Expo 2020 Dubai prepares to mark UAE golden jubilee | News

Expo 2020 Dubai will mark 50-years since the founding of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in show-stopping style with a four-day slate of world-class events and immersive experiences.

Organisers said the show comes as the country celebrates its golden jubilee with “renewed optimism for the next half century”.

Running from December 1-4, the site-wide celebration – taking each and every visitor to Expo on a journey of authentic Emirati experiences and stories – will include world-class ceremonies, exceptional musical showcases, meaningful cross-cultural conversations, culturally-fused performances and engaging exhibits.

As announced by the UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, highlights at Expo 2020 include the UAE national day, celebrated every year to commemorate December 2nd, 1971, when the UAE declared independence as a sovereign nation.

From 10:15, visitors are invited to Expo 2020’s UAE national day ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza, including the raising of the flag, high-level speeches and anthem performances by a children’s choir, concluding with an Al Azi Performance by Al Wasmi.

This will also feature alongside horses of the Dubai Police and the UAE Ministry of Interior Marching Band in the Colours of the World Parade between 12:45 and 13:15.

A gravity-defying aerial performance by Dubai Police will follow shortly after, alongside a 30-minute musical showcase by Emirati singer Fatma Zahrat Al Ain, and a jaw-dropping flyover display by the UAE Air Force aerobatics team Al Fursan.

The diamond in the crown of Expo 2020’s programming will be Al Wasl Plaza’s immersive theatrical show, Journey of the 50th.

Set to take place from December 1-4, the show will push the boundaries of what is possible in Al Wasl Plaza, featuring a blend of human performance, theatrics and the unique capabilities of the venue in a never-before-seen way.

Over 200 hundred performers including participating countries will take part of this theatrical show.

Amna Abulhoul, executive creative director, events and entertainment, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “As the show unfolds, we will learn about the origins of the Emirati people, the people of this land, who follow the current of the sea, know the language of the stars and hear the wind as it speaks.

“Their true connection to the earth and how the values of our forefathers still continue to push us forward today.”

More Information

Further details on UAE National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai can be here.

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Delta’s Domestic Corp. Travel Recovery Nears 50 Percent Mark

Delta Air Lines’ corporate travel volume in recent weeks has grown to its highest point during the Covid-19 pandemic recovery, with domestic business travel volume last week nearing 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels, CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday in Delta’s third-quarter earnings call.

For the overall third quarter, domestic corporate travel volumes were about 40 percent recovered, which is 10 percentage points higher than their recovery rate in the second quarter, Bastian said. While corporate travel recovery “paused” in August and early September while Covid-19 case counts grew with the spread of the delta variant, spurring many companies to delay return-to-office plans, demand since Labor Day once again has picked up, he said.

Delta’s most recent survey of its corporate customers indicated that 90 percent expect their travel volumes in the fourth quarter to be equal to or higher than third-quarter levels, according to Bastian. About 60 percent of Delta’s corporate customers said they have reopened their offices, and an additional 10 percent said they would do so before the end of 2021.

“We anticipate meaningful acceleration in business travel starting at that point,” Bastian said. “We hear regularly from our corporate customers that they’re ready to get back to travel, see their clients face-to-face, renew business relationships and develop new ones.”

Business travel volumes from unmanaged programs are running five to 10 percentage points ahead of managed programs, with “smaller, hungrier companies out there hitting the road sooner than some of the bigger multinationals,” Delta president Glen Hauenstein said.

International business travel also is showing signs of recovery, he said. In the second and third quarter, corporate travel to Europe was running at about 15 percent of pre-pandemic levels, but that has improved to 30 percent in recent weeks with the news that the U.S. will open to vaccinated foreign visitors next month. Long-haul travel to South America, previously “pretty much nonexistent,” also has started to recover, and the Pacific region could be next in line, according to Hauenstein.

“We are expecting those to improve significantly … as the vaccination rates in important places for us like Korea and Japan are now approaching between 70 percent and 80 percent,” he said. “Hopefully, we get some good news out of that region of the world starting in the next few months.”

Domestic leisure travel, meanwhile, has made a “full return” to 2019 levels, Bastian said. Delta’s passenger revenue for the third quarter was $7.2 billion, 37 percent of 2019 levels, and total third-quarter operating revenue was 27 percent of 2019 levels, boosted by a 39 percent increase in cargo revenue compared with 2019.

Delta executives noted that premium travel revenues have been strong even with the lower rates of business travel and indicated that Delta would look to increase premium seating capacity in the future.

“We’re selling [premium seats] 10 points higher than we did pre-pandemic,” Bastian said. “We always ran relatively full in terms of load factor, but a lot of those are complimentary upgrades, and we’re seeing people are willing to pay us for those seats. That’s why we want to create more over time.”

Delta reported net income of $1.2 billion for the third quarter, which included the benefits from federal aid due to the pandemic. Excluding that and other special items, Delta still reported net income of $194 million for the quarter, its first such profitable quarter since the pandemic began.

Bastian said he expected the carrier would see a “modest loss” in the fourth quarter due to rising fuel prices.

RELATED: Delta Q2 earnings

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Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, 1991 grand final, where are they now, Greg Alexander, Brad Fittler, Mark Geyer, Royce Simmons

It was the ultimate fairytale and if you believe in fate, perhaps a similar ending is awaiting this year’s Panthers side on Sunday.

In 1991, a primed playmaker in Greg Alexander and a seasoned Royce Simmons steered Penrith to their first-ever premiership.

They celebrated in style with hundreds of fans lining the M4 cheering the bus home.

But amongst all the euphoria was this bit of relief for some because of the heartbreak they suffered 12 months earlier.

Watch Fox Leagues’s massive line-up of Grand Final week coverage on Kayo including live pre-game, half-time and post-game coverage with full analysis from the best team in the business. New to Kayo? Start your free trial >

Penrith made their first-ever grand final appearance in 1990, but it wasn’t to be and they went down to a star-studded Raiders side 18-14.

The players picked themselves up and began preparing for 1991 with only one thing on their minds: A premiership.

On Sunday, September 22nd they met the Raiders once again with even more on the line than the previous year.

Their inspirational hooker, Simmons, was hanging up the boots after that game and there were broken hearts at the foot of the mountains from the year before that desperately needed to be mended.

This time round there would be no celebrating reaching the grand final, they had done that before. This time it was about making sure they went one better.

The boys came together and made a pact to stay off the drink. Then in their final session before the big day, coach Phil Gould brought an esky with a carton of beer inside and they had a cheers for a brilliant season, but for also what was to come.

Matty Johns is a huge fan of Brian To’o | 00:49

There was a camaraderie in that group that only fellow grand final-winning sides will know.

They had a job to do and they did it. 19-12. Simmons got his fairytale ending and Mark Geyer fractured his larynx from yelling so loud when the No.9 scored the premiership-sealing try.

Now the bat has been passed onto this year’s side led by a playmaker in his prime, Nathan Cleary and a workhorse lock, Isaah Yeo.

They suffered heartbreak in last year’s grand final and now get their shot at redemption too.

Thirty years on from the Penrith’s maiden premiership, Foxsports.com.au tracked down every member of the 1991 grand final-winning side.

These are the reflections from that team, plus an update on where they are now and predictions for Sunday’s match.

The Panthers celebrate winning the 1991 Grand Final. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

GREG BARWICK (fullback)

Favourite memory from the 1991 Grand Final: Being the first-ever premiership it was such a special moment for all of us as players, but I think seeing the happiness of people back at the club. They were just so happy, so pleased and they felt like the victory was theirs as well and that was the thing that really stuck out to me. Driving off the freeway there were so many people on the side of the road, if we ever wanted to know what it felt like to be a popstar that was the time. I just wish, being so young at the time… I was 23, I don’t think you appreciate the enormity of what we achieved.

Now: I’m a painter and decorator by trade but I’ve been working in the IT industry for the last sixteen years. I’ve predominantly been working for a company called VMware and I’ve been selling software to large enterprises in Australia and also Europe. I actually lived in Europe for the last six years.

Favourite player: Viliame Kikau… My god, he is frightening. When he gets the ball I think something’s going to happen here because he’s a devastating player. It’s hard to go past Nathan Cleary too, he’s a really talented player.

Tip: I think it’s going to be tight, I’ll say 24-20 to Penrith.

Clive Churchill Medal: Nathan Cleary.


Favourite memory from 91 GF: Just winning it. When you spend so much time with the boys, it’s just a good thing to do at the end of the year.

Now: I’m a Greensman at a resort up on the Gold Coast and in my spare time I go fishing and crabbing.

Favourite player: Kurt Capewell has gone pretty good this year and young Matt Burton has been good too.

Tip: I think it’ll be pretty close, maybe 18-10.

Clive Churchill Medal: Jarome Luai.


Favourite memory from 91 GF: Watching Greg Alexander kick the goal from the sideline.

Now: New South Wales Origin coach and Channel 9 league analyst.

Tip: Penrith to win.

Clive Churchill Medal: Viliame Kikau.

COL BENTLEY (centre)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: Probably coming back from the stadium and on the bus, going down the M4 onto Mulgoa Road then getting to the paddock behind the club and there were about 5,000 people running out to greet us.

Now: I’ve been working for IGT (International Game Technology), it’s a global gaming company. It’s a really good job, we sell gaming machines, online lottery. I get to go to Vegas every now and then. I’ve been working with them for the last 20 years so I look after NSW and ACT. It’s a great industry and it’s fun too.

Favourite player: One of my favourite ever players is Col Van Der Voort because he did all the hard yards, so I like Isaah Yeo because he cleans a lot of things up and he’s that second link to the backline. He just works hard and is a really good player.

Tip: I’m backing them to win and I know they’re carrying a few injuries so I reckon it will be really tight. I’m going to say 18-16.

Clive Churchill Medal: I’ve got to say Nathan Cleary. If they win, he’ll be the major factor in that.

Cleary happy with hard Panthers path | 03:43


Favourite memory from 91 GF:Probably both of Royce’s tries. The first one was good and the second one topped it off. We knew what job we had to do and basically when we won it, it was just a relief because you can go the whole year, I think we were three or four points clear, and it was just the job we had to do. If we didn’t do it we probably wouldn’t get another chance.

Now: I work in the transport industry.

Favourite player: I’m a winger so it’d have to be Brian To’o, he’s playing really well. Probably him first and then James Fisher-Harris or Isaah Yeo.

Tip: I’m hoping it’s a good 10-point margin so it’s easier than last week.

Clive Churchill Medal: If Penrith win it will more than likely be Nathan Cleary.

STEVE CARTER (five-eighth)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:Just the intensity of the game and the attitude as a team we had that we were going to win that game no matter what happened on the day. My memory is that we were all so confident in each other that we trusted every person we were next to and we knew that we were going to do whatever we could to beat that great Canberra side.

Now: I’m a union official for the Australian Workers’ Union, who I work for and have done for 10 years. I live at a place called Moonee Beach which is just north of Coffs Harbour — it’s absolutely God’s country. I travel between Port Macquarie and the Queensland border to service my members, so it’s a pretty fulfilling job, just trying to fight in general for workplace rights and conditions of employment.

Favourite player: It would probably be Isaah Yeo. He’s very, very underrated even though he got picked for New South Wales. His attack, his footwork and his ball skills I think are very underrated.

Tip: I’m thinking there’s not going to be a lot in it. I think Souths, Wayne Bennett will come up with some other rabbit to pull out of his hat. Penrith 22-14. I’m really happy to see them in the grand final and I really hope they can go one better this year.

Clive Churchill Medal: Nathan Cleary.


‘ULTIMATE PESTS’: Penrith’s ‘03 GF reunion; sliding doors moment that saved Benji

REBOUND: Everything fell apart for the Panthers. The ‘scars’ created an NRL beast

RISKY: Souths rolled the dice and lost a club great. Do it again and they could crumble

GREG ALEXANDER (C) (halfback)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: When I kicked the goal to make it a seven-point difference because before that it was a battle. When I kicked that goal from the sideline, I knew we’d won, but until then there were no favourite moments.

Now: Board member of the Panthers and analyst on Fox League.

Tip: Panthers 24-16

Clive Churchill Medal: Nathan Cleary.

Greg Alexander and his brother, Ben, with the J.J.Giltinan Shield presented on grand final day.Source: News Limited

PAUL CLARKE (front row)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:Just winning it. I had been playing football since I was five and right from an early age I watched all the grand finals and just dreamt that maybe one day I could be in one of those sides that won a comp. I knew I wasn’t good enough to play for Australia or Origin or anything like that as I was growing up but I just always dreamt that I might be good enough to play in a football side and win the comp… so I guess just winning the thing.

Now: I’m in the wine game, I’m the national sales manager for Molly’s Cradle wines. I’ve been doing that for 23 years. I’ve come to enjoy a lot of wine over the years and so have a lot of my friends.

Favourite player: James Fisher-Harris reminds me very much of Barry Walker, who I played with in 1991. A hard nut that goes forward, he’s got a bit of skill in him and he just gets the job done. I think he’s fantastic. Brian To’o as well, when I played with wingers, they wouldn’t do any where near the yards that he’s doing, but the game has changed.

Tip: 20-8. I think Penrith will keep Souths at, or less than, two tries. They haven’t been great in the last couple of weeks scoring tries, but their defence has been unbelievable. I’m very confident they’ll win.

Clive Churchill Medal: Brian To’o. I think his yards will be the big difference.

One of the greatest: Wayne Bennett | 01:29


Favourite memory from 91 GF:It was unbelievable because even before the final whistle blew people just started to run onto the field from all over the place and that sort of doesn’t happen. The celebrations started from there and didn’t really finish… Going home in the bus and the people that lined the roads — it was highly illegal — the people on the side of the M4 with big banners out celebrating. The closer you got to Penrith the bigger the crowd was… it was getting a bit scary to be honest. I was worried about people in front of the bus. It just never stopped. We got back to the club and it was packed. We got taken from room to room and every place we went it was full of excited fans.

Now: I still work for the Panthers in the commercial area in and around the sponsorship. I’m an ambassador for the club.

Favourite player: I’ve got too many. The two skippers have been outstanding in their job all year. I’m a big fan of the front row, I think Moses (Leota), (James) Fisher-Harris and Api (Koroisau) have been outstanding all year. I’m a fan of the whole team, I’m just a mad Penrith fan. I’m just like someone sitting with their beanie yelling and screaming — I just don’t yell and scream too much.

Tip: 20-16 to Penrith. It’d be tremendous if it was our time again, to light up our town. We’ve got some great people and great fans out there so it’d be great to give them what they deserve.

Clive Churchill Medal: I reckon Isaah Yeo.

Royce Simmons celebrates with the Winfield Cup. Pic Ex Brisbane Sun.Source: News Corp Australia

PAUL DUNN (front row)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:Just the fact that we won it and were the first Penrith team to win it. The whole year was good, we were so dominant, I think we lost three or four games all year. It was almost a fait accompli type of game, we still had to win the game and the second half was quite tight, but it was just amazing.

Now: I do business coaching and consulting and play golf as much as I can and try not to get too fat.

Favourite player: I love watching Nathan Cleary play because I love his attention to detail. James Fisher-Harris because he’s a front-rower and Moses Leota, Isaah Yeo. It’s pretty hard to pick. Dylan Edwards, Brian To’o, Matt Burton… I go through a few of them.

Tip: Penrith to win and given how it’s been the last few weeks I reckon they’ll win 20-14.

Clive Churchill Medal: Either Nathan Cleary or Dylan Edwards.

Watch ‘Wild Wests: Tales from Tiger Town’ an exclusive Fox League behind-the-scenes production on demand on Kayo > Click here to watch

MARK GEYER (second row)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:By far when Royce scored his second try in the corner. I’ve never felt such euphoria on a sporting field because it was only then we knew that we had won it. I was screaming that loud that I fractured my larynx, I couldn’t talk for two weeks after the grand final. I’ve never felt that feeling before, I’ve had five kids, but it’s a different feeling especially because we got beat the year before. From being in tears of sorrow on the field after the game to tears of jubilation, it’s such a contrast.

Now: I’m on Triple M and have a gym in Penrith called MG Activ.

Favourite player: I think James Fisher-Harris. He doesn’t speak much but he speaks a lot with his actions and I like the way he’s the Alpha male of the team and he’s got a lot of respect. So he’s my favourite.

Tip: I think it’s going to be pretty tight and will get to something like 18-all. Maybe Nathan Cleary might kick a field goal and then we might score a try on the bell, so I’m going to say 23-18 Penrith.

Clive Churchill Medal: Isaah Yeo… maybe even Matt Burton.

Mark Geyer celebrates the grand final win. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

BARRY WALKER (second row)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: Full time, when it was all over and done with, the relief after what happened the year before and satisfaction of what we achieved… and to lift the trophy.

Now: I’m in corrective services. Transportation of inmates between jails, picking up from police stations, that sort of stuff. Prior to that I was self-employed and like a lot of Penrith boys, I had a beer truck. And I was an ambulance officer when I retired, basically I was studying to become a paramedic. I also coached in the Penrith junior reps for a while and went to club football but gave it way about six years ago.

Favourite player: James Fisher-Harris, he’s got a massive motor and does all the dirty work. Also Isaah Yeo, he was in one of the junior teams I helped coached, the SG Ball team. I’m glad to see him go so far, he’s always had that same ability and he’s always been that same nice guy.

Tip: 28-20. I think Penrith have another gear and it’ll be a close game but they’ll get away with it.

Clive Churchill Medal: Jarome Luai or Nathan Cleary.

Sattler reflects on Panthers’ 2003 win | 08:58


Favourite memory from 91 GF: Just winning it I guess. There’s so many things but I’d say Royce’s try to seal it.

Now: I’ve been working in community corrections for the last 7 years but I went on a holiday back in May and I haven’t made it home yet. My partner and I took four months off to travel around Australia and we’ve got as far as east Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory and we’ve stopped here at the moment. Sometimes we have no network, no internet or anything just being out in the bush, but all the games I could watch I at least watch them on my phone.

Favourite player: Isaah Yeo.

Tip: I think it’s going to be a pretty big victory, I’m tipping 32-10.

Clive Churchill Medal: Isaah Yeo.

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JOHN CARTWRIGHT (bench/reserve)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:Probably the build up to the grand final. It was a little bit different to the year before, it was a bit of a celebration time for the club the year before because it was the first time they had ever made a grand final. But I think in 1991 we were way better prepared, we really had our minds set on winning it. While it was a tough game and really went to the wire, I felt we were never going to lose the game, there was just a mindset that we probably created over the previous three to four years and it culminated in that year.

Now: I’m an assistant coach at the Broncos.

Favourite player: It would definitely be Isaah Yeo. He epitomises everything good about a footballer and for me coming from Penrith everything good about somebody that players for Penrith. He’s hardworking, he’s very humble and I think he’s probably their spiritual leader out there.

Tip: I’m very conflicted here because my son, Jed, actually players for Souths. My family has a massive involvement with Penrith, way back to when it started. But blood is thicker than water, I don’t think he will get a run, but it would mean the world to me to see him be a part of a grand final-winning side. It’s just such a great feeling. I think it definitely will be a close one, both sides deserve to be there.

Clive Churchill Medal: It’ll be a split vote between Isaah Yeo and Cody Walker.

John Cartwright celebrates winning the 1991 NSWRL Grand Final (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

BRAD IZZARD (bench/reserve)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: Putting the goal under the goalposts to score. I almost got another one but Laurie Daley ripped it out of my arms when I was about to put it over the tryline. My son sits here and tells me ‘Dad, you should have passed’ because I always tell the kids the pass always beats the man… well I threw the dummy. I would have won the battle if Laurie didn’t just grab the ball.

Now: I’ve got two kids, and happily married. I’m lucky enough to be employed by the Touch Football Association up in Ballina and I’m Vice President with the Byron Bay Lennox Head Rugby League Club, Todd Carney actually plays for us.

Favourite player: Jarome Luai or Brian To’o. I like Jarome with the amount of work he does on and off the ball and he complements Nathan Cleary. As far as entertainment value you can’t beat Luai or To’o, they’re just a laugh.

Tip: 18-6. I think it will be a tight one but if they come out going hard and handle the Rabbits’ aggressiveness, they need to get up and do what they did last week to the Storm and if they do that in the first half they could get away with a comfortable margin in the end.

Clive Churchill Medal: Either Jarome Luai or Isaah Yeo. The other one that will go close is James Fisher-Harris.

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Vic duo Hayden Burbank, Mark Babbage to face WA court over COVID breach for AFL grand final trip

A Melbourne business owner and financial planner will face court accused of using fake driver’s licences to sneak into Perth to attend Saturday’s AFL grand final.

Prahran restaurant and bar owner Hayden Burbank, 49, and finance firm managing director Mark Babbage, 38, are alleged to have flown into Perth on September 22 after arriving in Darwin from Melbourne on September 14.

They were pictured posing inside the Optus Stadium change rooms on Saturday with Melbourne player Alex Neal-Bullen after the side’s drought-breaking premiership win.

The photo was posted on the AFL’s official Instagram account.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said they received an anonymous public tip-off that the men had been in Victoria 14 days before arriving in the state.

The pair were arrested at Bunker Bay in the state’s southwest on Tuesday morning after police issued a public appeal to track them down.

They spent the night in police custody and on Wednesday morning will face court charged with breaching the Emergency Management Act, which can attract fines of up to $50,000 and a maximum jail term of 12 months.

“How people could knowingly put others at risk in these times is selfish and contemptible,” Mr Dawson told reporters on Tuesday.

One of the men has tested negative for COVID-19 and the other’s result was inconclusive.

Mr Dawson said health authorities believed the initial result was a false positive and he will be retested overnight.

A woman, believed to be a WA resident, who was with Mr Burbank and Mr Babbage when they were arrested has also tested negative. She is unlikely to be charged.

Two other Victorian men also entered WA via South Australia for the AFL grand final. One has returned home to Melbourne, while the other has been arrested and faced Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

He also returned a negative COVID-19 test result and will remain in custody until October 8.

“While we’ve got people charged with serious offences, there’s nothing at this point to indicate that it (the AFL grand final) has put the community at risk,” Mr Dawson said.

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Coronavirus live updates: Sesame Street PSAs and vaccine incentives mark a new phase of the vaccination campaign

New pro-vaccine ads, which feature Elmo, Louie, Cookie Monster and other characters and promise “sunnier days are ahead,” were developed by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the children’s show, alongside the Ad Council, COVID Collaborative and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One ad features the letter U singing a Sesame Street-version of Billie Holiday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You” as the characters return to everyday activities — group embraces, family meals, laughter.

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How to mark an Airbnb reservation as a business trip so you can expense your receipts

  • You can mark an Airbnb reservation as a business trip using the Airbnb for Work program.
  • The Airbnb for Work program lets businesses and employees set up and organize business trips.
  • To join Airbnb for Work, click on an invite link sent by your company or visit Airbnb’s business travel page.

The Airbnb for Work program helps businesses and individual employees set up and organize work trips. You can link your business email address to your personal Airbnb account and seamlessly book both business and leisure stays.

Marking an Airbnb stay as a business trip can later help you expense it, so you won’t have to pay for the entire trip.

You can join Airbnb for Work by using a link sent by your company, or by visiting Airbnb’s business travel page.
Here’s how to book a business trip on Airbnb, or change an existing reservation to a business trip.

How to mark an Airbnb reservation as a business trip

Firstly, you’ll need to join Airbnb for Work. If your company does this often, they’ll likely send you a link; but if you don’t have a link, you can use Airbnb’s website to set up your account.

Important: Note that you’ll need to already have an Airbnb account to use Airbnb for Work. You can create an Airbnb account by visiting the general website, clicking the icon in the top-right that looks like a person’s head, and clicking “Sign up.”


1. Go to Airbnb’s business travel page and log into your account, if you haven’t already.

2. Enter your work email address to add it to your Airbnb account. Then click “Add email.”

How to mark an Airbnb reservation as a business trip so you can expense your receipts
You’ll need to enter your work email on the Airbnb site to begin the booking process.Abigail Abesamis Demarest/Business Insider

3. You’ll now be able to set up a business trip. Click “Browse homes” to look for places to stay via Airbnb for Work.

4. During checkout, click the slider next to “Is this a work trip?” A checkmark will appear.

How to mark an Airbnb reservation as a business trip so you can expense your receipts
Airbnb will let you mark the business trip during the checkout process.Abigail Abesamis Demarest/Business Insider

5. Under “Trip purpose,” you can add a note to explain why you’re taking this trip, which can be useful for expensing purposes. This note will be sent to the person who manages your company’s travel.

How to mark an Airbnb reservation as a business trip so you can expense your receipts
Add a note with details about the purpose of the trip for your and your company’s records.Abigail Abesamis Demarest/Business Insider

Quick tip: Airbnb will send an expensable receipt to your work email for stays marked as business trips.

How to change a reservation to a business trip after booking

Whether you’ve already booked a trip and forgot to identify it as a work trip, or you’ve accidentally marked a leisure trip as a business trip, you can easily update your reservation.

If you’ve accidentally booked a leisure trip using a company credit card, Airbnb recommends canceling your reservation as soon as possible to avoid causing any confusion at work.

1. Go to airbnb.com and log into the account you used to make the trip you want to change.

2. Click your profile icon on the top-right of the screen.
3. Select the “Trips” option.

4. Scroll to find the reservation details of your upcoming trip, then select or unselect the box next to “This is a business trip.”

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My Campus: Gies College of Business’ Mark Wolters | News

Illini Insider 20

In Thursday’s News-Gazette: Editor Jeff D’Alessio’s weekly Illini Insider page.

On campus, he’s known as the Illinois-educated, Illinois-employed Gies College of Business instructor who’s on the short list for most popular UI professor.

Online, hundreds of thousands of YouTube fans know MARK WOLTERS as the fast-talking, fun-loving, globe-trotting, travel tip-dispensing host of “Wolters World,” the entertaining channel with 711,000 subscribers and videos co-starring family members on topics like “15 Mistakes Tourists Make When They Visit Italy,” “5 Things That You Should Never Put In Your Checked Luggage” and “6 Unwritten Rules of European Train Travel.”

Wolters Road Trips

These days, he’s confined mostly to campus. But under non-pandemic conditions, Mark Wolters and family can often be found making memories (and hit YouTube videos) around the globe.

These, of course, aren’t passport-stamping times we live in. So, with Wolters now heeding the #stayathome message he’s been preaching online, he gave us a guided, virtual tour of some of his favorite spaces and places on, around and off campus — both as a ‘90s undergrad and 2000s associate teaching professor of business administration.

mark wolters

Mark Wolters outside Foellinger Auditorium on Monday.

My first office

13 Wohlers Hall. It was a broom closet, but it was my broom closet, and I loved it.

I would go in in the morning and there could be a snowstorm and I would have no idea. It would crack me up when I would leave at the end of the day and all the cars would be covered with snow.

Where I was when I got great news

I was in Foellinger Auditorium getting ready for my 8 a.m. class when I received an email that I had been selected by the Illinois Student Senate for their Teaching Excellence Award.

It was the first teaching award I had received at the U of I, and it was extra special as it was an award that the students choose.

Where I interviewed for my first job at Illinois

I was interviewed over the phone in my tiny apartment in Lisbon. My wife was about eight months’ pregnant and had just got home from a month in the hospital and we were all smushed together in the living/dining/family/storage/office/everything room.

I had my computer and a bunch of notes laid out on our table ready to answer any question Bill Qualls threw at me.

My go-to COVID testing site

I always go to the State Farm Center. The funniest thing is there is a guy that works there that has my same birthday and our last four of our phone numbers are the same. I think he thought I was trying to trick him the first time he helped me check in.

Now, when I see him there, I always go to his check-in station.

The classroom that brings back the best memories

Foellinger Auditorium has always been and will always be my favorite educational space. I love having all the students there, and coming early to class to wander around and get to know students.

It seems like it would be an impersonable space to learn, but I thought it was an incredible learning environment. Though when I was a student at the U of I, I may or may not have fallen asleep a few times in the balcony.

A place to think

When I was a student and I wanted to get work done, I would go to the lower level of the undergraduate library. I think people would shush you if you thought too loud.

Now, as a faculty member, I will walk from Wohlers Hall to Krannert to the Union and then back to give myself some time to think.

Field of dreams

The empty field by BIF and the Siebel Center. We have played quite a few fun games of student and faculty sports there over the years.

For a bite to eat

I will stop by Joe’s Brewery for their half-price burgers. I used to go to Firehaus before it closed. My go-to lunch delivery between classes is Jimmy John’s. My hop-in-the-car-and-grab-something is the Culver’s on Neil — double butter burger with cheese with ketchup and mayo with a root beer and cheese curds.

Wow, I really need to find some healthier options on campus.

A place without walls

The view on the front porch of Foellinger. I like just taking in the whole quad after I finish teaching there. You really can see why the U of I gets ranked so high for having a beautiful campus.

mark wolters

Mark Wolters stands outside Foellinger Auditorium, a favorite building dating back to his days as a UI student.

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Today’s coronavirus news: Kenney bans all non-business travel outside Canada for Alberta government officials; Death toll reaches 52 at Tendercare; U.S. hits 20 million mark in coronavirus cases

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.

4 p.m.: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has ordered all cabinet ministers and senior government officials not to travel outside Canada unless it’s for government business.

He says he made an error by not issuing a clear directive earlier that they should not be abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says any United Conservative government officials who were away during the holidays are now back in Canada or they are heading back.

Kenney adds that because they did not break any official rules and followed safe travel guidelines, they will not be sanctioned.

The Opposition NDP has called for the resignation of Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard after it was revealed she took a vacation in Hawaii over the holidays.

Kenney says Allard left on Dec. 19 and continued to work while on holiday, but he only learned of her trip on Tuesday and he asked her to return.

He says she has apologized for her lack in judgement.

3 p.m.: Crowds are discouraged from gathering as people plunge into icy Canadian waters to ring in 2021, but the pandemic hasn’t frozen the charitable spirit behind the annual events.

Organizers of “polar swims” across the country are inviting people to participate in COVID-friendly dips with backyard adaptations or physically distanced events.

Keith Jolie said it’s disappointing that the usual crowd of more than 400 swimmers – and even more spectators – can’t gather on Toronto’s Sunnyside Beach this year.

2:30 p.m.: Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting two new cases of COVID-19 on New Year’s Day.

Officials say the new cases were identified in the Fredericton region and involve one individual in their 60s and one in their 70s.

Both patients are currently self-isolating, and the source of their infections is under investigation by public health.

The province is also reporting four new recoveries — today’s active case count is 24, down from 28 reported a day earlier.

The latest diagnoses also come a day after the province announced the ninth death related to the virus.

New Brunswick reported Thursday an individual in their 40s died in the Moncton region as a result of “underlying complications” including COVID-19.

1:45 p.m. At least 52 residents of a Toronto long-term care home have died due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.

Tendercare Living Centre says the outbreak has sickened 122 residents and 56 staff as of Thursday.

It says there are 78 active cases remaining in residents.

The Ontario government announced earlier this week that North York General Hospital would be taking over management of Tendercare.

The province says the arrangement will help address the outbreak and stabilize the situation.

Ontario will not release new COVID-19 data today but will have two days’ worth of updates on Saturday.

1:33 p.m. The number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases has surpassed 20 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

That’s nearly twice as many as the No. 2 country, India, and nearly one-quarter of the more than 83 million cases globally.

The U.S. continued to surpass other countries in COVID-19 cases as it reached 20 million at the start of the new year, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins University.

COVID-19 deaths have also increased in the country, now totalling more than 346,000.

India and Brazil trail behind the U.S. in coronavirus cases at over 10 million and 7 million, respectively.

The increase comes as officials race to vaccinate millions of Americans but have come off to a slower and messier start.

President-elect Joe Biden criticized the Trump administration Tuesday for the pace of distributing COVID-19 vaccines and vowed to ramp up the current speed of vaccinations. However, Biden acknowledged that it “will still take months to have the majority of Americans vaccinated.”

12:45 p.m. An Oregon health care worker has been hospitalized after having a severe allergic reaction to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The Oregon Health Authority says the employee at Wallowa Memorial Hospital experienced anaphylaxis after receiving a first dose of the vaccine this week.

The health authority said vaccines for COVID-19 can cause mild to moderate side effects in some people. This can include pain and swelling on the arm and sometimes fever, chills, tiredness and headache. In rare cases, some people have experienced severe allergic reactions.

Health officials will continue to track adverse reactions.

12 p.m. Italy added another 462 virus deaths on Friday for a known pandemic death toll of 74,621, the highest in Europe.

Italy’s daily death toll remains stubbornly high more than two months into restrictive measures and in the second week of a modified lockdown.

The number of new positives dipped by 5% from a day earlier, to 22,211, while 15% fewer tests were administered, according to Health Ministry statistics. Italy is launching its vaccine campaign and is first targeting residents of nursing homes and medical personnel.

11:13 a.m. Ravers at an underground, curfew-violating New Year’s Eve party that drew at least 2,500 people in western France attacked police units sent to shut them down, torching a vehicle and injuring officers with bottles and stones, officials said Friday.

Hundreds of vehicles carrying party-goers started converging on hangars in Lieuron, Brittany, on Thursday night, the regional government Friday said in a statement.

Gendarmes and their vehicles were attacked when they tried to stop the ravers from installing their party gear. Some officers suffered light injuries, the statement said. On Friday morning, 2,500 ravers from France and abroad were still partying, circled by a reinforced police presence.

9:36 a.m. The number of people in long-term care homes who have been sick with or have died of COVID-19 is devastating. Our journalists and columnists are committed to reporting stories aimed at accountability and change for the better. If you or someone you know has been affected by COVID-19 in a long-term care home — residents, support workers, staff and more — we want to hear your story. Please fill out this form.

8:30 a.m. Israel says it has vaccinated 1 million people against COVID-19, more than a tenth of its population, as it rolls out one of the world’s earliest and most rapid inoculation campaigns.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on hand when the millionth Israeli received a vaccination in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm. Netanyahu called it a moment of “great excitement.”

Arabs make up around 20% of Israel’s population and have been slow to embrace the vaccination campaign. They have Israeli citizenship and the right to vote but face discrimination in housing and other areas, contributing to widespread mistrust of authorities.



Netanyahu said “it’s important for me that the Arab public in Israel will get vaccinated quickly,” because “it’s saving lives.” He delivered the same message at a vaccination centre in Tira, another Arab town, on New Year’s Eve.

8:15 a.m. If anything is certain about the future of movie theatres in 2021, it’s that nobody can be certain about anything.

After a year that saw Canada’s film exhibition industry roiled by the COVID-19 pandemic, industry observers say the country’s cinemas are sitting at a critical juncture with no clear path forward.

Most theatres across the country were dark over the usually bustling holiday movie season, as they were for the majority of the year in many major markets. The few screens that continued operating did so at a fraction of their usual capacity.

Some say sustained closures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 could spell doom for the movie theatre business, which has been battered in recent years as ticket sales declined and streaming giants like Netflix chased the same audience.

“There were enormous challenges to this industry long before COVID ever forced us into lockdown,” says Jason Gorber, a film critic based in Toronto.

“But it’s really easy to be cynical and think movie theatres are dead. I don’t think that’s the case at all… There’s a real opportunity for change and for theatres to actually come back, bigger and better in some ways.”

However, Gorber and other industry experts recognize a happy ending for Canada’s movie exhibitors is far from certain at this point.

They predict the road ahead for 2021 will be riddled with crucial developments, and potentially setbacks, that could set the trajectory for the future.

Among the most urgent questions is the speed of a nationwide vaccine rollout that could determine how quickly moviegoers return to theatres.

Several anticipated blockbusters are lined up for later this year, including much-delayed James Bond entry “No Time to Die,” in April and “Fast & Furious 9” in May. After a year of schedule reshuffles, none of those release dates seem certain, especially if lockdowns continue or moviegoers lack the confidence to return to theatres en masse.

7:20 a.m. Florida health authorities late Thursday reported finding evidence of the latest U.S. case of the new and apparently more contagious coronavirus strain first seen in England, saying it was detected in a man with no recent travel history.

The case, disclosed in a Florida Health Department statement tweeted on its HealthyFla site, comes after reports in recent days of two individual cases of the United Kingdom strain of Covid-19 discovered in Colorado and California.

Florida’s health statement said the new virus variant was detected in a man in his 20s in Martin County, which abuts the Atlantic Coast above densely populated South Florida. The health department did not give further details, such as releasing the man’s medical condition or how the strain was detected.

7:15 a.m. Tens of thousands of people were walking on the casino-lined Las Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve by early evening despite a plea from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak that people reconsider their plans to go out and celebrate.

While shopping, gambling, drinking yard-long frozen cocktails and gawking at the sights, most everyone out in Sin City was wearing a face mask, though not all had them covering their mouth and nose, as recommended by health experts.

Casinos have abided by state rules by spacing out chairs at slot machines and installing acrylic partitions separating people standing around craps and blackjack tables, but inside the casino corridors that snake past the gambling floors there were many areas where there were too many people strolling through to abide by social distancing guidelines.

7:13 a.m. The Thai capital is shutting down venues including schools and entertainment parks as coronavirus cases continue to spread.

Thailand reported 279 new cases on Friday including two deaths.

Seven provinces including Bangkok have been designated red zones where places including entertainment venues, boxing rings, gyms and flea markets are ordered closed. Restaurants are allowed to serve only takeouts.

The restrictions are in place until mid-January.

Friday 7 a.m. British medics warned Friday that hospitals around the country face a perilous few weeks amid surging new coronavirus infections that have been blamed on a new variant of the virus.

A day after the U.K. posted a record 55,892 new infections and another 964 coronavirus-related deaths, concerns are mounting about the impact on the overstretched National Health Service. Field hospitals that were constructed in the early days of the pandemic but that were subsequently mothballed are being reactivated.

The Royal College of Nursing’s England director, Mike Adams, told Sky News that the U.K. was in the “eye of the storm” and that it was “infuriating” to see people not following the social distancing guidance or wearing masks.

A leading physician also warned of burnout among health workers on the front line of the outbreak in hospitals, while also urging people to follow the rules.

Thursday 7:51 p.m.: A since-fired Wisconsin hospital worker was arrested for removing more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from refrigeration, causing them to spoil, police said Thursday.

A statement from police in Grafton, near Milwaukee, said the suspect was charged after “tampering with and causing the destruction of 57 vials containing approximately 570 doses of the novel coronavirus vaccine.”

The name of the person charged has not been released.

Advocate Aurora Health initially reported that 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine were tossed after an employee “inadvertently” removed them from the fridge at the Grafton center and left them out overnight. The employee, however, admitted to doing it deliberately, officials said.

Dr. Jeff Bahr, Aurora Health Care Medical Group president, said Thursday that the FBI and Wisconsin state police had joined the ongoing law enforcement investigation. He added that the individual’s motive remained unclear.

The worker was fired Wednesday.

The vaccine must be stored in a freezer between minus 13 degrees and 5 degrees Fahrenheit, then thawed in a refrigerator for 21/2 hours or at room temperature for an hour.

Click here to read more coverage from Thursday.

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Israel reaches 1 million mark in vaccinations

JERUSALEM — Israel says it has vaccinated 1 million people against COVID-19, more than a tenth of its population, as it rolls out one of the world’s earliest and most rapid inoculation campaigns.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on hand when the millionth Israeli received a vaccination in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm. Netanyahu called it a moment of “great excitement.”

Arabs make up around 20% of Israel’s population and have been slow to embrace the vaccination campaign. They have Israeli citizenship and the right to vote but face discrimination in housing and other areas, contributing to widespread mistrust of authorities.

Netanyahu said “it’s important for me that the Arab public in Israel will get vaccinated quickly,” because “it’s saving lives.” He delivered the same message at a vaccination center in Tira, another Arab town, on New Year’s Eve.

Our World in Data, a collaboration between researchers at the University of Oxford and the non-profit group Global Change Data Lab, shows Israel leading the world in per capita vaccinations.

Israel is currently in its third nationwide lockdown to contain the outbreak. It has reported more than 426,000 cases and at least 3,338 deaths since the pandemic began.



New Year’s revelries muted by virus as curtain draws on 2020

Wisconsin hospital worker arrested for spoiled vaccine doses

Brazil scrambles to approve virus vaccine as pressure mounts

California surpassed 25,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic and officials disclosed that three more cases involving a mutant variant of the virus have been confirmed in San Diego County.

France’s government is pledging to pick up the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations after being criticized for a glacially slow rollout.

Coffee producers say the coronavirus pandemic is threatening Honduras’ coffee harvest by keeping Hondurans who would normally travel for the work at home and preventing foreign harvesters from entering the country.


Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak



PARIS — France’s nationwide overnight curfew to limit coronavirus infections is being extended by two extra hours in 15 regions in the east of the country where cases have been surging.

The 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew will start Saturday, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Friday on TF1 television. The 15 regions cover a broad swath of eastern France along its borders with Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

The curfew elsewhere in the country remains 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. but Attal said the situation will be reviewed next week.


BANGKOK — The Thai capital is shutting down venues including schools and entertainment parks as coronavirus cases continue to spread.

Thailand reported 279 new cases on Friday including two deaths.

Seven provinces including Bangkok have been designated red zones where places including entertainment venues, boxing rings, gyms and flea markets are ordered closed. Restaurants are allowed to serve only takeouts.

The restrictions are in place until mid-January.

The new outbreak has spread from the country’s largest wholesale seafood market in Samut Sakhon south of Bangkok and the gambling den in Rayong, and both places continue to log the highest number of infections. Bangkok reported 180 cases in the last 24 hours.

A spokesman for the COVID-19 center, Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin, said that the Health Ministry had contacted Oxford-AstraZeneca to purchase a second batch of 26 million doses of the vaccine. The deal would double the number of doses to be supplied by the British vaccine manufacturer.

The first 2 million doses are expected in February and March and will be given to medical staff.


LAS VEGAS — Tens of thousands of people were walking on the casino-lined Las Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve by early evening despite a plea from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak that people reconsider their plans to go out and celebrate.

While shopping, gambling, drinking yard-long frozen cocktails and gawking at the sights, most everyone out in Sin City was wearing a face mask, though not all had them covering their mouth and nose, as recommended by health experts.

Casinos have abided by state rules by spacing out chairs at slot machines and installing acrylic partitions separating people standing around craps and blackjack tables, but inside the casino corridors that snake past the gambling floors there were many areas where there were too many people strolling through to abide by social distancing guidelines.

Chanel Griggs and Layena Williams, two street performers costumed in black lingerie, tiaras and purple and white showgirl feathers, said New Year’s Eve is one of their most lucrative nights as they pose for photos with tourists and collect tips.

“It’s very busy and there’s a lot of people, like drunk people. They give us more money than they usually would. So that’s why we all come out,” Griggs said.

The tourist-dependent economy of Las Vegas has been pummeled this year because of the coronavirus, leaving officials like Sisolak urging people, especially locals, to stay home, while still trying to draw visitors to the glitzty city.

New Year’s Eve is typically one of the biggest parties the city sees all year, with more than 330,000 revelers, a choreographed fireworks show launched from the roofs of casinos, nightclub galas, concerts and other entertainment.

This year casinos are limited to 25% capacity, most nightclubs are closed and the fireworks show was canceled.


BEIJING — Two major airports in northeastern China are requiring departing passengers show a negative coronavirus test taken over the previous 72 hours before they can board their planes.

The requirements by the Shenyang and Dalian come amid a small but persistent growth in cases in the two cities located in Liaoning province just north of the capital Beijing.

Four new cases were announced Friday in Liaoning, along with another five cases in Beijing, where emergency testing was ordered for more than a million people following the detection of a small cluster in the northeastern suburbs.

Wary of another wave of infections, China is urging tens of millions of migrant workers to stay put during next month’s annual Lunar New Year holiday, usually the world’s largest annual human migration. Classes are also being dismissed a week earlier than usual and tourists are being told not to come to Beijing for holidays.

China on Friday reported a total of 19 new virus cases, including 10 that were brought from outside the country. Since the novel coronavirus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, China has reported a total of 87,071 cases and 4,634 deaths, although some question whether those figures underreport the full extent of the outbreak in China the country.


MIAMI — Florida health authorities late Thursday reported finding evidence of the latest U.S. case of the new and apparently more contagious coronavirus strain first seen in England, saying it was detected in a man with no recent travel history.

The case, disclosed in a Florida Health Department statement tweeted on its HealthyFla site, comes after reports in recent days of two individual cases of the United Kingdom strain of Covid-19 discovered in Colorado and California.

Florida’s health statement said the new virus variant was detected in a man in his 20s in Martin County, which abuts the Atlantic Coast above densely populated South Florida. The health department did not give further details, such as releasing the man’s medical condition or how the strain was detected.

California on Wednesday announced the nation’s second confirmed case of the new virus strain. The announcement came 24 hours after word of the first reported U.S. variant infection, which emerged in Colorado — in a Colorado National Guardsman who had been sent to help out at a nursing home struggling with an outbreak.

Scientists in the U.K. believe the variant is more contagious than previously identified strains. The cases have triggered questions about how the version circulating in England arrived in the U.S. and whether it is too late to stop it now, with top experts saying it is probably already spreading elsewhere in the United States.


LONDON — The coronavirus pandemic canceled London’s annual New Years’ Eve fireworks display, which usually draws tens of thousands of spectators.

But an unannounced light and fireworks display over the River Thames broadcast on BBC television just before midnight paid tribute to an extraordinary year, with tributes to health care workers, a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement and even a voice saying “you’re on mute” in reference to a bugbear of virtual work meetings.

The display ended with naturalist David Attenborough calling on everyone to work in 2021 to help our “fragile” planet. ___

LATHAM, N.Y. — Officials in upstate New York say nine nuns at a convent have died of causes related to COVID-19 in just over a month.

An Albany County spokesperson says in a statement to the Times Union newspaper that officials are aware of the deaths among the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Latham.

WNYT-TV reported earlier in December that 22 sisters had tested positive. The convent’s website says it is home to 140 nuns.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany says the convent is not ready to issue a statement.


TOPEKA, Kan. —- Kansas ranks last among states in its reported COVID-19 vaccination rate, according to U.S. government data, and state officials attribute it to a lag in reporting by providers of the shots.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 12,164 people had received the first of two vaccine doses in Kansas as of Wednesday, or 418 for every 100,000 of its 2.9 million residents. The CDC said Kansas had administered less than 11% of the vaccine doses it had received.

The figures sparked new criticism of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic from the Republican-controlled Legislature after months of conflict between her and top GOP lawmakers.

State health department spokeswoman Ashley Jones-Wisner said Thursday the vaccination numbers are not current because not all providers are fully trained on using a computer system for reporting inoculations.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas health secretary Dr. Jose Romero on Thursday extended the 11 p.m. closing time for bars, restaurants and clubs that serve alcohol for 30 days in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

An order issued Thursday by Romero says that in consulting with Gov. Asa Hutchinson it was deemed necessary to extend the 11 p.m. closing until Feb. 3 to help control COVID-19. The previous order issued in November was to expire Sunday.

The state health department reports that as of Wednesday there have been 222,430 total coronavirus cases and 3,637 deaths since the pandemic began.


GENEVA — The World Health Organization says it has cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, meaning poorer countries may soon get access to the shot already available in Europe and North America.

Every country that has a drug regulatory agency will have to issue its own approval for any COVID-19 vaccine, but countries with weak systems usually rely on WHO to vet the shots.

The global body said late Thursday that the decision to issue its first emergency use validation for a COVID-19 vaccine “opens the door for countries to expedite their own regulatory approval processes to import and administer the vaccine.”

The U.N. health agency said its review found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already received clearance in the United States, Britain, the European Union and a dozen other countries, “met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO.”

The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures, a big hurdle for developing countries where the required freezers and reliable electricity supply may not be available.

“This requirement makes the vaccine more challenging to deploy in settings where ultra-cold chain equipment may not be available or reliably accessible,” WHO said, adding that it was “working to support countries in assessing their delivery plans and preparing for use where possible.”

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How the cold hand of Covid-19 added a black mark to 2020

By Winston Mfeka Time of article published 2h ago

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Durban – STARTING out on the usual note of dreams, plans, targeted achievements, 2020 began with promise, but amid the revelry and hope, a global health storm was brewing in the Far East as Chinese medical facilities admitted patients with “pneumonia-like” symptoms.

The first official acknowledgement of the virus that would turn the world on its head was on December 1, 2019, amid a number of questions which included its origins and how deadly it would be.

By the end of the month, Chinese authorities had reported the unknown virus to the World Health Organization (WHO) and it was reported to have originated from Wuhan, capital of the Hubei province.

In January, the virus was classified as “2019-n-Cov” and would later be known as Covid-19 as the virus began to spread with first cases reported in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea.

A worker in protective suit uses a thermometer to check the temperature of a man while he enters the Xizhimen subway station, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China January 27, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

In the ensuing months, the spread of the virus caught the world off guard with more than 100 countries reporting cases. In March, over 200 000 cases were reported worldwide.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed the first case for South Africa, a 38-year-old man from Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal, who had returned from a trip to Italy.

With cases on the rise, on March 23, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would go into what was initially supposed to be a 21-day national lockdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa wears a mask, properly over his mouth after he made a blunder during the live address. Picture: Screenshot

The curb was meant to give the country’s health sector time to get ready to adjust to meet the demand for upcoming months, and to slow the spread of the virus.

On March 27, what was feared came to pass as Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced the first fatalities of Covid-19 as two people succumbed to the virus. Both deaths were in the Western Cape.

Throughout the 21 days, evidence emerged that the country had seen a slowing of the spread of the virus, however, the lockdown would continue, albeit with fewer restrictions, easing from level 5 all the way to level 1 in the next few months.

The relaxing of the restrictions meant more cases were recorded and the hot spots for the virus shifted swiftly from one area to another.

Initial cases were reported in KwaZulu-Natal but then Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng emerged as hot spots for the virus as well.

A few days into December, Health Minister Dr Mkhize reported that the country was in its second wave of the virus as it recorded its highest number of daily cases breaching more than 10 000 cases recently.

Bearing the brunt of the second wave was a buckling health-care sector. Despite the initial lockdown having bought more time for the health sector, signs emerged that it might not be able to meet the demand as an estimated 38 000 health-care workers reportedly contracted the virus, according to President Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa wears a mask, properly over his mouth. Picture: Screenshot

In KZN, 7 451 health-care workers were reported to have contracted the virus. In most recent reports, it reflected a situation with health facilities reportedly in crisis.

Recently, public hospitals RK Khan in Chatsworth and Addington in central Durban reported 61 infections between the two facilities and fears abounded whether staff would be able to handle an increased workload as well as if the hospitals would be viable to treat patients.

Hospitals in the private sector have seen an influx of admissions and Medi-Clinic has suspended non-emergency surgery to open up capacity.

The Netcare hospital group have limited their surgical admissions and visitations to their facilities as a precaution after 140 staffers tested positive in May.

Daily News

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