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HEALTH

Sardinian hotel with hundreds of guests locked down over coronavirus case

Some 470 people have been quarantined at a resort on the Italian island of Sardinia after a member of staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sardinian hotel with hundreds of guests locked down over coronavirus case
A beach on La Maddalena, part of an archipelago off the Italian island of Sardinia. File photo: AFP
Local authorities ordered guests not to leave the resort on Monday after the case was detected at the Santo Stefano resort, on Sardinia's La Maddalena island.
 
The region's crisis unit conducted swab tests on some 470 vacationers and staff on Monday.
 
“We are waiting for the swabs to be processed, in the meantime we have arranged that no one leaves the resort,” stated regional health councilor Mario Nieddu.
 
 
Guests are allowed to move freely around the resort itself, but mustn't leave, Italian media reports.
 
Two guests reportedly tried to escape shortly after the lockdown was ordered, but were stopped by local police on their way to Olbia airport.
 
Over the weekend, Italian authorities ordered the closure of nightclubs and tightened mask-wearing rules after the number of new cases detected in the country rose from 200-300 to 600 within one week.
 
Many of Italy's new cases have been attributed to holidaymakers – often Italians returning from abroad, health authorities said.
 
 
Italy reported 403 new positive cases within 24 hours on Tuesday, and five deaths.
 
The total number of Italian cases recorded since the start of the pandemic is now over 254,000, while the death toll has passed 35,400.
 
Italy is the second-hardest hit country in Europe after the UK in terms of deaths from Covid-19, and was the first country outside of China to suffer an outbreak of Covid-19. However, Italy is generally viewed as having managed the crisis relatively well, with infection rates dropping following a strict and lengthy lockdown.
 
Italian government ministers and health experts have repeatedly insisted that though cases have been rising again, they can be kept under control.
 
Authorities are urging people to continue to take basic precautions – wearing masks in public places, frequent hand-washing, and maintaining a distance from others.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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