Coronavirus: unique ways to maintain social distancing during COVID-19 outbreak

Shop pulleys maintain social distancing in Thailand
Shop pulleys maintain social distancing in Thailand Copyright  AFP
By Katy Dartford with AFP
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As the new coronavirus continues to spread and countries go into lockdown people are getting creative with methods to stay apart.


Every day except Sunday Reverend Scott Holmer sits on a wooden chair in his priestly robes in the parking lot outside his chapel in Maryland and holds a contact-free confession and blessing.

Whilst the United States, a country that has long loved its drive-ins and drive-thrus: for movies and fast food, the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new one: Catholic confessions.

Reverend Holmer, who is the pastor at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Bowie, Maryland came up with the idea after seeing South Korea organise drive-through tests for the coronavirus.

"The key is to keep the seal of the confession, you know what I mean? You don’t want people to overhear each other so we’ve got to keep cars at a certain distance, so traffic management has probably been the biggest logistical issue."

And he's not the only one to find unique ways to maintain distancing, as the new coronavirus continues to spread and countries go into lockdown.

On Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury led his first national virtual service, streamed on the Church of England's Facebook page.

"Today many of us are disconnected from our roots, from our mother place. Lacking roots, we now have to find ways to make a place of safety and welcome for other people at a difficult time," he told viewers.

"The temptation is to pull up the drawbridge and just look after ourselves. That's the kind of thing that leads to panic buying, to growing fear and to emotional and spiritual as well as physical isolation. It destroys us."

Mothering Sunday Service with the Archbishop of Canterbury

Watch our special broadcast for Mothering Sunday recorded at Lambeth Palace earlier this week. You can download the order of service in advance from

Publiée par Archbishop of Canterbury sur Samedi 21 mars 2020

Amid fears of a second wave of infections authorities across Asia have ramped up efforts to stem the coronavirus.

In Thailand, shops have been using pulleys and red crosses to maintain social distancing.

"As you can see. We use rope to deliver coffee, as well as boxes installed with wheels," says Bangkok shop owner, Apirak Chamraksin.

"Mentally, everybody's happy. At least the customers will feel like we pay attention to them. It also creates interaction between customers and staff."

In one town in Lebanon, a drone buzzes towards a balcony to deliver a red rose for Mother's Day.

Three students came up with the new 'flying rose' service to celebrate the occasion without flouting social distancing restrictions.

Drone delivers flowers on Mother's Day in Lebanon despite coronavirusAFP

But beyond cheering up mothers in lockdown, 18-year-old drone operator, Christopher Ibrahim says the unconventional flower delivery service also aims to support medical workers battling the pandemic.

"Everything we make from this project will go to the Red Cross," he said.

Video editor • Katy Dartford

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