Qantas flight sale sees prices drop to $109 to ‘See More Australia’


As one of the most anticipated borders finally opens up between Greater Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland today, airline Qantas has dropped one of its biggest sales of the year.

Dubbed the ‘See More Australia’ sale, more than half a million fares will be up for grabs from as little as $109.

Kicking off today, the sale will run for an entire week covering off more than 150 routes. And the best bit is you’ll have until June next year to use the flights.

Some of the standouts from the sale include:

• Sydney to Melbourne from $125 one way

• Melbourne to Gold Coast from $135 one way

• Adelaide to Melbourne from $109 one way

Brisbane to Gladstone from $139 one way

• Hobart to Melbourne from $119 one way

Sydney to Perth from $219 one way

The sale comes just 24 hours after Qantas announced it would be axing thousands of staff before Christmas, after the airline decided to outsource the majority of its ground-handling operations.

RELATED: Qantas culls 2000 baggage handling jobs

Qantas announced on Monday that 2000 jobs will be permanently cut across 10 Australian airports as part of its operational overhaul to ensure it can remain in the skies beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision comes after months of operational reviews that began in August to reduce the size of the business following subdued travel numbers due to the health crisis.

Monday’s announcement brings the total job losses at Qantas to about 8500 of its 29,000 pre-pandemic workforce.



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Pennsylvania expands virus app to school-age phone users



HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s two-month-old coronavirus exposure notification app can now be used by mobile phone users as young as 13 as health officials work to stop the virus’ spread in schools around the state, officials said Monday.

The app, named COVID AlertPa, had previously been limited to people 18 and over.

“By expanding the age range, middle- and high-school students will be able to add their phones to the fight and help in contact tracing that occurs in their schools if a positive case is identified,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said at a virtual news conference.

A parent or legal guardian must approve the minor’s use of the app, she said. So far, more than 627,000 mobile phone users have downloaded it, according to the state.

Some school districts continue to conduct in-person instruction, even though each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties – except for northwestern Pennsylvania’s rural Cameron County, with fewer than 5,000 residents – has passed the threshold of new cases where the state Department of Education recommended fully remote instruction.

Approximately 20% of schools are offering full in-person instruction, 30% are offering some in-person instruction and 50% are fully remote instruction, the Department of Education said Monday.

Pennsylvania is now reporting an average of more than 6,400 new virus cases each day over the last week of November, triple the number from the last week in October. Hospitalizations, deaths and the testing positivity rate are up sharply, as well.

Meanwhile on Monday, the state Republican Party, in a fundraising email, accused Gov. Tom Wolf of “a whole new level of government overreach” and “abusing government permission to use wireless data” by using the Wireless Emergency Alert system last Wednesday night.

In the message, Wolf’s administration urged people to “stay home if possible” because “COVID-19 rates are rising & hospitals could soon be at capacity.”

The GOP’s fundraising email, though, characterized it as Wolf, a Democrat, of having “ordered us not to leave our homes by sending a mass text.”

“Emergency text alerts are sent for just that, emergencies,” it said.

President Donald Trump declared a nationwide coronavirus emergency in March, and the Federal Communications Commission has advised state and local governments that they can use the Wireless Emergency Alert system “as a tool to provide life-saving information to the public” during the pandemic.

Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan also used the system Wednesday, as governors and mayors ratchet up mask mandates and restrictions on indoor gatherings. Public health officials fear that Thanksgiving gatherings will put greater stress on strained hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death over the holidays.

In Allegheny County, Dr. Debra L. Bogen, director of the county’s health department, said in a statement Monday that she expects rising cases of Covid-19 from Thanksgiving gatherings and travel and is concerned that, if cases continue rising at the current rate, “it will strain the capacity and staff of our region’s hospitals.”

Two weeks ago, Wolf’s administration mandated people who are traveling to Pennsylvania from another state, as well as Pennsylvania residents who are returning home from out of state, to quarantine for 14 days if they do not test negative for the virus within 72 hours before they arrive.

The state has no plans to enforce that measure, but is asking for voluntary compliance.

Levine on Monday urged people who attended Thanksgiving gatherings to consider getting a test or going into quarantine, and urged people not to travel during December’s upcoming holidays.

Before a vaccine is available, the upcoming winter months, Levine said, look like they will be “the peak time in terms of transmission of COVID-19 for this global pandemic.”

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This story has been corrected to show that one county, Cameron County, does not meet the new cases threshold where the state Department of Education recommends fully remote instruction.

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Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/timelywriter. Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.





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Holiday air travel surges despite dire health warnings



Nearly 1.2 million people passed through U.S. airports Sunday, the greatest number since the pandemic gripped the country in March, despite pleas from health experts for Americans to stay home over Thanksgiving.

The Transportation Security Administration screened at least 1 million people on four of the last 10 days through Sunday. That’s still half the crowd recorded last year at airports, when more than 2 million people were counted per day.

With new reported cases of coronavirus spiking across the country, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued a warning against Thanksgiving travel just a week before the holiday.

Some airlines had reported a pullback in bookings as virus cases grew. On Monday, JetBlue Airways said “booking trends remain volatile,” and a recovery in travel demand will be uneven into next year.

JetBlue, the nation’s sixth-largest airline, plans to fly only half its normal schedule in the fourth quarter and revenue will fall about 70% from the same period last year. Those are slightly deeper reductions in flying and revenue than the New York carrier had expected before the recent spike in infections.

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Ladakh rolls out first tourism incentive policy – travel


Ladakh has rolled out its first tourism incentive policy with focus on ensuring equitable and sustainable development of all regions in the Union Territory, an official spokesperson said on Sunday.

Commissioner Secretary Tourism and Culture Rigzin Samphel has laid special emphasis on the new Capital Outright Investment Subsidy which aspires to promote a concept of small and beautiful fixed assets in Ladakh based on local tradition and architecture, the spokesperson said.

As per the Department of Tourism, there is an urgent need to give emphasis on promotion of tourism assets in remote and virgin tourist destinations of Ladakh.

“Any investment made in such assets should be of a value which will have low gestation period. Therefore, instead of large hotels and guest houses, the incentive policy aims at the overarching principal of small and sustainable tourism assets,” the spokesperson said.

He said the upper limit of the Capital Outright Investment Subsidy has been increased by 33 per cent from the previous Rs 30 lakh to Rs 40 lakh.

“The government will grant 30 per cent Capital Outright Investment Subsidy on the fixed assets for new tourism units. This subsidy will also be available for expansion of the existing units but will be restricted to investments made on the extension of the unit only,” he said.

However, the spokesperson said subsidy on both accounts would be restricted to an upper ceiling of Rs 40 lakh for buildings using traditional building materials such as Gyapak and local stones and Rs 25 lakh for others.

The spokesman said another highlight of the incentive scheme is the “Ladakh Tangible Cultural Heritage Conservation Fund“ and as per the policy, Ladakh has a rich collection of historic and heritage sites such as forts and old heritage buildings spread all across the districts of Leh and Kargil.

He said a committee constituted by the department would identify and make a list of such properties.

“The committee shall also certify the buildings as protected historic building and monuments,” the spokesperson said, adding only the listed sites would qualify for the work of restoration and conservation.

In case of the site being a private property, the ownership would be certified by the revenue department (tehsildar), he said.

The spokesperson said the project proposal with restoration plan and design would be provided by qualified experts to be empanelled or nominated by the Department of Tourism.

“All works of restoration or conservation would be carried out under the supervision of the Department of Tourism and Culture, Union Territory of Ladakh,” he said.

The spokesperson said the tourism incentive policy has a scheme to “Support for Adventure or Recreation Tourism” and a subsidy up to 20 per cent of the cost of various types of identified equipments.

“The subsidy up to 20 per cent of the cost of the equipments will be subject to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh as a one-time measure which would be available for establishment of equipment stores duly registered with the Tourism Department provided the said equipment is used for hiring out or providing service at the rates approved by the Tourism Department to the tourists interested in adventure sports,” the spokesperson said.

He said an investor interested in opening a shop for hiring out equipments related to adventure tourism, at the rates duly approved by the Tourism Director to the interested tourists will be eligible for subsidy on the equipments of standard specification required for such activities.

One of the other highlights of the incentive scheme is the “Training of Personnel in Tourism Industry” which has been introduced to assist entrepreneurs in upgrading the skills of the personnel engaged by them in running their tourism units and travel agencies registered by the Tourism Department, he said.

The training is to be conducted with the prior approval of the Director of Tourism, Ladakh and the expenditure on the training of managers and other executives shall be reimbursed to the extent of 50 per cent of the actual cost or Rs 50,000 whichever is less, he said, adding that reimbursement of the cost incurred on training, in all cases, would be payable after the successful completion of the training.

Regarding the implementing agency for disbursement of subsidy, the spokesperson said a committee headed by Commissioner Secretary Tourism, Ladakh would scrutinise the cases recommended by the Director of Tourism.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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Coronavirus | Goa’s domestic air passenger traffic returning to normal amid unlock process: Official – travel


The domestic passenger traffic at Goa Airport is getting back to normal as the facility has recorded about 75 per cent footfalls so far this year compared to the same period last year during pre-Covid-19 times, a senior official said on Sunday. Talking to PTI, Goa Airport’s Director Gagan Malik said the number of domestic flights are also increasing amid the unlock process, even as scheduled and chartered international travel continues to remain suspended.

After the lockdown in March this year due to the pandemic, India resumed its scheduled domestic passenger flights from May 25.

Malik said since the Goa Airport reopened for domestic travel, the passenger flow has returned to 70-75 per cent now compared to last year, and is expected to pick up further next month, which is the peak tourist season in the state.

“The domestic passenger footfalls are expected to cross 80 per cent in December,” he said.

On an average, 11,000 passengers arrive and depart from the Goa Airport on weekdays, while on weekends, the number reaches about 13,500, the official said.

Goa has been witnessing an inflow of visitors as hotels, restaurants and other places of tourist interests have opened up as part of the unlock process.

Malik said 50 per cent of the domestic flights have resumed, and are likely to go up to 60-65 per cent next month.

Besides reactivating older routes, airlines have also connected new routes like Lucknow, Nagpur, Chandigarh during the unlock phase, he said.

As per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) laid down by the state government, two thermal scanners have been installed to check the outgoing and incoming passengers, the official said.



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South Delhi parks to have fruit, milk stalls soon – delhi news


Parks under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) will soon have kiosks selling fruit, milk and basic confectionary items, as per a proposal passed by the corporation’s standing committee recently. The proposal aims to boost revenue of the corporation which has been hit because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The proposal will be put before the House to be passed in the next meeting. Initially, parks with a bigger area will be selected for the scheme,” said a senior official, who did not wish to be named.

Vendors will be provided temporary sheds of 4.5×2.5 metres within the parks. They will be allotted a fixed time in the morning and evening for business, the official added.

Also read | South civic body ties up with NTPC to set up solar panels, e-charging stations

As per the proposal, the space will be given on a minimum reserve price of Rs8,600 per site per month in the central and south zones while in the west and Najafgarh zones, the reserve price will be Rs7,000.

“The space will be given for a maximum period of seven years. Bids for the same will be held,” the official said.

The winning bidder will have to pay three months’ license fee in advance, he added.

There are over 6,000 parks, including ornamental and general, under the SDMC.



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Covid-19: Mumbai airport gears up to transport, manage vaccine – mumbai news


With various pharmaceutical companies working out ways to procure Covid-19 vaccine, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) is set to deploy a dedicated task force to facilitate advance planning and collaboration between the airport and all the stakeholders (airline customers, supply chain partners, regulatory and governmental bodies, vaccine distributors).

Along with stringent security arrangements, the task force is set to manage the required temperature, reduce dwell time with prior special approvals from regulators. It will also create a cold chain for vaccine movement from the manufacturing facility to the end distributor.

Mumbai airport will also see a round-the-clock customer service cell dedicated to Covid-19 vaccine export-import (EXIM) consignments in order to address customer queries, pre-alerts and status updates.

Also read | PM Modi to interact with three teams working on vaccine today

CSMIA spokesperson said in addition to the existing infrastructure and developments at the airport, flexible slots for ad hoc charter operations will also play an important role in seamless facilitation of storage and transportation of the vaccine.

As the country’s largest airport gateway for pharmaceutical EXIM movements, the existing infrastructure at CSMIA offers a continuous temperature controlled movement and processing of pharmaceutical goods through the airport, which will be vital for the storage and transportation of the vaccine.

CSMIA spokesperson said the airport has state-of-the-art facilities, such as Asia’s largest temperature controlled export pharmaceutical excellence centre with an annual handling capacity of 350,000 tonnes.

“Spread over an area of 4,000sqm, this facility has a total of 140 unit load device (ULD) storage positions and 50 power outlets for charging active containers. Additionally, the airport will also host six dedicated truck docks for round the clock cargo acceptance and quick turnaround of trucks, two release gates for ULD exit, two X-ray machines, six cold chambers offering 2-8 degrees storage for 12 main deck ULD’s, CCTV surveillance and electronically monitored temperature management system with alarm alerts and power backup,” said the spokesperson.



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Uptick in Covid-19 cases due to Thanksgiving travel likely in US, says Dr Fauci – travel


Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert of the US, said on Sunday that there will almost certainly be an uptick in Covid-19 cases after Americans travelled for the Thanksgiving holiday despite warnings by public health officials, reported The Hill.

“The travel that has been done has been done,” Fauci told a US news network.

“Having said that, we have to be careful now because there almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel….We understand the importance of families getting together. And it’s just something that we have to deal with that we likely will have an increase in cases, as we get into the colder weeks of the winter, and as we approach the Christmas season,” said Fauci.

He further urged travellers to be safe when returning home from holiday travels, and encouraged them to quarantine if possible and to get tested.

The Hill reported that the day before Thanksgiving, travel rates reached the highest they have been since March, with nearly 1.1 million passengers passing through airport security.

A week before Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a recommendation against gathering for the holidays this year. Health experts have warned that the holidays could become a superspreader event if safety guidelines are not adhered to.

Fauci noted that the vaccine would likely be available for at-risk populations and health professionals around the middle or end of December, but pleaded them to continue to adhere to safety guidelines.

“The process of the development of this vaccine has been one that has been scientifically sound. safety has not been compromised, scientific integrity has not been compromised and the process of determining whether it works, whether it’s safe and effective has been independent by independent bodies and transparent…We’ve got to get the community, the broad community of the United States to see that and appreciate that,” said Fauci.

According to the latest update by the Johns Hopkins University, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the US stands at 13,251,540, along with 266,119 deaths.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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Coronavirus: Canada extends travel restrictions for those entering the country – travel


Canada will extend its restrictions for all travelers entering the country, except from the United States, until Jan. 21, the government said on Sunday, in a move to limit the spread of COVID-19. Restrictions for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals arriving from the United States will continue until Dec. 21 and may be extended at that time, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement.

Canada said it is also amending its order and creating a framework for considering applications from sport organizations seeking to hold International Single Sport Events.



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Auckland rescue helicopter spots secret love message in Kaipara Flats


The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter spotted what it described as a “love heart glade” from the skies, as it flew to a mission in Northland.

Crew Chief Mark “Tinny” Cannell took the photos on November 15, as the helicopter flew from Auckland to the forested region at the top of New Zealand’s North Island.

The crew spotted a massive love heart glade while flying over the vicinity of the Kaipara Flats on the afternoon of November 15.

At first it can be hard to spot amid the greenery – but once you see it, you can’t miss it.

It appears someone got hold of some garden tools and decided to create a declaration of love that can be seen from above.

The Kaipara Flats area is located about 70km north of Auckland.

This article originally appeared on New Zealand Herald and has been republished with permission



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