Day: December 2, 2020

New Covid case in NSW as Sydney hotel quarantine cleaner tests positive | Sydney

A Sydney hotel quarantine worker has been diagnosed with Covid-19, raising infection fears after she worked at a second hotel.

The New South Wales health minister, Brad Hazzard, said he had been notified of the new case at 1.22am on Thursday. “She worked at the Novotel and the Ibis at Darling Harbour,” he told Seven’s Sunrise program. “One of those is a police quarantine hotel.”

The woman is understood to have worked shifts as a cleaner at the Novotel, which is being used to quarantine returned international travellers between 28 November and 30 December, and at the neighbouring Ibis, a regular non-quarantine hotel, a day earlier – on 27 November.

NSW Health urged anyone who worked at the hotels on these days to monitor for symptoms, self-isolate and get tested. Guardian Australia has sought clarification as to whether the woman regularly worked at both hotels, thus potentially increasing Ibis guest and staff risks of exposure, or had permanently shifted to the Novotel on 28 November.

“The good news is her five family members were tested overnight and they are all negative, so that is a good outcome,” Hazzard said.

The woman’s family will still be required to isolate, and urgent genome sequencing is being undertaken to confirm whether the woman contracted the virus at the hotel or picked it up in the community.

The hotels are both owned by the Accor Hotel group and sit next to each other at Darling Harbour.

Ensuring hotel quarantine staff do not work across multiple venues has been one of the key takeaways from both Victoria’s second wave of Covid infections and the Adelaide clusters.

The woman lived in Minto in south-west Sydney and health authorities are urging anyone in the area to get tested, even if they have the mildest symptoms.

“She travelled the days that we’re particularly concerned about, which is last Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, she travelled from Minto to Central on our rail system,” Hazzard told the ABC. “And then from Central she travelled on a light rail system down to Darling Harbour.

“To anybody who was using that particular railway line or the light rail, please look out for symptoms, get tested, and listen to the advice from New South Wales Health until the results are through.”

The news comes a day after NSW recorded 25 straight days without a single Covid case in the community and the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced a swath of social restrictions would be eased from Monday. As this case was discovered after 8pm, it will be counted in Friday’s numbers, so Thursday will be recorded as the state’s 26th Covid-free day.

The NSW chief health officer, Kerry Chant, said on Wednesday she believed that the state had “probably virtually eliminated” community transmission. Berejiklian said she anticipated there would be more cases. Hazzard said he also expected there would be more cases “because we are in a pandemic”.

He told ABC News Breakfast this case was unlikely to change the easing of restrictions scheduled

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Glendale Plays Chicago in ‘Christmas Vacation’

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As Mavis Staples sings at the opening of the 1989 holiday classic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “It’s that time. Christmastime is here. Everybody knows there’s not a better time of year.” Something lesser known? The yuletide staple (which turns 31 this week!) was primarily shot in Los Angeles, not Chicago where it was set. Mainly lensed on the Warner Bros. Ranch backlot, practical locations were utilized as well, including a stately Colonial Revival in Glendale that served as the home of Frank Shirley (Brian Doyle-Murray), Clark W. Griswold’s (Chevy Chase) bonus-cutting boss.

It is there that Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) commits the Griswold family’s first kidnapping (well, as long as you don’t count that whole Walley World security guard thing in the 1983 original). Upon hearing Clark’s profanity-ridden rant detailing exactly what he would like to say to Mr. Shirley regarding his bonus being swapped with a Jelly of the Month Club membership (the gift that keeps on giving the whole year!), Eddie, whose heart is bigger than his brain (I appreciate that, Clark!), heads out in his tenement-on-wheels to abduct Frank from his “Melody Lane” manse. In reality, the regal pad, known as Bel Aire, is located at 727 West Kenneth Road. 

Built by prominent local businessman Mattison Boyd Jones in 1922, the dwelling features four bedrooms and four baths in 5,698 square feet. With a sweeping circular driveway, columned façade, and manicured 1.82-acre lot, the place screams ritzy curb appeal!

A City of Glendale historical landmark, the residence boasts a long list of screen credits, including cameos in such throwback series as “Flamingo Road,” “Columbo,” “Knight Rider,” and “Emerald Point N.A.S.” The elegant pad is also long rumored to have been the inspiration for Tara in the 1939 epic “Gone with the Wind.”

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Hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays on Valentine’s Day for making a baby

Let’s travel back in time to February 14 — Valentine’s Day.



a person riding on the back of a truck


© Courtesy of Hotel Zed/Flytographer


A hip little hotel in British Columbia offered couples the chance to win 18 years of free accommodations if, roughly nine months following their Hotel Zed stay, they had a baby.

Nicole and Alexander Beshinsky and their three-and-half-year-old son are getting ready to welcome a new member to the family.

The Kelowna-based couple took advantage of Hotel Zed’s “Nooner” special this past February 14. Although Hotel Zed, which also has locations in Victoria and Tofino, has offered the four-hour “Nooner” special for the past five years, 2020 was the first year of this particular promotion.



a person sitting on a couch


© Courtesy of Hotel Zed/Flytographer


The deal, which encouraged couples to check in from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for some nookie, followed some post-coital ping-pong in the lounge or perhaps a sexy soak in the outdoor hot tub, was a first for the Beshinskys.

It was also their first time staying at Hotel Zed.

The couple say they don’t even always get a chance to celebrate Valentine’s Day, owing to work conflicts and other challenges. Nicole calls the Nooner package “a great Valentine’s idea for parents because it makes childcare a little easier.”

Indeed, Hotel Zed CEO Mandy Farmer came up with the original Nooner idea when her kids were little, and she was struggling to find quality, child-free time with her husband. The prospect of a romantic tryst on February 14 was more appealing to her than a bouquet of carnations or a box of chocolates, so she took the idea to the board and they ran with it.

As to 2020’s baby-making incentive? Well, it seemed like a fun twist — the holiday is notoriously known for engagements, so why not conceptions?

“I don’t think we’re going to convince someone who’s not thinking about having a baby to have a baby. But if you’re serious about expanding your family, why wouldn’t you try?” Farmer asks. “If you succeed, you’ll win a way to celebrate your baby’s conception for the next 18 years.”

In addition to the 18 years of free stays, the Beshinsky family also lucked out with a free photo shoot so excited about their campaign’s results was the hotel.

Via email, Nicole said: “We had been trying to get pregnant for almost two years, so we thought we would raise stakes with the contest. Apparently all we needed was a little competition!”

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Austin mayor took vacation in Mexico while urging people to stay home | Austin

Austin’s mayor, Steve Adler, went on vacation to Mexico with family in November as he urged people to stay home amid worsening coronavirus caseloads in Texas, at one point recording a video during the trip in which he told residents back home that now was “not the time to relax”.

The trip, revealed on Wednesday by the Austin American-Statesman, is the latest example of a public official who has pleaded for vigilance in the face of rising cases and hospitalizations across the US seeming not to heed their own guidance. Adler, a Democrat, told the newspaper his actions did not violate his own regulations.

Last month, the California governor, Gavin Newsom, came under scrutiny for attending a birthday party at a posh restaurant in the wine country near San Francisco as he urged people to stay within their own households. Denver’s mayor, Michael Hancock, also flew to Mississippi to visit family for Thanksgiving despite sending messages on social media and to city staff asking them to avoid traveling for the holiday. He has since apologized.

“There was no recommendation for people not to travel during that period of time,” Adler told the newspaper. “Someone could look at me and say, ‘He traveled.’ But what they could not say is that I traveled at a time when I was telling other people not to travel.”

Adler did not immediately return a message Wednesday.

Texas surpassed 9,000 hospitalized virus patients this week for the first time since a deadly summer outbreak. More than 15,000 new cases were reported on Tuesday, smashing a single-day record, though state health officials attributed some of that spike to a backlog of results from the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

More than 272,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, and more than 13.8 million have been infected – more than any other country by far.

The trip to Cabo San Lucas came after Adler hosted an outdoor wedding and reception with 20 guests for his daughter at a hotel near downtown Austin, according to the newspaper. Adler said the attendees had to take a rapid Covid-19 test and maintain social distancing. He acknowledged, however, that although masks were distributed at the wedding, all guests were “probably not” wearing them all the time.

Adler typically does a nightly livestream on Facebook, and while in Mexico on 9 November, he recorded a video warning about the rising number of cases. He did not say in the video that he was on vacation.

“We need to stay home if you can,” Adler said in the video. “This is not the time to relax. We are going to be looking really closely. … We may have to close things down if we are not careful.”

After Adler returned from the trip, local health officials elevated the city’s Covid-19 guidance before the Thanksgiving holiday to stage 4, which discourages nonessential travel.

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Austin Mayor Flew to Mexico for Vacation after Advising Public to ‘Stay Home’

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has admitted he vacationed in Mexico last month despite warning residents of his city to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel to slow the spread of the coronavirus as cases continue to rise.



Austin mayor Steve Adler speaks to attendees besides the investors and executives of the Austin FC before the ground breaking ceremony at McKalla Place in Austin, Texas, September 9, 2019.


© John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports
Austin mayor Steve Adler speaks to attendees besides the investors and executives of the Austin FC before the ground breaking ceremony at McKalla Place in Austin, Texas, September 9, 2019.

While he was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with a group of eight family members, Adler recorded a video message urging the public to stay home that was posted to his Facebook page on November 9, ABC’s Austin affiliate KVUE reported.

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“The numbers are going up, maybe getting a little bit more concerning than they have been in the past, still not in a red zone yet, but something we can see potentially happening,” Adler, a Democrat, said in his video message.

“We need to stay home if you can. Do everything you can to try to keep the numbers down. This is not the time to relax,” the mayor said.

The mayor also warned that “we may have to close things down if we’re not careful,” adding that he would like to be able to use contact tracing in order to be “surgical” about which problematic places in the city to close temporarily.

Adler, who went on vacation just after he hosted his daughter’s wedding in Austin, defended his actions, assuring that he did not violate either his own or any of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s social distancing and quarantine orders. Adler also said he took several safety precautions for his guests in Cabo San Lucas, including rapid coronavirus testing.

A day after Adler and his immediate and extended family left for Cabo, Austin’s top doctor, Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott, issued public guidance discouraging travel.

“If you are going to go out to a restaurant, go out with your family, the people who live in your household, not the family or friends who don’t live in your household. And start to decrease those travels outside of your home that are not necessary.”

On Tuesday, Austin-Travis County health officials reported 380 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day increase in new cases since July 21, when the country recorded 603 new cases. Hospitalizations have also risen in Austin.

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Austin mayor regrets vacation to Mexico where he filmed video instructing residents that they ‘need to stay home’

The mayor of Austin, Texas, said Wednesday that he regretted going on vacation last month to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where he filmed a Facebook video instructing residents that they “need to stay home.”



Steve Adler wearing a suit and tie: Austin mayor regrets vacation to Mexico where he filmed video instructing residents that they 'need to stay home'


© Getty Images
Austin mayor regrets vacation to Mexico where he filmed video instructing residents that they ‘need to stay home’

Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D) told The Hill in a statement that he regretted the trip after the Austin American-Statesman reported it on Wednesday.

“I regret this travel,” he said. “I wouldn’t travel now, didn’t over Thanksgiving and won’t over Christmas.”

“But my fear is that this travel, even having happened during a safer period, could be used by some as justification for risky behavior,” Adler said. “In hindsight, and even though it violated no order, it set a bad example for which I apologize.”

Adler reportedly took a private jet with seven other individuals to visit a family timeshare for a week in Cabo after holding an outdoor wedding and reception for his daughter in Austin.

A day after arriving, Adler addressed the city in a Facebook video, requesting residents stay home, according to the Statesman. In the video, he did not reveal that he was outside of the city and country.

“We need to stay home, if you can,” he said in the video at the time. “Do everything you can to try to keep the numbers down. This is not the time to relax. We are going to be looking really closely.”

“We may have to close things down if we are not careful,” Adler added.

The mayor defended his daughter’s wedding and travel to the newspaper, saying that neither broke his city coronavirus orders or Texas state orders.

The Statesman reported that at the time of the wedding comprising of 20 guests and vacation, Austin officials recommended limiting groups to no more than 10 people, that only at-risk people avoid non-essential trips.

“There was no recommendation for people not to travel during that period of time,” he told the Statesman. “Someone could look at me and say, ‘He traveled.’ But what they could not say is that I traveled at a time when I was telling other people not to travel.”

Adler said his family spent hours planning a safe wedding and vacation, and he discussed the matter with interim health director Mark Escott. At the wedding, the 20 guests took a rapid COVID-19 test and socially distanced, and masks were handed out but “probably not” worn the whole time, he told the newspaper.

When the mayor left for Mexico, the positivity rate was less than 4 percent in Austin, but increased while he was away. Mexico is one of the few countries that continues to allow Americans to enter as others have banned U.S. tourists amid the pandemic.

The week following his vacation, Austin officials raised the city to a Stage 4, which recommends residents avoid all nonessential travel.

News about Adler’s trip comes as people have increasingly

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Vinny Guadagnino Feels Like This Is Missing From Season 4

Vinny Guadagnino is an instigator – especially when it comes to pushing Angelina Pivarnick’s buttons. Both reality stars are back for Jersey Shore: Family Vacation Season 4, but Guadagnino admitted something is missing from this season. 

Vinny Guadagnino
Vinny Guadagnino | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Angelina Pivarnick and Vinny Guadagnino have a love/hate relationship 

Pivarnick was on the outskirts of the Jersey Shore family for a long time, but when she returned to be part of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, everyone welcomed her with semi-open arms. 

That is, everyone except for Guadagnino. He maintained his faux hate for Pivarnick, often making her the butt of the joke. Now, their love/hate relationship has become something many Jersey Shore fans look forward to seeing on the show. 

The torturing continued after the season 3 finale of Family Vacation, wherein Pivarnick’s wedding drama was finally revealed. The backlash from fans got a little too intense, so Pivarnick took a brief break from social media. Naturally, upon her return, Guadagnino was there to harass Pivarnick.

“Omg Angelina shut up,” he tweeted. “I liked it better when your Twitter was deleted.” Pivarnick replied in a way fitting to their relationship:

It was NEVER deleted sweetie pie. Just do yourself a favor and learn how to talk to the QUEEN of Staten Island!!! [You] are a peasant and I am your ruler. Get that straight and we shall be good. Whoever messes [with] the queen shall face [the] consequences.

Pivarnick and Guadagnino may be on good terms, but their dynamic has definitely changed.

Season 4 of ‘Jersey Shore: Family Vacation’ looks a lot different

After the drama that unfolded at Pivarnick’s wedding in November 2019, the Jersey Shore family experienced a falling out. Once again, Pivarnick was on the outskirts. After backlash from many Jersey Shore fans, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi chose to step away from the show. The biggest difference about season 4 is that Polizzi is not part of the cast.

Another thing that is drastically different this season is how it was filmed. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shut much of the world down for a while. Despite the many setbacks the pandemic has caused, MTV figured out a way to safely film a new season of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation in quarantine. 

Yet another altered aspect of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation Season 4 is that Pivarnick isn’t fighting all with Guadagnino. Instead, her attention is focused on the feud between Farley and Cortese. 

Vinny Guadagnino misses fighting with Angelina Pivarnick

During an interview with the Jenny McCarthy Show, Guadagnino admitted there’s one thing missing from season 4 — his chance to argue with Pivarnick. 

While Ronnie Ortiz-Magro joked that Guadagnino and Pivarnick’s relationship was “strictly sexual,” the truth is Guadagnino had to take a step back from Pivarnick this season. 

“We do go at each other like we always do,” Guadagnino said of season 4. “I will say it was kind of overshadowed because the drama really wasn’t between Angelina and I this season.”

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Austin mayor urged people to ‘stay home’ from a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas, where he flew in on a private jet for a vacation with eight others, according to report



Steve Adler wearing a blue shirt: Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, speaks during the American Cities Climate Challenge conference at the C40 World Mayors Summit on October 10, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ole Jensen/Getty Images


© Ole Jensen/Getty Images
Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, speaks during the American Cities Climate Challenge conference at the C40 World Mayors Summit on October 10, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ole Jensen/Getty Images

  • The mayor of Austin, Texas, took a trip to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico on a private jet just before urging constituents to stay home as COVID-19 cases rose in the city, according to the Austin Statesman and KVUE.
  • Steve Adler also hosted a wedding for his daughter the day before the November flight, according to Tony Plohetski, the local reporter who broke the story. Twenty people attended the event.
  • Adler delivered a video address to constituents telling them to “stay home” and avoid unnecessary travel, though he did not disclose that he was doing so from Cabo.
  • “It’s not perfect,” Adler said during an interview this week, according to KVUE. “Obviously there are infections that could happen. But what we did was stay compliant with the rules.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The mayor of Austin, Texas, urged his constituents to “stay home” on a video call from a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas last month where he traveled on a private jet with eight family members and guests, according to the Austin Statesman and KVUE.

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“Stay home if you can … this is not the time to relax,” said Steve Adler in the video, which was shared Facebook on November 9. 

Adler kept the jaunt under wraps until local journalist Tony Plohetski broke the story Wednesday afternoon. The Democrat then confirmed the trip to Mexico and said he also hosted a wedding for his daughter the day before flying out for his vacation. Plohetski reported that 20 people attended the celebration.

According to Adler, neither his trip nor the wedding violated any of his own orders or Texas’ COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s not perfect,” Adler said during an interview this week, according to the local ABC affiliate, KVUE. “Obviously there are infections that could happen. But what we did was stay compliant with the rules.”

In his video address, the mayor gave no indication he was out of town.

He also noted some constituents “seem to be a little reticent” when reached by the city’s contact tracers.

As for the wedding, Adler said in a statement that he consulted with health officials “and worked hard to model the kind of behavior I’ve asked of the community.”

“We ask everyone to be as safe as possible in what they do,” he continued in the statement. “My family and I are no exception and we’ll continue to do as I ask of our community. During Thanksgiving and as anticipated for Christmas and the New Year, we should all be especially mindful.” 

As of Wednesday, more than 13.8 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus and over 272,400 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Texas, the second worst-hit state in the US, has surpassed 1.25 million cases and 22,100 deaths.

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German rail operator rolls out plan for ‘safer’ Christmas travel





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To handle an expected increase of Christmas passengers as coronavirus cases remain high, Deutsche Bahn (DB) announced on Wednesday it would run special trains over the holidays to allow more room on-board and to maintain social distancing.

With passenger numbers well down on normal levels, DB still expects reduced business over the Christmas period compared to normal years, but also a sharp uptick on the current traffic.

Taking advantage of the timely receipt of 15 new high-speed ICE trains, the German rail company plans up to 100 additional train runs, especially on main routes between large cities.

Twice as many special trains as normally run during Christmas will be used, between December 18 to 27.

The extra trains increase DB’s daily long-distance capacity by 13,000 seats, almost 10% above current levels, according to the company.

This year, “we have more capacity than ever before,” said Berthold Huber, the head of DB’s passenger transport board, in a statement.

Social distancing and mask checks

To ensure that passengers can be seated as far apart as possible, DB has also updated its reservation system.

Overall, only 60% of seats on each long-distance train will be able to be reserved, though passengers are not required to do so.

With the expected increase in trains and passengers, Deutsche Bahn also intends to increase checks to ensure that all passengers are wearing masks.

In total, some 4,000 security forces are being deployed along with 5,000 federal police officers for this purpose.

“It’s our responsibility to make travel as safe as possible ahead of Christmas,” the head of DB’s infrastructure board, Ronald Pofalla, said in a statement.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, DB expects ridership to be significantly lower through the holidays. One consumer survey suggests passenger volume will fall some 60% compared to normal levels, reported news agency DPA.

Author: Michael Buchsbaum

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Australia politics live: NSW hotel quarantine worker tests positive for Covid | Australia news

NSW Health is calling on people in Sydney’s north-west to get tested if they have even the mildest Covid-19 symptoms, after the state’s sewage surveillance program detected traces of the virus at a sewage treatment plant in Riverstone.

Fragments of the virus that causes Covid-19 have been detected in samples taken on Sunday 29 November from the sewerage system that drains parts of Riverstone, Vineyard, Marsden Park, Shanes Park, Quakers Hill, Oakville, Box Hill, The Ponds, Rouse Hill, Nelson, Schofields and Colebee.

Detection of the virus in sewage samples could reflect the presence of known cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in recent weeks in the area served by this sewage treatment plant. However, NSW Health is concerned there could be other active cases in the local community in people who have not been tested and who might incorrectly assume their symptoms are just a cold.

Particularly in light of the easing of restrictions on gatherings announced [yesterday], it is important that people in these areas be aware of any symptoms of illness, and immediately isolate and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms appear. Cold-like symptoms, including a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, tiredness, fever or other symptoms could be Covid-19.

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