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Covid-19: Canada Deemed ‘Very High’ Risk For Travel

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Covid-19: Canada Deemed ‘Very High’ Risk For Travel
Canada was moved to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s highest-risk category for travel on Monday.

The world’s second-largest country by total area, Canada has seen a steep rise in cases as the Omicron variant spreads. The country recorded 294,437 new cases for the week ending January 8, according to Johns Hopkins University figures, its highest weekly total of the pandemic.

Canada was joined by one other destination — the Caribbean island of Curaçao — in moving up to the CDC’s Level 4: Covid-19 Very High category on Monday.

The CDC places a destination at Level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents are registered in the past 28 days. The CDC advises travelers to avoid travel to Level 4 countries.

Canada had previously been at Level 3 since August 30, 2021. Curaçao, a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, had been at Level 3 since November 22, 2021.

On December 15, Canada issued an advisory to its citizens asking that they avoid all nonessential international travel. Last week, a group of air travelers partying maskless en route to Mexico from Montreal earned a rebuke from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Most international visitors to Canada are required to be vaccinated and to have a negative Covid-19 test result.

In addition to new entries Canada and Curaçao, some of the biggest travel names remain firmly lodged at the CDC’s Level 4 for now:

• France
• Iceland
• Ireland
• Italy
• Netherlands
• Portugal
• South Africa
• Spain
• Switzerland
• United Kingdom

More than 80 destinations were rated Level 4 as of January 10. You can view the CDC’s risk levels for global destinations on its travel recommendations page.

In its broader travel guidance, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

Cruising

On December 30, the CDC increased the risk for cruise ship travel to Level 4 and said it should be avoided, regardless of vaccination status.Last week, two large cruise lines canceled upcoming sailings on numerous ships as Covid-related interruptions mounted.

Level 3 additions

The Level 3 category — which applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days — saw 10 new additions on Monday from a variety of regions:

• Armenia
• Bahrain
• Belarus
• Cape Verde
• Ethiopia
• Lesotho
• Singapore
• United Arab Emirates
• Zambia
• Zimbabwe

The Level 3 designation was actually good news for Armenia and Belarus, which had previously been at Level 4.

It was also good news for Lesotho and Zimbabwe, two of eight southern African countries that landed at Level 4 at the end of November after the Omicron variant was discovered in the region.

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The US travel ban affecting those countries was lifted on December 31.It was a move in the wrong direction for Bahrain, Cape Verde, Ethiopia and Zambia, which had been at Level 2.

The United Arab Emirates jumped up two risk levels from Level 1.And Singapore, which was listed as unknown last week because of a lack of information, moved into Level 3.

Level 2

Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation have seen 50 to 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

That level saw eight new additions Monday, five of them in Africa:
• Democratic Republic of the Congo
• El Salvador
• Fiji
• Kuwait
• Liberia
• Rwanda
• São Tomé and Príncipe
• Togo

Level 1 and Unknown

In the category of “Level 1: Covid-19 Low” destinations, fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents have been logged over the past 28 days. There were no updates to that category on Monday.

Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk because of a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places. No new destinations were listed in the “unknown” category on Monday.

Considerations for travel

Transmission rates are important to consider when making travel decisions, but there are other factors to weigh as well, according Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

“The transmission rates are one guidepost,” Wen said. “Another is what precautions are required and followed in the place that you’re going and then the third is what are you planning to do once you’re there.”

Are you planning to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? That’s very different from you’re going somewhere where you’re planning to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else. That’s very different. Those are very different levels of risk.

“Vaccination is the most significant safety factor for travel since unvaccinated travelers are more likely to become ill and transmit Covid-19 to others, Wen said.

She said people should be wearing a high-quality mask — N95, KN95 or KF94 — anytime they’re in crowded indoor settings with people of unknown vaccination status.

Before you travel, it’s also important to consider what you would do if you end up testing positive away from home, Wen said. Where will you stay and how easy will it be to get a test to return home?

 

 

 

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Maya Angelou To Become First Black Woman To Be Featured On The United States Quarter

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Maya Angelou To Become First Black Woman To Be Featured On The United States Quarter

According to the New York Post, The US Mint has already started rolling out quarters featuring activist and poet Dr. Maya Angelou.

The new design marks a moment in history as the first time a black woman has appeared on the coin.

“Each time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country–what we value, and how we’ve progressed as a society,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “I’m very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou.”

The new quarter will still feature George Washington’s face on the ‘heads’ side, and pay homage to Maya Angelou and her autobiography, ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,’ on the ‘tails’ side.

The Mint reportedly plans to roll out four other commemorative quarters this year, paying tribute to women who made history in their respective fields. The coins will feature Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, the first female leader of the Cherokee nation; Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American Hollywood star; and Nina Otero-Warren, a woman’s suffragist and educator in the US.

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Angelou’s coin, however, is the first of the American Women Quarters Program to be produced.

“Maya Angelou’s writing and activism inspired countless Americans and her legacy helped fuel greater fairness and understanding across our nation,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Senate sponsor of the bill. “She is exactly the type of leader I had in mind when Senator Fischer, Representative Lee and I wrote our bipartisan legislation to create a series of quarters honoring the contributions of American woman. This coin will ensure generations of Americans learn about Maya Angelou’s books and poetry that spoke to the lives experience of Black women.”

 

 

 

 

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Covid-19: New Variant Deltacron And Everything You Need To Know About It

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Covid-19: New Variant Deltacron And Everything You Need To Know About It
It seems like it’s another day, another variant of COVID is being identified. This time scientists are saying that there is a new strain that is a combination of the delta and omicron variant called “deltacron.”

 

According to Bloomberg, Leondios Kostrikis, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus, spoke about the new possible variant and said, that it has an “omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes.” At the moment, it’s too early to determine the impact of the strain or if there are more cases.

Kostrikis said, “We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail against the two dominant strains, delta, and omicron.”

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The researcher’s findings were sent to GISAID, which is an international database that tracks viruses.

Reports about the omicron variant started to surface last November.

It was first detected in Botswana before making its way to other parts of the world. Shortly after, the numbers of positive cases began to rise and greatly impacted the holiday season.

According to CNBC, the U.S. is reporting a seven-day average of more than 600,000 new cases daily.

 

 

 

 

 

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Meghan Markle Set To Receive £1m In Damages After Privacy Case

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Meghan Markle Set To Receive £1 In Damages After Privacy Case
The Duchess of Sussex will receive £1m in damages from Associated Newspapers after the Mail on Sunday was found to have invaded her privacy.

The nominal sum was set out in court documents which formally confirm the newspaper has accepted defeat.

The Mail on Sunday published a handwritten letter the duchess sent to her father Thomas Markle in 2018.

The media company will also pay an unspecified sum for a separate case of infringing her copyright.

Associated Newspapers previously indicated it was considering a further appeal to the Supreme Court, but the company has now accepted defeat in the long-running case.

Last February, the High Court had ruled against the newspaper group on the issue of privacy and copyright – saying the issues in the case were so clear cut that there was no need for a full hearing.

Associated Newspapers was refused permission to appeal against the decision but went to the Court of Appeal in an attempt to get the original ruling overturned.

However, in December, the Court of Appeal rejected Associated Newspapers’ attempt to have a trial.

Judges at the appeal said it was hard to see what evidence at a trial would have altered the situation.

They added: “The judge had correctly decided that, whilst it might have been proportionate to publish a very small part of the letter… it was not necessary to publish half the contents of the letter.”

A spokesman for Associated Newspapers said at the time: “It is our strong view that judgment should be given only on the basis of evidence tested at trial, and not on a summary basis in a heavily contested case.”

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In her own statement issued after the ruling, the duchess urged people to be “brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that… profits from the lies and pain that they create”.

Associated Newspapers will also pay a confidential sum for copyright infringement, while the Mail on Sunday also faces having to cover a substantial part of Meghan’s legal costs, which could be more than £1m.

Media lawyer Mark Stephens told the Guardian the nominal £1 settlement suggested a weakness in the privacy aspect of the duchess’s case.

“Normally for that kind of invasion of privacy you would expect £75,000 to £125,000,” he said. “It does show that the curation of her reputation was an area where she had effectively invaded her own privacy.”

However, libel lawyer David Hooper told The Daily Beast: “Accepting the £1 will likely have avoided a tremendous argument about the extent of the damage she suffered.

“She just wanted to establish a principle and get her legal costs paid, although she may well still be a half a million pounds out of pocket as a result of this process.”

 

 

 

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