Coronavirus: Space Station astronauts offer expert tips on how to handle self-isolation

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Astronaut commander Chris Hadfield makes a keynote address at the Laya Heathcare Pendulum Summit event at Dublin Convention Centre.   (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Chris Hadfield offered tips for people in self-isolation (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)

Astronauts who have spent weeks and months isolated in tiny spacecraft have offered tips to people self-isolating as the coronavirus pandemic grips the world.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield created a video offering advice on how to survive sustained isolation – something he knows about after two Space Shuttle missions and a spell as commander of the Space Station.

Other astronauts such as NASA veteran Terry Virts and Space Shuttle veteran Marsha Ivins also offered tips on how to survive prolonged isolation.

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In a video posted to his Twitter channel, Hadfield said: “I’ve spent a little time self-isolating on board a spaceship. It’s an extremely dangerous environment on the Space Station but we find a way to thrive and be productive that far away from our normal lives.”

He offered tips including: “Understand the actual risk, don’t just be afraid,” and “What are you trying to accomplish, what's your mission for right now? Take action, start doing things.”

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Other astronauts offered tips based on the hectic life of space missions during which they often work up to 18 hours a day.

NASA astronaut Terry Virts told Time: “The key to any successful expedition is to keep the crew busy.

“A busy crew is a happy crew – and a bored crew is a disaster.”

Retired astronaut Marsha Ivins wrote: “The amount of time Shuttle astronauts were isolated was less than what our current shelter in place is going to be and the most important difference is we were ragged busy!

"We were working 18-hour days before, during and after the mission.”

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Yesterday, Boris Johnson introduced strict new rules on when people are allowed to leave their homes in Britain.

The PM said: “if you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

“To ensure compliance with the government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.

“We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with.

“And we’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.”

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