Aka COVID-19 / coronavirus / Sars-CoV-2

Updated symptom list

Updated symptom advice




  • Order a vaccination certificate for travelling
    • Note that you can also download a pdf from the NHS app (not the covid app) - see link below.
  • Download a digital vaccination certificate / covid pass (note: It’s in the general NHS app, not the Covid app)
  • Foreign travel:
    • On 19/8/21, France was on the amber list
      • This means you need a covid pass to travel there
      • You need to wear a mask on public transport
      • You need to do a covid test on day 2 after your return to England
      • Before travel, use the links below to check status is still amber and rules for travel are still the same.
    • How to travel abroad
    • Instructions for travelling to France
      • What I needed to travel to France on 7/9/21:
        1. A covid pass.
        2. A sworn statement for the French govt.
        3. Proof of destination and accommodation for the French authorities.
        4. Fill in a passenger location form for UK govt <= 48 hours before returning to UK.
        • You should register with this service before you leave the UK.
        • You’ll need:
          • Login details
          • Passport details: number, issuing authority, expiry date
          • mobile phone number
          • arrival details: date and time
          • Day 2 test booking reference number
        • The passenger locator form, even if you’ve told it you live in the UK, will still ask when you are planning to leave the UK. I just choose a random date two years in the future!
        • When you complete passenger locator form before returning to UK, it will email the completed form to you.
          • !! Download or print it ASAP so you have it to show officials!!
            1. Do a PCR test in France before leaving (still haven’t quite managed to work out how I make that happen according to the rules, but the conference organisers say I can do it at the conference venue, so fingers crossed that’s all correct).
        • When they send you your pass sanitaire covid result, it’s a good idea to download / print it ASAP so you have it available for officials.
        • Below is the official info about this test. Note that neither I nor the nurse could find any info on the test packaging that talked about % specificity, so we couldn’t verify this but the test was an LFT I think (the results are within 20 minutes and the French call it “antigenique”) and the certificate I received as a result was from “Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris” and was accepted by the airline:
          • The test must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.
          • This could include tests such as:
            • a PCR test
            • a LAMP test
          • an antigen test, such as an LFD (lateral flow device) test
          • You must check with your test provider that the test meets the standards. You may not be able to travel if it does not.
          • You will need to find a private test provider to take a test.
            1. Do another “2 day” PCR test in England after arriving (this has to be ordered in advance).
        • You need proof of having ordered this day 2 test - there’s a booking reference number which you have to enter into the passenger locator form. 7. Wear a “surgical mask” at the airport and on the plane.
        • This seems to mean the blue papery kind, and if you don’t have one they will give you one (and ask you to replace your non-surgical mask with it).
    • List of red, green and amber countries (search for the name of the country you’re interested in, then scroll up to see which list it’s in)
    • Info on whether you need a new passport due to Brexit (basically if it’s less than 10 years old and has at least six months before it expires, even if it was issued before Brexit, it’s probably fine).
    • Order a Day 2 test kit for use after arrival in England from an amber list country

NB: This collection is months old now. Do you really need to follow these links? Maybe you’d be better off finding something more calming to look at.

Staying sane during the COVID-19 crisis

Nice things to do during lockdown

Positive stuff

Meg John and Justin: Podcast and Resources on Stress and Coronavirus


Countering burnout

  • This is a really interesting podcast about burnout, talking about how when you are in a position of stress you need to “complete the stress cycle” to allow your body to process the after-effects. If you don’t then you get stuck in a neverending stress tunnel and that’s when burnout happens. It’s Brene Brown interviewing Emily and Amelia Nagoski about their book Burnout.
  • Here is an article describing the things you can do to complete the stress cycle.
  • Here’s the list of things you can do to help your body recover from stress (more detail here):
    • Physical activity (anything at all, just get moving)
    • Slow deep breathing
    • Positive social interaction - can be as simple as complimenting somebody on their hair
    • Laughter - proper belly laughs with someone else, or even just reminiscing about times you laughed together
    • Affection - they recommend a daily 20-second hug or a 6-second kiss! It has to last long enough to dissipate your stress.
    • Crying - where you focus on the sensation of crying and try not to perpetuate it by dwelling on the thing you’re crying about
    • Creative expression - which can be as simple as imagining a little story where you fly over the top of a stressful thing - but doesn’t have to be directly related to the source of stress.

Unfuck your brain

  • Coping with pandemic panic - free session from Kara Loewentheil (“Harvard law school grad, feminist rockstar, and master coach”).

I found this really helpful, but it’s worth saying that Kara Loewentheil’s style doesn’t work for everyone. In a nutshell, she’s saying that you can’t control what’s happening in the world, but you can control how you react to it. Death and sickness have always been present and have always been things that could affect both ourselves and our loved ones. It’s never been helpful to worry and obsess over those things, but because right now everybody IS worrying and obsessing over it, there is an unstated pressure to join in. Resist that pressure. Do everything you need to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, but take those actions out of love instead of out of anxiety.

If you don’t find that Kara’s style works for you, don’t feel bad! Turn it off and try one of the things below instead.

Control what you can, accept what you can’t

controlling covid-19

Don’t put pressure on yourself to become super-productive

My experience of anxiety

APPLE technique to deal with anxiety

AnxietyUK suggests practising the “Apple” technique to deal with anxiety and worries.

  • Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the anxious thoughts as they comes to mind.
  • Pause: Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe.
  • Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and any apparent need to know exactly what will happen next is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
  • Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to it. You might imagine it floating away in a bubble or cloud.
  • Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else - on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else - mindfully with your full attention.

ODAAT - One Day at a Time

This is an edited version of a description of this technique from my friend Lou:

“In order to stay calm, you have to be calm one day at a time. I find it a great way to ground myself if I’m starting to live in the future (futile, not happened yet) or past (not helpful as can’t change etc) That’s not to say that you shouldn’t plan for the future or neglect the lessons of the past but by staying in our head there, we’re not present in the place where we actually have some control.

Here’s an example. Say you plan to have a re-decorated sitting room by the end of this period of social distancing / wfh / isolating.

Your locus of control is now - that’s where you order the paint / brushes and other things you need. It’s also where you do the painting. Reminiscing about how you didn’t order enough paint last time, or daydreaming about how it will look when finished are exercises of the mind - they don’t help you achieve the actual task. Likewise beating yourself up about how you fuck ed it up last time or telling yourself that you are shit at DIY and therefore being scared to start is another future dwelling pointless exercise. Things that would be of use like “ I did Y last time and it resulted in unwelcome X - perhaps if I try A it will be better” is a more helpful way of framing / planning, and is useful.”

Try to pay attention to the positive things you have achieved each day, and give yourself some acknowledgement for those things. And be kind to yourself when circumstances make it hard to follow any kind of plan.

Don’t Worry

One of my favourite poems, by Julia Darling, one of my favourite poets:

Don’t Worry

about the food you haven’t bought,
if your daughter caught that train,
the bill that came, the twinge
in your right leg. Don’t fuss.
The washing on the line
will dry again. It’s not your fault
So what if you lied?
Don’t be ashamed.

And don’t worry that you promised.
It doesn’t matter about those promises. Let them go.
Just tell her you don’t like her if you don’t.
You needn’t see the doctor with bad breath.
Behave badly. Lie on the floor.
Throw a tantrum if you’re bored.
Be late. Be sordid. Eat six pies.
Or trick them by being euphoric.

Above your head a flock of geese
are flying South. Beneath your feet
worms aren’t worrying.

Older covid stuff you probably already know