Tag: News

CDC warns Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving gatherings | World news

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With the coronavirus surging out of control, America’s top public health agency pleaded with Americans on Thursday not to travel for the traditional Thanksgiving family gatherings next week and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their own household.

It was some of the firmest guidance yet from the government on curtailing traditional gatherings to fight the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the recommendations just one week before Thanksgiving, which falls on 26 November this year, at a time when diagnosed infections, hospitalizations and deaths are surging across the country.

In many areas, the healthcare system is being squeezed by a combination of sick patients filling up beds and medical workers falling ill themselves.

The CDC’s Erin Sauber-Schatz cited more than 1m new cases in the US over the past week as the reason for the new guidance.

“The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household,” she said.

If families do decide to include returning college students, military members or others for turkey and stuffing, the CDC is recommending that the hosts take added precautions: gatherings should be outdoors if possible, with people keeping 6ft apart and wearing masks and just one person serving the food.

Whether Americans heed the warning is another matter. The deadly comeback by the virus has been blamed in part on pandemic fatigue, or people getting tired of masks and other precautions.

And surges were seen last summer after Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, despite blunt warnings from health authorities.

The United States has seen more than 11m diagnosed infections and over 250,000 deaths from the coronavirus, with inadequate action being taken to prevent the spread of the disease amid a leaked warning from inside the White House on Wednesday of a pandemic that involves “aggressive, unrelenting, broad community spread across the country, without evidence of improvement but, rather, further deterioration”.

CDC scientists believe that somewhere around 40% of people who are infected do not have obvious symptoms but can still spread the virus.

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Covid-19 News: Live Updates – The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…Annie Flanagan for The New York Times

As the United States struggles with surging coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday urged Americans not to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday and to consider canceling plans to spend time with relatives outside their households.

The new guidance states clearly that “the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with,” and that gathering with friends and even family members who do not live with you increases the chances of becoming infected with Covid-19 or the flu or transmitting the virus.

Officials said they were strengthening their recommendations against travel because of a startling surge in infections in just the past week. As of Wednesday, the seven-day average of new cases across the country had surpassed more than 162,000, an increase of 77 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

“Amid this critical phase, the C.D.C. is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” said Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager at the agency, during a news briefing.

“We’re alarmed,” he added, citing an exponential increase in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. “What we’re concerned about is not only the actual mode of travel — whether it’s an airplane or bus or car, but also the transportation hubs we’re concerned about, as well.”

“When people are in line” to get on a bus or plane, social distancing becomes far more difficult and viral transmission becomes more likely, he said.

The agency’s overriding concern is that the holidays may accelerate the spread of the virus, C.D.C. officials said. Older family members are at great risk for complications and death should they contract the virus.

Officials made the pleas to avoid travel even as they acknowledged that the prolonged outbreak has taken a toll on families, and that people are craving connection after months of isolation.

But Dr. Walke warned family get-togethers — especially those that bring different households together — could inadvertently lead to tragic outcomes.

“The tragedy that could happen is one of your family members, from coming together in a family gathering, could wind up hospitalized and severely ill and could die. We don’t want to see that happen,” Dr. Walke said. “This year we’re asking people to be as safe as possible.”

College students returning home for the holiday should isolate themselves and limit interactions with friends on campus before their return, and once home, they should try to limit interactions with family members, trying to interact outside rather than indoors and wear masks indoors if a family member has a chronic condition that places them at risk.

Dr. Walke said he himself is not going to visit his parents, though he has not seen them in many months and they are imploring him to come home, and he has encouraged his own adult and

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Officials approve plan for managing recreation on Madison River | News

Montana officials amended and approved new regulations intended to reduce crowding on the Madison River at a virtual meeting Wednesday, wrapping up a three-year long process.

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission spent six hours Wednesday hearing public comments and wrangling with proposed rules to limit commercial use on stretches of the Madison River. They voted unanimously to pass a version of the regulations drafted by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials that will go into place in three parts.

The first part is about gathering data on noncommercial use and setting up a working group for the river. The second would put in place a cap on commercial use and the third would test restricting certain uses on certain days.

“Madison River recreation management is one of those issues where developing a solution that makes everyone happy is close to impossible,” said Eileen Ryce, FWP’s fisheries chief. “In developing a recommendation, our goal was to try and find some middle ground or a moderate approach that addresses the major concerns raised in public comment.”

Now that the regulations have passed the commission, they will go to the secretary of state’s office for filing, according to Becky Dockter, chief legal counsel for FWP. Commissioners said the rules would likely be filed by Dec. 15 and go into effect on Christmas Day.

FWP already drafted a series of rules reflecting recommendations found in petitions from the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana (FOAM) and a coalition of the George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Anaconda Sportsmen Association and the Skyline Sportsmen Association. The department collected more than 700 public comments on those proposals, then drafted its own set of recommendations.

To give FWP staff time to evaluate the effectiveness of the new rules, the approved regulations will be adopted in phases, according to Ryce. Each phase will be evaluated and regulations will receive a full review every five years.

In 2021, the commission plans to appoint a working group responsible for regulating commercial and non-commercial river users. The working group is expected to include a commissioner and a member of the Bureau of Land Management.

Additionally, in 2021, all non-commercial river users will have to report their trips to FWP officials through a system devised by the department. The department suggested it may track non-commercial recreation via sign-in boxes, rather than mandatory stamps, as petitioners had originally proposed. Trail cameras are also being considered. The data collected from the project will help inform future non-commercial river use management.

In 2022, FWP plans to set the number of guided trips allocated to commercial river users at 2019 or 2020 levels, choosing whichever is higher for the outfitter. The new working group will continue to develop and monitor caps on the number of guided trips allocated to outfitters.

Further caps would be enforced based on levels recommended by the working group and approved by the commission. Information gathered from the non-commercial reporting requirements will allow the department to draft any regulations restricting such

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South Australia officials reject calls to stop Covid medi-hotel staff working multiple jobs | Australia news

South Australia’s police commissioner has said it would not be possible to run the state’s hotel quarantine program without allowing staff to work multiple jobs, despite the Victorian inquiry into the failures of its program specifically recommending staff hold only one posting.

South Australia has entered the first day of a six-day lockdown to prevent the further spread of a Covid-19 outbreak out of the Peppers quarantine hotel in Adelaide. There are now 23 cases associated with the outbreak after the virus transferred from a returned traveller from the UK to a cleaner, on to two security guards and then into the community.

Contact tracers in the state are now attempting to track down people who attended the Woodville Pizza Bar between 6 and 16 November, after it was revealed on Wednesday one of the two security guards also worked at the venue.

The path the virus took through casual workers in two high-risk settings echoes how the virus spread in Victoria at the start of its second wave, with the state’s hotel quarantine inquiry hearing of a security guard who continued to work both at the hotel and as an Uber driver while infectious.

The spread was partly put down to casual workers fearing they would not be paid if they needed to isolate. Eventually the Victorian and federal governments made payments to those needing to isolate while waiting for test results, or for the two-week infectious period.

A key recommendation of the interim report delivered by the head of Victoria’s inquiry, Jennifer Coate, earlier this month stipulated that “every effort must be made to ensure that all personnel working at the facility are not working across multiple quarantine sites and not working in other forms of employment”.

“Every effort should be made to have personnel working at quarantine facilities salaried employees with terms and conditions that address the possible need to self-isolate in the event of an infection or possible infection, or close contact exposure, together with all necessary supports, including the need to relocate if necessary and have a managed return to work,” the report recommended.

Under South Australia’s model for hotel quarantine, known as medi-hotels, the state has police at hotels, but also uses private security.

On Thursday, the South Australian health minister, Stephen Wade, said the health department and the SA police commissioner, Grant Stevens, had reviewed the findings in Victoria, but Stevens said it was an “unreasonable” expectation.

“They have mortgages to pay, they have other bills to pay, and this is simply a necessity in order for us to fulfil our obligations,” he said.

“They have lives beyond their responsibilities in any hotel, and we need to find that balance and it’s simply not possible for us to bring in the total number of people required to run this function in South Australia, and have them not participate in other activities that they consider necessary for their personal circumstances.”

Stevens argued it would mean people working in the system would need to isolate

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Woodhaven residents encouraged to review five-year recreation plan before final draft to council | News

The newly proposed five-year Woodhaven Parks and Recreation master plan is now available for public review.

Residents are able to look over the plan and make their comments on it until at least the end of the month.

According to city officials, in order to achieve the overall goal of the plan, the process must be customer driven and oriented.

Input from residents, community leaders, school supporters, business owners and volunteers was being sought and integrated into the plan representing the priorities of the community.

Officials said with strong working relationships, partnerships and collaborations, the use of community resources will be maximized for the benefit of all residents.

Prior to making the final submission to the City Council for its consideration and then approval, plans call for the Recreation Commission to further consider and discuss the additional public input during the Dec. 21, virtual meeting.

Residents recently completed a survey asking for thoughts on various recreational activities offered in the city.

The responses from the survey and additional input helped formulate a vision for the city in terms of other programs, services and facilities.

The survey was designed to show officials how the services offered are working and what things would be attractive for the future.

It was put together to gauge opinions, interests and beliefs about the city’s parks and recreation department.

The input helped formulate a vision for the city in terms of other programs, services and facilities moving forward.

Some of the questions focused on improving the park system, the operation and maintenance of parks and facilities, city sponsored events, underserved recreational needs and prioritizing the appeal of various activities.

Recreation has been a focus for Mayor Patricia Odette over the past several years.

Among other things, she has brought playground area amenities, a dog park, Splash Pad, fitness trails, renovated Safety Town buildings, added a skate park and more to the city.

A draft of the proposed master plan is available on the city’s website at Woodhavenmi.org.

All comments, concerns and suggestions can be shared in writing via email at [email protected] or mailed to the Woodhaven Parks and Recreation Department, 23101 Hall Road, Woodhaven, MI 48183.

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the city will provide necessary reasonable auxiliary aids and services to individuals with disabilities.

For additional information, contact the recreation department at 734-675-4926.

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From hotel to pizza shop to lockdown: has South Australia learned Victoria’s Covid tracing lessons? | Australia news

As tense South Australians swirled around Unley Shopping Centre on Wednesday afternoon trying to figure out what to buy for their first full lockdown – “screw essentials, I need ice-cream!” – council worker Anne Ross was standing in the long queue for the supermarket, calmly preparing for her third time around.

Ross had secured an exemption to enter SA from her home state of Victoria several weeks earlier, escorted by police to Adelaide, so she could grieve with relatives after her mother died.

Little did she anticipate how the tables would turn. “Now I’m stuck here,” she tells Guardian Australia with a laugh.

Ross hopes the six-day lockdown announced for SA on Wednesday doesn’t develop into the marathon she experienced at home.

“I think South Australia is in a fortunate position, in that they can learn from what happened in Victoria,” she says.

The daily press conferences are a similar experience, but the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has been swapped out for his South Australian counterpart, Steven Marshall, and in place of Victoria’s chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, is SA’s calm voice of scientific authority, Prof Nicola Spurrier.

The biggest difference Ross has noticed in the response so far has been in the detail of the contact-tracing announcements “right down to the number of minutes someone was in a particular location”.

Adelaide residents queue for supermarket shopping after South Australia was thrown into a snap six-day lockdown.



Adelaide residents queue for supermarket shopping after South Australia was thrown into a snap six-day lockdown. Photograph: Peter Mundy/Speed Media/REX/Shutterstock

Spurrier has been able to provide the public with a detailed breakdown of possible transmission sites across Adelaide.

Dr Stephen Duckett, the health program director for the Grattan Institute, agrees South Australia has had an opportunity to learn from other states.

“NSW was the first to do tracing of contacts at the second level, they shared this with Victoria, and now we see it in South Australia,” he says. “There’s a good network of sharing experiences between the states.”

SA approaches it like this. Once SA Pathology has processed a positive case, it immediately alerts the SA Health contact-tracing team, which attempts to call the patient within a few hours.

In detailed phone interviews, the contact tracer records who the patient came into contact with and where they went.

Contacts of positive cases receive daily messages or phone calls to find out if symptoms have developed, to determine if they need to get tested.

The investigation into the cluster that has since shut down the state began after a woman in her 80s presented to the Lyell McEwin hospital with symptoms on Friday evening.

She tested positive, and contact tracers identified that her daughter worked as a cleaner at the Peppers quarantine hotel, where she is believed to have contracted the virus from a contaminated surface.

The cleaner also infected two security guards. None of the hotel quarantine workers exhibited any symptoms, but passed the virus on to their family members.

One day after the positive case was identified, Spurrier was able to provide the public with

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Spotted: Jr NTR and family return to Hyderabad after a vacation in Dubai | Telugu Movie News

Jr NTR, his wife Lakshmi Pranathi and elder son Abhay Ram were spotted at Hyderabad airport on Wednesday after a short, relaxing vacation in Dubai.

The actor took a break from shooting for RRR for a week and went abroad with his family. For his airport look, he opted for a maroon tee-shirt paired with blue denims and black shoes. His curly hair and bearded look made heads turn despite the cool round shades and a mask. He held his son’s hand as he walked by, who looked adorable in a swear-shirt and jeans. Lashmi opted for a simple white shirt paired with jeans and kept her hair tied back.

Jr NTR went to Dubai last week to spend some quality time with his family. While most stars opted for Maldives, Tarak opted for something different like Mahesh Babu. Before that, he was busy canning important scenes for SS Rajamouli’s RRR during night shoots. The team recently even shared how they were coping with cold nights with the help of heaters during these shoots.

RRR has been in the works for over a year, with the shooting halted during lockdown. Apart from Jr NTR, the film also stars Ram Charan in the lead role apart from Alia Bhatt, Olivia Morris, Ajay Devgn and Shriya Saran in key roles. The film will see him play a tribal man based on Komaram Bheem, a role for which Tarak worked hard and maintained his fitness. The team of RRR also did a special photo-shoot for Diwali with their lead actors and director which was all the rage.

Jr NTR’s last film Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava with Trivikram Srinivas was a hit and the actor has given his nod to the director again. All the promotional materials of RRR have been received well, even if the star’s teaser for the film received some criticism for showing his character as a Muslim briefly. Further details of when the film’s shooting will resume again are awaited.

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U.S. Travel Spending Will Plunge in 2020, Not Fully Recover Until 2024: Travel Group | Investing News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. travel group said on Tuesday that travel spending is expected to fall by more than $500 billion in 2020 and is not expected to recover to pre-coronavirus levels until 2024.

The U.S. Travel Association projects spending in 2019 will be $617 billion, down from its July forecast of $622 billion, compared with $1.13 trillion in 2019.

The decline reflects the dramatic falloff in business travel. The group said the industry has lost nearly 40%, or 3.5 million, of all direct travel jobs and warned another 1 million jobs could be lost without additional government relief by year-end.

The group forecasts a 75% reduction in international visitors to the United States in 2020, accounting for a $119 billion decline in spending. The United States currently bars most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in Europe, China, Brazil and some other countries.

The forecast comes as new U.S. COVID-19 infections has reached an all-time daily high and many U.S. states are issuing new orders limiting indoor activities and in some cases temporarily barring indoor dining.

“A lot of businesses that need help to retain and rehire their people won’t be there in January if we wait until the next Congress to get more aid passed,” said U.S. Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow.

The U.S. Transportation Department said last week the country’s airlines carried 65% fewer passengers in September versus the same month last year, the smallest decrease since March. Airlines say travel demand in November remains down 65%.

The U.S. cruise industry has agreed to suspend cruises through Dec. 31 and many major tourist attractions like Disneyland in California and Broadway in New York remain closed. Others remain at limited capacity.

Airlines have made a renewed push for $25 billion in assistance after a $25 billion program of mostly cash grants for payroll approved by Congress in March expired on Sept. 30.

American Airlines and United Airlines last month furloughed 32,000 workers.

Hotels, rental car companies and other travel businesses are still struggling even as demand has improved over lows following the coronavirus pandemic.

Marriott said on Nov. 6 that third-quarter occupancy at North American hotels rose to 37%, nearly double the prior three months based mostly on an increase in leisure travel.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Stephen Coates)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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COVID-19: Hotel linen supplier cuts 1,550 jobs as pandemic crushes demand | Business News

Textiles firm Johnson Service is cutting 1,550 jobs as the pandemic crushes demand from the hospitality sector – and prospects of recovery remain “unknown”.

The company, which provides work wear for factories and linen and towels for hotels, restaurants and caterers, said it was reducing its workforce through redundancies and normal staff turnover.

Johnson said that while its workwear business – serving industrial and food processing plants – was back at pre-COVID levels, its hospitality division had been hit by the latest lockdown measures.

Trading in the latter part of the business had improved slightly in September but slipped back in October to just 45% of normal levels, with demand for hotel linen particularly badly hit as local restrictions squeezed demand.

Johnson said the outlook for the remainder of the year “remains dependent on the level and impact of regional restrictions on the hospitality industry in December”, following the planned ending of the current lockdown in England on 2 December.

The update illustrates that even as positive updates from COVID-19 vaccine trials lift stock markets, as a return to normal life looks closer, firms and workers are still counting the cost of the pandemic and face more uncertainty in the coming months.

It came as bosses from the hospitality sector appeared before MPs to plead for clarity about how they can reopen safely in time for the crucial Christmas season.

Johnson said that its hospitality division was “continuing to experience uncertainty”.

“Whilst the news last week of a possible vaccine is encouraging, volumes currently remain unpredictable and the timing of any sustained recovery in our market remains unknown.

“Although mindful of the current reduced volumes, we are continuing to manage the business prudently and are in ongoing discussions with many of our customers so that we are in the best position possible to scale up our operations when markets return.”

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COVID-19: The economic virus

Johnson said it expected its hospitality division to end the year with 2,450 employees, down from 3,800 at the end of 2019.

The company said it had been using the government’s job retention scheme and had 1,600 employees in the division currently on furlough, with most of the remainder being “flexi-furloughed” on reduced hours.

Johnson also said it expected to employ 2,100 people in its workwear division at the start of 2021, down from 2,300 at the end of 2019 as it cuts costs.

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Was economic growth too little?

It said that while trading volumes for this part of the business had recovered, revenues could come under pressure due to lower levels of new sales achieved, increased uncertainty for industrial customers and the potential for further lockdowns.

The company’s chief executive, Peter Egan, expressed “admiration for the way in which our employees have risen to the many challenges posed by COVID-19”.

He added: “We have taken the right steps to manage our cost base

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