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2 Weeks After Joe Biden Lifted COVID Travel Ban, WHO Warns of New Europe Outbreaks

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Less than two weeks after the U.S reopened to vaccinated travelers, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a worrying surge in COVID-19 deaths in Europe unless tougher action is taken.

The Biden administration lifted restrictions on November 8, ending a travel ban that had closed the U.S. to travelers for 20 months to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The rules now require travelers to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test to enter the U.S.

But now, the WHO’s Europe director has called for urgent action to be taken as COVID-19 cases soared to record levels in many European countries. “COVID-19 has become once again the number one cause of mortality in our region,” Dr. Hans Kluge told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

Kluge said he is “very worried” about the surge, which he says has been driven by the winter weather, low vaccination coverage and the dominance of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus.

He explained that far too many people in Europe remain susceptible to the virus, either because they are unvaccinated or because of waning immunity to the vaccine.

Kluge warned that the continent could record another half a million deaths by March 1 if tougher measures are not imposed. “We know what needs to be done,” he said.

Kluge said increased mask-wearing, raising vaccine uptake and giving booster shots would help lower the spread of COVID-19. He also said more attention should be paid to ventilation and that new treatment protocols needed to be introduced to tackle the rise in infections.

“As we head towards the end of 2021, the #COVID19 situation across the European Region is deeply concerning,” Kluge tweeted on Saturday. “But we have the tools to manage transmission, save lives and keep societies open.”

“Number 1: Get vaccinated if eligible,” he said in a follow-up tweet.

“Wear a mask in crowded, closed, confined spaces,” the tweet said, adding that people should also cover coughs and sneezes, keep physical distance from others, wash their hands regularly and ventilate indoor spaces.

Signs in New York LaGuardia airport
Signs warn travelers of COVID-19 in New York’s LaGuardia Airport on November 24, 2020 in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Kluge’s warning comes after Austria on Friday became the first European country to announce that its entire population would be legally required to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The country’s vaccination rate is among the lowest in western Europe.

Austria will also enter a full national lockdown from Monday. The lockdown will last a “maximum of 20 days,” Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said.

Protests erupted in Austria’s capital Vienna after the announcement.

Unrest also continued for a second night in the Netherlands on Saturday after the country imposed a partial lockdown in response to a record rise in COVID-19 cases.

The White House and the World Health Organization have been contacted for comment.

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Here’s What You Should Know

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Inside Edge Season 3 Release Date: This series created by Karan Anshuman and directed by Kanishk Varma aims to show the audience the dark underbelly of cricket as the ultimate game of power and greed is unleashed. The movie stars Bollywood actors like Richa Chadha, Vivek Oberoi, Tanuj Virwani and Aamir Bashir.

The makers of Inside Edge Season 3 said that the plot of this season will keep the audiences hooked to the show and will impress fans and audiences alike in India and beyond.

Ritesh Sidhwani, Producer of the show has said, “Inside Edge is and will always be very special to us given that it is Excel’s first original with Amazon while also being Amazon’s first original in India. We are thrilled to chronicle the next gripping phase of the journey of Mumbai Mavericks, which will ultimately decide the fate of the team that has battled many odds. The third season of the Inside Edge franchise is a testament to the fact that we are committed to bringing our creative vision to life through interesting and innovative formats. We’re eagerly looking forward to the global premiere of the show on Prime Video.”

Trailer of Inside Edge Season 3

The trailer was released by the official YouTube channel of Amazon Prime Video India on November 22, 2021. “Amidst the greatest show on earth: an India v/s Pakistan cricket series, the politics of Indian cricket is laid bare, its secrets unraveled and truths exposed. The stakes have never been higher, even as they are investigated for corruption, battle lines are drawn for TV rights, endorsement deals and the captaincy of the Indian team. But what is the limit to the price of power?”, read the caption.

The trailer has got 19,292,971 views and 1505 comments so far. Watch the trailer here.

Inside Edge Season 3 Release Date 

Inside Edge Season 3 is slated to release on 3rd December.

Where to watch Inside Edge Season 3

Inside Edge Season 3 will be available for viewing on Amazon Prime.


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Vistara resumes flights to Singapore amid concerns over new Covid-19 variant | Latest News India

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The World Health Organisation has dubbed Omicron a variant of concern after early evidence showed it could be more transmissible, and resistant to immunity from past infection or vaccination

A Vistara flight from Mumbai landed in Singapore on Monday while Singapore Airlines and IndiGo were also scheduled to resume their flights between the two countries even as the airlines awaited clarity on operations in view of the detection of a new Covid-19 variant–Omicron.

The government on Friday allowed scheduled international flights from December 15 to and from all countries considered not at risk”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked officials to review the plan to ease international travel restrictions after the new variant triggered global alarm. He called for the need to be “proactive in light of the new threat”.

The World Health Organisation has dubbed Omicron a variant of concern after early evidence showed it could be more transmissible, and resistant to immunity from past infection or vaccination. The detection has prompted countries such as Japan to suspend the entry of foreign visitors.

Also Read: Congress MP reminds Centre of promise to fully vaccinate Indians by 2021

Vistara operated the Mumbai-Singapore flight under the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL), which allows quarantine-free travel to Singapore for fully vaccinated travellers. The airline has scheduled five flights weekly to Singapore.

IndiGo was scheduled to operate a Chennai-Singapore flight under VTL at 2.50 pm. It has been allocated 3,618 seats per week, of which 1,624 seats will be available on the Chennai-Singapore route under VTL.

“The rest of the capacity will be utilised under non-VTL conditions for travel to and from Singapore,” an airline spokesperson said.

A Singapore airline official said they will be operating flights to Singapore as per schedule until the government issues fresh guidelines. The airline’s first flight between the two countries is scheduled to take off at 4.25 pm (IST) from Singapore and arrive in Delhi at 9.55 pm.

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“They changed the character to suit me”

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Ma Dong-seok has opened up about how he ended up being cast in the latest Marvel film, Eternals.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone Korea, the Korean-American actor – known for roles in South Korean movies such as Train To Busan, The Outlaws and more – spoke about what it was like to make his Hollywood debut in Eternals and the process which led him to being a part of the film.

Train To Busan was a global sensation,” he said. “The people at Marvel watched me in The Outlaws, The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil and Champion and requested me for a casting.”

“After that, I was busy with my life until I received a phone call. It was [casting director] Sarah Finn saying, ‘There’s a character perfect for you in a Marvel movie called Eternals. Come take a look’,” he added, noting that he knew the character of Gilgamesh would be “perfect” for him.

Ma then spoke about how Eternals director Chloé Zhao and Marvel had worked together to modify the character for him. “In fact, Gilgamesh isn’t even an Asian character. They changed the character to suit me,” he said. “They knew that I had boxed for a long time, so they changed the action to hand-to-hand combat. I was really touched that they were so considerate and made the character to fit me.”

Elsewhere during the interview, the actor also touched on what being a South Korean actor in a Hollywood film meant for a global audience. “It’s no longer shocking for an Asian actor to be cast into a Hollywood film,” he said. “But I think my situation is unique because I’m taking on the role of an action hero.”

In other news, Zhao has spoken about why she cast Harry Styles in Eternals. “I kept tabs on Harry since Dunkirk, I thought he was very interesting,” she told Deadline. “After meeting him I realised he is that character – the same way I cast the rest of my cast.”

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