Infection chains - preventing infections through distance, communication and support for the informal sector

Review of the virtual exchange for Latin America on 14.10. and 05.11.2020

Photo: wsfurlan | iStock

Around 100 municipal practitioners from more than 20 Latin American and European cities, including Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany, participated in two virtual events on the topic of "Infection Chains - preventing infection through distance, communication and supporting the informal sector".

During the virtual exchange of experiences, which was held as part of the series of events on "Municipal response to COVID-19", the participants presented and discussed practical examples from their cities and exchanged experiences on the topics of infection chains and prevention measures, as well as on the topic of crisis communication.

In the first virtual event, the challenges in the areas of infection chain tracing and Covid-19 testing strategies were discussed intensively, because they represent urgent problems for many Latin American cities. The exchange of experiences revealed that crisis communication in particular is an important concern for municipalities - in European as well as Latin American cities alike.

Municipal practitioners face the challenge of raising public awareness of the need for the measures taken over a long period of time. Therefore, the focus of the second event was on the topic of communication. Among other things, strategies of cities were presented on how municipal crisis communication can be designed. It was discussed how cities can inform their residents about public restrictions and Covid-19 in a transparent, inclusive and understandable way.

The virtual events provided space for an interactive exchange of experiences, which was very positively received. All participants took part in a lively discussion and were in favour of continuing the offer.

The languages offered included Spanish, Portuguese, English and (partly) German.


During the two events, six good practices from Essen and Stuttgart (Germany), Aracaju, Niterói, Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and Naucalpan (Mexico) were presented.

Participants also gained a new perspective on the pandemic from the presentation of three studies on municipal management of Covid-19 by the Brazilian municipal associations "Asociación Brasileña de Municipios" and "Confederación Nacional de Municipios," as well as "Design Thinkers Group Spain" and "Whiteboard Innovation Israel".

The aim of the virtual event was also to actively involve the participants. The space for questions between the presentations and the subsequent discussion were used intensively for exchange.

The following questions were discussed during the two events:

  1. What measures can be taken to interrupt infection chains and what role can the municipality play in this?
  2. How can infections be traced and what are local challenges in doing so?
  3. What is the role of the informal sector in relation to infections?
  4. What strategies can be taken to make crisis communication inclusive, transparent and understandable?
  5. How can communities with limited access to digital communication tools be reached?

Good practice presentations

Presentations on 14.10-2020

Decentralised mobile sample collection strategy of the city of Essen.
Jörg Spors, Hygiene Officer of the Fire Department of the City of Essen, Germany

Measures taken by municipalities to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eduardo Tadeu Pereira, Director "Asociación Brasileña de Municipios" (ABM), Brazil

Fighting the pandemic with strategic management and innovative measures, Aracaju, Brazil.
Waneska de Souza Barboza, Aracaju Health Department, Aracaju City Hall, representative of the National Front of Mayors (FNP), Brazil

Government action to combat Covid-19 in Naucalpan, Mexico.
Mauricio Eduardo Aguirre Lozano, Secretary of the Municipality of Naucalpan, Mexico

Survey on covid-19: focus on local government and support from federal agencies.
Carla Albert, Health Worker, Confederación Nacional de Municipios (CNM), Brazil

Presentations on 05.11.2020

Opening Speech "Global Human Research Project". Jorge Roriguez Nieto,
Design Thinkers Group Spain and Amir Hoshia, Whiteboard Innovation Isreal.

Integrative Crisis Communication, Stuttgart, Germany.
Ayşe Özbabacan, Integrative Crisis Communication Officer, Stuttgart, Germany,
Simone Fischer, Integration Policy Officer, Stuttgart, Germany,
Reinhard Schröter, Operations Manager Bus and Tram, Stuttgarter Verkehrsbetriebe, Stuttgart, Germany.

Covid-19 and the implications on the sewage system, Niterói, Brazil.
Camilla Franco, Undersecretary of Health, Niterói Municipal Health Secretariat, Niterói, Brazil

Communication in Crisis: Citizens, Passers-by & Customers, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Hugo Salomão França, Director of International Relations, Belo Horizonte City Hall, Brazil.


Through peer consultation, participants were able to share their knowledge and experiences around the topics of infection chains and crisis communication, as well as analyse common challenges. Furthermore, thanks to international expertise and the presentation of good practice examples, new approaches to solutions were disseminated.

After the virtual session, participants can continue their exchange on the Connective Cities virtual platform.

Paulina Koschmieder | Connective Cities

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