCP found just 10 per cent of its members in a state of readiness to resume normal clinical practices, i.e. pre-COVID-19 practices. On the bright side, testing for COVID-19 continues to improve with 97 per cent of respondents saying they were able to access a test. Read more of the survey results.
    (Published 8 June 2020)
  • The RCP had been pushing the government to exempt international NHS and social care staff, including their spouses and dependents, from the International Health Surcharge, in recognition of the vital role they played in the frontline response to COVID-19. Commenting on the Government’s u-turn on the issue, Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the RCP, said: ‘We are delighted to see the government have paid heed to our calls for health and social care staff to be exempt from the immigration health surcharge. It has never made sense to make the very people whose jobs it is to care for our nation pay inordinate charges to access care. But the government’s job isn’t done yet.’
    (Published 16 May 2020)
  • The Coronavirus Global Response fund recently met Wellcome‘s initial target sum of $8 billion to fund the research and development of a vaccine. Meanwhile, Wellcome‘s on-going COVID-Zero campaign has raised $600 million to date from among businesses.
    (Published 7 May 2020)
  • The RCP launches #doctorsdiaries, an open call for stories from the medical staff working on the frontlines of COVID-19. Individual stories of “resilience, hardship, positivity and pride of being at the centre of this pandemic” will be stitched together in an instructive documentary toolkit for medical staff and patients.
    (Published 16 April 2020)

Please help support the use of appropriate face coverings by downloading and sharing this infographic from the British Medical Association in your organisations and on social media.

Operations and PPE

  • UCL will undertake up to 1,000 Covid-19 antigen tests a day for staff and students who experience coronavirus symptoms, from start of term on 28 September.
    (Published 16 September  2020)
  • UCL research into the UK’s only ‘COVID-free’ surgical site at UCLH suggests that it is safe to perform important surgeries during the pandemic at special facilities. Monitoring the health of 500 patients who underwent cancer operations at the site between 5 March and 22 April (during the height of coronavirus admissions), the researchers found that only two per cent of patients had subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 after 30 days, while no deaths were reported.
    (Published 17 June 2020)
  • The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have collaborated on a document of principles and recommendations for the “reset of outpatient services”. The series of measures stress the use of new technologies so that care is provided on the basis of outcomes for patients, rather than levels of face-to-face activity that put the patient at risk of catching COVID-19.
    (Published 4 June 2020)
  • Arup has produced CareBox, a downloadable set of designs and procedures for the rapid deployment of a range of modular pop-up wards, or ‘plug-in hospitals’. While the drop in ICU admissions has given hospitals some respite, temporary infrastructure projects could be prepared in advance of a potential second wave of cases.
    (Published 1 May 2020)
  • The Francis Crick Institute has produced a set of downloadable Standard Operating Procedures for undertaking COVID-19 testing. The procedures cover five stand-alone work streams in a diagnostic pipeline, allowing for an agile approach that can make use of lab-space distributed across a research institution.
    (Published 9 April 2020, updated 8 June 2020)
  • The Royal College of Physicians (RCP), with Public Health England, has published guidance on the safest level of PPE to protect medical staff and specifies the type of PPE that should be worn in various healthcare settings.
    (Published 2 April 2020)
  • Central Saint Martins has been challenging its student and staff to make washable fabric face masks for the general public and scrubs for NHS workers. The university has created comprehensive guidelines for making scrubs, which other organisations might wish to download.
    (Published 1 April 2020)
  • The British Library and the Francis Crick Institute have ramped up support for testing. As many as 300 scientists have refocussed their work to carrying out essential diagnostic tests in the lab. And a new drive-through swabbing facility for NHS staff is in operation at the British Library.
    (Published 16 March 2020)

Mental Health

Education and Community

  • Google is expanding the Google News Initiative to support local news outlets and online journalists, while the pandemic means services remain in demand but revenues continue to fall – the expansion includes new international workshops and programmes aimed at, among other things, spotting COVID-19 misinformation and boosting ad sales.
    (Published July 8 2020)
  • Following this survey of the museums and galleries sector, Art Fund has announced a major revision to its funding programme, making more than £2 million available in support for re-opening and beyond, through its Respond and Reimagine Grants and strategic partnerships.
    (Published 16 June 2020)
  • You can now download and read a summary report of Art Fund‘s research into how the arts and heritage sector has been affected by the coronavirus and how funding bodies can best support the sector, and in which 85 per cent of those surveyed were concerned about how to encourage visitors back into the building once they re-opened.
  • (Published 28 May 2020)
  • Zoom gloom: Reflecting on some fascinating research, City, University of London‘s Professor André Spicer describes the various ways in which we are not yet emotionally or mentally equipped to handle a life of video conference calls.
    (Published 13 May 2020)
  • Mansplaining: Academics at City, University of London found that in March media coverage of the coronavirus “nearly three times as many expert men as women were interviewed. This is a much higher ratio than usual.”
    (Published 4 May 2020)

Humanities, Arts and Media

  • Camden Council is taking work experience online, and is seeking more employers to offer the opportunity to local young people.
  • Camden Council also has a donation drive for spare technology and devices to help fix the technology divide affecting children who are studying at home.
  • Google News Initiative is launching a COVID-19 Vaccine Counter-Misinformation Open Fund worth up to $3 million. The Open Fund is looking to fund projects around the world that actively debunk harmful lies about vaccination, particularly among audiences who are disproportionately targeted with misinformation campaigns.
    (Published 12 January 2021)
  • UCL is part of a coalition of institutions surveying state-level legal responses to the pandemic around the world. The project, Lex-Atlas: Covid-19, will analyze and compare the impacts of new or amended laws relating to human rights and the protection of vulnerable groups in 60 different countries.
    (Published 25 November 2020)
  • A new issue of The Stay at Home Garden pack from Global Generation features an abundance of colourful new creative activities for your children.
    (Published 7 July 2020)
  • Aga Khan Foundation UK has distilled its educational work in 18 different countries into a curated support pack to help families navigate the online educational resources available for children learning from home.
    (Published 19 June 2020)
  • To help vulnerable students access online learning Camden Council is encouraging businesses in the borough to donate spare laptops and iPads. You can donate any surplus tech here.
  • (Published 23 April 2020)
  • A new series of blogs from children’s mental health experts at the Anna Freud Centre will consider the psychological and emotional effects of the pandemic on children, and the strategies and opportunities available to look after them.
    (Published 22 April 2020)

Open Surveys