Author Archives: Sam Tabahriti

People left stranded due to lockdown travel restrictions

There are several people who travelled to other countries for vacations, business meetings or for other reasons before the lockdown was implemented. The restrictions were not imposed till March as the outbreak had only reached certain countries.

As the cases increased around the world, countries such as China and the United States of America enforced a ban on travelling. Following it, other countries, such as India and Pakistan had to abruptly close their boarders as well, leaving thousands of people stranded.

Photograph taken by Mujtaba Nadeem

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused issues for entire world. People have been stuck in other countries for over a month. Higher authorities of every country are working towards bringing the stranded nationals of their respective countries back home. Though the process is slow since the flights are limited.

One of the citizens of Pakistan, Mujtaba Nadeem was on a business trip to Malaysia, along with his brother when the lockdown was announced. On their way back to Pakistan, the civil aviation authority informed them about suspension of all the flights for an indefinite period of
time by the government.

Nadeem said: “We were stranded in this foreign country with limited funds and no contact with the Pakistani authority. I had no choice but to contact my old friend, who was kind and generous to offer me and my brother to stay with him until the lockdown eases.”

Photograph taken by Mujtaba Nadeem


Upon asking him more about his time in Malaysia, Nadeem tells us that initially there was a high alert restriction on movement throughout the country, as people were only allowed to step out for emergency and urgent purposes.

Since, past week the government ease down the lockdown and few businesses have reopened, however for a limited working hour. Nadeem and his brother have spent his quarantine time mostly indoors. “I have binge watched several shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime.” Along with several other stranded people, they are waiting for authorities to allow them to take the flight back home.

As Pakistan is allowing other countries to send their nationals back home, Nadeem further talks about how the procedure has not been simple.

By Warshma Chughtai

Image Source: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

NHS Nightingale Hospital to be closed down

Temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital London will be closing in the coming weeks after only treating 54 patients. The hospital will close on May 15th, but remain on standby in the event of a second wave of Covid 19 infections. 

No further patients are being admitted for treatment in the facility and the 12 that remain there will be sent to neighbouring hospitals for the rest of their treatment. 

Photograph by Unsplash | Ahdy Savala

The Nightingale London was not utilised to its full capacity as established hospitals expanded their intensive care facilities coping much better with the influx of critically ill patients than expected. 

The hospital resides in the ExCel exhibition space – usually used for large events such as Crufts and Comic Con – that was transformed into the hospital in just nine days.  The temporary facility can hold as many as 4,000 patients and was staffed by NHS medics and the military.

Photograph by Unsplash | Joe Kibria 

To support the new hospital, less than 5 miles away a temporary morgue was built on the Wanstead flats to accommodate the large increase in the number of deaths in the capital. The new facility is being utilised as a holding place before a burial or cremation can take place and visitors are not permitted inside the site.  The site remains open.  

By Danielle Freeman-Grantham 

Challenges of dental clinics in Mexico during the pandemic

In the small town of Nogales, Mexico some dental clinics are struggling to maintain open despite orders to keep them closed until 1 June.

However, some dentists are defying the restrictions by opening their clinics only for emergency appointments. Despite health advice from the health secretary, dentists are at risk in being infected if they keep their facilities open.

This is what we heard from Dr. Ivan Gonzalez who has reopened his dental clinic and the challenges that the dental community is facing.

Dr Gonzales. Photograph by Patty Lopez

By Karina Corral

Image source: Dr. Gonzales. Photograph by Patty Lopez

Report reveals black people four times more likely to die from Covid-19

Photograph by Unsplash | Dann Stevens

Research released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that people from black backgrounds in England and Wales were four times more likely to die from coronavirus than people from white backgrounds. 

The study found that all other ethnic minorities were more likely to die from Covid-19, compared to people from white backgrounds.

Photograph by Unsplash | Askhan Forozani

It discovered that after taking into account age, self reported health and disability, black people were still almost twice as likely as white people to die a Covid-19-related death. 

This chart shows the likelihood of ethic minorities deaths in comparison to people from white backgrounds.

Graph by Danielle Freeman-Grantham

David Lammy the Shadow Lord Chancellor described the news as “Appalling” and stated that he felt that “It is urgent the causes of this disproportionality are investigated.”

by Danielle Freeman Grantham

LONDON’S ETHNIC MINORITIES ‘MORE AT RISK’ FROM COVID-19

Andy Serkis to give 12- hour live reading of The Hobbit

Andy Serkis, best known as Gollum in the Lord of Rings and Hobbit films, is set to give a continuous live reading of The Hobbit – with no breaks – in aid of charity, lasting about 10 to 12 hours.

Serkis promises to do all the voices of all the great characters, including the trolls and the orcs. He has been practising for about 60 days now, but will not reveal anything until the big day.

All money that is raised will be donated to the NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings, two charities that are working incredibly hard to help the most vulnerable.

Serkis invites all fans who will be watching this marathon reading to donate via a GoFundMe campaign.

The reading will commence at 10am (GMT) on Friday 8th May and the link to the livestream will be posted on the GoFundMe page.

By Grace Staley

America’s air traffic remains far more congested than Europe

Amid the pandemic, the USA has continued to allow flights to be in service. At present, thousands of flights that can still be tracked flying across the country.

European countries like Italy do not have a single aeroplane that can be detected on tracking websites. The USA currently has the highest death rate in the world. There have been questions raised on whether the US should consider adopting a European strategy to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Italy, Spain and the UK have been significantly hit by the virus in Europe. The UK surpassed Italy yesterday to have the highest count in Europe from Covid-19 deaths.

Italy had acted earlier than the UK to shut down all international travel and ordered citizens to not travel to work. UK flights have dropped by 90% with only 700 detected flights in a week. The UK is recently showing signs of improvement since there have been 354 fewer deaths in a previous week to 24th April.

Not all flights in Europe have taken the same measures as each other. Social distancing rules were not applied on an Aer Lingus flight from Belfast to Heathrow earlier this week.

A passenger had complained that no strict social distancing rules were applied. Northern Ireland has 250 recorded deaths from the coronavirus and social distancing rules haven’t been as stringent as Italy or Spain.

The chief executive of Loganair responded that it is impossible to introduce social distancing on aeroplanes because of the recycled air that is caused by the air conditioning systems.

It has been noted that passenger planes in America are also sometimes filled up because other flights have been cancelled – defeating the purpose of trying to contain the virus. It creates a higher possibility of people sitting closer to each other on new flights they have been issued.

This raises the point on why the plane was full in the Aer Lingus flight. There are not many flights that are landing from Belfast to Heathrow at this time. Passenger planes, therefore, will be more full since the selection of planes to choose from are fewer. The average of people who travel in a US domestic flight is around 17 passengers. All airlines in America also require crew members to wear face masks. These same rules weren’t applied from the domestic flight in the UK with Aer Lingus airlines.

America’s internal air traffic remains far busier than Europe’s. If America changes its policy to restrict more flights, the number of coronavirus infections is expected to increase in the short term.

The ratio of planes that are flying in America and Europe doesn’t mean each plane has fully filled seats with passengers. Internal flights in America are not showing the actual amount of people on board these flights.

Regular citizens are travelling less freely after March 2020 due to other restrictions related to work. With other policies put in place to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, the air traffic is not expected to change across America anytime soon.

By Tadhg Ormond

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