STILL GOING STRONG: A brief look at Covid home and abroad

The pandemic continues, and masks, social distancing and handwashing are still promoted as best defences against the virus. Yet even those simple rules seem too much for many to endure. Meanwhile ASTA is considering suing the federal government over the ‘No Sail’ order still in place. Here’s a look at some of what’s happening here in Canada and elsewhere.

Canada

New Brunswick is reporting two new travel-related COVID-19 infections today, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to five. One case involves a person between 20 and 29 years old in the Moncton, N.B., region who travelled internationally and who is isolating. The second case involves a person between 60 and 69 years old in the Saint John, N.B., region who travelled outside Atlantic Canada and who is also isolating.

Public Health is advising passengers on two Air Canada flights to monitor their health and to call 811 if COVID-19 symptoms develop.

Authorities say a foreign traveller on flights 992 from Mexico City to Toronto on Sept. 29 and 8910 from Toronto to Moncton on Sept. 30, may have been infectious.

New Brunswick has reported a total of 203 COVID-19 cases and two deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

U.K.

The British government has launched an investigation into how nearly 16,000 new coronavirus infections went unreported as a result of a technical glitch. The failing could have given fresh impetus to the country’s coronavirus outbreak and ultimately to an uptick in deaths.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told lawmakers Monday that 51% of those cases have now been contacted by contact tracers. His statement came after the weekend disclosure that a total of 15,841 virus cases weren’t tabulated from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2.

Britain’s Royal Opera House is selling a David Hockney painting of its former boss to help it stay afloat as coronavirus-related restrictions keep many UK performing arts venues shuttered. Christie’s auction house said Monday that “Portrait of Sir David Webster” will be offered for sale in London on Oct. 22, with an estimated price of between £11 million and £18 million ($19 million and $31million).

Royal Opera chief executive Alex Beard said the company was facing “the biggest crisis in our history.” He said the company, home to Britain’s Royal Opera and Royal Ballet, would also need to cut staff and costs and seek funding from supporters and the government to stay afloat.

British theatre and music venues are struggling to survive because social distancing rules mean most can’t reopen with enough audience members to break even.

Italy

The Italian government was scheduled to meet later Monday to discuss making mask-wearing mandatory outdoors nationwide and limiting the number of people who can gather indoors. The moves come as Italy adds 2,257 new positives in the last 24 hours, even with fewer swab tests, as is typical for the weekend. The government is also pushing for more people to download a contact tracing app, which has reached 7 million downloads but still far short of the threshold officials say is necessary to be effective. Italy’s number of virus positives hit 327,586, while the pandemic-total of known deaths is 36,002 — with 16 deaths registered Monday.

The Netherlands

The European Union police agency says in a new report that cybercriminals are cashing in on the coronavirus crisis by targeting people and companies that are spending more time online due to work-from-home orders.

Europol issued its annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment Monday. It underscores earlier warnings by the Hague-based police organization to the EU’s 27 member states about cybercrime during the pandemic.

The assessment covers all aspects of cybercrime. It cautions that “many individuals and businesses that may not have been as active online before the crisis became a lucrative target” for cybercriminals who are able to quickly adapt existing online crime to fit emerging vulnerabilities.

Criminals also used the global pandemic to spread disinformation about the virus for financial gain. The report says that distributing fake news online about potential cures or treatments “facilitated criminals seeking to sell items that they claim will help prevent or cure COVID-19.”

Another element of cybercrime that has risen during the pandemic is the online distribution of images of the sexual abuse of children and livestreaming abuse. The report says that the COVID-19 crisis “revealed an extra surge in online distribution” of such material.

Denmark

The Danish Health Authority has called off the traditional Halloween routine where costumed children and adults go from house to house, asking for trick or treats, and said that such practices “may be associated with the risk of spreading the infection.”

In its latest recommendation, the government agency suggests organizing Halloween parties only with people who see each other often and “replace the door-to-door candy collection with other activities, such as carving out pumpkins (or) an outdoor treasure hunt” or making Halloween paper decorations.

“If you serve sweets, make sure they are wrapped or portioned,” the agency said.

In the past years, the Oct. 31 festivities have become rather big in Denmark that has seen 30,057 cases and 659 deaths.

U.S.

Minneapolis

Thirteen staff members from an iconic Minneapolis steakhouse were self-quarantining after the restaurant catered a fundraiser attended by Donald Trump during his visit to Minnesota last week, the restaurant said Monday.

The 13 worked for Murray’s Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, which catered the fundraiser on Wednesday at the Lake Minnetonka home of Marty Davis, CEO of the quartz countertop manufacturer Cambria Co. LLC. About 40 contributors paid US $200,000 a couple or $100,000 per person for the chance to meet the president and hear him speak.

“Our staff was there to work the party only and at no point did any staff come in close proximity to the president,” the restaurant said in a statement.

“Upon learning of the president’s positive COVID-19 test, we immediately enacted a 14-day quarantine for all staff who worked the party. Additionally, each staff member who worked the party will be tested for COVID-19.”

Murray’s, a family owned restaurant since 1946, is popular among the city’s movers and shakers and sports figures. A spokesman for the restaurant, Chuck Sanger, said the restaurant is still able to operate normally despite the quarantine.

Detroit

Buses returned to Detroit streets Monday after a three-day work stoppage by drivers over coronavirus protections and disputes with riders. Police officers will increase their presence as part of a deal between the city and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26. Riders must continue to wear masks and they must not cross a barrier or approach the driver.

Drivers “generally do not feel safe at work due to violent and threatening circumstances presented by customers and members of the public,” the memo states. Detroit buses serve an average of 85,000 people a day.

A driver was suspended for 29 days for a fight with a rider who boarded without a mask. Mayor Mike Duggan said the strike, which began Friday, was in response to the suspension. Duggan said video of the incident was “disturbing.”

Union leader Glenn Tolbert said Duggan’s remarks were insensitive to drivers.

“We’ve had drivers stabbed and punched,” Tolbert said. “I think that’s the narrative the city would have preferred than a driver protecting himself. I don’t think that driver acted improperly.”

Cruise

The CDC again extended the cruise ship ban until the end of October which according to the the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) unfairly targets the cruise industry. ASTA is considering the option of filing a lawsuit against the federal government over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s prolonged ‘No Sail’ order although it acknowledges there is little chance of success.

ASTA says hotels and airlines are able to operate despite various restrictions.

Source: Travel Industry Today
STILL GOING STRONG: A brief look at Covid home and abroad

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