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Airline Industry fears bankruptcy in two months; countries summoned to find a rebound plan

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#World – March 16, 2020 — In two months, airline companies will be bankrupt as cash flows are drying up and the industry is calling on global governments to coordinate in order to avoid a collapse.

“Forward bookings are far outweighed by cancellations and each time there is a new government recommendation it is to discourage flying. Demand is drying up in ways that are completely unprecedented. Normality is not yet on the horizon.”

The position was, mere hours ago, shared within a media release from the Center for Aviation, CAPA and is another casualty of fears linked to COVID-19.

“…while governments are grappling with the health challenges of coronavirus, it is clear that there is little instinct to act cooperatively. Messages are mixed and frequently quite different.

Advetisement

Each nation is adopting the solution that appears best suited to it, right or wrong, without consideration of its neighbours or trading partners.”

Last week, International Air Transport Association, IATA forecast an economic free fall of $113 billion; now it appears the entire industry is at risk due to the unprecedented actions which governments are taking in the effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which emerged in December 2019.

Worldwide, over 181,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and while more than 78,300 people have recovered; the death toll in three months is significant at slightly above 7,100 people.

Today, France, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago closed their borders to visitors. 

Airport in Trinidad and Tobago

CAPA said, in most cases, these decisions are being made unilaterally with no consultation.

“Each nation is adopting the solution that appears best suited to it, right or wrong, without consideration of its neighbours or trading partners.  When, for example President Trump peremptorily announced the effective cancellation of airline access to most Europeans, he didn’t even advise his European government counterparts in advance, let alone consult with them. Other governments have performed little better.”

CAPA, in its analysis pointed out that the industry accounts for 20 percent new jobs worldwide and worries that a rebound will be skewed and possibly, detrimental to lesser known airline companies.

 “The alternative does not bear thinking about. An unstructured and nationalistic outcome will not be survival of the fittest.  It will mostly consist of airlines that are the biggest and the best-supported by their governments. The system will reek of nationalism.  And it will not serve the needs of the 21st century world.

Flights are being cut, planes grounded and staff laid off; among those reporting on the negative effects of the travel restrictions being imposed in response to the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus are American Airlines, which has cut flights by 75 percent and Delta Airlines, which has dropped 40 percent of its commutes.

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Bahamas News

US new Vaccine mandate not for tourists and students

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#TurksandCaicos, September 9, 2021 – The vast majority of visa applicants such as students and tourists do not have to worry about the new CDC requirement for Immigrant Visa applicants to be fully vaccinated.

Our news organization reached out to the US Embassy in Nassau, where Public Affairs Officer Daniel Durazo informed the notice floating around social media is true but only impacts people who are applying to live and work in the United States.

“The information circulating on social media is a notice stating that starting on October 1 the CDC will require age-appropriate Immigrant Visa applicants worldwide will to show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination.

The key detail here is the difference between Non-Immigrant Visas and Immigrant Visas. Non-Immigrant Visas (for which the requirement does not apply) make up the majority of visa applications, and include student and tourist visas. Immigrant Visas on the other hand typically involve moving permanently to the United States through a Green Card, for example, and which make up a very small fraction of visa applications,” said Durazo.

Similar to TCIs work permit holders rule, which requires guest workers to be fully vaccinated in order to be legally in the Turks and Caicos, this rule takes effect for the US on October 1st.

The notice caused quite a buzz, as the United States is a popular destination for islanders to visit and attend school. The US is also the #1 tourism source market for the Turks and Caicos; and only its vaccinated residents will be allowed into these islands;  that mandate started on September 1st.

“First, I’d like to reassure your readers that the vaccination requirement will not apply to the vast majority of Visa applicants, such as those applying for tourist and student visas.  In summary, the vast majority of visa applicants (such as students and tourists) do not have to worry about this requirement. It’s only Immigrant Visa applicants who need to take this requirement into consideration, and they will receive instructions and clarification from the consular section as appropriate when they apply.”

Residents suspected the US was activating a similar entry requirement but Durazo said the rule does not apply to visitor and student visas.  Permanent residency applicants, like those wanting Green Card will need to have full Covid 19 vaccination and he said, will receive instructions and clarification from the consular section as appropriate when they apply.

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Bahamas News

PAHO warns that only one in four people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in LAC

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Washington, D.C. September 1, 2021 (PAHO) Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa F. Etienne warned that 75% of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean has yet to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and reported that PAHO is accelerating its drive to expand vaccine access throughout the region.

“Three fourths of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have not been fully immunized,” Dr. Etienne said during her weekly media briefing. “More than a third of countries in our region have yet to vaccinate 20% of their populations. And in some places, coverage is much lower.”

“Vaccination rates remain in the teens in several Caribbean and South American countries and coverage is still in the single digits in Central American nations like Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua,” she continued.

In Haiti and Venezuela, fragile health systems and political challenges have further delayed immunizations. “Unfortunately, countries with high coverage are the exception in our Region,” she emphasized.

Dr. Etienne said that in total, 540 million COVID-19 vaccine doses must be delivered to ensure that all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean can cover at least 60% of their populations. “So we must expand vaccine access in our region, especially in the places that are lagging,” she said.

In response to the shortage, PAHO has launched a fresh drive for donations. “We are working to draw the attention of developed countries to the urgent need to donate vaccines to Latin America and the Caribbean,” Dr. Etienne said.

In addition, PAHO is using its Revolving Fund to procure vaccines for member states. Already PAHO has received requests from 24 countries for COVID-19 vaccines, which will be available in the final quarter of this year and in 2022.

“We are also thinking ahead and making plans to significantly improve regional vaccine manufacturing capacity,” Dr. Etienne said. “Just last week, we launched a new platform that convenes partners around a shared vision of boosting state-of-the-art vaccine production in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The first initiative under the platform is to facilitate the transfer to the region of the mRNA vaccine technology used in highly effective COVID-19 vaccines.  PAHO has received 32 proposals from private and public companies that want to participate in the endeavor.

Dr. Etienne urged countries to prioritize the most vulnerable for vaccination, such as the elderly, health workers and those living with pre-existing conditions. Countries should make sure that logistics systems can absorb vaccine doses and cold chains can keep them cool and that health systems are ready to deliver doses fast once they arrive.

Epidemiological situation

While vaccination rates are low in Latin America and the Caribbean, many countries are experiencing a rapid rise in COVID-19 infection.

In the Caribbean, Saint Lucia and Puerto Rico are reporting high rates of new infections, while Jamaica is experiencing its highest-ever COVID deaths.

“Outbreaks are accelerating in multiple Central American countries, especially Costa Rica and Belize,” Dr. Etienne said. “In South America, infections are generally declining, with a few exceptions: in Venezuela cases are plateauing, and in Suriname, transmission has increased for four consecutive weeks.”

In total, over 1.6 million new COVID-19 cases and just under 22,000 deaths were reported in the Americas in the past week.

Crisis in Haiti

Turning to the continuing crisis in Haiti, where an earthquake struck on Aug. 14, Dr. Etienne reported that most hospitals are overwhelmed, and many health facilities have been damaged.

“We have injured people in remote communes who are still without medical attention because they can’t reach health centers or hospitals,” she said.

PAHO has deployed 27 tons of medicines as well as several specialists to support field coordination, epidemiological surveillance, health cluster coordination, emergency projects, logistics, and EMT coordination. PAHO is also working closely with the Ministry of Public Health and Population to help coordinate international aid.

“We need more medical personnel, medicines, and medical supplies such as anesthetic drugs and orthopedic supplies for the injured,” she said. “Another need is psychosocial support for healthcare personnel and the people affected by this earthquake.”

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Caribbean News

No Moïse Assassin alleged suspects hid out in Turks & Caicos says Governor

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#TurksandCaicos, August 9, 2021 – Turks and Caicos Police have received no request from US Authorities about a reported person of interest as the investigation into the murder of Haitian President Jovenel Moise intensifies.

An alleged mastermind behind the plot which led to the barbaric slaying of Moise on July 7 was said to be hid out in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Dr. Reginald Boulos, a prominent Haitian businessman and former president of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce is suspected of funding the commandoes who stormed the Moise home in Port au Prince and gunned down the president and shot his wife.

A social media post makes the claim that the man is dodging US investigators and is using Turks and Caicos as his cover but the Governor informs there is no information to support that the claim is true.

Turks and Caicos national security affairs are managed at the Governor’s office and our news organisation reached out to His Excellency Nigel Dakin once we got the circulating report.

Governor Dakin said, “Immediate Immigration checks however have not shown that Dr. Boulos is in TCI,” he adds, “Beyond that US and TCI law enforcement officials are in close and routine contact and of course we, as a Territory, are appalled at the assassination so any lawful cooperation TCI can provide to any international investigation would be vigorously supported.”

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