Europe is facing another 700,000 Covid-19 deaths by March, WHO warns


More than 1.5 million people in Europe have already died from Covid during the pandemic. WHO’s latest projections suggest that number will rise to 2.2 million over the winter months, with “high or extreme stress” set to hit intensive care units in 49 of the 53 nations in the region.

But the agency’s statement on Tuesday also insisted that mask-wearing could prevent many of those deaths. If 95% of people wore masks, WHO estimated that more than 160,000 fatalities would be avoided by spring.

“In order to live with this virus and continue our daily lives, we need to take a ‘vaccine plus’ approach,” said Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe. That means mask-wearing, social distancing, ventilating indoor spaces and washing hands.

“All of us have the opportunity and responsibility to help avert unnecessary tragedy and loss of life, and limit further disruption to society and businesses over this winter season,” Kluge added.

Europe has been crippled by a surge in Delta cases in recent weeks. Infection records have been broken several times over in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ireland, Russia and beyond, and several countries are resorting to drastic measures to counter the wave.

Austria plans to become the first country in the region to make vaccinations mandatory by February, and leaders around the European Union have been making their frustrations known at those who haven’t yet received a shot.

Angry anti-lockdown protests took place in the Austrian capital Vienna over the weekend, as well as in the Netherlands and Belgium, but tight new restrictions remain in place around the continent as Christmas approaches.

And that may be key in preventing this wave, and keeping future surges at bay, experts say, until enough people have been inoculated.

“It’s too late to prevent another wave, because the vaccination coverage is too low. So we have to focus on keeping mortality down,” Kluge told CNN on Tuesday.

“To focus only on vaccinations is not going to help us. We need to do it all.”

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.

Q: How can we prepare for a potential Covid surge this winter?

A: Winter is almost here and with colder weather and an increase in indoor gatherings, the risk of Covid transmission is higher.

However, unlike last year, we have vaccines that add an important layer of protection, and other tools, like testing, that can help. So while there may be increased risks, we don’t need to be resigned to a winter surge. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen shares her tips on how to prepare and get through this period safely.

  • Anyone eligible to be vaccinated should do so, including children aged 5 to 11 years old and those who are now eligible to receive their booster shots.
  • Get the flu vaccine, to prevent the possibility of a “twin-demic” of the flu and Covid-19.
  • Stock up on rapid tests. In the United States, these are available for purchase over the counter at your local pharmacy.
  • High-quality masks (N95, KN95, KF94) should be worn indoors and in crowded areas.
  • Many medical appointments have been delayed due to Covid-19. Now is the time to get on top of your other medical issues.
  • Opt for outside gatherings where possible and continue to exercise caution.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

READS OF THE WEEK

Romania is battling its worst Covid-19 wave yet as bodies pile up outside a morgue

At the morgue of the Bucharest University Hospital, a medic hammered a nail into a wooden coffin. A colleague sprayed the coffin with disinfectant.

“It’s relentless — relentless,” sighed nurse Claudiu Ionita, standing in front of a line of gurneys in the hospital’s mortuary. On each gurney lay a body inside a black plastic bag.

The morgue has a capacity for 15 bodies, but on the day CNN visited, it had received 41, with excess bodies filling the corridor outside.

Bucharest University Hospital is the Romanian capital’s largest medical facility treating Covid-19 patients and is struggling through the country’s fourth wave, its worst yet, Cristiana Moisescu and Ben Wedeman report.

Romania has one of Europe’s lowest vaccination rates, with under 36% of the population vaccinated. Medical workers and officials have attributed it to a variety of factors, including suspicion of authorities, deeply held religious beliefs, and a flood of misinformation surging through social media.

Europe is learning a crucial lesson — vaccines work, but they won’t stop Covid alone

As Western Europe’s vaccination rollout gained strength in the early part of 2021, many of the region’s leaders touted the shots as their immediate route out of the pandemic. But nations are now reckoning with the gradually waning immunity of those doses, Rob Picheta writes.

Even a relatively strong vaccination rate is not enough alone to stop the spread of Covid-19 — and warning signs from Germany and Austria — where infections have skyrocketed in recent weeks — show the dangers of complacency.

Restrictions differ from country to country, and adherence to them can differ wildly too. “The vaccine is controlling deaths — but what we’re seeing is a virus that has established itself as endemic, and in some countries, it’s made greater progress than others because there have been less rigid controls,” said David Heymann, a former executive director of WHO’s Communicable Diseases Cluster and a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

What the world can learn from Israel’s booster rollout

When it comes to Covid-19, it seems where Israel leads, the rest of the world follows. For almost a year, the country has offered other nations a glimpse into the pandemic’s future.

At the end of July, the country began offering boosters to those over the age of 60; since late August, boosters have been available to anyone over the age of 16, five months after their second dose of the vaccine.

Now, a person is not considered fully vaccinated in Israel until they have received a third dose of the vaccine, once they are eligible for it.

More than three months on, Israeli health officials say the data is clear: Booster shots helped bring down the fourth wave of the virus that swept the country in August and September, Hadas Gold writes.

The data highlights stark differences between those with the vaccine — and the booster — and those without: On many days over the past month, more than 75% of positive cases were among the unvaccinated, according to health ministry data.

TOP TIP

Get ready for Thanksgiving

While many of us look forward to reuniting with loved ones and celebrating the holidays, we need to stay Covid safe.

“Get yourself vaccinated and you can continue to enjoy interactions with your family and others.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious-disease expert, told CNN. He added that if you and your family members are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, it’s OK to ditch the masks when you are around each other this holiday season.

“And if you’re not [vaccinated], please be careful,” Fauci said. “Get tested … when you’re getting together.”

CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen has some more tips on how to travel and celebrate safely over the holidays, whether those around you are fully vaccinated or not.

TODAY’S PODCAST

For many of us, Thanksgiving means reuniting with friends or family we haven’t seen in a while. But before you gather around the dinner table, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has tips to share for keeping loved ones safe from Covid-19. Plus, Dr. Gupta invites us into his home where he and his daughters prepare a special family recipe that’s sure to warm up any holiday gathering. Listen here.



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Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario reporting 492 COVID-19 cases; Province plans to incrementally lift all COVID-19 restrictions by the end of March


The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

2:12 p.m. (updated) Ontario plans to “incrementally” lift all COVID-19 safety measures — including vaccine passports and mask-wearing — by the end of March if all goes well, says Premier Doug Ford.

As previously reported by the Star, the changes begin Monday when customer capacity limits are lifted on restaurants, bars, gyms, casinos, bingo halls and indoor events spaces.

“This plan is built for the long term. It will guide us safely through the winter and out of this pandemic, while avoiding lockdowns and ensuring we don’t lose the hard-fought gains we’ve made,” Ford said.

And it will provide much-needed “predictability and certainty,” he added, calling the plan “cautious” and noting the province is “sticking with what has worked.”

Read the full story from the Star’s Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson

2:10 p.m. Ontario is “slowly and incrementally” lifting all COVID-19 restrictions in the next 6 months. Restaurants, bars, gyms will be full capacity as of Monday. Night clubs, bathhouses, sex clubs on Nov. 15. Vaccination pass rules will be loosened Jan. 17 if current trends continue. The mask mandate could end March 28.

2:05 p.m. Are you fully vaccinated and eager to start travelling? Starting Nov. 30, you will not be able to fly without a government-issued vaccine passport with a QR code.

As of Oct. 22, the new proof of vaccination can be downloaded to smartphones or printed in hard copy in five provinces, including Ontario, and the three territories. For the rest of the provinces, the document will be available by Nov. 30.

Along with the QR code, which will include your COVID-19 vaccination history, the document will also have the official logo of the province or territory and the official logo of the Government of Canada.

Before Nov. 30, Canadians who don’t yet have access to the QR-coded proof of vaccination, can use their proof of vaccination receipt when travelling, however it’s advised to bring a printout because the digital copy may not be readable outside of Canada.

Read the full story from the Star’s Urbi Khan

1:55 p.m. The travel industry is welcoming news that the federal government has lifted a global advisory asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country.

Bruce Poon Tip, founder of Canadian-based tour operator G Adventures, says the move is long overdue. He says Canada has been slower than many other countries when it comes to lifting its blanket advisory against travel.

Poon Tip says travel demand has picked up significantly in the last couple of months, something he attributes to the rollout of vaccinations.

But he says the last 18 months have been devastating for his company. G Adventures has had to lay off about 1,000 people, more than half of its total number of employees worldwide.

The global travel advisory was put in place in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world.

1:45 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting 23 new cases of COVID-19. Thirteen cases have been identified in the central zone, which includes Halifax, six cases are in the western zone, three cases have been found in the northern zone and one case is in the eastern zone.

Authorities say 26 recoveries have also been reported. The province now has 160 active infections with 15 people in hospital, four of whom are in intensive care.

Officials also reported that two schools received COVID-19 exposure notices Thursday, both of them in the Amherst area.

And officials continue to monitor an outbreak of the disease in a non-COVID unit at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville where five cases of COVID-19 have been identified.

1:30 p.m. Canada must decide what to do with millions of unused COVID-19 vaccine doses now that officials have confirmed they won’t be needed to vaccinate children.

Roughly 6.6-million doses have been distributed to the provinces but not yet used, and there are an extra 13 million in Canada’s central vaccine inventory.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says provincial and federal governments are working to figure out how many doses will be needed in Canada so that everyone can be fully vaccinated, and get a booster if they need one.

At the same time, they are keeping tabs on when doses expire to make sure they do not go to waste.

Health Canada is also looking at the possibility of extending the shelf life of some vaccines based on new data from the manufacturers, so they can be kept in storage for a few extra months.

Arrangements have been made between the government, the manufacturers and COVAX, the global vaccine sharing initiative, to donate doses that can’t be used or stored.

1:10 p.m. Two eastern European countries struggling with low rates of vaccination against COVID-19 are seeing a sudden rush for jabs.

Previously skeptical populations in Ukraine and Romania are rapidly changing their minds as they endure the pandemic’s deadliest wave yet. The situation is indeed dire: new infections and deaths continue to break records and lockdowns are starting to return.

The worsening conditions prompted a record week of almost 1 million inoculations in Ukraine, which initially had difficulties in securing supplies of vaccines but later saw its citizens increasing wary about taking them.

That’s left the former Soviet republic with coverage that’s even less than Bulgaria, the European Union’s least-vaccinated member state. The realization is hitting home. The national railway operator denied boarding to 175 passengers on Friday as restrictions came into force requiring they produce inoculation certificates.

12:40 p.m. Quebec kids are being asked not to yell ‘trick-or-treat’ as they go door-to-door for candy and to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy this Halloween.

The province’s Health Department today published a list of guidelines to help celebrate the holiday safely amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Children are advised not to enter people’s houses, to refrain from singing and yelling, to wash and sanitize their hands and to try to keep one metre of distance from others whenever possible.

The province is asking adults to hand out candies in individual bags and to respect the 10-person gathering limit when it comes to parties.

12:20 p.m. Beginning Nov. 8, Canadians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter the U.S. for non-essential travel by land and ferry ports of entry.

If you’re planning a trip, you may be struggling to find answers to your travel questions about children under 12, since they’re not yet eligible to be vaccinated in Canada. While that may change within weeks, there are guidelines for this specific age group.

From mixed vaccines to travelling with kids, we use the latest government information to answer your pressing #PandemicTravel questions.

Read the full story from the Star’s Manuela Vega

12:05 p.m. Canada’s vaccine advisory committee says it’s possible to safely give a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to people who experienced severe allergic reactions to their first shot.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says there have been cases of severe anaphylactic reactions to mRNA vaccines documented in Canada after their first dose.

Studies show the reaction often is not repeated with the second dose, however, and the second dose was tell tolerated with either no reactions or just mild ones.

The committee encourages people who had an allergic reaction to a mRNA vaccine — those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — to see an allergist before seeking the next dose.

The committee also released new advice about waiting longer for a second dose, suggesting that a longer gap between shots is more effective.

NACI now suggests waiting eight weeks between mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and at least eight weeks between shots of AstraZeneca.

11:50 a.m. Quebec is reporting 434 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and eight additional deaths linked to the coronavirus.

The Health Department says the number of hospitalizations declined by 14, to 260, and 68 people were in intensive care, a decline of four from the day before.

Authorities say 14,367 doses of vaccine were administered within the past 24 hours.

According to the province’s public health institute, 90.3 per cent of Quebec residents 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine and 87.4 per cent are considered adequately vaccinated.

The Health Department is reporting two COVID-19 outbreaks at provincial jails. As of Tuesday, the most recent day for which data is available, 55 detainees and 13 employees at the Rivière-des-Prairies detention centre in Montreal had active cases of COVID-19.

At the provincial jail in Sherbrooke, Que., east of Montreal, 33 inmates and one staff member had active cases of COVID-19.

11:40 a.m. (updated) A group of science experts advising the Ontario government says the province can control the spread of COVID-19 if public health measures stay in place.

New modelling from the Ontario science table was released today, hours before Premier Doug Ford is set to unveil his plan for lifting public health restrictions.

The experts say a combination of vaccination and public health measures has led to declining case counts and stable hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

But as cold weather approaches, driving more activities indoors where the risk of transmission is higher, the science table says continuing some public health measures is necessary to maintain control of the pandemic.

Modelling shows that if there is no change in policy or people’s behaviours, cases will continue to decline, while some increase in social contacts will keep cases stable. A “substantial” increase in contacts could lead to more than 600 daily cases by the end of November.

All of those scenarios assume public health measures such as masking, a proof-of-vaccination system, symptom screening and good ventilation and filtration continue.

11:20 p.m. Canadian retail sales rose 2.1 per cent to $57.2 billion in August, boosted by gains at food and beverage stores, gasoline stations and clothing and clothing accessories stores.

However, Statistics Canada said Friday its initial estimate for September suggests retail sales reversed course in September and fell 1.9 per cent, though it cautioned the figure will be revised.

The agency also said its early estimate for manufacturing sales in September point to a drop of 3.2 per cent for the month, due in large part to the transportation equipment industry.

CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes said retail sales roared back in August, but then took another breather in September.

“The ugly flash readings for retail sales and manufacturing will dent our previously heady GDP forecast for the month,” Mendes wrote in a note to clients.

“However, while goods sectors were plagued by supply chain challenges, according to the labour force survey data, activity across a range of services sectors was increasing.”

11 a.m. Several universities in Ontario are moving to bar unvaccinated students from campus as their mandatory vaccination policies take full effect.

The schools say the vast majority of their students have now provided proof of COVID-19 vaccination, but the few that have not will in most cases no longer be able to access university buildings or attend on-campus classes and activities.

At the University of Waterloo – where about 95 per cent of students have had a COVID-19 shot – a spokesman said those who aren’t fully immunized cannot take in-person classes and in many cases won’t be able to continue their education at the school.

“Those students can consider continuing to pursue their education by selecting from among the online courses that are scheduled, perhaps as a part-time student,” said Chris Wilson-Smith. “(They can consider) taking relevant courses at another university on a letter of permission, or delaying their learning at Waterloo indefinitely.”

McMaster University in Hamilton, where 96 per cent of students taking in-person classes have submitted proof of vaccination, said unvaccinated students without valid exemptions will be unenrolled from winter courses as there’s an expectation they’ll need to attend campus at some point next semester.

For the fall term, the school said those who didn’t provide proof of vaccination by an Oct. 17 deadline will likely be able to complete their courses remotely.

10:47 a.m. Thailand is accelerating plans to reopen the country to foreign tourists, slashing mandatory quarantines beginning Nov. 1 for fully-vaccinated visitors arriving by air from 46 countries and territories, officials announced Friday.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration also announced a loosening of local restrictions, including cancellation of a curfew in some areas where risks have lessened and tourists can move freely.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had announced earlier this month that Thailand no longer planned to require visitors from at least 10 low-risk nations to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. He had said the list would be expanded on Dec. 1, and then made even more extensive on Jan. 1.

10:35 a.m. Germany’s state governors pressed Friday for a nationwide legal framework for coronavirus rules to be kept in place after the outgoing health minister suggested that the current legislation should be allowed to expire next month.

The call came as official figures over several days pointed to an acceleration in new COVID-19 infections. As of Friday, 95.1 cases per 100,000 residents had been reported over the last seven days, up from 68.7 a week ago. Over the past 24 hours, 19,572 new infections were reported.

The German parliament first passed legislation declaring an “epidemic situation of national scope” after the pandemic hit the country in March 2020, and it has been extended several times since. The law has served as a key legal basis for restrictions such as lockdowns.

10:12 a.m. (updated) Ontario is reporting another 492 COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths. Of the 12, one of the deaths occurred more than one month ago and is being reported as part of the cumulative count due to a data cleanup, according to the province’s latest report released Friday morning.

Ontario has administered 25,770 vaccine doses since its last daily update, with 22,338,662 vaccines given in total as of 8 p.m. the previous night.

According to the Star’s vaccine tracker, 11,438,633 people in Ontario have received at least one shot. That works out to approximately 87.8 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 77.0 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine.

The province says 10,900,029 people have completed their vaccinations, which means they’ve had both doses. That works out to approximately 83.6 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 73.3 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine.

Read the full story from the Star’s Urbi Khan

10:10 a.m. Ukraine’s coronavirus infections and deaths reached all-time highs for a second straight day Friday, in a growing challenge for the country with one of Europe’s lowest shares of vaccinated people.

Ukrainian health authorities reported 23,785 new confirmed infections and 614 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Authorities in the capital, Kyiv, shut schools for two weeks starting Friday, and similar measures were ordered in other areas with high contagion levels.

Authorities have blamed surging infections on a sluggish pace of vaccination in the nation of 41 million. Ukrainians can freely choose between Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines, but only about 15 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, Europe’s lowest level after Armenia.

Overall, the country has registered over 2.7 million infections and about 63,000 deaths.

9:35 a.m. Amnesty International called Friday for an independent parliamentary inquiry into COVID-19 deaths in Italian nursing homes and reports of retaliation against nursing home staff who spoke out about unsafe conditions there.

Amnesty based its findings on interviews with 34 health care workers, as well as union leaders and lawyers. A third of the workers “raised concerns about a climate of fear and retaliation in their workplace,” the human rights watchdog said in a statement Friday.

Italy’s nursing homes, like those elsewhere in Europe, the U.S. and beyond, saw thousands of COVID-19 deaths, and prosecutors in dozens of jurisdictions have opened investigations into whether to lay any criminal blame.

Italy was the first country in the West to be severely hit by the outbreak and soon found itself critically short of protective equipment, face masks and hospital beds, particularly in the hardest-hit Lombardy region. During the first surge, many residents of elder care facilities in Lombardy weren’t even taken to the hospital because there was no room for them.

9:20 a.m. The federal government has lifted a global advisory asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country, but continues to advise against travel on cruise ships.

The global travel advisory was put in place in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world.

The government of Canada’s website now shows advisories for each destination country, as it did prior to the pandemic.

It also urges Canadians to ensure they are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus before travelling abroad, and to stay informed of the COVID-19 situation at their destination.

Canada opened its borders last month to non-essential international travellers who have received both doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine, and to fully vaccinated travellers from the United States in August.

The U.S. government recently announced that its land borders will reopen to non-essential Canadian travellers on Nov. 8.

9:05 a.m. 83 per cent of Torontonians eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine (age 12 and up) are now fully vaccinated, according to a press release from the city.

8:20 a.m. Coronavirus infections and deaths in Russia climbed Friday to another pandemic record, putting a growing strain on the country’s health care system.

The government coronavirus task force reported 37,141 new infections and 1,064 deaths in the past 24 hours. That brought Russia’s death toll to 228,453, Europe’s highest by far.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to the worsening situation by ordering Russians to stay off work from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, when the country is already observing an extended holiday.

Russian authorities expect the order to help limit the spread of the virus by keeping them out of offices and off public transportation, where mask mandates have been widely ignored. The government also urged local authorities to tighten their own restrictions during the period.

In some regions where the situation is even more threatening, Putin said the nonworking period could start as early as Saturday and be extended past Nov. 7.

Asked Friday if the Kremlin could extend the nonworking period nationwide or order a tighter lockdown, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it would depend on the evolving situation.

8:02 a.m. Pfizer says kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine are safe and nearly 91 per cent effective at preventing infections in elementary school children.

Details of the study were posted online Friday as U.S. regulators consider opening vaccinations to youngsters 5 to 11.

The shots could begin early next month — with the first children in line fully protected by Christmas — if regulators give the go-ahead.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to post its initial review of the company’s safety and effectiveness data later Friday. Next week, advisers to the FDA will publicly debate the evidence.

If the FDA then authorizes the low-dose shots, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make the final recommendations on who should receive them.

Full-strength Pfizer shots already are authorized for anyone 12 or older, but pediatricians and many parents are anxiously awaiting protection for younger children to stem rising infections from the extra-contagious delta variant and help keep kids in school.

7:01 a.m.: Thailand is accelerating plans to reopen the country to foreign tourists, slashing mandatory quarantines beginning Nov. 1 for fully-vaccinated visitors arriving by air from 46 countries and territories, officials announced Friday.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration also announced a loosening of local restrictions, including cancellation of a curfew in some areas where risks have lessened and tourists can move freely.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had announced earlier this month that Thailand no longer planned to require visitors from at least 10 low-risk nations to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. He had said the list would be expanded on Dec. 1, and then made even more extensive on Jan. 1.

Under the new rules, vaccinated travelers to Thailand from the approved 45 countries plus Hong Kong will be required to show negative results from RT-PCR tests before flying and upon their arrival. They will need to spend their first night in a government-approved hotel awaiting their test results, though the government is not calling that a quarantine. If the results are negative, the person can travel anywhere in Thailand.

6:35 a.m.: China’s capital Beijing has begun offering booster shots against COVID-19, four months before the city and surrounding regions are to host the Winter Olympics.

Anyone 18 or older who have received two-dose Chinese vaccines and belong to at-risk groups, including those participating, organizing or working on games facilities, would be eligible for the additional shot, state media reported Friday.

The booster has been rolling out in cities across the vast nation since late September, but Beijing authorities have been extra cautious in who receives the extra jab.

The games are set to begin on Feb. 4 with only residents of China allowed in the stands. Indoor events with sliding, skiing and jumping will be held in the suburb of Yanqing and the neighboring city of Zhangjiakou.

China has been largely successful in preventing local transmission through strict requirements on mask wearing, quarantining and contact tracing. Cases continue to pop up however, with 28 new ones reported Friday, including one in the Beijing suburb of Fengtai.

6:15 a.m: As she stood in the courtyard of the morgue holding the body of her grandmother who died of COVID-19, Ramilya Shigalturina had a message for anyone still resisting vaccinations.

“I’m begging all Russians: Please get vaccinated, because it’s really dreadful and dangerous,” said the resident of Nizhny Novgorod, the country’s fifth-largest city.

Shigalturina said her 83-year-old grandmother “died right away after catching it. She wasn’t vaccinated.”

When Russia last year became the first country to launch a coronavirus vaccine, called Sputnik V, it was hailed as a matter of national pride and a sign of its scientific know-how. But since the free immunization program began in December 2020, only about a third of the country’s 146 million people have gotten fully vaccinated.

The low vaccine acceptance is of increasing concern as Russia suffers a sharp rise in cases, setting records for infections and deaths nearly every day this month. On Thursday, the national coronavirus task force reported 1,036 deaths and more than 36,000 new infections over the past 24 hours.

6:10 a.m.: Millions more Americans can get a COVID-19 booster and choose a different company’s vaccine for that next shot, federal health officials said Thursday.

Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago already are eligible for a booster and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says specific Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients qualify, too. And in a bigger change, the agency is allowing the flexibility of “mixing and matching” that extra dose regardless of which type people received first.

The Food and Drug Administration had already authorized such an expansion of the nation’s booster campaign on Wednesday, and it was also endorsed Thursday by a CDC advisory panel. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky had the final word on who gets the extra doses.

6:05 a.m.: The Iranian capital Tehran has held its main public Friday prayer service for the first time in 20 months, after it was halted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers said beforehand that all health protocols would be followed to protect the expected hundreds of worshippers during the ceremony at Tehran University. Iran’s National Coronavirus Taskforce, which had ordered a halt to the prayers, authorized its resumption.

Public Friday prayers have been underway in other cities, especially in smaller towns across the country since the summer. Individual mosques have been free to hold normal services since early October.

The move comes as Tehran hosts over 400 Muslim scholars and religious leaders for a meeting known as the International Islamic Unity Conference.

Tehran’s communal Friday prayer was halted for 20 months over the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 124,700 people and left some 4,400 in critical conditions in hospitals since the February 2019. The statistics show Iran as having the worst COVID-19 fatality rate in the Middle East.

6 a.m.: Deadlines have passed for thousands of GTA hospital workers to prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with some now being placed on unpaid leave or facing termination.

At the Hospital for Sick Children, 98 per cent of the hospital’s 8,258 staff members — including 100 per cent of its active physicians — are fully vaccinated.

But 145 staff have been placed on unpaid leaves of absence for not complying with the hospital’s mandatory vaccine policy or failing to provide proof of their status, though some are still in the process of submitting their required documentation, said Sick Kids in an email to the Star.

“We anticipate the number of staff on leaves of absence will decrease over the coming days,” said spokesperson Jessamine Luck in an emailed statement.

Read the full story from the Star’s Megan Ogilvie.

5:50 a.m.: Worried that the flu and COVID-19 could trigger a winter-time double-whammy of new infections and deaths, France is forging ahead with a nationwide vaccination and booster-shot program against both diseases, offering simultaneous jabs to millions of at-risk people.

The annual flu vaccination campaign kicked off Friday, four days earlier than initially planned, dovetailing with France’s COVID-19 vaccination program that as well as trying to reach those who remain unvaccinated is also providing booster shots to those in need.

French health authorities, in instructions issued this week, urged doctors, nurses, pharmacists and midwives to “systematically promote both vaccinations” to at-risk people eligible for COVID-19 booster and flu shots. The note said the jabs can be given the same day, one in each arm.

It added that the onset of the winter flu season with the pandemic ongoing “increases the risk of co-infection and the development of serious cases and deaths.”

5:40 a.m.: The federal government will spend $7.4 billion on a revamped suite of targeted pandemic supports in the months after several major relief programs expire on Saturday.

As the Star first reported late Wednesday, the Canada Response Benefit (CRB) — which replaced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit last year — will wind down for good on Oct. 23.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Thursday morning that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will also officially expire on the same day.

“Our economy is rebounding, and we are winning the fight against COVID. However, it’s also true that the recovery is uneven, and that the health measures that are saving lives continue to restrict some economic activity,” Freeland told reporters alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outside a children’s hospital in Ottawa.

Read the full story from the Star’s Raisi Patel.

5:25 a.m.: Fully vaccinated Canadian travellers will be able to prove their status with provincially issued vaccine passports that sport machine-readable QR codes and the endorsement of the federal government — and starting Nov. 30, they won’t be able to fly without one.

Meanwhile, Ontario residents will need the newest version of the province’s vaccination credential to enter restaurants, gyms, concert halls and stadiums starting Oct. 22.

Ontario began issuing the newly standardized documents in the past week. The Ford government said Thursday that about four million Ontario residents had already downloaded the updated proof of vaccination.

Read the full story from the Star’s Tonda MacCharles.

5 a.m.: Finally, a reason to look forward to Monday.

Restaurants, bars and fitness centres can begin welcoming more customers starting Monday under a long-awaited easing of Ontario’s COVID-19 capacity limits, the Star has learned.

The moves are part of a “comprehensive” road map to be laid out Friday by Premier Doug Ford and chief medical officer Dr. Kieran Moore for the next phase of the province’s pandemic reopening plan, sources said.

Bolstered by the lack of a post-Thanksgiving spike in new cases, the liberalization follows a steady easing of restrictions in recent months and will be announced as a new system of smartphone QR codes for proof of vaccination at non-essential venues takes effect Friday.

Read the full story by the Star’s Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson.

4:30 a.m.: Taking their strongest stance yet on mandatory vaccination, Toronto police announced Thursday that officers who don’t have both doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November will no longer be paid and can’t come into work, having “rendered themselves unable to perform their duties.”

As of Nov. 30, any Toronto police employee who is not fully vaccinated or has not disclosed this status will be placed on an “indefinite unpaid absence” — a move lauded by one physician as a “positive step” towards protecting the public, who often have no choice but to interact with officers. These employees will also not be permitted to enter Toronto police buildings or facilities.

And, effective immediately, unvaccinated officers — a category that includes anyone who has not disclosed their status to police — are ineligible for promotion to supervisory or management positions. In the statement, Toronto police chief James Ramer stressed that COVID-19 vaccination “protects the health and safety of each of our members, our workplaces and the public we serve.”

Read the full story from the Star’s Wendy Gillis.





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Brussels Air Transport Brief: March 2021 | K&L Gates LLP


[co-authors: Antonia Rountou, Matilde Manzi]

AVIATION REGULATORY AND POLICY

COVID-19: Europe’s Airlines Welcome the European Commission’s Proposal for a Digital “COVID Passport”

On 17 March 2021, Europe’s aviation sector welcomed the European Commission’s (Commission) proposal for a so-called Digital Green Certificate system but urged a wider restart plan. This proposal requires EU Member States to issue common, inter-operable, and mutually recognized certificates for COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and recovery status that will facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic and support the restart of travel. Industry associations, Airlines for Europe, ACI EUROPE, ASD, Civil Air Navigation Services Organization, European Regions Airline Association, and International Air Transport Association view these certificates as key to facilitate a safe and efficient resumption of travel and tourism in Europe. They call on the EU Council and the European Parliament to urgently approve the Commission’s proposal, and for all EU Member States to immediately begin preparations for their implementation. The associations are urging EU governments to ensure the certificates are operational in time for the peak summer travel months, with vaccination certificates, in particular, enabling the elimination of all restrictions to travel whilst recognizing that vaccination should not be mandatory in order to travel. The industry reiterated their call for an EU Task Force for the Restoration of the Free Movement of People, and urged the European Institutions to immediately begin work on an EU roadmap setting out the conditions, criteria and possible timing for the easing and lifting of travel restrictions.

COVID-19: EUROCONTROL Publishes its Comprehensive Assessment of COVID-19’s Impact on European Air Traffic

On 25 March 2021, EUROCONTROL published its Comprehensive Assessment of COVID-19’s Impact on European Air Traffic. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, EUROCONTROL is publishing a regular comprehensive assessment of the latest traffic situation in Europe and provides a comparison to the same period in 2019. There were 10,562 flights (37 percent of 2019 levels) on Wednesday, 24 March 2021. A significant proportion of flight operations for some of the largest airlines are actually non-commercial (i.e., training flights and circular flights to maintain pilot ratings). After having reached a minimum at network level in the second week of February, the traffic has shown a positive steady trend since mid-February, which has accelerated over the last week. The main traffic flow is the intra-Europe flow with 7,760 flights on Wednesday, 24 March, which has been increasing (+8 percent) over two weeks. Compared to 2019, intra-Europe flights have declined by 65 percent and intercontinental flows by 57 percent.

All segments showed unchanged trends since mid-January 2021 and air-cargo is the only segment consistently growing, posting a 9 percent increase from 2019, charter moved into positive territory (2 percent), Business Aviation recorded a decrease of 18 percent, while traditional and low-cost, which account for the majority of flights, recorded (stable) declines at 70 percent and 87 percent respectively.

COVID-19: EUROCONTROL Publishes its Data Snapshot on COVID-19’s Impact on Europe’s Long-Haul Network

On 16 March 2021, EUROCONTROL published its Data Snapshot on COVID-19’s impact on Europe’s long-haul network. EUROCONTROL’s seventh Data Snapshot is dedicated to the shift to Europe’s high-frequency long-haul network being cut by two-thirds as a result of COVID-19. By February 2020, COVID-19 had already begun to affect the long-haul network out of Europe, in particular some routes to China. A normal network usage can be last observed in February 2019, when there were 61 high-frequency long-haul connections from Europe connections in the European network, (‘high-frequency’ is defined as three return flights per day, six flights in total). The largest airports—London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris CDG, and Amsterdam Schiphol—have high-frequency connections both eastward and westward. However, there are also smaller, more focused airports: Madrid and Lisbon with connections to South America; and Dublin with connections to New York JFK, Zurich, Milan, and Rome. London and Paris also have high-frequency connections from secondary airports, Gatwick and Orly. With COVID-19, very few long-haul routes could support this frequency. Heathrow dropped from 25 routes to just seven, while Madrid, Lisbon, Dublin, Rome, and Zurich have no high-frequency routes at all. Frequent connections remain in just five countries: United States, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, China, and South Korea. Long-haul connections have a much lower frequency—the number of long-haul airport pairs with at least one return flight per week declined only by 21 percent, from 1,147 to 910, between February 2019 and February 2021. Meanwhile high-frequency routes have fallen by more than two-thirds, from 61 to 19 (69 percent).

COVID-19: ICAO Council Approves New Pandemic Response and Recovery Measures

On 12 March 2021, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council approved new pandemic response and recovery measures. The ICAO Council approved six new COVID-19 recommendations, and amended two others. These recommendations and updated guidelines are contained in the High-Level Cover Document and ‘Take-off’ Guidelines issued by the ICAO Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART). The areas addressed by the CART relate to the transport of vaccines on commercial aircraft, requiring attention and action on behalf of pharmaceutical manufacturers, airline and airport operators, and national aviation regulators. These include addenda to the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air to help better ensure that vaccines are safely handled, transported, and accepted to promote their rapid and effective global distribution. The ICAO Manual on Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures, first issued last November, has also been updated to provide more detailed guidance on risk management and Public Health Corridors, information on recent scientific evidence regarding COVID-19 testing, as well as a new section on vaccination and its interdependencies with other tools available to states as part of their multilayer risk management framework. The ICAO Council agreed to convene a high-level conference with ministerial participation in October to muster the political will of states and obtain commitment towards a full recovery of international air transport.

Aviation Safety: EASA Issues Guidelines for Management of Drone Incidents at Airports

On 8 March 2021, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published its manual ‘Drone Incident Management at Aerodromes,’ which addresses unauthorized drone usage in the vicinity of airports. The EASA guidelines aim to offer guidance and best practice advice to help aviation operators and national authorities manage drone incidents nearby airports, and to prepare them to take the right steps when they occur in order to minimize the extent of disruption ensuring that aviation operations remain safe. The number of incidents involving drones has steadily increased in Europe and around the globe over recent years. Such incidents may occur by accident, when individuals are simply not aware of the problems their actions may create, or due to individuals acting with deliberate intent to disrupt, and, at the extreme, these incidents may have criminal or terrorist motivation. The guidelines developed with input from law enforcement authorities, provide guidance on how to ascertain whether a criminal offense has been committed. The recommendations are addressed to all aerodromes in the scope of the European Aviation System and other aviation actors, such as air traffic control and air operators. The intention is to provide a user-friendly guide that can also be applied at small aerodromes, which may not have the resources to develop the more extensive plans currently being tested and deployed by larger operators. The guidelines are divided into three parts: Part 1 ‘The challenge of unauthorized drones’ describes the challenges and raises awareness for the issue and it is publicly available. The other two parts are addressed specifically to those parties involved in management of these incidents and are not being widely published due to the varied nature of the threat.

Aviation Safety: EASA Publishes Easy Access Rules for AMC-20 Amendment 20 on Ageing-Aircraft Requirements

On 16 March 2021, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published Easy Access Rules for AMC-20 Amendment 20 on ageing-aircraft requirements. Amendment 20 of AMC-20 (Easy Access Rules for Acceptable Means of Compliance for Airworthiness of Products, Parts and Appliances) incorporates the elements of ED Decision 2020/023/R on acceptable means of compliance (AMC) and guidance material into AMC 20-20A, which supplements and is referenced in the means of compliance provided in CS-26 for new ageing-aircraft requirements introduced into Part-26.

Aviation Safety: EASA Publishes Updated Easy Access Rules for Continuing Airworthiness

On 2 March 2021, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published updated Easy Access Rules for Continuing Airworthiness. This revision from February 2021 incorporates amendments to Regulation (EU) 2020/1159 regarding the compliance of the M.A.302 Aircraft Maintenance Program with additional airworthiness requirements established in Part-26 (Regulation (EU) 2015/640) and the related ED Decision 2020/023/R.

Aviation Safety: International Civil Aviation Organization Announces Partnership on a New Runway Safety Training Initiative

On 5 March 2021, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced to partner with Airports Council International (ACI), International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization on a new runway safety training initiative. On 4 November 2021, the ICAO Global Reporting Format for Runway Surface Conditions (GRF) will be effective and will establish a new methodology for assessing and reporting runway surface conditions to improve take-off and landing performance. Since the GRF is coming into effect, ICAO has agreed to partner on a new joint GRF training program. The new online training course has been specifically designed for air traffic controllers and aeronautical information service staff, and will be available for enrolment in April 2021 on the ICAO Global Aviation Training website. It complements existing courses developed in cooperation with ACI for airport operations staff, and with IATA for flight crews. “Runway safety continues to remain aviation’s biggest safety challenge, representing more than half of all accidents reported to ICAO for commercial operations,” emphasized ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu. The agreement between the three international organizations is the first of its kind, and sets the stage for future collaboration on global safety enhancement initiatives.

Civil Aviation: Single European Sky ATM Research Publishes: ‘Women in Aviation: An Untapped Resource’

On 8 March 2021, the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) published an article: ‘Women in aviation: An untapped resource’ highlighting a stark gender imbalance: more than three quarters of SESAR 2020 research is carried out by men, and only 13 of SESAR Joint Undertaking’s (SESAR JU) 68 projects are led by women. The article also highlights that in the broader aviation and air traffic management industry women remain underrepresented, especially at the top. SESAR JU administrative board member and ENAIRE Business Development Director Mariluz De Mateo García says that there are very few women in leadership roles, and flags a downward trend among female students in science, technology, engineering, and math careers. A 2019 study into the gender gap in aviation found that women hold 15-25 percent of leadership roles in air navigation, and indicates lack of opportunities, unclear career paths, and absence of role models as inhibitors to the advancement of women. Florian Guillermet, SESAR JU executive director says that with only 13 of SESAR JU’s 68 projects led by women, the program risks missing out on the benefits that a more diverse workforce can offer, and that gender parity will be a priority for the SESAR JU in the coming years.

Single European Sky: European Parliament TRAN Committee and Security and Defense Subcommittee Jointly Hold an Exchange of Views on the Civil and Military Components of the Single European Sky Reform

On 15 March 2021, the European Parliament Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee and the Security and Defense (SEDE) subcommittee jointly held an exchange of views on the military component of the Single European Sky (SES) reform, discussing the relationship between civil and military components. The chair of the EU Military Committee, General Claudio Graziano, and the chief executive officer of the European Defense Agency, Mr. Jiri Sedivy, shared their opinions and concerns regarding the updated European Commission’s proposal for SES 2 and its implications for the military sector. They agreed there is a high level of interdependence between civil and military aviation and air traffic management sectors, and highlighted the need for military safeguards to be built in the future architecture of the European airspace in order to guarantee coordination between military authorities and non-dependence on third-country actors in terms of technology and data sharing. In addition, General Graziano voiced concerns about the obstacles to the military intervention overseas and to domestic training operations that may result from the ongoing SES reform and complained about high financial costs borne by the military and general lack of consideration for military needs in the new Commission proposal. TRAN Rapporteur, Mr. Marinescu, did not share those concerns, ensuring that the proposal is the result of extensive consultation with all the stakeholders, including the military. Mr. Marinescu also added that the only significant change in the updated proposal concerns the role of the Performance Review Body and said that information collected by the service providers, even if they operate under market conditions, will stay with the national authorities and will be available to the military airspace users. TRAN Committee will now prepare for a vote on the updated mandate to take place before the end of June 2021.

IATA Reports: IATA Releases its January 2021 Air Passenger Market Analysis – Passenger Traffic Fell

On 2 March 2021, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) releases its January 2021 Air Passenger Market Analysis. In its analysis, IATA announced that passenger traffic fell in January 2021, both compared to pre-COVID levels and compared to December 2020. Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to January 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern. Total passenger demand in January 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers) was down 72 percent compared to January 2019, while domestic passenger demand was down 47.4 percent. International passenger demand in January was 85.6 percent below January 2019, a further drop compared to the 85.3 percent year-to-year decline recorded in December. European carriers had an 83.2 percent decline in traffic in January compared to January 2019, worsened from an 82.6 percent decline in December compared to the same month in 2019.

IATA Reports: IATA Releases its January 2021 Air Cargo Market Analysis – Air Cargo Demand Recovered to pre-COVID Levels

On 2 March 2021, International Air Transport Association (IATA) released its January 2021 Air Cargo Market Analysis. Air cargo started the year on a positive note: The data showed that air cargo demand returned to pre-COVID levels, January 2019, for the first time since the outbreak of the crisis. January demand also showed robust month-to-month growth over December 2020 levels. Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers, was up 1.1 percent compared to January 2019 and 3 percent compared to December 2020. All regions saw month-on-month improvement in air cargo demand. The recovery in air cargo global capacity was adversely impacted by new capacity cuts on the passenger side of the business. The recovery in global capacity measured in available industry-wide available cargo tonne-kilometers shrank 19.5 percent compared to January 2019 and fell 5 percent compared to December 2020, the first monthly decline since April 2020. European carriers’ international cargo demand slipped 0.6 percent in January compared to same month in 2019. This was an improvement from the 5.6 percent fall in December 2020 over the year-ago period. International capacity decreased 19.5 percent, a deterioration from the 18.4 percent year-to-year decline recorded for December.

IATA Reports: IATA Releases its Annual Safety Report

On 25 March 2021, International Air Transport Association (IATA) published its 57th Annual Safety Report (Report) and released data for the 2020 safety performance of the commercial airline industry. The Report includes an in-depth review of global and regional aviation statistics, including insights into global and regional accident rates and contributing factors. The airline industry saw its safety performance improve in 2020 with regard to some key metrics, as the number of total accidents, fatal accidents, and fatalities all declined compared to 2019 as well as to the five-year trend lines. Based on a fatality risk of 0.13 for air travel, on average, a person would have to travel by air every day for 461 years before experiencing an accident with at least one fatality, and on average, a person would have to travel every day for 20,932 years to experience a 100 percent fatal accident.

The all accident rate for airlines on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry—which includes all IATA airlines—was nearly three times better than that of non-IOSA airlines for 2020 (1.20 vs. 3.29). The all accident rate for airlines on the IOSA registry was 1.20 per 1 million. For the first time in more than 15 years there were no Loss of Control Inflight accidents in 2020, which have accounted for the largest share of fatalities since 2016. In 2020 an estimated 1.795 billion passengers flew safely on about 22 million flights. The total number of accidents decreased from 52 in 2019 to 38 in 2020. The total number of fatal accidents decreased from eight in 2019 to five in 2020. The all accident rate was 1.71 accidents per million flights. This is higher than the five-year (2016-2020) average rate, which is 1.38 accidents per million flights. IATA member airlines’ accident rate was 0.83 per million flights, which was an improvement over the five-year average rate of 0.96.

ANTITRUST AND COMPETITION

COVID-19: European Commission Publishes an Updated Overview of State Aid Rules and Public Service Obligations Rules Applicable to the Air Transport Sector During the COVID-19 Outbreak

On 25 March 2021, the European Commission (Commission) published an update to its guidance on the state aid rules and public service obligations rules applicable to the air transport sector during the COVID-19 outbreak, which provides an overview on the various support measures that EU Member States may use in line with EU state aid rules and public service obligations rules in the exceptional context of the COVID-19 outbreak. This document is based on the development of the pandemic so far and the Commission’s experience with support measures adopted by EU Member States over the past year, and does not regard exit plans and post-crisis recovery. This document has four Sections: (i) Section 1 provides a general overview on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on European transport and mobility, and on the air transport sector; (ii) Section 2 describes the measures that do not constitute state aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU and, therefore, do not need to be notified to the Commission; (iii) Section 3 describes the state aid measures that may be exempted from notification to the Commission if they fulfil certain requirements; and (iv) Section 4 describes the measures that constitute state aid and need to be notified to the Commission.

State Aid: European Commission Approves a €10 Million Italian Aid Measure to Compensate Toscana Aeroporti for Damage Caused by the COVID-19 Outbreak

On 2 March 2021, the European Commission (Commission) approved, under EU state aid rules, a €10 million Italian aid measure to compensate Toscana Aeroporti for the damages incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Toscana Aeroporti, the operator of the Pisa and Florence airports, suffered large operating losses due to the COVID-19 and the restrictive measures adopted in order to limit the spread of the virus. On 10 March 2020, Italy imposed a nationwide lockdown, which was lifted as of 3 June 2020, while certain travel warnings, travel bans, and restrictive measures remained in place until at least 15 June 2020. The measure, which will take the form of a direct grant, will enable the Italian authorities to compensate Toscana Aeroporti for the damage suffered during the period between 10 March and 15 June 2020, as a result of the restrictive measures on international and domestic air passenger services implemented by Italy and other countries to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(2)(b) of the TFEU, which enables the Commission to approve state aid measures granted by EU Member States to compensate companies for the damage directly caused by exceptional occurrences, such as the COVID-19 outbreak. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with EU state aid rules, concluding that the notified measure will provide compensation for damage that is directly linked to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the compensation does not exceed, and is actually lower, than what is necessary to make good the damage.

State Aid: European Commission Approves a €5 Million Swedish Scheme to Support Companies Active in Air Ambulance Services in the Context of COVID-19 Outbreak

On 5 March 2021, the European Commission approved, under the State aid Temporary Framework, a €5 million Swedish scheme to support companies active in air ambulance services in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The aid, which will take the form of direct grants, will not exceed 70 percent of the uncovered fixed costs incurred by the beneficiaries’ air ambulance operations during the period from 1 January to 30 June 2021, and is limited to approximately €1.6 million (SEK 16 million) per company. The scheme’s purpose is to restore financial liquidity of air ambulance companies and ensure the continuation of their activity during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Swedish scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €1.8 million per company, and (ii) the aid will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate, and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of an EU Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions of the Temporary Framework.

State Aid: European Commission Approves €39.7 Million Latvian Measures to Recapitalize Riga International Airport

On 8 March 2021, the European Commission approved, under the State aid Temporary Framework, €39.7 million Latvian measures to recapitalize Riga International Airport. Riga International Airport is a company fully owned by the Latvian state, whose core business is the provision of aviation services, but which provides also non-aviation services such as the lease of premises and land, and car parks. Riga International Airport suffered substantial losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the travel restrictions, and the company’s deteriorating financial situation risks having severe consequences for the connectivity of Latvia with the rest of Europe and third countries. Latvia notified the Commission of state recapitalization measures in favor of Riga International Airport for up to €39.7 million, comprising: i) €35.2 million capital injection, and ii) €4.5 million waived dividend payment for the 2019 financial year. The Commission found that the recapitalization measure notified by Latvia is in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. The Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules concluding that the recapitalization measures are necessary, appropriate, and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of the EU Member States. The measure aims at restoring the financial position and liquidity of Riga International Airport in the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the necessary safeguards to limit competition distortions.

State Aid: European Commission Approves a €16.3 Swedish Subsidized Loan Scheme to Support Air Traffic Control Services Affected by COVID-19 Outbreak

On 11 March 2021, the European Commission approved, under the State aid Temporary Framework, a SEK 164 million (approximately €16.3 million), Swedish subsidized loan scheme to support air traffic control services affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, the restrictions introduced to avoid the spread of the virus have caused dramatic drops in air travel; in 2020 the number of air passengers in Sweden was 75 percent lower than in 2019. The scheme’s aim is to cover the losses for 2020 and 2021 incurred by small- and medium-sized companies active in air traffic management. Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of loans provided by the Swedish National Transport Administration with subsidized interest rates. The Commission found that the Swedish scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the maturity of the loans is limited to six years, (ii) a 1 percent flat rate interest rate applies for the entire duration of the loans, (iii) the amount of the loans corresponds to the level foreseen in the Temporary Framework, (iv) the loans relate to working capital needs, and (v) the loan contracts will be signed by 31 December 2021 at the latest. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate, and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of an EU Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions of the Temporary Framework.

State Aid: European Commission Approves Around €350 Million Finnish Support to Finavia in the Context of the COVID-19 Outbreak

On 17 March 2021, the European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, around €350 million Finnish measures to support the airport operator Finavia in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. Finavia is a major airport operator in Finland, whose financial situation is at risk. Finland notified the Commission of three measures in favor of Finavia, namely (i) a €249 million capital injection, (ii) a €33 million subordinated loan, both under the State aid Temporary Framework, and (iii) a €68 million measure to compensate the company for the damage directly suffered as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak under Article 107(2)(b) of TFEU. The Commission assessed the capital injection and subordinated loan in favor of Finavia under the state aid Temporary Framework, in line with the notification by Finland. With respect to the capital injection, the Commission found that the recapitalization measure notified by Finland is in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. With respect to the subordinated loan, the Commission also found that the measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the loan will last for maximum six years; (ii) it will be granted before 31 December 2021; and (iii) the interest rate will ensure minimum remuneration, in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework. With respect to the damage compensation measure, the Commission found that the measure is directly linked to the COVID-19 outbreak and proportionate as the compensation does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage. The Commission concluded that the subordinated loan and capital injection are necessary, appropriate, and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of an EU Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the general principles as set out in the Temporary Framework. The Commission also concluded that the Finnish damage compensation measure is in line with EU State aid rules.

AIR TRAVEL – PASSENGERS’ RIGHTS

Passengers’ rights: EU Court of Justice Finds that a Strike Organized by a Trade Union of the Staff of an Air Carrier to Secure Pay Increases does not Release the Airline from its Obligation to pay Compensation for Cancellation or Long Delay

On 23 March 2021, the European Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) pronounced its decision in the case C-28/20, Airhelp Ltd against Scandinavian Airline System (SAS). The case concerned the request for a preliminary ruling referred by a Swedish Court for the interpretation of a provision of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation, which arose in proceedings concerning SAS’s refusal to compensate a passenger for the cancellation of his flight due to a SAS’s pilots’ strike. The CJEU held that a strike organized by a trade union of the staff of an air carrier that is intended in particular to secure pay increases does not fall within the concept of an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ capable of releasing the airline from its obligation to pay compensation for cancellation or long delay in respect of the flights concerned within the meaning of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation. That is so even if the strike is organized in compliance with the conditions laid down by national legislation. In this case, the CJEU took a different view from Advocate General Pikamäe’s Opinion, who had concluded that a strike organized by pilots’ trade unions constitutes, in principle, an extraordinary circumstance that may release the air carrier from its obligation to pay compensation for the cancellation or long delay of the flights concerned, but in order to be released from that obligation, the air carrier must prove that it took all reasonable measures to avoid such cancellation or delay.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE – BREXIT

International Trade: European Union and United States Agree to Suspend all Tariffs Linked to the Airbus and Boeing Disputes

On 5 March 2021, the European Union and the United States agreed to suspend all retaliatory tariffs on EU and U.S. exports imposed in the Airbus and Boeing disputes. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed on the mutual suspension for four months of the tariffs related to the World Trade Organization (WTO) aircraft disputes. The suspension will cover all tariffs both on aircraft as well as on non-aircraft products, and will become effective as soon as the internal procedures on both sides are completed. This will allow the European Union and the United States to ease the burden on their industries and workers and focus efforts towards resolving these long running disputes at the WTO. This provides an important boost to exporters, since the United States had been authorized to raise tariffs on US$7.5 billion of EU exports to the United States. Similarly, EU tariffs will be suspended on some US$4 billion worth of U.S. exports into the European Union. The European Union and the United States are committed to reach a comprehensive and durable negotiated solution to the aircraft disputes. Key elements of a negotiated solution will include disciplines on future support in the sector, outstanding support measures, monitoring and enforcement, and addressing the trade distortive practices and challenges posed by new entrants to the sector from non-market economies, such as China. These steps signal the determination of both sides to embark on a fresh start in the relationship: EU representatives deem this suspension as a significant step forward, which marks a reset in the EU relationship with the United States, will help restore confidence and trust, and give the space to come to a comprehensive and long-lasting negotiated solution.

International Trade: European Commission Published the Market Access Commitments of the EU-China Investment Agreement

On 12 March 2021, the European Commission published the market access offers under the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), concluded in principle on 30 December 2020. The CAI’s objective is to rebalance the asymmetry in terms of market access and investment between the EU and China (i.e., new openings for EU operators in several sectors, on top of the autonomous market access already made by China over the last 20 years). In the services sector, China has made commitments across the board, including in the air transport-related services. Details of the schedules of commitments are included in the Annexes to the agreement. China’s schedule of commitments and reservations contains, in Annex I – Entry 9 and 10 respectively, contain details regarding air transportation and services related to air transport with a focus on control of foreign investors. The publication of market access “offers” (i.e., proposed commitments) represents the next step in the process towards adoption and ratification, and provides the basis for informed political deliberations and public debate. The text of the agreement will now be legally reviewed and translated before it can be submitted by the Commission for adoption and ratification by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.

Brexit: EASA Publishes its Design and Certification Newsletter 2021/03 Including a Brexit Update

On 1 March 2021, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published the second issue of its Design and Certification Newsletter, a bi-annual newsletter that includes articles related to news and events impacting aviation. This edition contains, among others, news regarding (i) Brexit, (ii) COVID-19 crisis response, (iii) airworthiness, (iv) EASA and China’s CAAC cooperation, and (v) international cooperation. In relation to Brexit, the newsletter provides an update of the provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (Agreement) reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom regarding new terms and conditions for EU-UK cooperation in the area of aviation safety, focusing on (i) design aspects, (ii) recognition of production system, and (iii) negotiations for a Technical Implementation Procedure (TIP). In terms of design aspects, the agreement ensures that existing design certificates issued under EU rules before the end of the transition period shall remain valid, so that products and designs covered can continue to be used in aircrafts registered in the European Union. In terms of recognition of production system, the Agreement provides for mutual recognition of the production certifications and production oversight systems: UK POA holders are recognized in the European Union and their parts, appliances, engines, and propellers released with UK CAA Form 1 on or after 01/01/2021 are accepted in the European Union. In terms of TIP, negotiations between EASA and UK CAA started on 6 January 2021 based on an EASA proposal and will be signed and adopted during the first COB meeting between EASA and UK CAA.

PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS AND EVENTS

TRAN Committee Workshop: “The use of Hydrogen Fuel in Transport,” Including a Session on Hydrogen and Aviation: Opportunities and Perspectives

On 16 March 2021, the European Parliament Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee organized the workshop: “The use of hydrogen fuel in transport,” focused on an overview of hydrogen as an alternative transport fuel, the role of hydrogen fuel in the green transition, and mapping of relevant and ongoing joint projects. The workshop focused on the state of play and perspectives of hydrogen fuel as a game changer for rail, maritime, aviation, and road sectors, and the emerging solutions and technical obstacles to its full exploitation. Among the topics discussed, the future actions needed to strengthen the path towards the hydrogen economy, project financing and legislative options, including the forthcoming revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive. The workshop also included a dedicated session “Hydrogen and aviation: opportunities and perspectives”, with as speaker Josef Kallo, coordinator energy system integration, German Aerospace Centre.

SESAR’s Second Webinar of the FLY AI Webinar Series

On 23 March 2021, Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) organized the ‘FLY AI’ webinar, and online event part of the ‘FLY AI’ webinar series organized on behalf of the European Aviation High Level Group on Artificial intelligence (AI) as a first step towards building an AI community of practice for aviation. This second webinar of the series, moderated by the SESAR Joint Undertaking, explored the research and innovation opportunities in AI for the aviation sector. Topics discussed included the progress made in the fields of machine learning and AI, which opened the door to a myriad of applications in ATM. Many tasks in aviation that can only be performed by humans today have the potential to be performed collaboratively by hybrid human-machine team, enabling higher performance levels. AI-powered systems are being integrated into the cockpit and into systems on the ground, which is redefining the principles of pilot/ATC interactions.

First Meteorological Technology World Expo Conference for Aviation Meteorology

On 24 March 2021, the first Meteorological Technology World Expo Conference for Aviation Meteorology was held online. The Conference aimed to provide a platform for aviation meteorologists, airline and airport operators, air navigation services and other key stakeholders to discuss the next generation of systems, solutions, and services for the aviation industry. The Conference discussed the future industry trends and current challenges debated with leading vendors, trade bodies, and industry leaders. Systems and solutions discussed included detection solutions for runway GRF, AWOS, remote sensing technology, visibility sensors, weather radar, wind-shear detection, software for data processing, automated weather/chart creation, application of GIS, and many other topics. The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking participated in the Conference with a series of presentations showcasing some of the latest validation results and most solutions coming out of the SESAR research and development program.

EUROCONTROL’s Stakeholder Forum on the Air Cargo Industry – What will Future Air Cargo Operations look Like?

On 31 March 2021, EUROCONTROL organized the ‘Stakeholder Forum on the air cargo industry, what will future air cargo operations look like?’. During the forum major questions for cargo operations have been tackled, including: How will technology impact and shape future cargo operations and flights; the potential of electric and autonomous technology in producing new greener and more efficient ways of flying; the challenges that need to be addressed to deliver this transformation; and how innovative organizations can work together to promote sustainable technologies in the cargo industry. These webinars offered an opportunity to discuss the aviation industry’s current challenges whilst charting its course to a safe, sustainable, and cost-efficient recovery.

EUROCONTROL’s Innovation Hub Promote Event – Accelerating User-Driven Innovation in Aviation

On 13 April 2021, EUROCONTROL organized ‘the Innovation Hub Promote Event – Accelerating user-driven innovation in aviation.’ The aim of this online event was to share the results of the initial six-month development cycle of the EUROCONTROL’s Air Transport Innovation Hub initiative. This initiative, launched in October 2020 by EUROCONTROL’s Experimental Centre in Brétigny, plans to work with end-users to develop agile, digital solutions and services that accelerate the uptake of Single European Sky ATM Research solutions in aviation.

EASA’s Information Session on Implementation of PART 26 Ageing Aircraft Requirements OPERATORS/CAMO

On 19 April 2021, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) organized an information session on implementation of PART 26 Ageing Aircraft Requirements OPERATORS/CAMO. The scope of this info session was to provide an overview of the new ageing aircraft structures requirements affecting the continuing airworthiness domain and in particular the aircraft maintenance program together with the relevant means of compliance published by EASA. In this context, the EASA will also describe some typical cases, relevant best practices, and possible difficulties that might be encountered by operators when preparing aircraft maintenance programs embodying elements related to ageing aircraft structures.

SESAR’s Webinar Innovation in Airspace Utilization

On 29 April 2021, Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) is organizing the webinar ‘Innovation in Airspace Utilization’ which aims to explore how SESAR research is innovating the way the airspace is being utilized to integrate existing and new types of air traffic into the digital European sky. This webinar will put a spotlight on how SESAR solutions are innovating airspace utilization, allowing conventional aircraft to share the airspace with other types of air vehicles (e.g., drones and air taxis in U-space and over cities, airliners in conventional airspace and up to the higher airspace, supersonic aircraft, balloons in the stratosphere). This panel will offer an opportunity to hear about specific projects that help Europe tackle innovation in airspace utilization and to explore what research has already been done, what research still needs to be done, and how detailed operational research, supported by technological innovation, can bring about fundamental changes to the way we manage air traffic in European airspace.

2021 Federal Aviation Administration – European Union Aviation Safety Agency International Aviation Safety Conference – Postponed Until 2022

The 2021 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) International Aviation Safety Conference has been postponed until 2022. In consideration of recommendations regarding large, in-person gatherings that may be in place for the foreseeable future, FAA and EASA have postponed to 2022 the in-person 2021 FAA-EASA Aviation Safety Conference that was supposed to take place on 1 June 2021. FAA and EASA are working to secure dates and a location for the 2022 event.



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STR: March U.S. Hotel Occupancy Tops 50 Percent


U.S. hotel occupancy and revenue per available room in March were the highest reported for any month since February 2020, and the March 2021 average daily rate was the highest since March 2020, according to STR. 

Occupancy reached 54.6 percent for March, ADR was $106.08, and RevPAR was $57.87, according to STR. Instead of showing the year-over-year change, STR provided comparisons to 2019 data because of the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on March 2020 data. Compared with March 2019, March 2021 occupancy was down 20 percent, ADR was off by 19.7 percent, and RevPAR declined 35.8 percent.

Among the top 25 markets, 13 reported occupancy above 50 percent last month, compared with just five for February. Tampa led at 77.1 percent, followed by Miami at 72.7 percent and Phoenix at 70.8 percent. Markets with occupancies below 40 percent were Boston at 35.7 percent, Minneapolis at 36.1 percent, Washington, D.C. at 38.7 percent and Chicago at 39.9 percent.

RELATED: STR: U.S. Hotels in February Show Monthly Improvement



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Travel at TF Green nearly doubled from January to March


WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — More Americans are taking to the skies despite warnings from health officials against non-essential travel.

A spokesperson for the New England Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says passenger volume at T.F. Green Airport nearly doubled from January to March this year.

More than 74,000 people were screened to fly in March compared to about 39,000 in January.

At New England’s six major airports, the TSA says just over two million people were screened in the first three months of 2021.

The upward trend in passenger travel can also be seen nationwide. For more than 20 days in a row, the TSA has screened more than one million people daily at airports across the country.

The travel uptick has health officials warning of another potential surge in virus cases.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says the fact that we’re scaling up in vaccines is the reasoning behind the uptick in travel.

“Much more traveling is happening. I think people want to be done with this and as I mentioned, I too want to be done with this,” she said. “The thing that’s different this time is we actually have it in our power to be done with the scale of the vaccination and that will be so much slower if we have another surge to deal with as well.”

There are also reports of delays when it comes to getting a passport with the processing time being between 10 to 12 weeks.



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Bulls vs. Suns – Game Recap – March 31, 2021


PHOENIX — — Devin Booker scored a season-high 45 points, Chris Paul added 19 points and 14 assists, and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the Chicago Bulls 121-116 on Wednesday night.

The Suns built a 16-point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Bulls cut that advantage to 94-86 by the start of the fourth. Chicago hung close throughout the final minutes, pulling within three points multiple times. Thaddeus Young‘s bucket in the paint brought the Bulls within 115-112 with less than a minute left.

Booker responded with his final basket — blowing past Nikola Vujecic for a layup — and the Suns won their fourth straight. Chicago’s losing streak is now at five games.

“I was just making shots,” Booker said. “Getting good screens, getting in the paint and taking what the defense gives me. Got a few transition ones early to get in a rhythm.”

Booker had another All-Star performance in a season full of them, making 17 of 24 shots from the field and 9 of 10 free throws. He was especially effective on mid-range jumpers, finishing time and again over Chicago’s defense.

“He’s one of the rare guys in the league who can score on all three levels, with the ball, without the ball and he can post up,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “He did it every way you can describe or imagine tonight.”

Phoenix’s Dario Saric had 16 points off the bench on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3 of 5 on 3-pointers.

Chicago was led by Vujecic’s 24 points and 10 rebounds. Young added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Denzel Valentine also scored 19 points.

Booker scored 22 points before the break on 10-of-14 shooting to help the Suns lead 67-58 at halftime. Phoenix made 10 of 18 (55.6%) shots from 3-point range. Paul said Booker’s efficiency is fun to watch.

“The fact that he does it in the course of the game,” Paul said. “It’s not like he’s out there hunting.”

Chicago coach Billy Donovan said his team’s defense was better in the second half but there’s wasn’t much of a way to stop Booker.

“I thought Booker had a big night because he made all his midrange jumpers,” Donovan said. “It wasn’t like he did it beyond the line, he did it from mid-range, so give him credit.”

Phoenix won despite Chicago having a 50-32 rebounding advantage, including an 18-4 lead in offensive boards. But the Bulls shot just 43% from the field and missed on several opportunities close to the basket.

“They’re just so doggone big and they kept crashing the boards,” Williams said. “We finally went big and were able to keep them at bay a little bit.”

TIP-INS

Bulls: Chicago was without G Zach LaVine (right ankle sprain) and G Coby White (left cervical pain). LaVine is averaging 27.5 points per game while White averages 15. White missed his second straight game. … G Tomas Satoransky played his 100th game with the Bulls. … Chicago closed the month of March with a 4-10 record. … Vucevic was called for a technical foul midway through the fourth quarter.

Suns: F Frank Kaminsky missed his second straight game in the league’s health and safety protocol. … F Abdel Nader was also out with right knee soreness. … Saric had a second straight productive game off the bench. He had 20 points in the team’s win over the Hawks on Tuesday. … Phoenix shot 57% from the field. … Jae Crowder had four blocked shots.

UP NEXT

Bulls: Travel to face the Jazz on Friday night.

Suns: Host the Thunder on Friday night

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Follow David Brandt at www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

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David Y. Ige | HAWAI‘I COVID-19 JOINT INFORMATION CENTER DAILY NEWS DIGEST MARCH 31, 2021


HAWAI‘I COVID-19 JOINT INFORMATION CENTER DAILY NEWS DIGEST MARCH 31, 2021

Posted on Mar 31, 2021 in Latest News, Newsroom, Press Releases

Department of Health:

https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/what-you-should-know/current-situation-in-hawaii/

Daily and Weekly Preliminary Vaccine Administration Updates

100 New COVID-19 Cases Reported and One Death.

DOH reports 100 new cases of coronavirus today and one death.

Oʻahu

  • 1 female, 80+ yrs, underlying conditions, hospitalized

This report includes cases up until Monday at 11:59 p.m. Full data is posted on the State COVID-19 dashboard and on the DOH Disease Outbreak & Control Division website daily: hawaiicovid19.com/dashboard.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 11:59 p.m. March 29, 2021

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

O‘ahu 42 23,063
Hawai‘i 16 2,479
Maui 30 2,856
Kaua‘i 1 191
Moloka‘i 0 34
Lānaʻi 1 111
HI residents diagnosed outside of HI 10 947
Total Cases 100 29,681++
Deaths    1 463

Hospitalizations as of 8:30 a.m. on 3/28/21 – Hawai‘i-1, Maui 19, O‘ahu-22, Kauaʻi-0

Large COVID-19 Cluster Warrants Caution on Maui
DOH is issuing guidance to a Maui church and its congregation because of the imminent health threat posed by a large cluster of COVID-19 cases. King’s Cathedral in Kahului is encouraged to cancel all upcoming in-person events and conduct only virtual services until the cluster is contained.

COVID cases associated with King’s Cathedral were identified as a cluster on March 7. DOH first met with church representatives to recommend containment measures including isolation, quarantine, and advising to switching to virtual services. However, further transmission was detected related to ongoing in-person services, a youth conference, and other gatherings. The cluster has doubled in the past ten days and now totals 50 COVID-19 cases. Those affected range in age from 10 to 77.

Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble said, “DOH does not disclose specific cluster locations unless there is an imminent risk to public health. Based on the findings of our investigative team, we believe disclosure is warranted to prevent further transmission of the disease.”

People who attended events hosted by King’s Cathedral and Chapels in the past 14 days are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19. They should closely monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, they are advised to self-quarantine and seek medical consultation. Those who think they’ve also been exposed can get a free COVID-19 test:
https://www.minitmed.com/pre-register-maui-covid-19

Greater Vaccine Supply Facilitates Additional Vaccination Opportunities
DOH is asking its District Health Officers on the neighbor islands to expand vaccine eligibility as needed to ensure all available vaccination slots are filled.

Every island has its own unique characteristics including population, population density, healthcare resources and enthusiasm for COVID-19 vaccine. With more vaccine coming into Hawai‘i this week than any previous week, DOH wants to give the neighbor islands more say in how they administer vaccinations. Dr. Char said, “The state is getting more than 81,000 vaccine doses this week and the federal government is distributing thousands more to Longs Drugs and Safeway. The combined allocation to Hawai‘i this week tops 120,000 doses. We want those doses in the correct arms as quickly as possible and believe the neighbor islands are situated to get that done.”

The DOH will coordinate the designation of who is eligible in each county and continue to determine vaccine eligibility on O‘ahu. To date, vaccines on O‘ahu are reserved for those in phase 1a and 1b of the state’s vaccination program as well as those age 60 and older, those being treated with oxygen for severe respiratory conditions, those on dialysis, chemotherapy or other infusion therapy, as well as essential workers at hotels, restaurants and bars. Beginning Monday, vaccine eligibility will also expand to essential workers in construction, banking and finance, communications, media, retail, information technology, clergy, and transportation and logistics. Vaccine registration is available here:

https://hawaiicovid19.com/vaccination-registration/

Department of Public Safety:
Statewide Inmate Testing Continues
COVID-19 testing is continuously being conducted statewide at all facilities. The Maui Community Correctional Center (MCCC) total active inmate cases remain unchanged at five (5). There are no MCCC inmates in the hospital. The O‘ahu Community Correctional center reports 10 negative inmate test result and Halawa Correctional Facility reports three (3) negative inmate test results. For more information on PSD’s planning and response efforts to COVID-19:
http://dps.hawaii.gov/blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-resources/.

Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority:
18,362 Passengers Arrive on Tuesday
Yesterday, a total of 18,362 people arrived in Hawai‘i from out of state. A total 12,011 people indicated they came to Hawai‘i for vacation. There were also 2,064 returning residents. The trans-Pacific passenger arrival data is derived from data provided by the Safe Travels digital system.

To view more: https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/covid-19-updates/trans-pacific-passenger-arrivals/

 

Helpful Resources

Trusted Testing and Travel Partners:

The state of Hawai‘i only accepts Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a certified Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) lab test results from Trusted Testing and Travel Partners. For the full list of domestic trans-Pacific, inter-county, international and airline partners or information on how to become a Trusted Testing Partner, go to:

https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/

Safe Travels Hawai‘i Program:
Program overview: https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/

FAQs: https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/faqs/ 

Email: [email protected]

Call Center Number: 1-800-GO-HAWAII

COVID-19 Vaccine Status in Hawai‘i and FAQs:

https://hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine/

Vaccine Call Center: 808-586-8332

COVID-19 Expanded Dashboard (Tables, Charts, and Visualizations):

https://hawaiicovid19.com/data-dashboard/

Safe Travels Digital Platform:

https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/data/

Kaua‘i County:
Kaua‘i COVID-19 webpage: https://www.kauai.gov/COVID-19
To report violators: https://www.kauai.gov/KPD-Online-Reporting

Vaccine Information: https://www.kauai.gov/vaccine

Maui County:
Maui County travel and COVID-19 information:
https://www.mauicounty.gov

To report violators: (808) 244-6400 or [email protected]

Hawai‘i County:
Hawai‘i County COVID-19 webpage:
https://coronavirus-response-county-of-hawaii-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com/pages/travel

Critical infrastructure and medical travel request: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/e2f4ce19aa854964a8fd60bec7fbe78c 
To report violators: 808-935-3311

City & County of Honolulu:
Honolulu COVID-19 webpage: oneoahu.org

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:  http://www.oneoahu.org/vaccine

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Joint Information Center:

All media inquiries should be directed to the appropriate State department



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NYC Weekend Subway Service Changes March 27-28


NEW YORK, NY — As vaccinations hit millions of arms and the city slowly reopens, New Yorkers are getting back on the subway. In another sign of the return of normality, they’re also dealing with a multitude of weekend service changes.

Riders returned to the rails in record numbers this month – on March 12, 1.9 million paid trips were made. That’s more than on any day in the past year.

But getting around this weekend is still going to be tough with 10 lines disrupted in the name of “upgrading and maintaining our tracks, stations and signal systems in order to continue to provide our customers with safe and reliable service.”

All info courtesy of the MTA. And here it is in map form.

3 train:

FLOOD PROTECTION
Mar 26 – 29, Fri 11:45 PM to Mon 5 AM*
3 Service between 96 St and 148 St is replaced by 2 trains, M7 and M102 buses
No late night 3 trains running
3 trains run between New Lots Av and 96 St and via the 1 to/from 137 St, days & evenings.
Travel Alternatives:
For service between 96 St and 135 St, take the 2.
• Transfer between 2 and 3 trains at 96 St ad.

For 145 St and 148 St, take the M7 or M102 bus.
• Transfer between 2 trains and buses at 135 St ad.
2 trains make late night 3 stops between 135 St and Times Sq-42 St.

ELECTRICAL IMPROVEMENTS
Mar 27 – 28, Saturday & Sunday
3 Downtown trains run local from 72 St to 14 St
7 train:
TRACK REPLACEMENT
Sat 4 AM to Sun 10 PM* until Apr 4
7 Flushing-bound trains skip 82 St, 90 St, 103 St and 111 St
For service to these stations, take the 7 to Junction Blvd or Willets Point and transfer to a Hudson Yards-bound 7.
For service from these stations, take the 7 to Junction Blvd or 74 St-Broadway and transfer to a Flushing-bound 7.

TRACK MAINTENANCE
Every Wed, Fri and Sat, 1:30 AM to 5 AM*
7 Hunters Point Av and Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av in Queens – board/exit all trains at the Flushing-bound platform

ELECTRICAL IMPROVEMENTS
Saturdays & Sundays until Apr 4
7 Trains run every 8 minutes days and early evenings
7 trains run on a modified schedule because of track work between 82 St and 111 St.

4 train:

PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE
Mar 27 – 28, Sat and Sun, 5:45 AM to 7 PM
4 Woodlawn-bound trains skip 170 St, Mt Eden Av and 176 St

For service to these stations, take the 4 to Burnside Av and transfer to a Manhattan-bound 4.

For service from these stations, take the 4 to 167 St and transfer to a Woodlawn-bound 4.

Q train:

STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS through April 2021
Q 96 St-bound trains skip Avenue H

• Consider using nearby Q stations at Newkirk Plaza or Avenue J.

For service to this station, take the Q to Newkirk Plaza and transfer to a Coney Island-bound Q.

For service from this station, take the Q to Avenue J and transfer to a 96 St-bound Q.

STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS
Mar 26 – 29, Fri 9:45 PM to Mon 5 AM*
Q 96 St-bound trains skip Avenue M, Avenue J, Avenue H, Cortelyou Rd, Beverley Rd and Parkside Av

For service to these stations, take the Q to Newkirk Plaza, Church Av or Prospect Park and transfer to a Coney Island-bound Q.

For service from these stations, take the Q to Church Av, Newkirk Plaza or Kings Hwy and transfer to a 96 St-bound Q.

STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS
Mar 26 – 29, Fri 10:45 PM to Mon 5 AM*
Q Trains run via the D between DeKalb Av and 47-50 Sts and via the F to/from Lexington Av/63 St

For Canal St, Prince St, 8 St, 14 St-Union Sq, 23 St, 28 St, Times Sq-42 St, 49 St and 57 St-7 Av, take the N or R.

• Transfer between trains at Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr ad | N Q R, DeKalb Av ad | Q R or 34 St-Herald Sq ad | N Q R.

Travel tip:
For Midtown Manhattan, consider the Q at nearby D F stations along 6 Av.

E train:

TUNNEL REHABILITATION
Fri 9:45 PM to Mon 5 AM* until Mar 29
E Trains are replaced by the F between Queens Plaza and World Trade Center (Chambers St)

E trains run via the F in both directions between 21 St-Queensbridge and Delancey St-Essex St, the last stop.

Travel Alternatives:
F replaces E at Queens Plaza, Court Sq-23 St, Lexington Av/53 St, 5 Av/53 St, 7 Av, 50 St, 42 St/Port Authority, 34 St-Penn Station, 23 St**, 14 St, Spring St**, Canal St and World Trade Center (Chambers St).

• Transfer between E and F trains at Roosevelt Av ad or W 4 St ad.

**Only downtown service at 23 St and Spring St during this time.

SIGNAL MODERNIZATION
Mar 27 – 29 • Apr 3 – 5, Sat 12:01 AM to Mon 5 AM*
E Trains stop in both directions at 36 St, Steinway St, 46 St, Northern Blvd and 65 St
A train:
SIGNAL MODERNIZATION
Mar 26 – 29, Fri 11 PM to Mon 5 AM*
A Uptown trains skip Spring St, 23 St and 50 St

For service to Spring St and 23 St, take the A to W 4 St or 34 St-Penn Station and transfer to a downtown A local or F**.

For service to 50 St, take the F instead via transfer at 42 St/Port Authority.

For service from these stations, take the A or F to 42 St/Port Authority, 14 St or Canal St and transfer to an uptown A.

**F trains replace the E in Manhattan during this time.

Reminder: Express service runs as scheduled in Manhattan, days and early evenings.

C train:

SIGNAL MODERNIZATION
Mar 27 – 28, Saturday & Sunday
C Uptown trains skip Spring St, 23 St and 50 St

For service to Spring St and 23 St, take the C to W 4 St or 34 St-Penn Station and transfer to a downtown C or F*.

For service to 50 St, take the F instead via transfer at 42 St/Port Authority.

For service from these stations, take the C or F to 42 St/Port Authority, 14 St or Canal St and transfer to an uptown C.

*F trains replace the E in Manhattan during this time.

2 train:

TRACK MAINTENANCE
Mar 27 – 29 • Apr 3 – 5, Sat 12:01 AM to Mon 5 AM*
2 Uptown trains skip 50 St, 59 St and 66 St

For service to these stations, take the 2 to 72 St and transfer to a downtown 1 or 2 local.

For service from these stations, take the 1 or 2 to Times Sq-42 St and transfer to an uptown 2.

Reminder: Uptown express service runs as scheduled in Manhattan, days and early evenings.

ELECTRICAL IMPROVEMENTS
Mar 27 – 29, Sat 12:01 AM to Mon 5 AM*
2 Downtown trains run local from 72 St to 14 St

STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS
Mar 27 – 28, Saturday & Sunday
2 Trains run every 12 minutes, days and early evenings

2 service runs on a modified schedule because uptown 1 2 and 3 trains are sharing a track from Times Sq-42 St to 72 St.

Additionally, downtown 1 2 and 3 trains are sharing a track from 72 St to 14 St.

G train:

TRACK MAINTENANCE
Mar 26 – 29 • Apr 2 – 5, Fri 9:45 PM to Mon 5 AM*
F G Queens-bound trains skip Fort Hamilton Pkwy, 15 St-Prospect Park and 4 Av-9 St

For service to these stations, take the F or G to 7 Av or Smith-9 Sts and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F or Church Av-bound G.

For service from these stations, take the F or G to 7 Av or Church Av and transfer to a Queens-bound F or G.

SR train:

TRACK REPLACEMENT
Mar 26 – 29, Fri 11:45 PM to Mon 5 AM*
S Rockaway Park Shuttle is replaced by the A train and free shuttle buses

SB Buses run between Beach 67 St A and Beach 116 St, making all stops.

For Broad Channel, take the A.

Shuttle Bus Stops

*No subway/shuttle bus service overnight between 2 AM and 4 AM.

SIR

MAINTENANCE WORK
Fri 11 PM to Mon 4 AM until Apr 19
SIR Service between Eltingville and St. George is replaced by free shuttle buses

SIR trains run between Eltingville and Tottenville.

• Transfer between trains and SB buses at Eltingville.

Shuttle Bus Stops

L train:

ACCESSIBILITY IMPROVEMENTS
Beginning Monday Mar 29, 5 AM through Summer 2021
L Manhattan-bound platform at Livonia Av will temporarily close

• Consider using nearby L stations at New Lots Av or Sutter Av.

For service to this station, take the L to Sutter Av and transfer to a Canarsie-bound L.

For service from this station, take the L to New Lots Av and transfer to a Manhattan-bound L.

ACCESSIBILITY IMPROVEMENTS
Mar 26 – 29, Fri 11:30 PM to Mon 5 AM*
L No trains between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Pkwy

L trains run between 8 Av and Broadway Junction, approximately every 8 minutes days and early evenings.

Local SB buses make L station stops between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Pkwy.
Nonstop SB buses run between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Pkwy.

• Transfer between trains and SB buses at Broadway Junction.

Shuttle Bus Stops



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Magic vs. Clippers – Game Recap – March 30, 2021


LOS ANGELES — — Chuma Okeke scored 18 points and the Orlando Magic rallied in the fourth quarter to snap Los Angeles’ six-game winning streak Tuesday night, defeating the Clippers 103-96.

The Magic didn’t have the lead until late in the fourth quarter and went on a 17-3 run to close the game. Kawhi Leonard made a pair of free throws to give the Clippers a 93-86 lead with 2:36 remaining before the Magic scored 11 straight points to take the lead.

Terrence Ross tied it at 93 with 1:46 remaining on two free throws, and Wendell Carter Jr. put the Magic in front with 1:10 remaining with a tip-in after James Ennis III missed a layup, making it 95-94.

Ross scored 15 points and Otto Porter Jr. added 13 for the Magic, who snapped a seven-game road losing streak.

Leonard scored 28 points for the Clippers. Luke Kennard added 17 points and Ivica Zubac tallied his 10th double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers.

LA led 51-37 at halftime on the strength of shooting 52.5% in the first half (21 of 40), but struggled in the third quarter, going 2 of 13 from beyond the arc as Orlando got within 73-70 at the end of the quarter.

The Clippers scored the game’s first 10 points — including a pair of 3-pointers by Kennard — and extended their lead to 16 points with under four minutes remaining in the second quarter.

TIP INS

Magic: Ross played in his first game after missing the last seven due to a sore right knee.

Clippers: Nicolas Batum tied a season high with 10 rebounds. … Paul George missed his second straight game because of right foot soreness. He has been out for 13 games this season. … Marcus Morris Sr. (right calf contusion) did not play after scoring 25 points in Monday’s win over Milwaukee. … Rajon Rondo (right adductor soreness) has yet to play since being acquired from Atlanta last week, but coach Tyronn Lue said Rondo and Patrick Beverley have been doing some on-court work.

UP NEXT

Magic: Travel to the New Orleans on Thursday. Orlando swept the season series last season.

Clippers: Host Denver on Thursday. LA won this season’s first meeting 121-108 on Christmas Day.

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