UK professor impacted by Omicron travel restrictions

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — First detected in the United States Wednesday, Omicron has rapidly become the dominant variant of the coronavirus in South Africa, a country that has held a special place in Dr. Zach Porterfield’s heart.

An assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Porterfield told LEX 18 he has lived in South Africa on and off over the last 21 years. He has studied as an HIV virologist in the country, where he said doctors and scientists have been doing exceptional work researching COVID-19.

“We probably found [Omicron] in South Africa because there was a concerted effort to look,” Dr. Porterfield said. “We have the expertise and technology to do that [genetic] sequencing.”

Dr. Porterfield said he was planning to travel to South Africa next week, before learning about new travel restrictions imposed on South Africa and seven other African countries.

“I still have an apartment in Durban and projects and laboratory collaborations in South Africa that I was planning to return and try and set right,” he said.

Although his plans may have been upended, Dr. Porterfield said he understands why President Joe Biden’s administration implemented the latest travel bans.

“I think the right thing to do is take a moment to pause and think through what does this mean,” he said.

President Biden explained earlier this week that while travel restrictions will not prevent the arrival of the variant, they could buy the administration time to prepare.

Health experts around the world, including representatives from the World Health Organization, have criticized the restrictions, suggesting they are ineffective and punitive.

“Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of Omicron,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO. “And they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.”

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Guys, take notes! Travel essentials for a Bachelor’s trip

Guys, take notes! Travel essentials for a Bachelor's trip
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Guys, take notes! Travel essentials for a Bachelor’s trip

As exciting as it is for a groom to marry his lady love, a bachelor party with his friends is just as vital, right? While some grooms plan to travel abroad to complete their bachelor checklist, others opt to celebrate with their closest friends and BFFs. The perfect bachelor party location, whether it’s on the beach or in the great outdoors, needs just the right combination of outfits for all that partying and hanging out with buddies.

Check out these 5 essentials:

Tank Tops

When it comes to clothing, tank tops are the new cool for men. Their dynamic nature makes them a suitable companion for both casual and semi-casual looks. You can style them with your shorts, cargo, baggy pants, harem pants, or jeans, basically any type of bottom, which will give you a cool, casual look. Tight-fit tanks are also ideal for layering and provide more cooling benefits than a typical cotton tee. Wear it under knitwear, a blazer, a jacket, or even a shirt.


If you like shorts, I’m sure you have a complete inventory of the summertime staple on your hands. But it’s your bachelor’s party and you have decided to celebrate it on the beach or maybe at a pool party with your pals, it allows you to wear your favourite shorts with your holiday t-shirts. You can go for a sunset walk on the beach while wearing your favourite pair of casual shorts and your best t-shirt. Also, don’t forget to flaunt your biceps by pairing shirts with printed shorts. You can wear your shirt like a jacket by opening the buttons, and that would look fantastic with those shorts. If you are a fan of print, choose complimenting print patterns or play it safe and pair printed shorts with solid t-shirts.


The perfect travel watch is one that is almost always on every trip’s checklist, and if there is ever a time to have a reliable watch, it is while traveling. Sports watches offer higher water resistance and durability, making them ideal for holidays that include more physically demanding and aquatic activities. If you’re heading somewhere more reserved, your “fun in the sun” time may be restricted, and a dress watch will generally suffice. Alternatively, you might carry two watches. One sports watch for a day at the beach and one dress watch for a beautiful evening dinner. You can always choose a watch for yourself depending on your look and the type of activity you are doing.


While shoes may appear to be simply another item to pack, putting a little extra thought into what your feet will be wearing for the next week or two always pay back. You walk a lot more while you’re exploring a new location than when you’re at your house. With this in mind, it’s worth your time to look for the best men’s footwear for travel. We’re talking about shoes that are not only extremely comfortable and supportive but also look fantastic. Loafers are versatile and go well with almost any outfit. A pair of sports shoes will be enough for your exercise needs, while flip-flops will suffice for your relaxing strolls.


This specific item is a matter of personal taste, and no man with a sense of style can complete his outfit without it. Without a nice pair of sunglasses, all of your vacation clothes are incomplete. A good pair of travel sunglasses should be long-lasting, have a distinct look, and be able to filter harmful UV rays. Polarised lenses are a good choice for your vacation since they decrease glare, while various coloured tints perform better in other situations. Check that the frame is not overly tight, but rather comfortably snug. Investing in a classic style, such as the aviator or wayfarer, is always a wise decision. On the other hand, choosing a statement pair with mirrored lenses and a brightly coloured frame, on the other hand, is a fantastic way to add some style.

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UCSF Lab Worked Quickly To Confirm San Francisco’s Omicron Case – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — When word of a possible COVID omicron case reached UC San Francisco infectious disease specialist Dr. Charles Chiu, he knew that his team would have to work quickly.

Like all of us, he had heard the predictions and dire forecasts. Omicron was on its way. It would be here in the United States any day. That day arrived at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.

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“We have worked very closely with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Health and Color Genomics on genome surveillance of the virus,” Chiu said. “When we identify positive cases, COVID-19 cases in this city and county, we make an attempt to sequence all the cases.”

The UCSF lab received the suspicious positive test from the Color Lab Tuesday evening. The San Francisco resident had fallen ill after returning to San Francisco International Airport after a trip to South Africa — a hotbed of the new strain — on Nov. 23. A sample taken from the patient had tested positive for COVID, but what strain was it?

“This particular sample, I heard about it yesterday at about 3 p.m.,” Chiu said at a morning news conference. “We were able to receive the sample in the laboratory by 8 p.m. We ran a very fast molecular test which looks for spike gene dropout. What this test can tell you that you may have detected omicron, but it’s not conclusive.”

The team then worked well into the early hours of Wednesday morning further testing the sample. They had to sequence the viral genome using a high-tech device known as a nanopore sequencer, a device just slightly larger than a USB stick.

“It’s powered by the USB port in your laptop. It enables us to do very rapid sequencing,” said Chiu. “That’s how we were able to get a result and identify this variant within a few hours. If we had to run this on a traditional instrument, typically it takes at least a day.”

“We were able to confirm the detection of omicron in five hours and had nearly the entire genome in eight hours. At 4 a.m. last night we were able to conclusively demonstrate that this was an infection of the omicron variant.”

In a news release, San Francisco officials confirmed the individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22.

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“The individual, who is a San Francisco resident, is self-isolating and is experiencing mild symptoms,” the officials said. “We are continuing to speak with the individual about any persons with whom they have been in contact.”

The individual, who was not named, fell ill and sought medical treatment that led to the discovery on Monday.

“The patient themselves reached out to San Francisco Department of Public Health as soon as they found out they were positive, because they were concerned themselves,” said Scott Topper, Vice President of Clinical Operations for Color Health.

The World Health Organization designates omicron a “variant of concern.” In a technical brief released this week, WHO noted that the variant poses a “very high” global risk. The variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa and has since been detected in several countries.

Scientists are working to determine how transmissible the variant is, how sick it makes people and how well current vaccines work against it. Until more information is learned about the variant, the United States restricted travel from South Africa and seven other countries.

Chiu believes this is not the only case of the omicron variant in the U.S., just the only detected one.

“I’m almost certain that this finding is only the tip of the iceberg and that we will continue to see cases in the United States.”

MORE NEWS: Former Los Gatos Elementary School Teacher Gets 35-Year Prison Term For Child Molestation

Andria Borba contributed to this report.

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Omicron coronavirus variant puts world on edge; US detects first case

South Korea identified 5,266 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, a record high for a second consecutive day, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said in a news release Thursday.

That breaks the previous record of 5,123 new cases, recorded on Tuesday. 

Last month, South Korea announced it would start “living with Covid-19” and began easing restrictions. But its reopening has coincided with record new infections, critical cases and deaths. Concerns over the new Omicron variant are also threatening the country’s recovery.

South Korea’s total confirmed cases increased to 457,612, while the death toll rose by 47 to 3,705, according to KDCA. Some 733 patients are in critical condition, KDCA said.

That’s despite high vaccination rates. As of Wednesday, 80.1% of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to KDCA.

Travel restrictions: The rise in cases has prompted authorities to mandate a 10-day quarantine for all incoming international travelers, including Korean nationals, starting Friday for two weeks.

The move came as five Omicron cases were reported by the country in travelers arriving from Nigeria. 

The mandate applies to travelers from all countries, regardless of their vaccination status, KDCA said.

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Lady Raiders Return Home for Thursday Matinee vs. No. 20 Georgia on ESPNU

LUBBOCK, Texas — The Texas Tech Lady Raiders return to United Supermarkets Arena Thursday for an 11 a.m. nationally-televised (ESPNU) matchup against the No. 20 Georgia Lady Bulldogs.
Tech and Georgia will meet for just the second time in program history, and for the first time since the 1984-85 season.


The Lady Raiders closed play at the Van Chancellor Classic 2-1 last weekend. Tech opened the weekend with a 71-67 victory over Ball State on Friday. In that contest, senior forward Taylah Thomas had a career-best 18 points and 17 rebounds, while Lexy Hightower added 15 points.

On Saturday, the Lady Raiders suffered their first loss of the season, falling to Old Dominion 59-45. After falling behind as many as 27 points in that game, the Lady Raiders cut the deficit to single digits in the fourth, before the comeback effort came up short.

Sunday, Tech bounced back in a big way, using a 27-point first quarter to cruise to an 82-75 victory. In the contest, all five Lady Raider scorers were in double-figures led by Hightower’s 17 points. The West Texas A&M transfer also grabbed eight rebounds and had six assists.


Texas Tech (7-1) vs. No. 20 Georgia (6-0)

Date: Thursday, December 2, 2021

Time: 11 a.m.

Location: United Supermarkets Arena (Lubbock, Texas)


Radio: Texas Tech Radio Network/The Varsity App


Georgia Lady Bulldogs (6-0):

Georgia enters Thursday’s matchup with Texas Tech ranked No. 20 in the country, after defeating Notre Dame 71-67 and Marquette 70-45. One of the best defensive teams in the country, Georgia has four times held a team to 45 points or fewer and has allowed under 60 in every single game except the Notre Dame game that went to overtime.

On the year, forward Jenna Staiti leads the Lady Bulldogs in points (13.3), rebounds (8.0), blocks (17) and field goals made (31). Led by Staiti, Georgia has three different people scoring in double-figures this season. Guards Que Morrison and Sarah Ashlee Barker are averaging 10.5 and 10.2 points respectively.


The Lady Raiders return to action a week from Sunday, when they travel to Canyon, Texas to clash with UNLV. The game will be a homecoming for HC Krista Gerlich and guard Lexy Hightower. Gerlich coached the Lady Buffs from 2006-13, while Hightower played for West Texas A&M from 2017-21. Tip-off from the First United Bank Center is set for 2 p.m.


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New Poll Suggests Fears of Omicron Will Not Significantly Affect Travel

Americans are largely taking new COVID-19 variants in stride.

Polling conducted by MedJet found that travelers are keeping their plans in place in the presence of variants.


MedJet polled members in November and found that more than 84 percent of those who responded had future travel plans in place. Ninety percent were planning to take a domestic trip in the next nine months and 70 percent expected to take an international trip within the next nine months.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

The good news, when it comes to variants is that while 51 percent of MedJet members reported that previous variants and spikes had affected their future travel plans, only 25 percent of respondents reported having actually canceled because of them.

“Most just changed their destination, or mode of transport, or lodging,” said Gobbels. “Barring any more serious travel bans, which President Biden just announced he does not currently foresee, we expect a large portion of our members to continue traveling despite the emergence of Omicron. Some may need to make new plans if their flights or tours are canceled, or if border closures (like Japan and Israel currently) affect them.”

Unfortunately, while travelers may want to travel, many travel plans were affected by variants.

Fifty-one percent said previous variants and spikes had already affected future travel plans. Twenty-seven percent said variants, and spikes had not and 23 percent said that they weren’t sure yet.

One of the biggest concerns was that they would test positive for COVID-19 and not be able to return home. Forty-two percent said that they were worried about this, and 58 percent were more concerned about being hospitalized for COVID while away from home.

“That’s why we recommend travel insurance with trip interruption that covers COVID, to cover any additional hotel nights and rebooking flights,” said Gobbels, “and a Medjet membership to get moved to a hospital at home should you actually need hospitalization.”

Differing entry requirements in different destinations are one of the major challenges for travelers.

“One of the biggest frustrations we hear lately, from members calling in, is how varied the entry requirements are,” said Gobbels. “The advent of entry requirement search tools like SHERPA has been helpful for travelers researching and keeping track of requirements and changes. We actually added it to our website last month to help with that.”

For the latest insight on travel around the world, check out this interactive guide.

For the latest travel news, updates, and deals, be sure to subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter here.

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DETROIT, Mich. – After forfeiting the first two conference games of the season due to Covid-19 implications, the IUPUI women’s basketball team will travel to Detroit, Michigan to take on Horizon League competitor, Detroit Mercy on Thursday (Dec. 2) at 7:00 p.m.
The Jaguars enter the game after an 80-47 victory over Butler on Sunday at the Jungle. Sophomore transfer Rachel Kent led the Jags with 16 points, all from behind the arc to help the Jags tie the IUPUI record of three’s made in a game with 16. Red-shirt senior Destiny Perkins followed with 12 points and four assists. Other starters, Natalie Andersen added 11 points with three three-pointers, Madison Wise scored three points with six assists and Macee Williams added eight points and three assists.
Head coach Austin Parkinson‘s team finished the 2020-21 season with a conference record of 11-3 and fell to Wright State in the Horizon League championship game. IUPUI looks for redemption this season and was voted atop the Horizon League Women’s Basketball Preseason Polls for 2021.
IUPUI will face the Titans for their first conference matchup besides the two forfeited games. Detroit Mercy enters the game 0-2 in conference play and 0-6 overall after losing to Akron, 67-60 on Monday. Sophomore Irene Murua leads the Titans, averaging 10 points per game and shooting 54.2 percent from the floor. Murua also leads the team in rebounds with 6.8 per game.

The Jags are 6-0 against the Titans and last faced them on Feb. 6, 2020, when IUPUI defeated Detroit Mercy 95-54. Thursday’s game at Detroit Mercy will be aired on ESPN+ with tip off at 7 p.m.

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The Day with Brent Goff: Omicron Travel Worries | The Day – News in Review | DW

The Day

The US is expected to tighten COVID testing requirements for people entering the country as more nations confirm cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant. Plus, NATO warns Russia of severe consequences if Ukraine is attacked.

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