“Let us sing. Especially now!”

Matthias Organises online choir sessions for all those wanting to sing along Germany, Regensburg

Nothing distracts better than music. So, why not make the most of the lockdown and sing a few songs? Cantemus-TV has been providing this opportunity to the people of Regensburg and beyond for the past few months. “As leader of the Cantemus choir Regensburg, I wanted to provide people of all ages with an opportunity to express themselves through music,” Matthias explains. “That’s why we created our online ‘Cantemus-TV’: to invite children, young people and families to sing along. We believe that singing can fight boredom and alleviate worries, all while creating a warm atmosphere and instilling confidence.” Cantemus-TV invites viewers to actively participate in sessions from choir members, as well as to submit their own artistic contributions. According to Matthias, it is a whole new way of experiencing community and solidarity.

“We show solidarity across the border and support Strasbourg healthcare workers”

Klaus Initiated a donation campaign for hospitals in Kehl and Strasbourg Germany, Kehl

If COVID-19 was a shock to those who lived and worked near or across borders, it was also a test for long-standing cross-border initiatives. Take the Kehl Civic Foundation for instance. For many years, it has dedicated itself to intensive dialogue and cooperation between Kehl and one of its closest neighbours: the French city of Strasbourg. So, was the foundation forced to go on a hiatus following the closure of the France-Germany border? Not quite. “We wanted to send a positive solidarity signal across borders while helping those working day and night to improve our health. That’s why we initiated a large donation campaign to support the hospital staff of the Kehl Hospital and the University Hospital of Strasbourg,” explains Klaus, a member of the Foundation. By the end of the campaign, the Kehl Civic Foundation had sent EUR 4 500 to each hospital. The donations will help support nursing staff in their daily work.

“We let artists celebrate doctors and nurses worldwide”

Christiane and Lars Created "WeSayGracias", an Instagram account where artists can express their gratitude to the medical staff Germany, Munich

Art is known to be a mirror of society. But COVID-19 showed us how major changes in society could also break the link between the artists and their audience. Exhibitions and live performances were suddenly put on hold, even though artists had much inspiration to draw from. Christiane and Lars, from "Who's Mark", aimed to solve this problem with “wesaygracias”, an Instagram account providing artists and creative people with a platform to express their gratitude to healthcare workers around the world. “We’ve received posts from Mallorca, Melbourne and many other places,” Christiane and Lars enthuse. The #wesaygracias hashtag currently counts over 100 posts from artists of all backgrounds.

“A crowded waiting room will always pose high contagion risks. We want to minimise these risks”

Lina Provides general practitioners with booking software to help reduce patient queues Germany, Hamburg

General practitioners found themselves in a very delicate situation during the COVID-19 outbreak. As patients began to line up for diagnostics and treatment, a question came up: How can doctors ensure that people don't end up contracting the virus while waiting in long queues? Lina is the co-founder of a company providing restaurant booking software in Germany. She heard of these problems while facing some of her own. “We founded atodo to minimize waiting times at restaurants, but the hospitality industry was completely shut down because of Coronavirus. This made our solution useless, so we thought it could be helpful to doctors instead.” Lina now provides her software to general practitioners wanting to keep their waiting room empty in order to prevent contagion. “We are positive that our solution brings added value for society, even beyond COVID-19,” she says. Finding software solutions to alleviate the COVID-19 threat was also a priority for the EU. The EUvsVirus programme, for instance, led to the creation of 2 164 developer teams aiming to devise such solutions.

“Thanks to our entry light, public buildings and facilities can control their occupancy while complying with legal requirements”

Arne New tracking technology inspired by traffic lights may be of great value to limit crowds in confined spaces Germany, Darmstadt

Social distancing and public spaces are not necessarily incompatible. But they sure can be difficult to combine. To prevent fairs and other public meetings from getting out of hand, Connfair has developed new technology concepts dedicated to occupancy and access control. Their flagship product is much like a traffic light. It keeps track of the number of people already allowed in a confined space and automatically switches from red to green light when there is room for more people. “The entry light is very easy to set up and has direct Internet connection thanks to its integrated SIM card. It can also be expanded with our counter app,” Arne, CEO and founder of Connfair, explains. With these products, the start-up provides much needed relief to its customers. Being able to analyse visitor flows is certainly helpful for businesses who need to comply with government measures and prevent the virus from spreading.

“We’re volunteering to help build solidarity in Europe”

Laurenz Volunteers through the European Solidarity Corps Germany, Spielberg

More young Europeans than ever are contributing to society as volunteers through the European Solidarity Corps. 18-year-old Laurenz Aupperle from Germany is one of them. Since September last year, he’s been working as a member of the organisation in France. However, coronavirus left him no choice but to return home to Germany. This setback hasn’t stopped him from achieving great things via the internet. Laurenz and five fellow volunteers from across Europe launched a project called La Semaine de l’Europe (Europe Week) with activities to encourage people to learn more about Europe, the EU, and our diverse cultures. “Citizens don’t know how they benefit from the EU, and how they can contribute as a member of it. This is what we aim to change. We want to contribute to building solidarity in Europe, solidarity much needed in tough periods like the one we’re going through.”

“As part of the Bremen community, we wanted to contribute something to those in greater need”

Arasch and Anna Supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to local organisations Germany, Bremen

Arasch and Anna run an online business offering products and services to construction, trade, and industry professionals across Germany, Austria, France, Italy and The Netherlands. In a collective effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, their staff have donated hundreds of masks to organisations near their headquarters in Bremen. After learning that their local food bank was in need of masks, their community acted quickly to show support and help alleviate the food bank's personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage. "There are lots of enthusiastic employees joining the effort,” Anna said. “We can each do our part. By contributing little by little, we can solve these critical problems together.”

“I use the structured processing of cockpit checklists for my work in emergency medicine”

Maximilian Applies pilot training to his work as a paramedic Germany, Harlaching

While studying to become a pilot, Maximilian's training came to a standstill in the face of a hiring freeze. He took advantage of this new free time to retrain as a paramedic. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, he flew as a First Officer but his company has temporarily released him to work as a paramedic at the Munich Clinic in Harlaching, Germany. He is happy to say that his previous pilot experience is helping him in his new role. Healthcare workers across the EU, like Maximilian, are showing solidarity by treating patients from different member states. For example, German hospitals are treating critically ill patients from Italy and France, making their own intensive care capacities available for Italian and French citizens.

“Think about the people who are at higher risk for severe illness”

Lisa Cares for older adults in her role as a nurse Germany, Berlin

Nurses have served as front line care providers during some of the world’s most challenging infectious disease outbreaks, including H1N1 Swine Flu, Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Just as in previous disease outbreaks, nurses across Europe have been stepping up to combat the deadly spread of COVID-19. From providing direct care to affected hospitalised patients to leading full scale public health operations, nurses are front and center working around the clock to protect the health and well-being of patients and the public at large. Lisa notes how the safety measures put in place make her job even more challenging than usual: "A lot of the communication with the patient is through miming because of our masks. Even a tiny smile usually makes such a difference, but sadly this is not possible right now." We are very proud of the efforts of nurses everywhere as they continue to provide services during the current pandemic.

“I’m assisting with the rescue service”

Peter Works for the emergency paramedic service Germany, Augsburg

Like many other health care workers, Peter has been extremely active in taking care of suspected and confirmed cases of people infected with COVID-19. While most recently he was working for Lufthansa Airlines as a flight attendant, everyday illnesses and injuries haven't stopped, and medical teams have needed additional support to deal with COVID-19 cases. Thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Peter, patients are able to be transported to and treated in a hospital as quickly as possible. The EU is also working to coordinate and enhance these efforts. Patients in need of intensive care are sometimes transported from over-crowded hospitals to others which can provide better care, even if these are in different countries. Recently, 11 French intensive care patients were airlifted to Luxembourg from France, with 11 additional intensive care patients from Italy and three from France arriving in Austria. A perfect example of how we are making it through the crisis together.

“We keep working to feed our community”

Maxi Helps to run her mother’s restaurant Germany, Bavaria, Margarethenberg

Maxi’s mother could have closed her restaurant and received support from the government. However, as their family lives in a rural area with few food options, her mother decided to launch a takeaway and delivery service to support their local community. Maxi and her family now deliver food to elderly and vulnerable people at no extra charge. As many restaurants across Europe provide meals to keep their local community fed, giving back to others has had another much needed consequence: It’s helping keep those restaurants in business and their staff working.

“Helping people stay healthy is all that matters”

Julia Works extra shifts in a pharmacy to help people stay healthy Germany, Altötting

Julia has been working as a technical assistant in a pharmacy for three years, and her workload has never been so heavy as during the last few weeks. In the current situation, pharmacists are playing a crucial role in communities across Europe, providing information, counsel and medications to their clients. Slowing the spread of the virus could not be done without people like Julia, as pharmacies are often the first place where people seek information about safety measures, symptoms and how to treat them. They also alleviate the workload of health professionals, who are under tremendous pressure. There are many such European heroes working in pharmacy and health science . To help with this burden, the European Union is funding 18 research projects and 140 teams across Europe working around the clock to find a vaccine for the coronavirus.

“From single individuals to groups of volunteers, we are facing the COVID-19 challenges together”

Moritz Improves volunteer groups coordination for effective and timely support Germany, Regensburg

When facing unexpected and unprecedented crises, such as COVID-19, volunteers become even more invaluable. Inspired by solidarity and mutual assistance, many new groups are created and the existing ones step up their activity to support those most affected. Realising that people work better when they work together, German 24-year-old Moritz and his friend Christoph set up a Corona help hotline, “The Corona Help Center”. By channelling all offers and requests for neighbourhood help, the Center supports the many volunteer groups in providing targeted and timely assistance. Similarly, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is coordinating the delivery of assistance to countries affected by COVID-19, for example by managing the distribution of personal protective and medical equipment.

“Sleepless nights and numerous phone calls - How we managed to bring a friend back from Africa”

Sara Reunited with a friend stuck in a foreign country Germany, Garching

The COVID-19 outbreak has put enormous pressure on healthcare personnel and hospitals worldwide. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to imagine how this will be an even bigger issue in developing and low-income countries, adding to the challenges their health systems already face. This thought worried Sara from Garching (Germany). Her Italian friend was visiting relatives in Benin when a pandemic was declared and countries began closing borders. She launched a personal campaign to get her friend out of Benin. With the help of his employer and works council, his colleagues, his family, and a very kind travel agency saleswoman, they succeeded in bringing him back to Germany. National airlines are welcoming EU nationals from many different member states on their rescue flights. This was made possible through the EU's repatriation programme of EU Citizens to their home countries. As of 16 April, 41 760 EU citizens have been brought home on 193 flights.

“I am interested in music's potential to bring people together”

Sonja Unites people through music Germany, Mainz

Music is a powerful tool to connect people, especially during these hard times where many of us feel lonely. That's why Sonja, a professional soprano singer, used her Facebook page to bring people together through duets. Professional and amateur musicians can join and take part in this musical project. On the 22nd of March, she brought many people together to sing the European national anthem from their windows at 6pm.

“I do what I can today, in order to change our tomorrow”

Carolin Works as a volunteer ambulance driver Germany, Burghausen

Having just finished school, Carolin will start studying medicine next year: helping people in extreme situations is her calling. Her volunteer position as an ambulance driver has become much more difficult since the outbreak of the pandemic, but she proudly respects all the necessary measures to prevent spreading the virus. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 is one of the main objectives of the EU - and of all Europeans. Together, we are ensuring the availability of essential services and vital medical equipment while achieving this goal.

“Take care of each other and treat everyone with respect: we all need solidarity right now”

Anna Works as a student nurse Germany, Starnberg

Anna has started studying to become a nurse in October 2018, and she can be called on at any time to help. Her ward has been prepared to deal with COVID-19 emergencies and trained to use monitoring equipment that is usually not handled by nurses. In the case of students, the current period is particularly stressful and emotionally demanding. But with her fellow team members, she does everything she can to help in the fight against the virus, and tries to remind everyone to take care of each other, treat people with respect and apply safety measures at all times. Such solidarity can be seen across all our member states. France has donated 1 million masks to Italy and Germany has delivered 7 tons of medical equipment to Italy, including ventilators and anaesthetic masks, helping save lives.

“We keep on working: our patients need us!”

Edina Provides dental care throughout the crisis Germany, Korntal-Münchingen

Dr Glaser runs a dental clinic with her six colleagues, which is terribly challenging during the current crisis. Disinfection fluid and protective equipment are often unavailable, and with the clinic being located in a particularly infected zone, treating patients is precarious. Still, Edina and her colleagues keep on working: the patients need them, especially those who are under a lot of pain. Providing care to people is our top priority. While millions of nurses, doctors, dentists and care workers lead the fight against coronavirus, the European Union is ensuring countries have speedy access to lifesaving medical equipment.

“We work to take the burden off our critically needed doctors”

Claudia Helps patients in great pain while doctors focus on COVID-19 Germany, Herrsching am Ammersee

As medical professionals are under immense pressure to tackle the current crisis, osteopaths like Claudia help alleviate the doctors' workload by taking care of patients who suffer from other ailments not related to COVID-19. Thanks to osteopaths like Claudia, these patients keep receiving treatments to alleviate their pain during this crisis, that keeps most medical professionals busy fighting the pandemic. Such support makes a huge difference for patients and lightens the heavy workload doctors and nurses are currently facing.