International Travel

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"Stay inside silly": Nick Kyrgios takes a gentle swipe at former partner's quarantine photo

<p>There isn’t much to do during the global sporting shutdown, which is why many athletes are spending their time on social media.</p> <p>And that includes Nick Kyrgios.</p> <p>Kyrgios took to Instagram to send a cheeky message to a female tennis star.</p> <p>The star’s former doubles partner Amanda Anisimova posted a photo of herself on Instagram at the beach, writing: “When your backyard is a beach #quarantine”.</p> <p>Kyrgios saw the photo and commented: “Stay inside silly.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B94vo6aJBKv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B94vo6aJBKv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">When your backyard is a beach #quarantine</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/amandaanisimova/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Amanda Kay Victoria</a> (@amandaanisimova) on Mar 18, 2020 at 12:25pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The 24-year-old was referencing the fact that nearly a third of the world’s population is in lockdown, with governments urging the public to stay inside and only leave the house when absolutely necessary.</p> <p>While he may have been joking, a number of other Instagram followers appeared to seriously question Anisimova’s actions.</p> <p>Kyrgios and Anisimova have shared a special friendship for a long time, with the Aussie tennis player previously speaking about her before they played mixed doubles together.</p> <p>“She’s an amazing person. I’m just looking forward to go out there and hopefully – I mean, she lost first round. I know it’s not going to be easy for her to be around the tournament,” he said.</p> <p>“Hopefully I can get her up, bring some good vibes. Hopefully, we can do well. I think we can. She's an amazing player. I'm looking forward to it.</p> <p>“I've been excited for this for like a month and a half. I'm like a little kid at the moment. I'm pretty excited.”</p>

International Travel

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“Did not come early enough”: Swiss doctor scolds Aussie coronavirus response

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>A Swiss doctor looked at his Italian neighbours and prepared for the likely spread of coronavirus through his region of Ticino, Switzerland.</p> <p>Paolo Ferrari also monitored the situation of his wife’s country, Australia, and his final verdict is stern.</p> <p>He believes measures to stop spreading the virus are too late and that Australian hospitals must hurry to increase capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.</p> <p>"The containment measures did not come in early enough, you heard new measures every day, but you still had cruise ships coming in with people that are positive and disembarked," Paolo Ferrari told AAP.</p> <p>"One person can infect 3500 people within five days and each one of those 3500 can infect as many other people. So, what you see now is just a tip of the iceberg of how far in the community the virus has spread."</p> <p>Under the advice of Professor Ferrari, Ticino grew its intensive care capacity ten days before it even had a positive case. The region now has about 300 cases and is expected to peak in two weeks time.</p> <p>"You will have way more patients requiring hospital admission that you would have had if the measures had been introduced early enough," he said.</p> <p>"So the only way now to be able to care for those patients is to create those beds that are not there."</p> <p>He argues that early intervention was key in countries that have managed the pandemic so far, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.</p> <p>Professor Ferrari says that Singapore learnt from the SARS virus outbreak 17 years ago, which is an idea that’s supported by Flingers University Professor Michael D Barr.</p> <p>"In 2003, I watched the epidemic unfold day by day and felt the initial response was hopeless, until at least halfway through the crisis," Prof Barr said to<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/aust-shutdown-came-too-late-says-swiss-doc/news-story/7e36507a062ceff74ba4a71938f95a02" target="_blank">news.com.au</a>.</p> <p>"Ad hoc, inconsistent responses at that time now remind me of how Australia's political leaders are behaving during the current COVID-19 crisis."</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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The kindness we need right now – and it's spreading fast

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>As the coronavirus continues to strike fear into the hearts of many, some community members are turning to social media to spread some cheer around the world.</p> <p>A Facebook group called The Kindness Pandemic started the group as “so many people needs acts of kindness right now”.</p> <p>They are aware that the kindness “won’t make COVID19 go away, but it will make our lives easier and more rewarding”.</p> <p>People have taken to the group in droves to share their stories about their lives as well as gestures of kindness that have restored their faith in humanity.</p> <p>Steve Lucas shared the heart-breaking story of how his father suddenly passed away, but due to new funeral restrictions from the Australian government, his father can no longer have the send-off his Navy father deserves.</p> <p>“Last Wednesday, my Dad suddenly passed away. He was married to my Mom for nearly fifty years; she passed in July 2018,” Steve shared.</p> <p>“Services for my Dad are in the next few hours. With the current restrictions in place, there is no mass, no 21-gun salute (he was Navy) and no more than ten people can be in the room at once.</p> <p>“I don’t like asking for things, however, today I ask this: those that were in the military, salute my Dad sometime today. And, if one or more of your parents are still alive - tell them that you love them today!”</p> <img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835285/stevelucas_720px_v2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/82bb06d3353e4644aafa4300e9b191c0" /><br /> <p>Lysandra Beckett explained her story, saying that only six years ago, she was “a crackhead”, but things have gotten better.</p> <p>“Today I start my new job as the very first <span>EVS [Environmental Services]</span><span>manager of the very first stand alone ER in my state,” she said.</span></p> <p>“Everything I do from now on is a first. And to add to that I'm doing it in a time that is unprecedented. A pandemic is sweeping my nation and the world right now. I will be on the front line protecting my staff, practitioners and patients in this.”</p> <p>Environmental service workers are the workers who clean the facilities to hospital standards by thoroughly santising public and private rooms in the hospital.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 434.72222222222223px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835287/lysandra_720px.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/91f519adf8d543a9b6494794085eec34" /></p> <p>Others are sharing random acts of kindness that they’ve been able to do in pandemic times.</p> <p>Sharleen Caruana shared to the group her random act of kindness.</p> <p>“Was at the pharmacy last week and the lady in front of me didn’t have $8 in her bank to buy medicine for her child. I told her that I will pay for it. She nearly cried with happiness. Was a lovely feeling.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 172.22222222222223px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835286/sharleen_720px.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ee2c47f5740c4d1a804eaf6fc5cd96e7" /></p> <p>Kat Ashleigh shared the kindness of her neighbour after she was “feeling helpless and sorry for myself”.</p> <p>“My neighbor overheard me crying outside to my mum today because I’m struggling right now. I’ve been let off from my main job, have to move house in less than two weeks, and I genuinely had a moment of feeling helpless and sorry for myself,” she explained.</p> <p>“He knocked on my door tonight and apologized for listening in to my conversation, and offered me two bags full of food ( noodles, rice, pasta, canned items, deodorant, toilet paper, tampons) and continued to tell me his story of how he grew up in a country that was constantly in war &amp; how he had the choice of either feeding himself or feeding his family.</p> <p>“He said that he came to Australia to live a better life and now that he is well off, it hurt him to hear that a fellow Aussie was so upset and in a bad place. “I broke down in tears in front of him. I couldn’t even comprehend his generosity and kind nature.”</p> <p><img style="width: 431.6546762589928px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835288/kat_720px.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ea019db59121441caa77947cb308bbde" /></p> <p>Many comments commended the neighbour for his kind gesture.</p> <p>“This has brought me to tears,” one woman wrote.</p> <p>Another agreed, saying “What a wonderful man. So thoughtful!”</p> <p>“Proud to call him an Aussie, need more caring people like him,” another commented.</p> <p><em>Source: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/515507852491119/" target="_blank">Kindness Pandemic Facebook page</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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How Prince William and Prince Harry are stepping up in the Queen’s absence

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>With the new coronavirus pandemic, it appears that Prince William is on the brink of facing his biggest test to date as the future King of England.</p> <p>The 37-year-old prince is likely to step up and take over some of the duties that are usually undertaken by the Queen in the coming months as her and Prince Charles go underground.</p> <p>According to royal expert Nigel Cawthorne, the prince will likely become the main physical presence for the British Monarchy while the Queen and Prince Charles continue to socially isolate for their own safety.</p> <p>"There has to be a physical presence to the monarchy, not just a virtual one. He's third-in-line to the throne and in robust health like his brother, and COVID-19 is unlikely to be any serious threat for him or his wife or children. He will do a great job," the biographer told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8129735/Prince-William-step-Queen-Prince-Charles-amid-coronavirus-crisis-plan-say-experts.html" target="_blank">the Daily Mail</a>.</em></p> <p>The seriousness of the situation might see Prince Harry stepping back into his royal role as Prince William and Prince Harry help to maintain the British Institution.</p> <p>"I am sure he would come back and be delighted to help out, too, and do anything to protect his father and grandmother," the royal expert added.</p> <p>The news came after the Queen shared a sweet message in support for the world during this unsettling period, after confirming that her and Philip are at Windsor.</p> <p>"At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation's history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal."</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97Au1YnjDm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97Au1YnjDm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A MESSAGE FROM HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN . As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty. We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them. At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal. We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals - today and in the coming days, weeks and months. Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part. ELIZABETH R</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/theroyalfamily/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> The Royal Family</a> (@theroyalfamily) on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:32am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>She continued: "We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals - today and in the coming days, weeks and months."</p> <p>She ended with an empowering message, writing: "Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part."</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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3 reasons great thinkers liked armchair travel

<p>Coronavirus has led to unprecedented <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/mar/18/coronavirus-latest-travel-updates-countries-restrictions-bans-fco-warnings">worldwide restrictions on travel</a>. But philosophers and others have argued for centuries that real-world travel comes second to armchair travel. From your own living room, you can visit new places by reading about them, tucked under a blanket with a mug of cocoa. In these grim times, here’s a light-hearted look at three benefits of voyaging without leaving your home.</p> <p><strong>1. Fewer monsters</strong></p> <p>In 1605, English philosopher <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-Hall">Joseph Hall</a> published a voracious attack on travel. His book Another World and Yet the Same parodied popular books like Mandeville’s Travels. It stars a man named Mercurious Britannicus, who sets sail on the ship Fancie towards the south pole. There he discovers a new continent: Terra Australis.</p> <p>Mercurious spends three decades exploring its lands. He discovers that Gluttonia, Drinkallia, Viraginia, Moronia and Lavernia are populated by gluttons, drunkards, women, morons and criminals. Afterwards, he argues that people shouldn’t bother travelling:</p> <blockquote> <p>Have you considered all the dangers of so great an enterprise, the costs, the difficulty? …</p> <p>There is heaven, you say, but perhaps you can scarcely see it through the continuous darkness.</p> <p>There is earth, which you won’t dare to tread upon, perhaps because of the multitude of beasts and serpents.</p> <p>There are men, but you would prefer to do without their company. What if some Patagonian Polyphemus [Cyclops] were to tear you to pieces and then straightaway devour the throbbing and still-living parts?</p> </blockquote> <p>Hall believes it’s better to visit new worlds by reading, avoiding storms, sails, and “never-ending tossing of waves”. Certainly, there are no serpents or Patagonian Cyclops in your living room.</p> <p><strong>2. Many books are better than one trip</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Socrates">Socrates</a> refused to set foot outside Athens. He argued he could learn much more about the world by reading: “you can lead me all over Attica or anywhere else you like simply waving in front of me the leaves of a book”. Similarly, a 1635 <a href="http://tei.it.ox.ac.uk/tcp/Texts-HTML/free/A07/A07439">Mercator atlas</a> claimed that maps allow you to see at home what others have sought through travel: “uncouth Continents… the Rocks, the Isles, the Rivers and their falls… God’s greatest Work”.</p> <p>Like Socrates, philosopher <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Immanuel-Kant">Immanuel Kant</a> never travelled far from his birthplace of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), Prussia. Yet he was fascinated by the world, reading travelogues, writing and teaching geography. He said <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qpPeBQAAQBAJ&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;source=gbs_ge_summary_r&amp;cad=0#v=onepage&amp;q=no%20time%20for%20travel&amp;f=false">he didn’t have time to travel</a> – because he wanted to know so much about so many countries.</p> <p><strong>3. The best travel writing was free of travel</strong></p> <p>Some of the best travel writing is made up. One such tale is that of English sailor <a href="https://www.americanheritage.com/longest-walk-david-ingrams-amazing-journey#1">David Ingram</a>, who lost a sea-battle in 1567 and was marooned on the coast of Mexico. Ingram claimed he spent the next 11 months trekking through north America, covering around 3,000 miles to Nova Scotia.</p> <p>The distance itself is impressive – in modern times, writer <a href="http://www.richardnathan.com/walk/walk.html">Richard Nathan</a> re-traced the trek in nine months. Less plausible are the things Ingram encountered along the route: elephants, red sheep, giant birds with peacock-like feathers, uncrossable rivers; and cities laced with gold, pearls and crystals.</p> <p>Richard Hakluyt <a href="http://www.hakluyt.org">published</a> Ingram’s account alongside writings by exploration giants such as Gerardus Mercator, Francis Drake, and Martin Frobisher. Yet historians have long doubted its veracity. <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Travelers_and_Travel_Liars_1660_1800.html?id=ClfXAAAAMAAJ&amp;redir_esc=y">One</a> writes that the most fantastic thing about Ingram’s tale is not that he made this journey “along rivers that for the most part flowed the wrong way”, rather that “intelligent” people believed it.</p> <p>But Ingram was far from alone. At the turn of the 19th century, <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Francois-Auguste-Rene-vicomte-de-Chateaubriand">François-René de Chateaubriand</a> published several beguiling travel books – large chunks of which were probably imaginary.</p> <p>His <em>Voyage en Amérique</em> describes a six-month trip during which he visited New York, New England, the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls; met George Washington; lived with native Americans; and roamed Ohio and Florida. In 1903, a <a href="https://fr.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Fichier:B%C3%A9dier_-_%C3%89tudes_critiques,_1903.djvu&amp;page=7">historian</a> argued that this trip was impossible, and its descriptions were plagiarised from earlier sources.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/how-to-talk-about-places-youve-never-been-9781620401378/">one scholar</a> explains, Chateaubriand even changed geography to suit his fancy. He describes an island buzzing with “glittering baubles”: dragonflies, hummingbirds, butterflies. Between travel books, this island migrates from Florida to Ohio. As another <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/book/37672">historian</a> put it, to treat Chateaubriand’s journeys as a source of authentic information “would be folly”.</p> <p>In 1704, Frenchman <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/04/london-forgotten-aryan-asian-fraudster/361035/">George Psalmanazar</a> published An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa. This travel book about latterday Taiwan was a complete fabrication, based on other books and the contents of Psalmanazar’s head.</p> <p>What’s amazing is how far Psalmanazar took the fraud. The book contained a fictional yet apparently convincing alphabet. And despite his blond hair and blue eyes, Psalmanazar convinced England he was Asian, kidnapped from Formosa by Jesuit priests. Psalmanazar had an answer for everything – even claiming his skin was white because <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/04/london-forgotten-aryan-asian-fraudster/361035/">Formosans lived underground</a>.</p> <p><strong>Off on your own armchair travels</strong></p> <p>Marco Polo <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Did-Marco-Polo-Go-To-China-1st-Edition/Wood/p/book/9780429500992">probably never</a> made it to China. The safest, most learned and <em>imaginative</em> travel is undoubtedly embarked on from the fireside. How else can you traverse rivers running uphill, and cram more miles into a trip than is strictly possible? If you’re stuck in one place for a bit and fancy some armchair roaming, here are some classics to strike out from.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Percy G Adams, <em><a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Travelers_and_Travel_Liars_1660_1800.html?id=ClfXAAAAMAAJ&amp;redir_esc=y">Travelers and Travel Liars, 1660-1800</a> </em>(1980): This well researched but funny book collects many travel fraudsters together, describing travellers who “embellished” their tales and made up whole chunks of geography.</p> </li> <li> <p>Pierre Bayard, <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/how-to-talk-about-places-youve-never-been-9781620401378/"><em>How to Talk About Places You’ve Never Been: On the Importance of Armchair Travel</em></a> (2015): This tongue-in-cheek study argues there’s no need to visit a place to write interestingly about it, and provides lots of evidence. It includes the endearing tale of Édouard Glissant who was too old to journey to Easter Island to write a book - so sent his wife instead.</p> </li> <li> <p>Francis Wood, <em><a href="https://www.routledge.com/Did-Marco-Polo-Go-To-China-1st-Edition/Wood/p/book/9780429500992">Did Marco Polo Go To China?</a> </em>(2018): This more serious but readable study of Marco Polo’s Travels asks, how far did he really get? Wood argues probably no farther than Constantinople.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/133958/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </li> </ul> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-thomas-341632">Emily Thomas</a>, Associate Professor of Philosophy, author of The Meaning of Travel: Philosophers Abroad (2020), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/durham-university-867">Durham University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/three-reasons-great-thinkers-liked-armchair-travel-133958">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Free impromptu concerts break out from Italian rooftops and balconies

<p>From Australia to Europe, the deadly coronavirus outbreak is forcing a number of people around the world to go into self-isolation, leading to not only widespread anxiety, but a little bit of positivity too.</p> <p>In Italy, opera singer Maurizio Marchini took to his balcony to serenade the town with his soulful voice, filling Florence’s empty streets with life once again after he gave a beautiful rendition of Giacomo Puccini’s famous aria “Nessun Dorma”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">During Italy's quarantine, Italian tenor Maurizio Marchini wanted to do something to spread joy amid all the sadness in Florence.<br /><br />So climbed on to his balcony and serenaded the entire town.<br /><br />Wow.<a href="https://t.co/yVgADAU9bt">pic.twitter.com/yVgADAU9bt</a></p> — Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) <a href="https://twitter.com/MuhammadLila/status/1238671011698151427?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 14, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Footage of the heartwarming act has been viewed over four million times since it was shared on Twitter on Facebook.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">From my balcony in Turin, Italy. Free concert performed by fellow balcony dwellers. Watch with the sound on to also hear the thunderous applause from all the neighbors. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/coronavirus?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#coronavirus</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Covid_19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Covid_19</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lockdown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#lockdown</a> <a href="https://t.co/Fc2mCCVuRH">pic.twitter.com/Fc2mCCVuRH</a></p> — D. Schmudde (@dschmudde) <a href="https://twitter.com/dschmudde/status/1238598881719582720?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 13, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>And he wasn’t the only one filling the streets with cheer, as residents in Turin took to their balconies to play instruments and sing. With one resident describing the moment as a “free concert” and shared a video of it on Twitter.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Scenes like this from Italy fill me with so much joy and hopefulness. Here is a DJ in Palermo playing a set for the whole neighborhood...music does unite! 🎶 <br /><br />Remember to spread love❤️ during these trying times. Stay safe, and very importantly, positive everyone! <a href="https://t.co/Nz5PCLPBPt">pic.twitter.com/Nz5PCLPBPt</a></p> — Andrew Arruda (@AndrewArruda) <a href="https://twitter.com/AndrewArruda/status/1238869074173505539?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 14, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>There was also an upbeat performance by a DJ from the city of Palermo, who set up his equipment in his balcony to keep the positive energy flowing. Cheers and whistles could be heard as the unidentified man bellowed into a microphone and waved his hands in the air.</p> <p>On Monday, multiple Italians came together to form a flash mob, as they shined lights out of their windows and balconies while other residents cheered around them.</p>

International Travel

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Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus

<p>With some of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/nzs-decision-to-close-its-borders-will-hurt-tourism-but-its-the-right-thing-to-do-133707">toughest border restrictions</a> and a newly-announced <a href="https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/backing-our-health-services-combat-covid-19">NZ$500 million boost to health services</a>, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>New Zealand is also fortunate in having a brief window of opportunity to refine and roll out an effective response to COVID-19. At the time of writing, there were <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/412042/eight-new-cases-of-coronavirus-in-nz-health-ministry-confirms">20 confirmed cases in New Zealand</a>, all related to overseas travel. There is no evidence of community transmission.</p> <p>This situation could change rapidly as mild cases may not seek medical attention, effectively resulting in “<a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/13/science.abb3221">silent transmission</a>”. This process has seen other countries slip into widespread community transmission.</p> <p>New Zealand is vulnerable until our testing rates and contact tracing capacity increases, potentially to the levels used successfully in <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/coronavirus-cases-have-dropped-sharply-south-korea-whats-secret-its-success">South Korea</a>.</p> <p>To guard against this risk New Zealand should consider a short “pulse” (a few weeks) of intense social distancing, including bringing forward the school holidays and temporary closures of most businesses, social meeting places and public transport.</p> <p>Doing this now has the potential to slow undetected chains of transmission while containment measures are being ramped up. If containment is sustained, there may be the chance of avoiding the prolonged lock-downs seen in many countries.</p> <p>New Zealand’s effort to contain COVID-19 will also help <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-nzs-tough-coronavirus-travel-rules-are-crucial-to-protecting-lives-at-home-and-across-the-pacific-133779">protect Pacific Island</a> nations. Samoa in particular has a terrible history of devastating pandemics, notably <a href="https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2018/11/07/a-100-years-ago-today-a-death-ship-from-nz-arrived-in-samoa-a-reminder-of-nzs-responsibilities-to-its-south-pacific-neighbours/">influenza in 1918</a> and more recently measles.</p> <p><strong>Intensive containment can work</strong></p> <p>Like other countries, New Zealand has relied on advice from the World Health Organization, whose pandemic plan, originally developed for influenza, focuses on managing spread <a href="https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/new-zealand-influenza-pandemic-plan-framework-action">through successive phases</a>.</p> <p>But <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30567-5/fulltext">COVID-19 is not influenza</a>. Its longer incubation period (median of five to six days, compared to influenza with one to three days) means we have a better chance of case identification and isolation, but probably only if <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30074-7/fulltext">done swiftly and effectively</a>.</p> <p>By introducing border restrictions and maintaining a focus on stamping out chains of transmission, New Zealand has joined countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan that rigorously pursue containment of COVID-19.</p> <p>The strongest evidence that containment works comes from the remarkable success of China in <a href="https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf">reversing a large outbreak</a>. Also relevant are <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/opinion/coronavirus-best-response.html">examples of smaller Asian jurisdictions</a>.</p> <p><strong>Planning for the next phase if containment fails</strong></p> <p>New Zealand needs to continue planning for the scenario where containment fails and we move into widespread community transmission. With COVID-19, it seems impossible to spread demand for treatment sufficiently to manage it through <a href="https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf">existing health sector capacity</a>.</p> <p>At this point, we would need additional social distancing measures to suppress the epidemic to ensure <a href="https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf">New Zealand’s hospital and intensive care capacity</a> are not overwhelmed.</p> <p>We also need to strengthen other critical components of the national response, notably hospital capacity to treat large numbers of critically ill patients with pneumonia while also ensuring high standards of infection control.</p> <p>And it is vital to support vulnerable populations to reduce their risk of infection. As with influenza, the risk of COVID-19 infection is particularly concentrated in older people and those with <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jid/article-abstract/221/2/183/5611323">chronic medical conditions</a>. This makes Māori and Pacific peoples particularly vulnerable – as <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/18/1/11-0035_article">seen in past pandemics</a>.</p> <p>Support with social distancing, hygiene and home isolation in a way that is consistent with tikanga (Māori customary practices) is particularly important for protecting these groups. Services for community diagnosis and treatment need to be responsive to these populations, as well as those with disabilities and the elderly.</p> <p><strong>Strategic challenges ahead</strong></p> <p>Countries have consistently underestimated the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of its global spread and intensity. They now seem to be diverging markedly in their strategic responses.</p> <p>New Zealand is among those countries and territories committed to containment, but elsewhere, the aim in most high-income countries seems to be to mitigate the effects. Across much of the rest of the world, including the United States, it is unclear whether there this is an agreed goal to guide the national response.</p> <p>The possibility of uncontrolled outbreaks in some regions means countries that pursue containment will face long-term challenges, until a vaccine or treatment is available.</p> <p>All of these approaches have uncertainty and risks and we will only understand the net societal benefits and costs in hindsight. Certainly in New Zealand, the containment approach appears to have widespread public support, particularly across the health sector.</p> <p>Many of us are working to monitor and evaluate it so that we can learn how to better manage such threats in the future, some of which may be far worse as biotechnology advances open up new hazards.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/133714/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-baker-169808">Michael Baker</a>, Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-otago-1304">University of Otago</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-wilson-133898">Nick Wilson</a>, Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-otago-1304">University of Otago</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-new-zealand-needs-to-continue-decisive-action-to-contain-coronavirus-133714">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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The other outbreak engulfing eastern Africa

<p><span>Coronavirus has continued to dominate the news cycle as governments around the world increase their efforts in limiting the spread.</span></p> <p><span>However, another plague is threatening food, jobs and health on three continents.</span></p> <p><span>Hundreds of billions of locusts are swarming through parts of East Africa, the Middle East and South-West Asia, devouring crops and bringing an unprecedented threat to food security in what the United Nations (UN) described as the worst infestations in decades.</span></p> <p><span>The upsurge of the desert locusts could be traced back to 2018, when cyclones in the southern Arabian Peninsula – along with poor rains, drought and floods – provided favourable breeding conditions which allowed the undetected and uncontrolled breeding of three generations.</span></p> <p><span>“It is these weather events which are creating the environment to facilitate the current locust outbreak,” said Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock. </span></p> <p><span>“Unusually heavy rains and increase in the frequency in cyclones in the Indian Ocean have created favourable conditions for the locusts to breed.”</span></p> <p><span>The first swarms started invading Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran in early 2019 and went on to breed and move to other countries including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Pakistan and India.</span></p> <p><span>By early 2020, infestation in Kenya has reached its worst in 70 years with up to 200 billion locusts while Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing their biggest outbreaks in a quarter of a century. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned that the number of locusts could expand <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-26/east-africas-huge-locust-outbreak-major-hunger-threat/12004470">500 times by June</a>.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Desert locust swarms could create a serious food crisis in East Africa. <br /><br />It is the worst outbreak in decades. <br /><br />Learn more 👉<a href="https://t.co/pKAnXLgc6P">https://t.co/pKAnXLgc6P</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Desertlocust?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Desertlocust</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Locusts?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Locusts</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/foodsecurity?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#foodsecurity</a> <a href="https://t.co/FEiFHSUxxw">pic.twitter.com/FEiFHSUxxw</a></p> — FAO (@FAO) <a href="https://twitter.com/FAO/status/1230794272317870081?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 21, 2020</a></blockquote> <p><span>During plagues, the locust population could spread to 20 per cent of the Earth’s land and affect more than 65 per cent of the world’s poorest countries, according to <a href="http://www.fao.org/food-chain-crisis/how-we-work/plant-protection/locusts/en/">the UN</a>.</span></p> <p><span>Speaking at <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/02/1057071">UN Headquarters</a> in February, Lowcock said immediate action is needed as the rainy season beginning in March may exacerbate the situation. </span></p> <p><span>“In this region where there is so much suffering and so much vulnerability and fragility, we simply cannot afford another major shock,”Lowcock said.</span></p> <p><span>“We do have a chance to nip this problem in the bud, but that’s not what we’re doing at the moment. We’re running out of time.</span></p> <p><span>“There is a risk of a catastrophe. Perhaps we can prevent it; we have an obligation to try. Unless we act now, we’re unlikely to do so.”</span></p> <p><span>The FAO has appealed for $138 million in funding to assist the countries in curbing the spread, but has amassed just <a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1263867/icode/">$52 million as of mid-March.</a></span></p>

International Travel

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New evidence shows how coronavirus has affected global air pollution

<p>The COVID-19 pandemic is getting more overwhelming by the day with increasing lockdowns, a death toll of over 7,000 people across the world, and a direct hit to the global economy.</p> <p>But amongst the disaster lies a beacon of hope, as the coronavirus has been decreasing air pollution and possibly even saving lives in the process.</p> <p>On March 8, Stanford University environment resource economist Marshall Burke did some back-of-the-envelope calculations are the recent air pollution drop over parts of China and the amount of lives that may have been saved.</p> <p>While the numbers won’t stay the same for long, according to Burke, it’s likely that the lives saved locally from the reduction in pollution exceed COVID-19 deaths in China.</p> <p>“Given the huge amount of evidence that breathing dirty air contributes heavily to premature mortality, a natural – if admittedly strange – question is whether the lives saved from the reduction in pollution caused by economic disruption from COVID-19 exceeds the death toll from the virus itself,” writes Burke.</p> <p>“Even under very conservative assumptions, I think the answer is a clear ‘yes’.”</p> <p>The reduction of pollution over the course of two months has probably saved the lives of 4,000 children under the age of and 73,000 adults over 70 in China according to Burke. That’s significantly more than the current global death toll from the virus itself.</p> <p>"It is remarkable that both the number of deaths and the loss in life expectancy from air pollution rival the effect of tobacco smoking and are much higher than other causes of death," <span>physicist Jos Lelieveld from the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia stated at the time.</span></p> <p>"Air pollution exceeds malaria as a global cause of premature death by a factor of 19; it exceeds violence by a factor of 16, HIV/AIDS by a factor of 9, alcohol by a factor of 45, and drug abuse by a factor of 60."</p> <p>So, it’s proven that air pollution does kill.</p> <p>Burke’s analysis was just using data from China, and was completed before there was more information about how coronavirus has affected the rest of the world.</p>

International Travel

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Coronavirus: Queensland man defends decision to visit New Zealand after being tested

<p><span>A Queensland man has defended his decision to travel from Australia to New Zealand after being tested for coronavirus.</span></p> <p><span>Andre Reynaud, 69, voluntarily took the test for COVID-19 at a Townsville GP on Thursday after returning from France. </span></p> <p><span>Reynaud and wife Jane then flew to New Zealand on Friday morning. Not long after arriving in Wellington, and while having breakfast at Milk Crate café, Reynaud was informed he had contracted the virus.</span></p> <p><span>In a joint statement shared on the Ann Roberts School of Dance, the couple said Reynaud had followed direction from authorities.</span></p> <p><span>“While away Andre had read recommendations from authorities advising that it was possible to voluntarily report for virus testing following international travel and he did so almost immediately,” the statement read. </span></p> <p><span>“Given that he was completely asymptomatic he had no expectation that the result would be positive.”</span></p> <p><span>Reynaud said he and his wife decided to fly to Wellington as planned because there had been no requirements for international arrivals to self-isolate at the time.</span></p> <p><span>“Our decision to travel to New Zealand was made with the best of intentions and with the best information available in Australia or New Zealand before we departed,” the statement read, noting that mandatory self-isolation only came into effect in both countries on the weekend.</span></p> <p><span>“Had these restrictions been in place or had Andre had any idea that he was carrying the disease, despite feeling fit and well, we would not have travelled.”</span></p> <p><span>Reynaud was the first confirmed coronavirus case in Wellington. The couple and their daughter Isabelle are currently under self-isolation in the city. </span></p> <p><span>The café and its neighbouring gallery Precinct 35 announced they will be closed indefinitely.</span></p>

International Travel

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Queen rushed away from Buckingham Palace amid coronavirus fears

<p>The Queen has reportedly been rushed away to Windsor Castle after crisis talks took place regarding COVID-19.</p> <p>The meeting was held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday.</p> <p>While the 93-year-old is considered to be in excellent health, her team reportedly felt it would be best if she was moved to avoid any risk.</p> <p>“The Palace hosts a constant stream of visitors including politicians and dignitaries from around the world,” the source told<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11175256/queen-coronavirus-quits-buckingham-palace/" target="_blank">The Sun.</a></p> <p>Staff are panicked, according to the royal insider, by the extraordinary event taking place.</p> <p>Around 500 staff work at Buckingham Palace, and just 100 in Windsor while barely a handful are in Sandringham.</p> <p>“She is weeks away from her 94th birthday and advisers believe it is best to get her out of harm’s way,” the source explained.</p> <p>“Buckingham Palace is in the middle of London and also has a bigger staff than other estates so is deemed a much more dangerous location.</p> <p>“There have been no specific scares or positive tests there yet but no one wants to take any chances.”</p> <p>Upcoming events are on the brink of being postponed or cancelled, including Palace garden parties.  More than 30,000 guests are invited to attend in May and June.</p> <p>Three cases have been confirmed in the country so far.</p> <p>Currently the death toll sits at 21 with more than 1,100 confirmed cases across the United Kingdom.</p> <p>Strict measures are predicted to be enforced over the coming weeks.</p>

International Travel

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Lisa Wilkinson stranded in LA after coronavirus pandemic escalates

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson has found herself stranded in America as US President Donald Trump announces further travel bans for the country.</p> <p>Wilkinson was interviewing a “major celeb” for the panel show, but admitted that time was running out to return home.</p> <p>“Los Angeles, you've been great, and the major celeb interview we managed to get in the can for @theprojecttv was definitely worth the trip - can't wait to tell you who it is! - but... we're outta here,” she captioned a smiling photo of herself on Instagram.  </p> <p>“America feels like it's shutting down, and I don't know how much longer these borders are going to be open. Australia, here I come…”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9nqIZUl3Qn/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9nqIZUl3Qn/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Los Angeles, you’ve been great, and the major celeb interview we managed to get in the can for @theprojecttv was definitely worth the trip - can’t wait to tell you who it is! - but....we’re outta here. America feels like it’s shutting down, and I don’t know how much longer these borders are going to be open. Australia, here I come... Be safe everyone. Wash your hands. And look after each other. xxx😘🙏🌺🌺🌺</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/lisa_wilkinson/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Lisa Wilkinson</a> (@lisa_wilkinson) on Mar 11, 2020 at 9:09pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Wilkinson then urged everyone to take care and make sure you’re washing your hands.</p> <p>'Be safe everyone. Wash your hands. And look after each other. xxx,' she concluded.</p> <p>Her post comes after the World Health Organisation declared that coronavirus was a pandemic as the virus continues to spread around the world.</p> <p>“We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” said W.H.O.'s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as reported by<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/health/coronavirus-pandemic-who.html" target="_blank">The New York Times</a>. </p> <p>“Find, isolate, test and treat every case, and trace every contact. Ready your hospitals. Protect and train your health care workers.”</p> <p>Hours after a pandemic was declared, Trump announced he was closing US borders and ordered an immediate shutdown of all travel from Europe.</p> <p>“We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” he said in a speech from the Oval Office.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="post-action-bar-component-wrapper"> <div class="post-actions-component"> <div class="upper-row"><span class="like-bar-component"></span> <div class="watched-bookmark-container"></div> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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Fairy tale castle

<p><em>Justine Tyerman out-stays her welcome in a medieval Swiss castle.</em></p> <p>I sat in a window seat at Chillon Castle’s great banquet hall, visualising the scene 600 years ago – dukes, duchesses and guests in their finery, tables laden with food and huge logs blazing in massive open fireplaces.</p> <p>Feasts at the medieval castle on the shore of Switzerland’s sparkling Lake Geneva were legendary events held over several days. The quantity of food prepared was astonishing. According to an account written in 1420, for every day of the banquet, 10 or so cooks prepared 100 piglets, 60 fat pigs, 200 kid goats, 200 lambs, 2000 head of poultry and 6000 eggs. Added to this was game killed while hunting - deer, hares, partridges, pheasants, and other wild birds. For non-meat-eaters, there was a variety of fish including dolphins, salmon, trout and carp.</p> <p>Chillon, built on a rocky outcrop surrounded by water, is the absolute epitome of a fairy-tale castle with a moat, drawbridge, turrets, ramparts with arrow slits, vaults, courtyards, spiral stone staircases, chambers and great halls.</p> <p>I lost track of time as I explored the entire castle, starting in the basement which resembled a Gothic cathedral with its magnificent stone arches.</p> <p>The earliest official mention of Chillon was in 1150 when the Counts of Savoy controlled the region. The Bernese took over the castle in 1536 when they conquered the Vaud region, and for the next 260 years, Chillon served as a fortress, arsenal and prison.</p> <p>In 1803, the castle became the property of the Canton of Vaud. A major restoration campaign was launched at the end of the 19th century and is ongoing today.</p> <p>Lord Byron, during his visit to the castle in 1816, was inspired to write The Prisoner of Chillon, a poem about François Bonivard, who was arrested in 1530 by the Savoyard Army and imprisoned in the basement. Byron inscribed his name in stone near where Bonivard was chained to a pillar for six years.</p> <p>Upstairs, I delved into the private chambers of the nobles.</p> <p>The Camera Domini was reserved for the Duke of Savoy. Remnants of murals on the walls showed animals and lush vegetation while lilies and crosses decorated the ceiling.</p> <p>When the duke wanted a bath, a wooden tub was placed in his chamber lined with a sheet to protect his regal rear end from splinters. A huge fireplace kept the room warm in winter.</p> <p>A spiral staircase, built around 1336, allowed the duke access to the ramparts above and his private chapel below. The 14th century paintings there were among few religious artworks to escape the Reformation.</p> <p>Another bedroom used by the Bernese rulers had running water and a stone stove fed with wood from an antechamber.</p> <p>The castle had a number of communal latrines which seemed to be a popular spot for selfies!</p> <p>The keep, the inner stronghold of the castle, dates back to the 11th century. Near the centre of the fortress, it was symbol of power and the place of last refuge when defending the castle. The keep was also used as an observation post, residence, storehouse, prison and powder-house. For safety, the door of the keep was high up and could only be reached by a ladder or drawbridge.</p> <p>To further disadvantage and slow down invaders, the keep was accessed by a right-turning, clockwise spiral staircase making it easier for right-handed defenders of the castle to wield their swords while descending and difficult for attackers approaching from below. Clever!</p> <p>The castle’s impressive weapons’ collection of swords, crossbows, muskets and pikes was on display in the keep.</p> <p>During restoration of the keep in the 20th century, stairs were added to provide access to the top of the tower where the 360-degree panorama on this pristine autumn day was breath-taking. The paddle steamer that had dropped me off at the castle jetty earlier in the day was churning across the satin lake against a backdrop of snow-capped alps.</p> <p>I drifted back in time to an era when sentries were stationed in the tower to guard the castle. The view of the lake and the alps would have been as magnificent then as it is now.</p> <p>Eventually, a staff member tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to leave. The castle was about to close for the day. As the sun began to set, I crossed the drawbridge and set off to walk along the lake-edge pathway back to Montreux. Little did I know what lay in store for me on the waterfront...</p> <p>See also Justine’s earlier stories in her series about Switzerland: <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/the-slow-coach">Part 1</a> | <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/in-the-company-of-mountain-gods">Part 2</a> | <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/a-side-trip-on-the-bear-trek">Part 3</a> | <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/flying-by-train">Part 4</a></p> <p><em>Justine Tyerman was a guest of <span><a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-nz/">Switzerland Tourism</a></span> and travelled courtesy of <span><a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-nz/planning/transport-accommodation/tickets-public-transportation/">Swiss Travel Pass</a>.</span></em></p>

International Travel

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A Japanese fairytale

<p><em>Justine Tyerman has a Japanese lesson, discovers a magical bamboo forest and finally sees the world’s most famous volcano in the clear.</em></p> <p>It happened when we least expected it. En route by taxi to Mishima Station at the end of our week on the <span><a href="https://walkjapan.com/tour/izu-geo-trail">Izu Geo Trail</a></span>, suddenly, right ahead of us, dazzlingly close and clear, was Mt Fuji. I nearly fell out the window, trying to get a photo of the perfect cone. It was a fitting finale to a fabulous week during which time we explored the Izu Peninsula on foot with <span><a href="https://walkjapan.com/tour/izu-geo-trail">Walk Japan</a></span>.</p> <p>Our last day began with a stroll around Dogashima and the pumice cliffs above the seashore. As we walked by a stall, a sprightly lady selling jewellery began an animated conversation with our guide Yohei. She was aged 75 and had been a diver since the age of 10. In her younger days, she used to dive 12m in 40 seconds up to 600 times a day. Still diving regularly, she was also a great saleswoman too and managed to sell a few sets of earrings to the ladies.</p> <p>We climbed up a huge rock to ‘Matsushima of <span>Izu</span>’, a scenic look-out visited by the Showa Emperor in November 1954. Turtle and Snake Islands, topped with green trees, were just a stone’s throw across a narrow channel of clear, turquoise blue-green water. The striations in the rocks told the story of millions of years of volcanic activity. </p> <p>A 200-metre-long tombolo or sand bar stretching to the trio of Sanshiro Islands was visible just below the surface of the sea. You can walk to the islands at low tide. Nearby, we peered into a great chasm in the earth where the roof of the Tensodo Sea Cave had collapsed. While we were there, a boat full of excited tourists appeared below us, one of many daily excursions from the wharf at Dogashima that take passengers right into the cave.</p> <p>Heading for the hills, we drove through a little village where an elderly couple were working on a tiny plot of land, cultivated right up to the door of their house, and further on, a man in a carpark who looked to be at least 95, doing exercises and stretches while cleaning his car — time and space are seldom wasted in Japan.</p> <p>The Izusanryosen Trail to the summit of Mt Daruma, 982m, an extinct volcano in the west-central highlands of the <span>Izu</span> Peninsula, was the focus of our hike for the day. After scaling many, many steps on a warm afternoon, we were rewarded with another tantalisingly-hazy glimpse of Mt Fuji.</p> <p>After a picnic lunch at the summit... and a chat with six well-equipped Japanese women hikers who had climbed all the way from the village of Heda... we descended Daruma and ascended 890m Kodarumayama meaning small Darumayama. The signpost sparked a language lesson with Yohei who explained the meaning of the Japanese characters — ko means small and yama means mountain so Kodarumayama means small Daruma. The things you learn while hiking with Walk Japan.</p> <p>The track down from Kodarumayama was probably the most difficult of the whole week —  seemingly never-ending steps where the soil had eroded away leaving just the wooden support structure. It required a high level of concentration to make sure you planted your feet in exactly the right place. I was relieved I was wearing my heavy-duty, trusty TBs (tramping boots) that day. I sure needed their ankle support.</p> <p>We had a bus with us the whole day so some took the option of going down by road, rejoining the group for the last part of the hike, an amble along a wide, grassed pathway that looked like the fairway on a golf course. We stopped for refreshments at a restaurant with a magnificent elevated view of <span>Izu</span>’s volcanic landscape including the Tanzawa Mountains in the distance.</p> <p>A short time later, we arrived at Shuzenji in the hilly centre of the peninsula. Our accommodation for our last night on the <span>Izu</span> Geo Trail was Arai Ryokan, a graceful 140-year-old historic Japanese inn. Before checking in, we explored Shuzenji Onsen, an exquisite town with the Katsura River running right through the centre. One of the oldest and most famous hot spring resort towns on the <span>Izu</span> Peninsula, Shuzenji was named after the Shuzenji Temple founded by a Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi, about 1200 years ago. The oldest of the original onsens, is now a public foot bath by the river.</p> <p><strong>Magic in the air</strong></p> <p>Wandering along the river and across picturesque bright red bridges on a glorious mild afternoon, we discovered little cafes and boutiques selling pretty umbrellas, crafts and pot plants. Our pathway took us through a bamboo forest. The play of light and shade through the tall spindly trunks of the bamboo was mesmerising. We lay on our backs on a platform at the centre on the forest and gazed skyward at the impossibly-high tops of the trees swaying in the breeze. The sunlight and shadows played tricks with my eyes. There was magic in the air.</p> <p>My room at Arai Ryokan, overlooking the river, was one of the loveliest and most spacious of our six nights on tour. Sliding windows opened wide, bringing the sound of the river into the room. I loved looking out at the historic Japanese buildings with the turned-up corners on the roofs.</p> <p>The main indoor onsen baths, Tenpyo Dai Yokudo, were built from cypress wood in 1933, in the 8th century Nara Era architecture style. They are registered as a National Cultural Asset. There are indoor family baths that can be booked for private use, and outdoor baths surrounded by gardens.<br />Strolling around the ryokan’s beautiful gardens with their arched bridges over ponds full of colourful fish, and lush green foliage interspersed with the vivid crimson of maple trees, I felt like I was in a Japanese fairytale. It’s a place I’d happily return to.</p> <p>Arai Ryokan specialises in kaiseki cuisine with fresh local seafood and vegetables. By now we were well-versed in traditional Japanese dinners and the 10-course menu (in English and Japanese) was mouth-watering. Knowing the following day I’d be heading home to Kiwi fare, I made the most of the exotic flavours and artistic presentation. It was a fitting feast for our last night together which ended with speeches and a presentation to our excellent tour leader and guide, Yohei.</p> <p>Next morning, it felt odd to be dressed in street clothes and footwear. Everyone looked so different after a week of hiking gear during the daytime and yukata in the evenings. Yohei accompanied us to Mishima Station where he helped us buy our train tickets to various destinations. I always find railway station farewells quite emotional but as we bowed goodbye, I had a sense our paths would cross again sometime, probably walking somewhere.</p> <p>Walking, the purest, simplest form of transportation, was the bond that had united our enthusiastic, energetic international group of 12. Walking was the focus of every day, enabling the gradual discovery of new terrain, a slow unravelling of landscape allowing the senses to absorb the sights and sounds and smells. The experience was enriching, deeply satisfying, and more than a little addictive.</p> <p>Snowshoeing in <span><a href="https://walkjapan.com/destinations/hokkaido">Hokkaido’s</a></span> remote eastern region with its abundant wildlife, shimmering crater lakes and onsen thermal hot spring baths surrounded by glistening white snow looks tempting...<br /><br /><strong>Fact file:</strong></p> <ul> <li>The <span><a href="https://walkjapan.com/tour/izu-geo-trail">Izu Geo Trail</a></span> is a 7-day, 6-night guided tour starting in Tokyo and finishing in Mishima. The trail explores the Izu Peninsula in the Shizuoka Prefecture, one of the most unique geological areas on Earth. The mountainous peninsula with deeply indented coasts, white sand beaches and a climate akin to a sub-tropical island, is located 150km south west of Tokyo on the Pacific Coast of the island of Honshu, Japan.</li> <li>An easy-to-moderate-paced hiking tour with an average walking distance of 6-12km a day, mostly on uneven forest and mountain tracks including some steep climbs and descents.</li> </ul> <p><em>Justine Tyerman was a guest of <a href="https://walkjapan.com/">Walk Japan</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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55-year age gap: Former priest moves to Romania with model husband

<p>An 81-year-old former Anglican priest and his much younger husband have settled down in Romania to finally live in the same country together.</p> <p>Philip Clements and Florin Martin, 27, tied the knot three years ago after meeting online – with the majority of their married life spent long-distance.</p> <p>But last month, Philip moved to Bucharest to be with his husband and the pair are now looking forward to celebrating their third wedding anniversary with a home-cooked meal.</p> <p>Philip said he was gradually adjusting to the new city as his home, with the couple determined to make their marriage last despite Florin partying every weekend.</p> <p>“He understands me much better and I understand him much better,” Philip told<span> </span><em>The Sun</em>.</p> <p>“I know when he’s busy not to disturb him and to give him space.</p> <p>“He goes to the gay club in Bucharest once a week and I’m fine with that.</p> <p>“He must have space to be with younger people, it’s very important when there’s this big age difference.</p> <p>“We’ve both learnt a lot.”</p> <p>Philip had previously sold his home in England to help fund his new life with Florin, as they spent thousands of pounds travelling the world together.</p> <p>But now, the couple are living off Philip’s teaching and church pension.</p> <p>Florin quit his job at a car rental company at the Ali Cante airport in Spain and is hoping to score a manager’s position in the future so the two can continue to travel together.</p> <p>“We do have to watch the money but Romania is cheaper than England so the money goes further,” said Philip.</p> <p>“We have enough to live on and enough to go to the cinema and out for a meal occasionally.”</p> <p>The pair have a 55-year age gap between them and met on Gaydar four years ago.</p> <p>They married in April 2017.</p>

International Travel

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Princess Eugenie’s touching words after Australian bushfires

<p>Princess Eugenie has shared a throwback photo to when she paid a visit to Australia’s Mogo Wildlife Park, which recently reopened after being threatened with bushfires earlier in the year.</p> <p>The never-before-seen photos from 2009 show Eugenie posing with meerkats at the park, which is located near Batemans Bay in New South Wales, during a trip to see her aunty Jane Ferguson.</p> <p>“I was lucky enough to go to @mogowildlifepark in 2009 whilst visiting my Aunt in Australia,” wrote the Queen’s granddaughter.</p> <p>“It was such an incredible experience to be with the animals and meet such a dedicated team of people supporting these magnificent creatures.”</p> <p>Eugenie then spoke about her “awe” at the zoo’s staff for their determination to protect the park and the animals from the bushfires that ravaged the NSW South Coast in January.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9PAQUJlwOP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9PAQUJlwOP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">I was lucky enough to go to @mogowildlifepark in 2009 whilst visiting my Aunt in Australia. It was such an incredible experience to be with the animals and meet such a dedicated team of people supporting these magnificent creatures. Mogo Wildlife Park reopened this past weekend after the devastating bushfires threatened the park and lives of the keepers and animals. Chad Staples, the zoo’s director, received a text "leave now to the east towards the beach and shelter in place", but he and his team chose instead to stay and fight the fire to save the park. I'm in awe of how human determination and drive can overcome such terrifying circumstances and I wanted to share this story of hope after what Australia has been through. All my thoughts have been and are with all those who are affected by the fires in Australia. @mogowildlifepark @zookeeper_chad</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/princesseugenie/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Princess Eugenie</a> (@princesseugenie) on Mar 2, 2020 at 6:22am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Chad Staples, the zoo’s director, received a text ‘leave now to the east towards the beach and shelter in place’, but he and his team chose instead to stay and fight the fire to save the park’,” she wrote.</p> <p>“I’m in awe of how human determination and drive can overcome such terrifying circumstances and I wanted to share this story of hope after what Australia has been through.</p> <p>“All my thoughts have been and are with all those who are affected by the fires in Australia”.</p> <p>Instagram users shared those same sentiments, while praising Eugenie for her thoughtful words.</p> <p>“Those keepers at Mogo are absolute heroes,” wrote one user.</p> <p>“The animals would have perished in the fire if they hadn’t stayed and defended. They also took the smaller animals into their own homes for protection. Amazingly brave and dedicated men and women.”</p> <p>Another added, “thank you for supporting the Aussies”.</p>

International Travel