Tag Archives: Coronavirus pandemic 2019-2020

First signs of life in travel industry as COVID-19 vaccines rekindle Americans’ desire to travel | Instant News

The downed travel industry shows signs of life as coronavirus vaccines allow returnee Americans to start thinking about taking a flight. Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder of Indagare, a membership-based travel agency that operates its own tours around the world and which had seen 14 consecutive years of growth before the pandemic, said new bookings had fallen to zero when COVID-19 took hold. In June 2020, sales had fallen by almost 100% compared to the period of the previous year. In recent weeks, however, business has started to pick up. “I had three phone calls today with people who said, ‘I haven’t traveled for a year, I got my two shots, where am I going? Bradley told CBS MoneyWatch. In January, traffic to Indagare’s website was down less than 2% from its pre-COVID level. New bookings have surged over the past three weeks as vaccine rollout in the United States accelerates, with sales in mid-February being at their highest level since before the effective closure of domestic and international travel. last year. Data from consumer spending research firm Facteus shows that travel spending has increased slightly over the past three weeks. For the week of February 21, travel expenses decreased by 42% compared to the period of the previous year. But that’s still up four percentage points from the week before. Travel bookings also rose six percentage points last week, according to Facteus. 2020 was the worst year in tourism history, U … 5:18 AM Paula Laverty, 73, Maine resident and avid athlete, eagerly awaits a solo ski trip to Park City, Utah , early next month. She organized the excursion at the end of January after receiving her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (as recommended for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines). Laverty is still considering taking precautions and does not expect people not yet vaccinated to want to ski with her. It was one of the first tapes she took in about a year when she visited New York. “I’m still not comfortable going to restaurants, and I’m going to do double masking and probably ski on my own,” she said. So where do Americans want to travel the most after being locked up for a year? Beach vacations rank high in online research, according to rate aggregators and booking sites. For example, at the end of February, searches for flights to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii were up 31% from the same period a year ago, according to Kayak. The most popular overseas destinations now include Egypt, Kenya, Costa Rica and Belize – places open to visitors and relatively easy to reach from the United States, said Bradley of Indagare. Boutique hotel booking site Tablet Hotels has also noticed a recent increase in website visits, many of which have led to bookings. “January has been a very quiet month and we’ve seen steady growth since the last week of January. Over the past two weeks, traffic to the site has increased,” said CEO Lucy Lieberman. Mexico sees increase in number of American tourists 2:51 AM Among the most popular destinations for Tablet Hotels: Austin, Texas; Miami; Paris; and Tulum, Mexico. “It’s totally related to the vaccine. At the end of November, when the first vaccine announcements started going out, we saw an immediate increase in bookings,” Lieberman said. “People had a cabin fever raging and were booking for really far away – around Thanksgiving, people were booking for Thanksgiving 2021.” Hotels that promote their safety and cleanliness protocols stand out among consumers. Travelers are also more interested in hotels – which tend to have professional staff, housekeeping, and safety standards – than rental homes. “We feel like people are done doing their own laundry, cooking and cleaning,” Lieberman said. Travel is also a priority, as Spring Break, Easter and Passover, and Summer Break arrive. Users of the travel site are even booking college degrees in May and June, Lieberman said. Of course, no one expects 2021 to be a banner year for travel, especially as different strains of COVID-19 threaten to trigger a new wave of infections. “We expect the 2021 volume to be definitely lower than 2019,” Lieberman said. Bradley, of Indagare, expects that by June, sales will be around 35% of what they were for the same month in 2019. With more than 4 million hosts across the country, a announced Thursday that its 2020 revenue was $ 3.4 billion, down 30% from the same period in 2019. Yet CEO Brian Chesky told Wall Street analysts he was optimistic as travel will recover from the pandemic, especially as more companies abandon their desks, giving employees the opportunity to work from different locations. “Travel is coming back,” Chesky said during the company’s earnings call. “And we are focused on preparing for the rebound of the trip.” .

image source

Biden to reimpose COVID-19 travel ban Trump lifted in recent days | Instant News

President Joe Biden will reimpose the COVID-19 travel ban that former President Trump lifted with less than 48 hours in office, two White House officials confirmed to CBS News. Mr Biden is expected to reinstate the ban on Monday. The ban will apply to all non-US travelers returning to the United States from Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe. There will also be travel restrictions for non-Americans entering the United States from South Africa. On January 18, the Trump administration announced it would lift some of the travel ban restrictions put in place in March. As of January 26, the Trump administration has said it will remove restrictions on travel from Brazil, the UK, Ireland and parts of Europe. Restrictions on Iran and China would remain in place under the Trump administration’s ban. Trump cited coordination with U.S. officials and transparency as the rationale for lifting travel restrictions to Europe and Brazil. Biden’s White House press secretary Jen Psaki immediately tweeted that the new administration had no plans to comply with the change. Psaki wrote. The White House official, with first-hand knowledge of the action, also said on Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control would not consider granting temporary waivers to airlines for exempt countries with limited COVID testing capacity. CDC officials will consider humanitarian exemptions on a case-by-case basis. A White House official also confirmed to CBS News that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will sign a separate order on Monday requiring masks on all planes, trains, subways, ferries, buses and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

image source

Thousands took to the streets to protest Brazil’s Bolsonaro | Instant News

Thousands of Brazilians took to the streets for a second day calling for the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro

Honking cars paraded through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and a dozen or so other cities as other protesters marched on foot, some shouting, “Get out of Bolsonaro!”

Sunday’s protests were called by conservatives who once supported the president, while on Saturday came from the left.

“When Bolsonaro arrived, we selected him for his proposal which we thought was attractive, but the situation now with the pandemic is dire,” said Meg Fernandes, a 66-year-old engineer who joined protests in Rio on Sunday.

He said he was particularly worried about the situation in the northern city of Manaus, where there was a waiting list for hospital intensive care beds and a shortage of medical oxygen.

“I was disappointed last year, but now with the situation in Manaus, I think (this administration) should stop,” he said. “Bye, Bolsonaro.”

“Bolsonaro’s base in congress is unstable, but strong,” he said, although that could be undermined by the president’s weakening popularity.

But he said impeachment would be “a nuclear option that changes the trajectory of the country’s politics.”

Brazil’s Attorney General, Augusto Aras, on Saturday asked the Supreme Court to open an investigation into Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello over the crisis in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state. Aras cited a document that said the ministry was aware of a possible oxygen shortage on January 8, but did not start sending additional supplies until January 12.

A new Datafolha survey released from January 20-21 shows support for Bolsonaro fell to 37% from 31% in December, the biggest one-month decline since the start of his administration. The figure for underperformers rose to 40% from 32%. The margin of error is two percentage points.

“We are asking for charges against Bolsonaro because it was not just a crime he committed. The way he handled the pandemic – He’s spending money on ineffective treatments rather than investing in vaccines and oxygen, “said Tiago Sussekind, a 21-year-old law student who joined Saturday’s protests in Rio.

The weekend’s demonstrations came as calls for a rise in Bolsonaro’s impeachment, although most analysts thought that was unlikely.

Carlos Ayres Britto, former president of the Brazilian Court, former presidential candidate Ciro Gomes and even singer Chico Buarque have called on the president to face impeachment over his response to the pandemic. A leading newspaper, O Estado de Sao Paulo, also published an editorial calling for impeachment on Friday.


AP Video Journalist Diarlei Rodrigues contributed to this report.


image source

Asia Today: New Zealand reports its first community case in months | Instant News

New Zealand has reported its first coronavirus case outside a quarantine facility in more than two months, although there is no direct evidence that the virus is spreading in communities.

Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield said the case was a 56-year-old woman who recently returned from Europe.

Like other returning travelers, he spent 14 days in quarantine and tested negative twice before returning home on January 13. He later developed symptoms and tested positive.

He said they were investigating to see if it was possible that he contracted the disease from other returning travelers who were staying at the same quarantine facility.

New Zealand has been eradicating community transmission of the virus, at least for now. Bloomfield said officials are stepping up contact tracing and testing efforts and hope to have more information on the case in the coming days.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region:

– A Chinese city has completed 2,600 temporary wards as the country’s north fights a new coronavirus outbreak. The single-occupancy rooms in Nangong city in Hebei province outside Beijing are each equipped with their own heating, toilet, shower and other facilities, reports the official Xinhua News Agency. Particular attention has been paid to Hebei as its proximity to the capital and the province has locked up large areas to prevent further spread of the virus. The provincial capital of Shijiazhung and the city of Xingtai, which includes Nangong, have been largely closed. Community isolation and large-scale testing have also been introduced. The National Health Commission on Sunday reported 19 additional cases in Hebei. Northeastern Heilongjiang province reported another 29 cases, some of which were linked to an outbreak at a meat processing plant. Beijing, where about 2 million residents have been ordered to undergo new tests, reported two new confirmed cases. China currently has 1,800 people being treated for COVID-19, 94 of whom are listed as in serious condition, with another 1,017 being monitored in isolation because they have tested positive for the virus without showing symptoms.


Follow all AP pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak


image source

German Merkel shows variant risk as infection decreases | Instant News

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany saw a promising drop in new coronavirus infections, but had to take “very seriously” the risks posed by more infectious variants and needed to be careful whenever it began to reduce its lockdown.

The new variant, which has been detected in Germany and many other European countries, is not yet dominant there, but “we must take the dangers of this mutation very seriously,” Merkel told reporters.

“We have to slow the spread of these mutations as far as possible, and that means … we shouldn’t wait until the danger becomes more real here,” he said. “Then it will be too late to prevent the third wave of the pandemic, and perhaps even more severe than before. We can still prevent this. “

Merkel said that Germany would not be able to open all of them at once every time the lockdown ended, arguing that schools had to open first.

“We have to be very careful not to see what is happening in a lot of countries: they are on a hard lockdown, they are opening, they are opening up too much, and then they have the result that they are back in exponential growth very quickly,” he said. He points to the British experience in December, when the new variant comes into effect.


image source