Travel news: Eight countries now classified as green list travel destinations | UK | News


Holidaymakers could be allowed to travel to international locations as soon as May 17 under the Government’s plans for the easing of lockdown. However, based on the traffic light system that indicates which countries are safer to travel to, Britons can currently only chose from eight countries if they wish to enjoy quarantine-free holidays.

New modelling conducted by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief at BA and its owner IAG, listed USA, Gibraltar, Israel, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, and Australia and New Zealand as green list nations.

The Government is set to review the system on June 28 and popular tourist destinations such as Spain and Greece – which currently remain on the amber list – could turn green if their coronavirus figures improve.

The study read: “Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower-risk rating than the mainland and that could happen again this year.”

The report labelled Gibraltar as “the surest case for green,” adding that “ it has essentially zero cases of any type and the population is fully vaccinated.”

It added: “Israel must be the next most likely. Again, it has vaccinated close to its entire population and case numbers are below even last year’s threshold.”

There is currently speculation over whether India should be added to the red list after a new coronavirus variant was first identified there.

The UK has already detected 160 cases of the variant, which has a “double mutation” in the spike protein, E484Q and L452R.

The strain is currently dubbed a “variant under investigation” rather than a “variant of concern” by the UK health authorities.

Professor Beate Kampmann, director of the Vaccine Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, stressed that herd immunity may not work in a scenario where various strains of coronavirus are in circulation.





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Travel news live: domestic holidays get the go-ahead


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It’s getaway day!

According to the government’s roadmap, domestic travel in “self-contained accommodation” is permitted from today, 12 April.

It means, after more than three months of lockdown, trips to Airbnbs, campsites and caravan parks and some holiday parks – including Center Parcs – are permitted for one household or social bubble only.

Follow live as The Independent’s travel desk heads off on domestic adventures…

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Everything you need to know about domestic travel

Here’s a handy digest of everything you need to know about what travel rules are changing today: what you can do, where you can go and with whom.

Cathy Adams12 April 2021 09:01

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Train stations gear up for a busy day

Commuter trains to London appear to be busier than they have done for months.

Overall passenger numbers on Britain’s railways have been at or below 25 per cent of pre-pandemic levels since the third lockdown began. By far the highest proportion of journeys are to and from London.

While final figures will not be in for 10 days, anecdotal evidence suggests stations are significantly busier than over the past two weeks; the “stay at home” rule in England was lifted on 29 March. 

As the Monday morning rush hour got under way, station staff said they were seeing many more passengers. Train operators have increased the number of trains running from 70 to 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Vauxhall station in southwest London gears up for a busy day

(Simon Calder)

Robert Nisbet, director of Nations and Regions for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Rail companies are pulling out all the stops so that people can travel with confidence as restrictions ease, with continued extra cleaning, more services, high levels of face mask wearing and ventilation that refreshes air in the carriage at least every 10 minutes.

“We are advising that people to travel at quieter times [and] leave longer for their journey.”

Simon Calder12 April 2021 08:24



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Australia news live updates: Scott Morrison blames ‘supply problem’ for slow Covid vaccine rollout | Australia news





Former Australia Post chief executive, Christine Holgate, has lodged an explosive submission to the Senate inquiry into her sacking for the decision to award executives Cartier watches as bonuses.

“It is almost five months since the events of October 22nd, 2020, when, for no justified reason, I was humiliated in Parliament and then unlawfully stood down by the Australia Post Chair from a role I was passionately committed to,” the submission begins.

In the submission, Holgate doubles down on her claim she never voluntarily stood down and accuses Australia Post chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, of unlawfully standing her down and alleged “he lied repeatedly to the Australian people and to their parliament about his actions”.

”Time after time he has made statements that I had agreed to stand down when I had done no such thing.”

Holgate said she offered to resign, but alleged Australia Post then leaked the letter to the media, before sending a counter-offer which is “itself confirmation that no agreement had been reached”.

Holgate said the gift of Cartier watches was “legal, within Australia Post’s policies, within my own signing authority limits, approved by the previous chairman, expensed appropriately, signed off by auditors and the CFO, [and] widely celebrated within the organisation”.

Holgate accused Di Bartolomeo of “seriously misleading” evidence to the Senate on 9 November, including about his knowledge of a BCG report into the incident.

Updated




Travel agents and hotel operators have welcomed details of the two way travel bubble with New Zealand, but have warned “there will be very little real benefit” for the sector in the short term.

This is because most of the initial travellers from 19 April are expected to be low-spending tourists visiting family and friends, as Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive, Margy Osmond, told the Guardian.

Accommodation Association of Australia has backed that prediction up, with its chief executive Dean Long reigniting calls for post-jobkeeper wage support for CBD hotels in Melbourne and Sydney that are still reeling from a drop off in international tourism and business travel.

The Association said Sydney is currently the worst performing city market in Australia with revenue declines of 67% and forward booking rates of less than 10% for the next 90 days and that Melbourne is similarly decimated.

Long said:


The opening of the trans-Tasman corridor is a very welcome step in the right direction but the reality is while it’s good news for the travel sector, given most travellers will be catching up with friends and families there’s very little immediate benefit for our tourism sector or our hotels and motels. With the end of jobkeeper and given the massive holes in the market especially in Australia’s international hubs of Sydney and Melbourne, the flow on benefits for our hotels and motels, and the many small businesses who supply them is negligible. There’s no doubt it will be a big kick along for consumer confidence but it doesn’t erase the need for tailored support for our accommodation sector. The reality is it’s great news for our travel sector but not so good for tourism.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents chair Tom Manwaring said many of his members were already seeing “increased interest in booking NZ albeit primarily to visit friends and family”.

Manwaring said:


It’s not a massive increase in business and our sector still desperately needs support but it is a much needed step in the right direction.” However, we urge both the Australian and the New Zealand governments to do all they can to ensure now the corridor is open that it stays open. This is important both in terms of consumer confidence in booking travel and from a workload perspective for travel agents who are still working hard on repatriating the outstanding $4bn still owed to Australians by airlines, hotels and tour operators on Covid-impacted travel and managing re-bookings and cancellations as a result of state restrictions.

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Coronavirus news for Feb. 16


Colombia builds inflatable domes for Covid patients amid hospital-bed shortage

A person stands inside a Portable Epidemiological Insulation Unit during a media presentation, in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

Fernando Vergara | AP

Colombian architects have designed portable, inflatable domes so doctors can tend to Covid-19 patients as the country faces a shortage of hospital beds, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The domes are 16-feet wide and can house two patients. They are connected via inflatable hallways and use tubes to circulate the air.

“We wanted to do something to respond to the health emergency the world is going through,” Alex Perez, an architecture professor who led the dome initiative, told the AP. “At the start of the pandemic many health systems collapsed and patients were put in gyms or airport hangars, but the conditions in those places were not always the best.”

“These structures allow you to isolate coronavirus patients, but also keep an eye on them, because they’re transparent,” he said.

Colombia has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America. As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 2.2 million infections had been reported in Colombia, data from Johns Hopkins University showed.

Fred Imbert

Colombia builds inflatable domes for Covid patients amid hospital-bed shortage

A person stands inside a Portable Epidemiological Insulation Unit during a media presentation, in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

Fernando Vergara | AP

Colombian architects have designed portable, inflatable domes so doctors can tend to Covid-19 patients as the country faces a shortage of hospital beds, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The domes are 16-feet wide and can house two patients. They are connected via inflatable hallways and use tubes to circulate the air.

“We wanted to do something to respond to the health emergency the world is going through,” Alex Perez, an architecture professor who led the dome initiative, told the AP. “At the start of the pandemic many health systems collapsed and patients were put in gyms or airport hangars, but the conditions in those places were not always the best.”

“These structures allow you to isolate coronavirus patients, but also keep an eye on them, because they’re transparent,” he said.

Colombia has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America. As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 2.2 million infections had been reported in Colombia, data from Johns Hopkins University showed.

Fred Imbert

Democrats move to pass Covid relief before the end of the month

The House is preparing to stay in session through the end of February to pass Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The party aims to approve its aid bill — likely without any Republican votes — before key unemployment programs expire on March 14. Democrats are pushing the proposal through under budget reconciliation, a process that allows legislation to pass with a simple majority in the Senate.

The House Budget Committee will move in the coming days to combine pieces of legislation drafted by separate panels into one massive bill. Once the full House approves the legislation, it goes to the Senate, which will determine whether the proposal complies with strict budget rules.

The plan as put forward by House Democrats includes $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, a $400 per week unemployment supplement through Aug. 29, $350 billion in state local and tribal aid, and $20 billion for a national Covid-19 vaccination program, among other provisions.

The Senate has one less responsibility to juggle after it completed former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial over the weekend. The chamber fell short of the two-thirds vote needed to convict him of inciting an insurrection against the government.

— Jacob Pramuk

Fauci delays timeline for widespread vaccine availability in the U.S. to May

White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN that he expects most Americans will have access to a Covid-19 vaccine by either mid-to-late May or early June. That’s a slight delay compared with his previous forecast of late March or early April

The infectious disease expert said the federal government was expecting “considerably more” initial doses from Johnson & Johnson, which has applied for an emergency authorization in the U.S. However, the New York Times first reported in January that unexpected manufacturing delays would lead to a reduced initial supply of J&J’s drug if given emergency authorization.

“It may take until June, July and August to finally get everybody vaccinated,” Fauci told CNN on Tuesday. “So when you hear about how long it’s going to take to get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated, I don’t think anybody disagrees that that’s going to be well to the end of the summer and we get into the early fall.”

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Pandemic pushes annual airline passenger traffic to 36-year low

U.S. passenger airlines carried 371 million people in 2020, the fewest since 1984, according to new data from the Department of Transportation.

In December, passenger traffic on U.S. carriers fell 62% from the year earlier to 30.4 million. The annual total was more than 60% lower than in 2019.

Airlines have said they expect weak demand to continue in early 2021 because of persistent Covid-19 cases and a slow rollout of vaccines, but that travel demand will likely perk up in the second half of the year.

Leslie Josephs

Biden extends more relief for homeowners

Young man at home, paying his bills online

AleksandarNakic | E+ | Getty Images

Homeowners struggling amid Covid were offered new relief programs by the Biden administration on Tuesday.

Those with government-backed mortgages will have more time to delay their monthly payments as well as more protection from foreclosure.

Wondering what relief is available and if you qualify? Here’s what we know so far.

–Annie Nova

White House boosts weekly vaccine supply to states to 13.5 million

The Biden administration will send out 13.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine per week to states going forward, up from 11 million last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced Tuesday.

The White House will also double the number of doses sent directly to retail pharmacies, Psaki said, up from 1 million last week. That partnership with pharmaceutical companies began last week, when doses were shipped to 6,500 stores nationwide. Psaki said the administration hopes to eventually expand that program to include 40,000 stores.

The administration has been announcing gradual increases in the amount of vaccine being distributed every week while opening up new distribution channels such as pharmacies, community health centers and federally run vaccination centers. After a slower-than-expected initial rollout of the vaccine, many states now say the lack of supply from the federal government is the biggest constraint.

—Will Feuer

Repeat layoffs have swelled during the pandemic

Repeat layoffs have swelled in recent months, signaling unstable work prospects for many Americans and hinting at deep pain in the labor market.

Almost 2 in 3 workers who began receiving unemployment benefits in October collected them at least one other time since April, according to a new paper by economists at the University of Chicago and JPMorgan Chase Institute.

That may occur if workers were recalled to a job in the summer but were laid off again in the fall, for example. In California, 96% of new unemployment claims from accommodation-and-food-services workers are due to repeat layoffs.

At the same time, continuous long-term unemployment spells are also increasing nationwide.

Greg Iacurci

Quest Diagnostics doubles genetics sequencing to find Covid variants

A Quest Diagnostics requisition form is displayed for a photograph at Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton, Illinois, U.S..

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Quest Diagnostics said it has doubled the amount of genetic sequencing it’s doing in an effort to track new mutations and variants of the coronavirus.

The company announced last month that it was helping the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track new variants of the virus in the U.S. by sequencing more samples from around the country. The company is now sequencing 2,000 samples per week, up from 1,000 per week when the partnership was announced, the company said.

Quest also noted that it continues to expand its testing capacity to provide services to businesses, schools and elsewhere that might want large-scale testing to reopen.

“Although demand for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing has recently declined, the spread of more infectious variants and loosening of restrictions in certain parts of the country could lead to another surge of cases,” Quest said in a statement. “Moreover, COVID-19 testing continues to play a significant role in pandemic response.”

—Will Feuer

Moderna expects to deliver 100 million doses by end of March, full 300 million in July

A Moderna (COVID-19) vaccine is seen at the LA Mission homeless shelter on Skid Row, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 10, 2021.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Moderna expects to deliver 100 million doses of its two-shot coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government by end of March, according to an update from the company.

The company will supply an additional 100 million doses by the end of May and complete its agreement with the U.S. for 300 million doses by the end of July, it said.

The update comes after President Joe Biden said Thursday that his administration had secured deals with Pfizer and Moderna for another 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, bringing the U.S. total to 600 million. Because the vaccines require two doses, a total of 600 million doses would be enough to inoculate 300 million Americans.

Moderna has supplied 45.4 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. so far.

—Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Vaccine rollout is the key to everything global markets and the economy this year, strategist says

Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, tells CNBC the vaccination data is so important because it will give us an indication as to when global economies can reopen, and when we can see the recovery everyone is expecting.

Presidents Day holiday boosts air travel, but passenger counts are still short of last year

The Presidents Day holiday drew more air travelers, with Transportation Security Administration airport screenings topping 1 million a day on Thursday and Friday, the most since the start of January.

Despite the uptick, screening volumes are still less than half of last year’s levels as the pandemic continues to depress air travel demand.

Southwest Airlines said leisure demand has improved in February from January and that it expects even more of an uptick in March from this month, warning that business travel and bookings, in general, are still depressed.

The carrier expects its operating revenue this month to be down 65% to 70% from last year, compared with an earlier forecast of sales down as much as 75% year-over-year. It forecast March revenue down 20% to 30%, compared with last year with capacity off 15%.

Leslie Josephs

New Orleans shuts down bars for Mardi Gras

The Kraken house float, on Memphis St., in Lakeview, is one of thousands in the New Orleans area decorated in celebration of Mardi Gras in Louisiana, U.S., February 7, 2021.

Kathleen Flynn | Reuters

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell closed all bars in the city from the Friday before Mardi Gras through Fat Tuesday itself, citing coronavirus-related concerns, NBC News reported.

Cantrell said on Feb. 5 that liquor sales wouldn’t be allowed in the French Quarter, even from liquor stores, and to-go beverages were banned during the five days. According to NBC News, parades and large gatherings were already prohibited, and masks and social distancing are required.

“We had already purchased all of our food and drink supplies … and we had the rug pulled out from under us at the last minute,” said Beaux Church, director of Café Lafitte in Exile, Good Friends Bar and Rawhide 2010. “All of the bar owners would have been much better off with at least two weeks’ notice.”

Officials said the restrictions are necessary to avoid a repeat of Mardi Gras 2020, which attracted over a million people to New Orleans to celebrate Carnival and unknowingly contributed to the outbreak and caused the city’s hospitals to reach capacity, NBC News reported.

Some residents enjoyed this year’s celebrations by creating extravagant house floats to replace the usual parade floats, reports CNBC’s Rich Mendez and Adam Jeffery.

—Melodie Warner 

House Democrats may vote on Covid relief bill this month

CNBC’s Ylan Mui reports Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes the House can get the bill for a coronavirus stimulus package done by the end of the month.

CVS earnings top expectations as it plays bigger role with Covid vaccines

CVS Health‘s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings topped Wall Street’s expectations as the drugstore chain plays a bigger role with the nationwide rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.

The drugstore chain said it has administered about 15 million tests nationwide. It’s also given more than 3 million Covid vaccines in over 40,000 long-term care facilities. The drugstore chain and its competitor, Walgreens, struck a deal with the federal government to provide shots to staff and residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Same-store sales grew 5.3% during the three-month period compared with a year earlier. They jumped by 7.5% in the pharmacy division, as prescription volume rose, but were down by 1.8% in the front of store, as customers skipped visits and did not need to buy as much flu and cold medication during the pandemic.

Melissa Repko

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:





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Road Runner: Regional planning agency looks to better understand travel demands | Local news


The organization will examine geographical data to help assess traffic congestion not only about the local jurisdictions, but also on Interstates 10 and 19.

“Information on how roadways are configured, such as the roadway network having 80% of arterial roads, is input to help assess traffic congestion,” PAG said.

Another goal is to use the model to better represent residents’ changing travel options and behaviors to ensure better regional transportation planning efforts.

The activity-based model can better forecast new mobility impacts, such as autonomous vehicles, ride sharing and home delivery services, which have grown through online shopping. Some of these providers are companies such as TuSimple, Lyft, Uber or Amazon, PAG said.



School staff walk students from their family’s cars on the first day of in-person classes at Copper View Elementary School in Sahuarita on Sept. 17, 2020.




“Autonomous vehicles might be a major transportation mode in 2045. The behavior of a family with autonomous vehicles would be different from another family without autonomous vehicles,” PAG said.

“A family could change the ownership of vehicles from two normal cars to one autonomous vehicle. This change would impact the daily activities of the family. This will affect the transportation demand on the network.”



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Covid-19 Live News and Updates


Credit…Cody O’Loughlin for The New York Times

The drugmaker Moderna said it would apply on Monday to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

The first injections may be given as early as Dec. 21 if the process goes smoothly and approval is granted, Stéphane Bancel, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview.

Moderna’s application is based on data that it also announced on Monday, showing that its vaccine is 94.1 percent effective, and that its study of 30,000 people has met the scientific criteria needed to determine whether the vaccine works. The finding from the complete set of data is in line with an analysis of earlier data released on Nov. 16 that found the vaccine to be 94.5 percent effective.

The new data also showed that the vaccine was 100 percent effective at preventing severe disease from the coronavirus. The product was developed in collaboration with government researchers from the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Mr. Bancel said the company was “on track” to produce 20 million doses by the end of December, and 500 million to a billion in 2021. Each person requires two doses, administered a month apart, so 20 million doses will be enough for 10 million people.

Shares of Moderna surged nearly 18 percent, to $149.50, by early afternoon, after the company’s announcement Monday.

Moderna is the second vaccine maker to apply for emergency use authorization; Pfizer submitted its application on Nov. 20. Pfizer has said it can produce up to 50 million doses this year, with about half going to the United States. Its vaccine also requires two doses per person.

Speaking on “CBS This Morning” on Monday, Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, reiterated that distribution would begin quickly after the expected approvals of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“We could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people’s arms before Christmas,” he said.

Asked about the role of states in the distribution process, Mr. Azar said that doses would be shipped out through normal vaccine distribution systems, and governors would be “like air traffic controllers” determining which hospitals or pharmacies receive shipments. While governors will determine which groups are prioritized, he said he hoped that they would follow the federal recommendations. He added that he would speak to governors on Monday afternoon with Vice President Mike Pence.

The first shots of the two vaccines are likely to go to certain groups, including health care workers; essential workers like police officers; people in other critical industries; and employees and residents in nursing homes. On Tuesday, a panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to determine how to allocate initial supplies of vaccine.

Mr. Azar said that C.D.C. experts will base their recommendations on the latest data on virus cases around the country.

But generally, “Be thinking people in nursing homes, the most vulnerable, be thinking health care workers who are on the front lines,” he said.

The White House moved quickly on Monday to take credit for the Moderna vaccine’s development.

“President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed is rapidly advancing on a trajectory of success to save millions of American lives — five times faster than any other vaccine in history,” Michael Bars, a spokesman for President Trump, said in an emailed statement.

The hopeful news arrives at a particularly grim moment in the U.S. health crisis. Virus cases have surged and overwhelmed hospitals in some regions, and health officials have warned that the numbers may grow even worse in the coming weeks because of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings. In November alone, there have been more than four million new cases and 25,500 deaths.

More than 70 vaccines are being developed around the world, including 11 that, like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, are in large-scale trials to gauge effectiveness.

Moderna’s application for emergency use authorization will include data from its Phase 3 study of 30,000 people. F.D.A. scientists will examine the information, and the application is likely to undergo a final review on Dec. 17 by a panel of expert advisers to the agency, Mr. Bancel said, adding that he expected the advisers to make a decision within 24 to 72 hours. The F.D.A. usually follows the recommendations of its advisory panels.

Officials at Operation Warp Speed, the government’s program to accelerate vaccine development, have said vaccinations could begin within 24 hours after the F.D.A. grants authorization.

Mr. Bancel said that Moderna had not yet begun shipping vaccines across the country, and would not do so until the emergency authorization is granted.

The government has arranged to buy vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer and to provide it to the public free of charge. Moderna has received a commitment of $955 million from the U.S. government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for research and development of its vaccine, and the United States has committed up to $1.525 billion to buy 100 million doses.

The federal government will also begin a publicity campaign to encourage vaccinations, with ads on radio this week and on TV soon, he said.

In response to a question about how officials can guard against people using money or connections to jump the proverbial line, Mr. Azar vowed to “call out any inequities or injustices that we see.”

Credit…Jonah Markowitz for The New York Times

While many in the United States celebrated a muted Thanksgiving over Zoom, millions of people traveled instead, rejecting the advice of public officials.

According to Transportation Safety Administration data, about 800,000 to one million people passed through T.S.A. checkpoints each day in the days before and after the holiday — far lower than the same period last year, but likely far higher than epidemiologists had hoped to see.

A United Airlines spokeswoman, Annabelle Cottee, said the week of Thanksgiving was “the busiest since March” for the carrier.

Americans also took to the roads. AAA predicted significant declines in bus, train and cruise travel, but predicted only a modest drop in car travel.

For several days leading up to Thanksgiving, as case numbers and hospitalizations across the country grew exponentially, political leaders and medical experts warned of the dangers of compounding the virus spread by being with others. In November alone, there have been more than 4.1 million cases and more than 25,500 deaths.

There were 91,635 current hospitalizations as of Nov. 28, according to the Covid Tracking Project, almost twice as many as there were on Nov. 1, and triple the number on Oct. 1.

Aware of the emotional resonance of the holiday, experts tried to thread a narrative from these numbers that would convince people of the danger. Their warnings were direct — sometimes stern, sometimes impassioned pleas.

“Keep the gatherings, the indoor gatherings as small as you possibly can,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on “Good Morning America” last week. By making that sacrifice, he said, “you’re going to prevent people from getting infected.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was also urging people not to travel. “All Americans want to do what they can to protect their loved ones,” Dr. Henry Walke, a Covid-19 incident manager at the C.D.C., said at a news briefing.

And though it would have been unrealistic to expect a public that is restive from months of restrictions to universally abide by such recommendations, the aftermath of those decisions will begin to unfold in the weeks ahead.

Dr. Fauci, during an appearance on the Sunday news program “This Week,” said the best course for Thanksgiving travelers might be “to quarantine yourself for a period of time.”

Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that travelers “have to assume that you were exposed and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week.” She urged that travelers avoid anyone in their family over 65 or with underlying illnesses.

That guidance comes as the C.D.C. is considering shortening the recommended isolation period for infected people. And while it is too early to know if holiday travel will affect the virus’s spread, new research suggests that people are most infectious about two days before symptoms begin and for five days afterward, meaning this week will likely be crucial in containment.

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City urged residents who had ignored official guidance and attended Thanksgiving gatherings to get tested.

In anticipation of a renewed demand, the city has opened 25 new testing locations in the last week. It will also now post online the wait times at its testing sites, which had seen growing lines as New Yorkers scrambled to get tests before their holiday plans.

The city’s seven-day average positive test rate was at 4.03 percent, Mr. de Blasio said, but he warned that the data may be skewed because fewer tests were conducted during Thanksgiving weekend.

“Some of our numbers may be skewed by that,” he said.

The U.S. map shows a country where almost every region is a hot spot. States that were once spared, like Montana and Wyoming, have reported record deaths and infections, while states that were pummeled in the first wave are straining anew.

On Sunday, California became the first state to report more than 100,000 cases in a week, according to a New York Times database.

And in New Jersey, hospitalizations have increased 60 percent in the last two weeks and deaths have increased by 78 percent. Over three days in November, the positivity rate in Newark, the largest city in the state, was 19 percent.

“We begged people to have a somber, respectful, small Thanksgiving,” Gov. Philip D. Murphy said on Fox News Sunday. “And I want to give a shout out to New Jerseyans because I think overwhelmingly that’s what happened, but there’s a lot of fatigue out there.”

Mr. Murphy called the next few months “the fight of our lives,” while also citing the progress of vaccines and noting that there was “light at the end of the tunnel.”

And there was something to celebrate on Sunday in New York City, at least for some parents, when Mr. de Blasio announced that he would reopen the city’s public elementary schools, abruptly shifting policy after an outcry from critics who questioned why gyms and bars remained open while schools were shut.

Credit…Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, via Associated Press

As he warned that New York State had entered a new phase in fighting the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday a new series of emergency measures to combat rising hospitalizations and case numbers statewide.

Among other steps, Mr. Cuomo urged hospitals to identify retired nurses and doctors in case of staff shortages, develop emergency field plans and prepare to add 50 percent of bed capacity. In Erie County in western New York, all elective surgeries will be stopped on Friday and similar protocols could be enacted in other areas of the state.

“It’s a new phase in the war against Covid,” Mr. Cuomo said at his news conference in New York City. “It’s a war in terms of preparation and mobilization.”

The number of New Yorkers hospitalized with the virus has more than tripled over November, from 1,125 on Nov. 1 to 3,532 on Sunday, he said.

“We are not going to live through the nightmare of overwhelmed hospitals again,” he says. “If a hospital does get overwhelmed there will be a state investigation.”

Mr. Cuomo has warned that the holidays and indoor social gatherings during the winter season could trigger a further resurgence of the virus. Still, instead of regional or statewide shutdowns, Mr. Cuomo had opted for a “micro-cluster” approach to targeting communities where rates of positive test results are particularly high.

On Monday, the governor said new metrics — including hospitalization rates, death rates and available hospital beds — would be used to determine lockdown levels under the state’s color-coded restriction system. Mr. Cuomo also called on hospital networks across the state to better prepare for a surge in patients than they did in the spring, and plan to spread patients out between individual sites.

“We lived this nightmare, we learned from this nightmare, we are going to correct for the lessons we learned during this nightmare,” he said.

GLOBAL ROUNDUP

Credit…David W Cerny/Reuters

The traditional Christmas markets that dot European cities, drawing thousands of festive revelers into plazas to enjoy mulled wine, colorful lights and public art, have largely been canceled this year.

But on Advent Sunday, the official start of the holiday season, celebrations continued in different forms. In partially locked-down Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, the mayor, Matus Vallo, led viewers of a Facebook livestream on a walk through the city’s historic center.

Wearing a cheerful Christmas sweater, Mr. Vallo met musicians and artists along the way, received soothing words from a local priest, eyed winter-themed paintings from art galleries and lit up a Christmas tree in the main square.

“We know what the situation is, but we decided that we won’t let Advent be ruined anyway,” he said to the camera.

Locals and visitors in Bratislava will still be able to gawk at the Christmas lights on a stroll, but officials wanted to avoid the large holiday crowds. Moving traditional events online was part of that effort; a series of holiday concerts and events will be streamed throughout December.

It’s just one of several creative solutions as markets were canceled across the continent. In Landshut, Germany, visitors must experience the Christmas markets as a drive-through, according to Agence France-Presse. They can observe the spectacle from inside their cars as mask-wearing employees hand them menus offering typical treats like roasted chestnuts and gingerbread hearts.

And in the United States, New York City will require reservations to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, in a bid to fight the holiday crowds that usually pack the surrounding plazas and sidewalks. The city will keep the viewing time to 5 minutes, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Groups will be limited to four people.

Still, the mayor, who has expressed concern that cases of the virus could surge during the holiday, encouraged people to watch the annual tree-lighting ceremony — scheduled for Wednesday — at home instead of flocking to Midtown Manhattan. “Please, if you can make a decision to watch it on TV, that’s so much better,” he said.

  • Hong Kong will limit gatherings in public to two people, including two per table at restaurants, as it battles a surge in cases. Playgrounds, swimming pools and karaoke rooms will close, while gyms will remain open but be limited to two mask-wearing participants, the city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said at a news conference on Monday. Hong Kong has reported an average of 85 new daily cases in the past week, far above the near-zero tallies it had reported after a summer surge.

  • Italy approved a stimulus package worth $9.6 billion, or 8 billion euros, on Sunday to support struggling businesses. The deal will postpone or suspend tax deadlines for some businesses, subsidize amateur sports associations and send checks of 1,000 euros to seasonal workers in the tourism, spa and entertainment industries. Italy is currently under a nationwide 10 p.m. curfew with bars and restaurants closing at 6 p.m., and some regions have further restrictions.

  • In Russia, a hospital near Moscow reported on Monday that it had administered the first known batch of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine to civilians. The Domodedovo Central City Hospital confirmed in a phone interview that the vaccine had been delivered and that the first shipment available for general use had already run out. Russia’s government backed efforts to develop a vaccine before other countries has been widely criticized for cutting corners. The rush to deliver a vaccine to the general public has also been spurred by the growing number of new cases and deaths in the country, with the total number of cases in Russia nearing 2.3 million.

Credit…Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service, via Associated Press

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un “harshly criticized” his government agencies for mishandling the economy, the country’s state media reported on Monday, as new data revealed just how much the pandemic had slashed the country’s already dwindling trade with China.

Signs had already emerged earlier this month that North Korea’s economic trouble was deepening, driven by long-standing international sanctions and the impact of the pandemic. According to customs data released by Beijing last week, North Korea’s imports from China from January to October plummeted by 76 percent to $487 million, while its exports shrank 74 percent to $45 million in the same period.

​China is North Korea’s only major trading partner, accounting for more than 90 percent of its external trade. In October, the North’s import from China amounted to a mere $253,000, nearly a 99-percent drop from the previous month. South Korean officials and analysts have warned that a sharp decline in imports from China in recent months could drive up domestic prices in the North.

The Chinese government only ​records official trade and does not cover smuggling that takes place across the borders​ between the two neighbors​. Still, the figures provide​d​ fresh evidence that the coronavirus was squeezing the North Korean economy more effectively than international sanctions ever have.

During a meeting of the Workers’ Party that Mr. Kim presided over on Sunday, the government agencies responsible for the economy w​ere harshly criticized for “failing to provide scientific guidance” and “failing to overcome subjectivism and formalism in their work,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported.

But this was not the first time Mr. Kim has admitted to his country’s deepening economic woes, acknowledging in August that his five-year plan for economic growth had failed. Mr. Kim all but sealed North Korea’s borders with China​ earlier this year over fears of the potentially catastrophic consequences the pandemic could inflict on the country’s poor health system.

North Korea insists that it has registered no coronavirus cases, but outside experts remain skeptical.

Credit…Jose A. Alvarado Jr. for The New York Times

With New York City’s unemployment rate at 13.2 percent, many people have turned to working for food delivery apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub, which have seen huge demand from customers.

While delivery drivers have been essential to feeding New Yorkers and keeping them safe, their working conditions, already precarious before the pandemic, have gotten worse.

Even as the food delivery companies have seen sales surge, the workers’ pay has remained erratic. Because the drivers are independent workers, they are not entitled to a minimum wage, overtime or any other benefits, like health insurance. Undocumented immigrants, who are not eligible for unemployment or federal coronavirus assistance, make up the bulk of the work force in New York.

The added competition from the surge in new workers has compounded the financial challenges. Advocacy groups estimate that there were roughly 50,000 delivery workers before the pandemic — a number they say has grown exponentially. Uber alone said it had added 36,000 couriers in New York since March.

DoorDash and Uber said they had provided extra help to delivery drivers during the pandemic, including offering sick pay to those who were infected. DoorDash, the nation’s largest food delivery app, said it provided access to low-cost telemedicine appointments.

DoorDash also said it had changed its pay model, which came under fire last year after it was revealed that tips were being used to subsidize its payments to workers. The company recently reached a $2.5 million settlement with prosecutors in Washington, D.C., after being accused of misleading consumers over how it tipped its workers.

Drivers for food delivery apps are typically paid per delivery depending on the estimated duration and distance of a trip, plus tips. The work can be convenient for people supplementing a main source of income, but a struggle for those who depend on it as a primary job, advocates for the workers said.

Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

While some in the creative community on TikTok joke about the coronavirus vaccine or tease people who are part of the anti-vaccine movement, scientists and coronavirus vaccine participants are hoping to be a source to fight misinformation on the app.

In February, a scientist who goes by Dr. Noc on TikTok started noticing a need for science-based videos about the coronavirus that his expertise in working to develop an antibody treatment for Covid-19 could help provide.

He has since posted many videos addressing the coronavirus, including updates on vaccines, mink infected with the coronavirus and how some people with the virus can lose their sense of taste and smell. The videos, he said, have left him vulnerable to harassment from people against vaccines and masks.

Lately, Dr. Noc has found himself answering questions reflecting the fears and misconceptions about coronavirus vaccines that are sometimes perpetuated on the platform by jokes about side effects or forays into fictional narrative, like a sci-fi scenario in which the government kills those who refuse a vaccine.

“While people may appreciate them, they’re not going to go viral,” he said about his videos. “It’s a game of catch-up.”

So, no, nanoparticles can’t send people’s biometric data to a cloud, as he has posted, and no, mRNA can’t change people’s D.N.A.

Vaccine trial participants have also been describing their experiences and answering questions about the process for viewers.

Ashley Locke, 29, from Nashville, said she posted about her experience as a participant in AstraZeneca’s trial to document a journey in her life, but didn’t expect the more than two million views it has gotten, or the thousands of questions and comments.

Since that post, she’s been creating videos and answering questions from her comment section about side effects and wearing masks after being a part of the trial. She even brought in a friend, also a part of a trial, to talk.

But with all that, she said, she isn’t always successful in demystifying the vaccine.

“There are some people that are really out there that are convinced that it’s a microchip,” she said. “They’re a little too far gone to convince.”

Credit…Paul Miller/Australian Associated Press, via Associated Press

A cohort of 63 international students on Monday arrived in Australia under a pilot program that allows them to resume their studies, even as the country’s borders remain closed because of the pandemic.

The students, the first group of international students allowed in since March, arrived at Darwin International Airport in the Northern Territory from Singapore. They are from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia.

All of them tested negative for the coronavirus 72 hours before boarding the charter flight. They will be required to quarantine at a former workers’ camp outside the city of Darwin for 14 days before being allowed to re-enter the campus at Charles Darwin University.

The education sector, crucial to the Australian economy, is set to lose billions of dollars if the country’s borders do not reopen before the end of 2021. According to research from Victoria University, the loss of international students is also affecting the makeup of Australia’s cities.

In September, Charles Darwin University made a deal with the state and the federal government that would enable students to return from overseas to study. The success of the program could influence whether more international students can return to study in other states, including South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

Speaking to the local news media, the students — some of who had become stranded while visiting family overseas — said they felt lucky to return to Australia, which is beginning to reopen as states eliminate, or come close to eliminating, the spread of the coronavirus.

Xitao Jiang, a 23-year-old student from China returning to Australia, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday that was “very lucky” to have the opportunity to return to the country and study at the university in Darwin.

Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

By the end of the third week of England’s second national lockdown, which began early this month in a bid to stem a second wave of coronavirus infections, the number of new cases has fallen 30 percent, according to new data.

Some parts of northern England, which had been hit particularly hard by the new outbreak, experienced an even greater drop, the latest interim findings from Imperial College London’s React study showed.

But Matt Hancock, the British health secretary, warned that the data, while promising, showed the country could not “take our foot off the pedal just yet,” according to the BBC. In a post on Twitter late Sunday, Mr. Hancock cautioned that “we mustn’t waste our progress now we can see light at the end of the tunnel” with mass testing and promising coronavirus vaccine candidates on the horizon.

England’s current lockdown is set to end just after midnight Wednesday. But the lifting of restrictions will be different across the country, as regions move into one of three tiers based on their current rate of infection. Britain is still grappling with the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in Europe and its deepest recession on record, with experts warning that the knock-on effects of the pandemic could last for years.

Credit…Brett Carlsen for The New York Times

All through the fall, teachers have been at the center of vehement debates over whether to reopen schools for in-person instruction — often vilified for challenging it, sometimes praised for trying to make it work.

But these debates have often missed just how thoroughly the coronavirus has upended learning in the 130,000 schools in the United States, and glossed over how emotionally and physically draining pandemic teaching has become.

In more than a dozen interviews with The New York Times, educators described the immense challenges, and exhaustion, they have faced. Some recounted whiplash experiences of having their schools abruptly open and close, sometimes more than once.

Others described the stress of having to lead back-to-back group video lessons for remote learners, even as they continued to teach students in person in their classrooms. Some educators said their workloads had doubled.

Many teachers said they had also become impromptu social workers for their students, directing them to food banks, acting as grief counselors for those who had family members die of Covid-19 and helping pupils work through their anxiety, depression and isolation. Often, the teachers said, their concern for their students came at a cost to themselves.

“Teachers are not OK right now,” said Evin Shinn, a literacy coach at a public middle school in Seattle, noting that many teachers were putting students’ pandemic needs above their own well-being.

Experts and teachers’ unions are warning of a looming burnout crisis among educators that could lead to a wave of retirements, undermining the fitful effort to resume normal public schooling. In a recent survey by the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers’ union, 28 percent of educators said the coronavirus had made them more likely to leave teaching or retire early.

Those We’ve Lost

Credit…Selene Meda-Schlamel

Iris Meda, 70, didn’t feel right sitting on the sidelines when the pandemic hit. She’d been retired only a few months, and still had a lifetime of nursing experience in hospitals, prisons, schools and long-term care facilities to share.

So she went back to work in August, teaching nursing skills to high school students through Collin College, north of Dallas. But within weeks, she had come down with Covid-19 herself. After nearly a month in the hospital, most of it on a ventilator, she died on Nov. 14.

Her daughter, Selene Meda-Schlamel, said her mother was exposed to the virus on Oct. 2 while teaching a laboratory class, despite the precautions she was taking.

“I wasn’t worried, because I knew she was wearing an N95, and that she was some distance from the students,” Ms. Meda-Schlamel recalled, in an interview.

“I said to myself, ‘If something happens to her, it happens to her doing something she loves, fulfilling her calling and benefiting the world,’” she said. “But that’s a very different outlook from, ‘My best friend is gone, my kids don’t have a grandmother. Everything that we planned on doing will never occur.’”

Ms. Meda grew up in New York, the oldest of nine siblings, and was a natural caretaker from childhood, her daughter said. She married at 20, expecting to be a stay-at-home mother, but at her husband’s urging, she went back to school and earned a nursing degree from City College.

“She had a very personal touch,” Ms. Meda-Schlamel said. “You never felt like she was rushing you.”

Ms. Meda worked as a nurse at the jail on Rikers Island before moving to Texas in 1993, where she spent the rest of her career before retiring in January. When she took up teaching, she wanted to pass along to her students the kind of encouragement she had gotten to pursue an education. After class, she often returned home “lit up” from the thrill she got from teaching, her daughter said.

When her Covid-19 symptoms worsened in mid-October and she began struggling to breathe, Ms. Meda called her daughter for a ride to the hospital. Ms. Meda-Schlamel recalled that in the car, her mother handed her an envelope containing her medical documents and a handwritten card that she forgot about in the hectic days that followed.

When she finally opened it, she said, she found a note her mother had written after their phone call, telling her how proud she was of her and what a wonderful life she had before her. And two signed checks fell out, meant to help her daughter cover the hospital bills. On one, the amount was left blank.

“That was kind of symbolic of how she was as a person,” Ms. Meda-Schlamel said. “She was always giving people blank checks, blank emotional checks: ‘Whatever you need from me, if I have it, I’ll provide it.’”

Credit…Mary Turner for The New York Times

When Lisa Bloor heard that her daughter Abby’s elite-level soccer club was being shut down in England’s latest coronavirus lockdown, she faced a tough problem: how to explain that boys at the same level were allowed to keep playing.

“How do I tell my daughter it’s because she’s a girl?” Ms. Bloor asked. “It’s disheartening. There’s no logic in it at all.”

As the coronavirus has upended lives across the world, women have found themselves disproportionately affected, whether by taking on the often invisible labor of an outsize share in household duties, caring for children and relatives or finding the hard-fought gains they made in the workplace in past years almost entirely wiped out.

In early November, after Britain’s government reluctantly admitted the need for a second lockdown of all but England’s most essential services to stop the number of Covid-19 cases spiraling out of control, the restrictions — and exceptions to the rules — laid bare yet another gender gap: the one between women and men’s sports.

When the British government granted “elite sport” special dispensations for the duration of a four-week lockdown, the top six tiers of men’s soccer could carry on training and competing. But only the top two women’s soccer leagues were permitted to continue.

The Football Association, which governs the sport in England, ruled that the men’s F.A. Cup tournament would not stop, but postponed the women’s F.A. Cup until the national lockdown lifts in early December.

Nowhere was the gender divide more transparent than in the decision surrounding the soccer clubs’ academies, which sharpen the skills of the most promising school-age players and prepare them to turn professional.

Boys’ training at more than 80 English Football League and Premier League clubs’ academies could remain open under “elite” protocols, but the F.A. decided that girls’ academies at clubs such as Everton — where Abby Clarke, Ms. Bloor’s 16-year-old daughter, trains at least four times a week as part of the development squad — were “nonelite” and would have to suspend all activity throughout the lockdown.





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Positive news on Covid vaccine fuels new enthusiasm for travel: Travel Weekly


Good news about Covid-19 vaccines has been on the uptick this month, and with it, a bump in inquiries to travel agencies about what these medical advances might mean for travel in 2021.

The calls don’t always lead to bookings, advisors said, and although the good news is tempered in part by spiking cases around the country, consumer response to the vaccine news appears to both reflect high levels of pent-up demand and herald the nascent return of broad consumer confidence to travel.

On Nov. 9, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that preliminary data indicates their vaccine is more than 90% effective. A week later, Moderna on Nov. 16 said preliminary analysis found its vaccine was more than 94.5% effective. And just before Thanksgiving, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford said preliminary data found their vaccine up to 90% effective.

“Within an hour of Pfizer announcing their vaccine, we started getting calls,” said Helen Papa, owner of TBH Travel in Dix Hills, N.Y. “Within an hour. It was amazing.”

Cruise lines also saw some positive effects attributable to vaccine news. During Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ most recent financial earnings call, the day after Pfizer’s news, president and CEO Frank Del Rio said bookings in the previous 24 hours were “pretty good; better than the previous four or five Mondays.”

“And that’s, I think, attributable to the vaccine news,” he said. “We did not have any particular promotion or did any outsized marketing.”

Similarly, Royal Caribbean Group chairman Richard Fain addressed the question of positive news about vaccines during Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld, which was held virtually earlier this month.

“I don’t think it will surprise anybody that when the news is scary, people tend to go back into their cocoons,” Fain said. “As the news gets to be more positive they come out. What’s encouraging is how quickly it responds.”

After both the Pfizer and Moderna news broke, Skyscanner found that searches for travel from the U.S. to Mexico surpassed their weekly volume from last year, up 10%. Skyscanner attributed that increase to the vaccine news, as well.

Helen Papa

Helen Papa

For Papa, some of the inquiries she received at TBH have turned into bookings. Clients are “cautiously optimistic,” she said.

On the other side of the country from Papa, Coastline Travel Advisors in Garden Grove, Calif., also received a number of emails and calls from clients following vaccine announcements, according to president Jay Johnson. 

While there has been a general sense of optimism and more confidence in travel’s return by next summer, he said, the influx of inquiries has not yet resulted in new business.

“There is without a doubt a huge amount of pent-up demand to travel in 2021,” Johnson said. “All we need now is confirmation that the vaccines work and a lowering of cases. Then, we’ll be off and running.”

Joshua Bush

Joshua Bush

Avenue Two Travel in Villanova, Pa., saw an uptick in both calls and bookings as a result of the positive vaccine news, but that was tempered by the rising number of cases around the country, said CEO Joshua Bush.

Avenue Two has seen steady, week-over-week increases in travel since mid-August, thanks to domestic travel and clients dreaming about 2021 travel, Bush said. In addition to closer-in domestic bookings, Avenue Two has even been booking things like world cruise segments and expedition trips. Overall, business is down about 70% year over year, but better than the 95 to 97% it was down when the pandemic first hit.

The week before Pfizer had announced its vaccine’s effectiveness, business was “absolutely dead,” which Bush attributed to the unsettled U.S. presidential election. 

But the week of Nov. 16, Bush said, “with the election result [more widely accepted] and the vaccine … we are on track for our best week this year since Covid.” Those bookings were for both the holiday season and 2021 as travelers are getting more optimistic about a vaccine.

At the same time, the good news is offset by the surge in cases and deaths around the world, especially in the U.S.

“We’re hitting milestone death numbers,” Bush said. “We’re hitting milestone cases on individual days. That is really kind of tamping down the news that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’re definitely in this still.”

In some places, though, travelers have shown less concern about traveling during the pandemic, and the news of the vaccines was akin to a nonevent. Jeanne Polocheck, owner of Well Traveled Texan in Houston, said her Texas-based clients largely kept traveling during the pandemic. Things had initially slowed early this year, but by Memorial Day clients were out and about again, a trend that has continued. Domestic spots and Mexico have been popular.

She didn’t even get one phone call from a client about vaccines.

A potential stumbling block to the recovery of travel is the resistance among some people to being vaccinated. A Gallup poll conducted between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1, before the vaccine trial results were announced, indicated 58% of adult respondents were willing to get a vaccination, a rise from 50% in September.

Lingering and significant reluctance to be vaccinated will likely present hurdles to overcome with regard to travel in the future, said Ensemble Travel Group CEO David Harris.

He pointed to the flu vaccine: It’s been available for decades, but a portion of the population skips it each year.

However, he is more hopeful about a Covid vaccine, given how serious the impact of the virus has been. While a vaccine will never be 100% effective, it could go a long way to the resumption of travel, he said, by giving confidence to governments to relax requirements for quarantines and other deterrents to travel.

“Those should, in theory, be relaxed if you get traction from an effective vaccine,” he said.

Johanna Jainchill contributed to this report.



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