Day: November 26, 2020

TSA: Thanksgiving eve passenger numbers high, but less than 2020

A spokesperson for the TSA also said that Wednesday numbers of passengers screened at checkpoints nationwide were at the highest volume since mid-March.

The Transportation Security Administration said early Thursday that Thanksgiving eve passenger numbers at checkpoints across the United States were at just under half of what they were on Thanksgiving eve last year.

As the pandemic slows air travel around the globe, additional guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seems to have possibly made holiday travelers hesitate even more this year before taking a flight.

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the CDC recommended that people reconsider travel this year and avoid large gatherings of 10 or more.

TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein announced that as of Thanksgiving eve, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, the TSA had screened 1,070,967 people at checkpoints nationwide. That number comes in at less than half that of last year when, according to the TSA, 2,602,631 people were screened at checkpoints across the country on Thanksgiving eve. 

Despite this, 2020’s Thanksgiving eve passenger numbers were still at the highest volume since March 16, according to the TSA. The agency noted that this is only the 4th time that passenger numbers this year have topped 1 million since March 16.

RELATED: Defying warnings, millions in the US travel for Thanksgiving

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RELATED: Airline may require passengers to get coronavirus vaccine before overseas travel

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TSA records Thanksgiving travel spike in spite of coronavirus risks

The Transportation and Security Administration announced its highest daily screening volume since March on Wednesday.

Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter that more than 1 million people traveled through TSA checkpoints on Wednesday, the highest recorded volume since March 16.

“JUST IN: Yesterday, Wednesday, Nov. 25, @TSA screened 1,070,967 people at checkpoints nationwide,” Farbstein wrote. “It’s the highest volume since March 16 and only the 4th time passenger throughput has topped 1 million since that date. Last year 2,602,631 people were screened on Thanksgiving eve.”

Although the number of screened travelers accounts for the highest volume since March, it still pales in comparison to the more than 2,600,000 people who traveled on the same date in 2019.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised against travel during the holiday season.

“Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu,” the CDC said.

Last weekend, the TSA screened more than 3 million travelers. Over the same three-day stretch in 2019, the TSA checked an average of 2,355,435 people.

“More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days,” the CDC wrote in a statement issued last Thursday, a week before Thanksgiving. “As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.”

Close to 13 million people have tested positive for the virus in the U.S., and more than 260,000 have died from complications arising from the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.

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This Kannur hotel owns a Maradona museum- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

KANNUR:  On entering suite number 309 of Hotel Blue Nile, you feel an invisible presence of the ‘God of Football’ enveloping you. For the hotel, where Diego Maradona — who passed away in Buenos Aires on Wednesday — spent a couple of days eight years ago, has been turned into a museum. V Raveendran, the managing director of the hotel and an ardent Maradona fan, said that nothing has been changed or rearranged ever since the Argentine legend left the hotel.

He considers himself fortunate to have received a chance to host the football genius when he visited Kannur to attend a private function in October, 2012. “He was warm, friendly and down to earth. As he couldn’t speak English, his secretary, a lady, had acted as the translator for his Spanish.

But we could easily make out that he was delighted and excited to be in the midst of hardcore football fans,” Raveendran said. Maradona had stayed at the hotel on October 23 and 24. After he had left, the room was renamed Maradona Suite. The plates and towels he had used, the cigar stubs in the ashtray and even the soap tray have been left untouched. 

‘We cherish precious memories

“After we renamed the room, many people from within India and abroad have visited the hotel, asking for this particular suite,” Raveendran said.“Many people believe it’s a privilege to be in a room used by the football legend.”

As the news of Maradona’s death trickled in, the room was occupied by a football fan from Syria. “All of us here cherish the precious memories associated with him,” the managing director said. The hotel staff had celebrated the eighth anniversary of Maradona’s visit by cutting a cake last month, he added. Raveendran is also planning to install a four-feet high statue of Maradona in front of the hotel.
“We will also provide opportunities to the people of Kannur to visit the suite,” he said.

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Man arrested for Renton arson at COVID-19 hotel for homeless

RENTON — A man staying at a hotel in Renton for people experiencing homelessness with COVID-19 was arrested after a hotel room caught fire, police said.

Renton firefighters responded to fire in a sixth floor room inside the Red Lion Hotel on Wednesday afternoon, KOMO-TV reported.

Firefighters said a sprinkler controlled the fire and it was contained to the room. No injuries were reported. The building was evacuated and six rooms were damaged by water or smoke. People staying in those rooms were moved to different rooms at the hotel, according to authorities.

Since April, firefighters and medics have been called to the hotel 277 times.

The hotel’s use as a temporary shelter has caused a dispute between city and King County officials.

County officials have said the arrangement at the Red Lion Hotel has slowed the spread of the coronavirus. The city says it has led to an increase in crime in the area.

City officials are on track to consider legislation that would set a six-month move-out date at the Red Lion, where nearly 250 people have been living since April.

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UEFA preparing to move Liverpool Champions League tie to Dortmund amid UK-Denmark travel ban, sources say

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Jurgen Klopp’s former home ground stands ready to host Liverpool’s Champions League group game against Midtjylland with UEFA planning to move the game away from Denmark.

Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion has been earmarked to host the match on December 9, a source at the city government confirmed to CBS Sports. A final decision has not yet been taken and will depend on any further COVID-19 regulations put in place by the German government.

The match was initially due to take place at Midtylland’s home ground, the MCH Arena, but UEFA are prepared to move the tie unless there is a change to the British government’s travel policy for Denmark.

Currently the British government does not allow passenger planes between the United Kingdom and Denmark after a mutated strain of coronavirus was found in mink in the country. A temporary travel corridor was created to allow the Icelandic football team to play England in a UEFA Nations League match at Wembley earlier this month after a fixture in Copenhagen but that option is not currently available to Liverpool.

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Any individuals travelling from Denmark to the United Kingdom are obliged to isolate for 14 days, a period in which Liverpool play three further games.

Though it would be in curious circumstances a trip to his former home would surely be a welcome surprise for Klopp, who managed the club for seven years and won two Bundesliga titles. Reports suggest Midtjylland still would prefer to host the tie. UEFA declined to comment when contacted by CBS Sports but confirmed that no decision had yet been made.

Liverpool currently sit top of Group D despite a 2-0 defeat to Atalanta at Anfield yesterday. Midtjylland are yet to gain a point from their four games and their home match against the Reds will be their final European match of the season.


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Man arrested for arson at Renton hotel sheltering 200 homeless people

The Red Lion Hotel was turned into a homeless shelter shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently housing around 200 homeless people.

RENTON, Wash. — A 46-year-old man staying at a hotel-turned-homeless shelter in Renton was arrested after allegedly setting his hotel room on fire.

Renton firefighters and police responded to the fire in a sixth-floor room inside the Red Lion Hotel around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday. The hotel was turned into a homeless shelter shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently housing around 200 homeless people.

The Renton Police Department said a witness pointed out a man to officers outside the hotel and said he was the one who started the fire. Police said the man was detained for questioning.

Investigators learned the 46-year-old suspect had lived at the hotel for about three weeks and became upset with staff members. Police said the man told hotel staff he was “going to burn this place down.”

Police said the suspect locked himself in his hotel room on the sixth floor and hotel staff called a locksmith for help. As the locksmith and hotel staff approached the room, they encountered thick smoke on the sixth floor and found the suspect standing in the doorway of his room, police said.

The locksmith tried to enter the room with a fire extinguisher but was held back by the smoke and heat.

Police said the suspect eventually walked out of his room and went outside where he was arrested.

Firefighters said a sprinkler controlled the fire. The fire started on a couch and was contained to the room, according to the preliminary arson investigation.

Six rooms were damaged by water or smoke, and police said there was “extensive” smoke and fire damage to the fifth and sixth floors. People staying in the damaged rooms were relocated to different rooms at the hotel.

No injuries were reported.

A fire official told police the fire put multiple lives in danger. The suspect was booked into the King County Regional Justice Center for investigation of first-degree arson.

RELATED: Renton considers vacating Red Lion Hotel sheltering 200 homeless people

Renton city leaders have been considering a plan that would force the homeless people staying at the Red Lion Hotel to move elsewhere.

The city council is mulling a six-month plan to vacate the hotel. This comes amid disagreements between officials and leaders at the Red Lion Hotel over the hotel’s operation and the number of homeless occupants.

Chip Vincent, the administrator for Renton’s Community & Economic Development department, said there have been several concerns brought to the city by leaders and residents about the recent influx of homeless tenants and how it could affect the city in the future. There have been several ordinances proposed to head off any possible issues.

So far, King County and the city of Renton haven’t been able to agree on terms regarding the space. As a result, King County was issued a violation, which it

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Vermont Fish & Wildlife launches mobile app to enhance outdoor recreation | Outdoors

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department released a new mobile application to help the public recreate outdoors in a safe and socially distanced manner. The “Vermont Outdoors” app connects the public with department lands, fish and wildlife regulations and up-to-date COVID-19 guidance.

“We’ve seen an increase in outdoor recreation across our 100 wildlife management areas and nearly 200 fishing access areas since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lands and Facilities Administrator Mike Wichrowski. “This new app will encourage Vermonters to find new opportunities to hunt, fish, trap, or view wildlife on public lands and waters. The app will also provide access to fish and wildlife law digests, baitfish dealers, department news and current events, and the ability to report fish and wildlife violations.”

This project was paid for with federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) stimulus to enhance outdoor recreational opportunities. Other CARES funded projects completed by the department included improvements to boat ramps and other water access points, wildlife management area roads, parking areas and informational signage.

The application can be downloaded at the Apple App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android phones.

For more information, call Lands and Facilities Administrator Mike Wichrowski at 802-917-1347.

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Delta new quarantine-free Italy intiative

The major airline partnered with the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to create the new trans-Atlantic testing initiative.

ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines has joined with two other companies to create a coronavirus testing program that will allow travelers to enter Italy without having to quarantine. 

The major airline partnered with the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to create the new trans-Atlantic testing initiative. 

“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” Steve Sear, Delta President – International and Executive Vice President – Global Sales said in a release on Thanksgiving Day.

The new program is set to be in line with an official order expected to be issued by the Italian government.

“Safety is our core promise – it’s at the center of this pioneering testing effort and it’s the foundation of our standards for cleanliness and hygiene to help customers feel confident when they fly Delta,” Sear stated.

The airline company said they’ve been working with the Mayo Clinic, a global healthcare competitor, to assess and ensure the safety of the newly formed flight initiative. 

“Based on the modeling we have conducted, when testing protocols are combined with multiple layers of protection, including mask requirements, proper social distancing and environmental cleaning, we can predict that the risk of COVID-19 infection – on a flight that is 60 percent full – should be nearly one in a million,” Henry Ting, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Value Officer, of the Mayo Clinic explained. 

Delta mentioned that they are also working with the Georgia Department of Public Health in hopes that they will create a foundation for governments to reopen “important international travel markets.” 

“The State of Georgia and the Italian government have demonstrated leadership in testing protocols and practices that can safely reopen international travel without quarantine requirements,” Sear added.

The trial for this new quarantine-free initiative will begin on Dec. 19. They plan to test passengers and the airline crew on flights headed to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport. 

“The tests will exempt from quarantine on arrival in Italy all U.S. citizens permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as for work, health and education, as well as all European Union and Italian citizens,” the release detailed. 

Anyone interested in being a part of this trial must test negative for the virus through one of the following avenues: 

  • A COVID Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken up to 72 hours before departure
  • A rapid test administered at the airport in Atlanta before boarding
  • A rapid test on arrival in Rome-Fiumicino
  • A rapid test at Rome-Fiumicino before departure to the United States

Passengers will also be asked to provide CDC style contact-tracing information when they enter the U.S. 

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Soft quarantine over, Indian team checks into new hotel on eve of first ODI

The visiting Indian cricket team on Thursday checked into a new hotel here, entering a bio-secure bubble after completing a 14-day “soft quarantine” on the outskirts of the city.

India’s much-anticipated tour of Australia begins on Friday with the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground in front of limited crowd amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The visiting players and support staff were staying at Pullman in Sydney Olympic Park during their “soft quarantine” where they only met at the ground during training.

Also no player was allowed to sit beside each other and multiple buses were used for travelling to and fro.

After the completion of the two-week quarantine, the Indian team moved into the Inter Continental Hotel, which had been its traditional hub during previous tours to this part of the country.

Having entered the bio-bubble, players will now have a bit more freedom where they can at least meet each other within a controlled environment and have meals together.

Needless to say, the 14-day quarantine has been challenging for the players who landed here straight from the UAE after spending nearly three months in a bio-bubble for the Indian Premier League.

India’s white-ball vice-captain KL Rahul admitted that he felt a lot better when he got together with his teammates for training.

“Challenge has been being in the room alone. The time you practice, meet teammates, is the best time in the day. You have fun together. Challenge is mostly when you are back in the room and all alone,” Rahul said.

The Indian team is in Australia for a full-fledged tour comprising three ODIs, as many T20 Internationals and four Tests.

The tour begins on Friday with the first ODI here while the Test series starts on December 17 in Adelaide.

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Plan calls for housing homeless in transformed Kansas hotel

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A proposal to transform a hotel near downtown Wichita into housing for the homeless goes before the city council next week.

The owner of the 316 Hotel has agreed to sell the building for $2.6 million, according to Wichita spokesperson Megan Lovely. Renovations for the studio apartments are estimated to cost another $1.6 million, The Wichita Eagle reports.

The project is expected to be funded with $2 million in city funds, nearly $2.3 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act dollars and another $200,000 in private donations, she said.

HumanKind Ministries, which was previously Inter-Faith Ministries, would own and operate the location.

“The 316 Hotel Project is a rare opportunity,” city of Wichita Housing and Community Services director Sally Stang said in a news release, adding that it would help slow the spread of COVID-19 and “provide much needed supportive housing for our community.”

The 2019 Point-In-Time Homeless Count in Sedgwick County reported 593 people that met the definition of being homeless. That’s 20 more people than reported in 2018 report and the highest number back to 2014.

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