Tag: chaos

Government urged to implement strict rules to avoid Christmas travel ‘chaos’



a car driving on a highway: Cars pass a Covid warning sign on the eastbound M8 motorway in Glasgow ahead of the introduction of further coronavirus restrictions on November 20, 2020. - Swathes of western and central Scotland prepared to enter a three-week period of restrictions this evening. From 6:00 pm (1800 GMT) non-essential shops, hospitality, gyms and beauty salons will shut in 11 council areas including the most populous city of Glasgow. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)


Cars pass a Covid warning sign on the eastbound M8 motorway in Glasgow ahead of the introduction of further coronavirus restrictions on November 20, 2020. – Swathes of western and central Scotland prepared to enter a three-week period of restrictions this evening. From 6:00 pm (1800 GMT) non-essential shops, hospitality, gyms and beauty salons will shut in 11 council areas including the most populous city of Glasgow. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)





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The government has been asked to implement a “comprehensive travel plan” to avoid a rise in coronavirus infections among people going home for Christmas.

Labour has suggested that peak rail fares are suspended and mass coronavirus testing administered to transport workers ahead of the festive season.

Under the government’s current plans, travel rules will be eased from December 23 to 27 and three households will be allowed to mix in a bubble for these five days.

But Labour has urged transport secretary Grant Shapps to present a detailed plan to Parliament in order to “keep families safe”.



Social distance sign at Leeds train station at the start of a four week national lockdown for England. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)


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Social distance sign at Leeds train station at the start of a four week national lockdown for England. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)

Labour shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said: “Families will be looking forward to travelling to see one another this Christmas after a really tough year.

“However, we cannot afford to be complacent. The virus still poses a very serious risk to people’s health.

“That’s why ministers need to come to Parliament on Monday with a comprehensive travel plan to ensure families travelling across the country are kept safe and chaos on our roads and rail network is avoided.

Read moreThe Tier 3 COVID lockdown rules explainedThe Tier 2 COVID lockdown rules explainedWhat tier are you in? Full list of lockdown areas

“This is too important for the Government to ignore or leave until to the last minute. This is about protecting lives and livelihoods.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) said on Friday that Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy had been appointed as a Christmas travel tsar.

Watch: Shapps outlines new quarantine rules for international arrivals

The DfT also said it will publish measures aimed at easing travel disruption next week, which will take into account analysis of demand for advance train tickets and public surveys.

In the meantime, Shapps has urged people to plan their journeys “very carefully” and “where possible book well in advance”.

He said: “As some advance tickets go on sale and people begin to plan their journeys, we are closely assessing demand on the network and have already taken actions to minimise potential disruption.

“We are currently developing a plan focused on tackling disruption – including running longer trains and relaxing rules to allow more types of coaches to run.”

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COVID-19: Labour demands ‘comprehensive’ Christmas travel plan to help people avoid ‘chaos’ | Politics News

The government is being urged to suspend peak rail fares and introduce mass testing for transport staff, to help the country avoid travel “chaos” in the run up to Christmas.

Labour is demanding that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps present a “comprehensive travel plan” to the House of Commons next week that looks at the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions between 23 December and 27 December.

A temporary easing of restrictions has been agreed by the devolved administrations over Christmas, that will allow up to three households to mix in a single bubble.

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Virus ‘doesn’t know it’s Christmas’, says PM

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy was appointed as a Christmas travel tsar in the week, and will look at what impact the easing of the rules will have on the air, rail and road networks during the five days, and scrutinise their preparedness.

Labour says more than two million people used the rail network to travel over Christmas and New Year in previous years, while millions more took car journeys.

To minimise the risk of overcrowding in trains, the party has called on the government to temporarily scrap peak fares during the lockdown-eased period.

It is also encouraging the government to implement mass COVID-19 testing for transport workers such as train staff, bus drivers and highway employees.

As well as that, Labour has also argued that planned maintenance works on the East Coast Mainline, which runs between London and Edinburgh, via cities such as York and Newcastle, should be delayed until the 27 December, so people can return home safely.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) which runs the line said that planned engineering works will make alternative routes “very busy”.

Labour shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said: “Families will be looking forward to travelling to see one another this Christmas after a really tough year.

“However, we cannot afford to be complacent. The virus still poses a very serious risk to people’s health.

“That’s why ministers need to come to Parliament on Monday with a comprehensive travel plan to ensure families travelling across the country are kept safe and chaos on our roads and rail network is avoided.”

He added: “This is too important for the government to ignore or leave until to the last minute. This is about protecting lives and livelihoods.”

The Department for Transport will publish measures next week that will ease travel disruption over the Christmas period, which will use analysis of demand for advance rail tickets and public surveys.

Mr Shapps has urged the public to make plans “very carefully” and “where possible, book well in advance“.

He said: “As some advance tickets go on sale and people begin to plan their journeys, we are closely assessing demand on the network and have already taken actions to minimise potential disruption.

“We are currently developing a plan focused on tackling disruption – including running longer trains and relaxing rules to allow more types of coaches

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EU Seeks to Boost Rapid Covid Tests to Avoid Travel Chaos

(Bloomberg) — European Union regulators offered member governments guidelines on speedy testing for the coronavirus in the latest effort to prevent national health measures from hindering the free movement of people across the bloc.



a person lying on a blue blanket: Covid Testing As Madrid Steps Up Pressure Over Pandemic Steps


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Covid Testing As Madrid Steps Up Pressure Over Pandemic Steps

The European Commission recommendation covers the use of rapid antigen tests for detecting Covid-19 in “specific settings.” The commission also urged EU governments to recognize each other’s test results and approved 35.5 million euros ($42.2 million) for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to expand testing in the bloc.

“Testing tells us what the extent of the spread is, where it is and how it develops,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a statement on Wednesday in Brussels. “It is a decisive tool to slow down the spread of Covid-19.”

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed fundamental shortcomings in the way the EU can tackle international health emergencies, prompting pleas by airlines and airports for more coordinated action. National governments in the bloc have the prime responsibility for health policies that, in a crisis, can undermine the prized European single market.

Pfizer Vaccine Milestone; Poland Has Record Deaths: Virus Update

National border closures and curbs on the export of medical gear within the EU during the spring galvanized the commission, the 27-nation EU’s regulatory arm, into actions meant to create a more coherent response.

The results included special highway lanes to ensure trucks could cross national borders; curbs on the sale outside the EU of personal protective equipment; the joint procurement of any successful Covid-19 vaccines; and a common approach to imposing restrictions on visitors from abroad.

In October, the commission stepped up such efforts by urging improved exchanges of real-time data, a focus on rapid testing and greater use of mobile-tracing applications. Last week, it proposed legislation to beef up two EU health agencies.

Among the commission’s recommendations on Wednesday regarding rapid antigen tests for Covid-19 are that they should be:

conducted by trained healthcare personnel or trained operators where appropriateused within five days after the onset of symptoms or within seven days after exposure to a confirmed Covid-19 caseconsidered for individuals with Covid-19 compatible symptoms in areas where the proportion of test positivity is high or very high when the availability of “gold standard” RT-PCR tests is temporarily limitedrecommended to test individuals, regardless of symptoms, in settings where the proportion of test positivity is expected to be ≥10%considered at admission to healthcare facilities and for a targeted population-wide testing approach

(Updates with details of specific recommendations in last two paragraphs)

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Inclusive Recreation program displays adaptability amid chaos

As ground zero of the disability rights movement, the city of Berkeley sets a historically high bar for disability activism. Torre Meeks, coordinator of Cal’s Inclusive Recreation program, believes the program has lived up to these expectations despite the hindrances of a pandemic.

Meeks has journeyed through uncharted territory with enthusiasm and grace as Cal’s first full-time inclusive recreation coordinator. “It’s been really fun to be able to trailblaze, in terms of new programming and campus involvement,” he said. “There are so many possibilities and directions for inclusive recreation can explore.”

In almost two years at Cal, Meeks has stayed true to his word and helped expand the program’s offerings to new heights. For one, the program added wheelchair basketball to a lineup of adaptive recreational sports in 2019 that also included goalball and CalStar Yoga, the latter of which is an adaptive yoga course designed for students with mobility impairments. The Inclusive Recreation program is equipped with 10 PER4MAX wheelchairs, which were available for students to rent and utilize during open gym hours. In order to publicize wheelchair basketball, Berkeley Recreational Sports hosted a showcase before social distancing restrictions were enforced. Meeks also invited guest Paralympic athletes as well as coaches from the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program to help implement programs at Cal. Furthermore, Meeks and his team have expanded the use of assistive devices and equipment in the Recreational Sports Facility. While the population of students without disabilities may not be directly affected by these changes, Meeks maintains that inclusive equipment is imperative in creating a welcoming environment for students with disabilities in sports.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily suspended in-person access to many adaptive sports, including wheelchair basketball. Restrictions have also derailed plans to create a wheelchair basketball DeCal and expand goalball beyond the introductory DeCal courses.

In the face of these setbacks, Meeks and the Inclusive Recreation program transitioned certain aspects of their program into a virtual format. They have incorporated live seated yoga classes, similar to the CalStar Yoga model, into the existing catalog of recreational online classes. Furthermore, the Accessible Wellness and Empowerment program’s services, which provide free, personal training to qualifying students with disabilities, are also offered virtually. After the scrutinized shutdown of the No Limits program in 2019, the Accessible Wellness and Empowerment program was launched in order to reaffirm Inclusive Recreation’s commitment to serve students regardless of income level. While Meeks declined to state how much grant funding the Accessible Wellness and Empowerment program received, the program guidelines guarantee that athletes will continue to be supported until funding is exhausted.

Although inclusive recreational sports faces many challenges in the context of the pandemic, Meeks believes the worst is behind it.

“The biggest challenge was definitely the initial transition to virtual services,” Meeks said. “With so many different economic factors and ability levels to consider, it’s hard to create a diverse array of programs to meet the many needs of Cal’s disabled community.” And as the team transitions into

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