April 23, 2024

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Specialists in technology

Coronavirus: Ways to stay social online while in self-isolation

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Everyone should avoid non-essential contact with others to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the prime minister has said.

As schools shut and some people work from home, many are feeling cut off from their everyday hobbies and social lives.

But the internet offers a means to stay connected and to keep us all entertained and educated through the days of isolation.

Here are just some of the ways people are already using technology to lift their spirits.

Socialising remotely

Groups have also been finding innovative ways to socialise, hosting dinner parties and even Brownies meetings online.

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Goose’s Quizzes

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Goose’s Quizzes has swapped the pub for the internet

Goose’s Quizzes usually runs 45 pub quizzes in Scotland, but has started doing live online sessions every night, with hundreds participating.

“It’s been a pretty bad couple of weeks and pub quizzes bring the community together,” says Andrew Wildgoose, founder of Goose’s Quizzes.

“So we wanted to find a way for people to still enjoy them.”

Even book clubs are operating digitally, with private WhatsApp groups forming to share reading lists and Rebel Book Club launching a 14-day free reading challenge for anyone who needs extra accountability.

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Rebel Book Club

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Reading doesn’t need to be a solitary pursuit

People have also been downloading the free Google Chrome extension Netflix Party, which allows users to watch Netflix together.

It synchronises screens and creates a group chat to communicate.

Museums and art galleries

For those craving some culture, museums and galleries have been posting on social media under the hashtag #museumfromhome, showcasing their collections.

One exhibition at God’s House Tower in Southampton is having a “virtual launch” on Saturday, as the venue has shut due to coronavirus.

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God’s House Tower

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God’s House Tower art gallery

“We’re really devastated that the venue has to close temporarily,” says Daniel Crow, director of the gallery.

“Hopefully, this will allow people around the world, not just those local, to see it.

“It really does herald a new era in God’s House Tower’s fascinating 700-year-old history by presenting art exhibitions online.”

Workout videos

Exercise classes have moved from gyms to online, creating videos or “lives” on Instagram and Facebook.

Many fitness clubs, including Barry’s, Crossfit and David Lloyd, are providing online workouts people can do at home.

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Amanda Dufour, a yoga instructor who is currently self-isolating, has filmed YouTube videos to follow and has been teaching classes via Zoom and Skype.

“The best thing about yoga is that you can do it anywhere, with no equipment,” she says.

“It really gives you a chance to take a break from work, stay calm and process everything that’s going on.

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Amanda Dufour

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Amanda Dufour is teaching yoga via video chat apps

“Stretching can make a big difference if you’re hunched up on a laptop all day at home.”


Free video appointments with vets are also being offered on the FirstVet app until the end of April.

Users are paired with a qualified vet who can give advice and refer the patient to a physical service if necessary.

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Vets can help provide pet owners with advice online

David Prien, the firm’s co-founder, says there’s been an 80% rise in people using the app over the past few weeks.

“Just because you’re in isolation doesn’t mean your pet stays healthy,” he adds, noting that it also gives vets who are housebound something to keep them occupied.

People are also signing up to dog-walking apps, such as Borrow My Doggy, to walk the pets of those who cannot because of new working arrangements or self-isolation.


Following food shortages in supermarkets, foodies are getting creative online, posting tips for alternative ingredients and recipes with a limited food cupboard.

Nia Williams, director of Slow Food Wales, a grassroots movement that promotes local food and traditional cooking, is making video guides on how to grow fruit and vegetables at home.

“We’ve had so much freedom and access in our lives recently, so now people have gone into shock,” Nia says.

“I’m making these videos so families have something to do but to also empower them to have a bit more control over their food and situation.”

Finally, for those wishing to add a touch of class to their nights in, the Champagne Bureau has this handy guide to pairing champagne with your takeaway of choice.

“Champagne is a versatile wine which enhances our everyday meals,” says Francoise Peretti, director of the UK division.

“As we face these times of uncertainty and self-isolate, it will provide the joyful lift we all need,”

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