Thriller writer and editorial director at HarpersCollins, Phoebe Morgan, has set up a charity auction called “Books for Vaccines”. The writer is trying to accrue financial donations and prizes for the charity, and she has organised 50 prizes so far.
According to Morgan, “auction lots can be signed books, book bundles, 1-2-1s from literary agents for aspiring writers, Zoom mentoring sessions or phone calls from anyone in the industry who has time to spare to help someone trying to get a foot in the door, particularly tricky at the moment and basically anything of value that is book related.”
The auction will raise money for the global charity Care International which works with 104 countries. The money raised will go to places like India where the pandemic crisis is raining tragically in full swing.
This page is a simple guide to help you get involved.
The auction goes live today and will run until the 21st of May.
Various tourist attractions have finally opened their doors for visitors after a frustrating period of stagnation. One of them is the ZSL London Zoo, known as the oldest scientific zoo in the world. Today you will learn how this zoo operates after the lockdown.
Back in March last year, with the incoming of which would be the first of three planned national lockdowns, ZSL was forced to close the gates with thousands of animals inside.
Video from when they opened for the first time since lockdown was lifted in 2020:
The second lockdown once again affected the ZSL by cutting short their plans to bring in their winter finery and decorations.
“We had been counting on Christmas to raise funds, and on December 4 we were excited to reopen as a festive wonderland with decorations and one-way trails. But as London plunged into Tier 4, we had to close again.” Told Dominic Jermey to the Hampstead Highgate Express.
According to Metro, national lockdowns brought harmful financial issues to the ZSL London Zoo.
“Feeding the animals costs around £1 million a month, and the latest lockdown will cost the zoo another £1.8 million blow – on top of the £15 million pound loss last year.”
Sky News reported that in 2020, with visitors to the zoo declining due to the harsh months of continuous gate closures and persistent pandemic, the British bank Barclays decided to help the company with its debts, offering a £20 million loan to assist them. Nevertheless, the financial problems seem to persist and the inflow of new revenues is needed to move forward as soon as possible.
So now that the third and final lockdown is over, the most desired and definitive opening has come at the right timing.
“Spending a second Easter break closed was a disappointment which has been keenly felt across the charity. By reopening day on April 12, London Zoo will have been closed for 29 weeks.” Said Dominic Jermey in his article with the Hampstead Highgate Express.
Since 12 April 2021, the ZSL London Zoo welcomes visitors again. However, the ZSL official website announced some rules that people who want to come have to follow. Watch the video down below to find out about the new safety requirements:
The ZSL, which is 36-acre (15-hectare), was opened in 1828, and in 1830 received first additions from Windsor and the Tower of London menageries.
In 1849, the ZSL London Zoo introduced the first reptile house to the world and, in 1853, the very first public aquarium.
In Dunstable, Bedfordshire, the Whipsnade Zoo, a country branch of ZSL, was opened in 1931 by the Zoological Society of London. This branch of the ZSL is 600-acre (240-hectare) and currently has 9,694 animals.
A young lovely family of three, came to the ZSL London Zoo this morning. This is not their first visit, and they feel happy that the zoo is operating again.
“Definitely very beneficial for the kids. They enjoy the zoo and the animals very much” says Myat, and then she added that people should pay a visit as soon as they can.
Zoe, who has also visited the ZSL in the past, is satisfied with her experience today and recommends others to come.
“It’s definitely educational for children and adults. I love it.”
Despite the challenging period, the ZSL London Zoo operates again and welcomes the customers with unforgettable animals, hot pizza, sweet candy floss, spinning carousels and breath-taking experiences.
And will hopefully be able to recover, look after the animals and successfully continue to put smiles on people’s faces for the years to come.
France would like to establish a “pass sanitaire” beginning of June 2021.
Even though no official date has been announced regarding the launching of such certificate in France, the government has planned to use it as a proof of vaccination against Covid-19, a natural immunity after being ill or a negative test result. Those who wish to access crowded events of more than 1000 people such as festivals or concerts will have to show their “pass sanitaire.”
This certificate would be in line with the EU-Wide “Green Digital Certificate” approved by the Europpean Parliament on 29 April. This should notably allow more secured travels within the Europpean Union.
On May 3, The Covid Scientific Council has announced being in favor of a “pass sanitaire” in France: “[this would be] used temporarily and exceptionally to allow people to go back to an almost normal life while minimising the risk of contamination.”
The certificates that compose the “pass sanitaire” can be integrated as a numerical format on the application TousAntiCovid, unveiled on 19 April, but will also be available as a PDF and paper format.
French President Emmanuel Macron assured that the “pass sanitaire” will “never be a right of access that differentiates French people. It will not be mandatory to access places of everyday life such as restaurants, theatres, cinemas or to visit friends.”
France continues to discuss the possible establishment of such certificate on its territory.
The Ministry of Health has announced today that Poland for the first time has vaccinated over 400 000 within 24 hours and the numbers keep growing.
In total, 13,034,348 vaccinations for COVID-19 were carried out in Poland (according to data as of 10:30 on May 7).
As United Kingdom’s Covid-19 vaccination is slowing down, Poland at the end of April released the plan with the dates of when each age group will be able to register to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
Almost 40% of the population received the vaccine and 9,735,602 people got vaccinated with the first dose in Poland.
3,298,739 people have received two doses.
By the end of this week, all adults are going to be able to book a date for their vaccine.
However, in some cities, it is possible to get vaccinated even before your scheduled date and you can get your first dose the next day after booking your visit.
Wioletta, 21 years old who got her first dose of Pfizer before her scheduled date said “I believe that the accelerated vaccination system in Poland was a great idea. It will allow vaccinating as many people as possible in a short amount of time. The ability to get vaccinated faster, and before our turn, also allows us to return to our normal lives sooner.”
All you have to do to get the first dose of the vaccine before your age group is allowed to register is to keep an eye on your online patient profile and see if there is any date available and you can even choose the vaccine you want to be vaccinated with.
As some people are not unable to make their appointments for unseen reasons, others are able to take earlier slots, allowing for society to reach normality earlier than initially expected it.
A “Covid passport” is likely to be in place before the summer, notably in the UK and France.
Governments in Europe are actively looking at how people could easily show their Covid status in order to access big events and, in the long-term, allow international travels in the best conditions.
What’s the situation in the UK?
A “Covid passport” would be a record of whether a person has been vaccinated, recently tested negative or has natural immunity after being ill with Covid-19.
Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the UK are currently working together in order to agree on a “consistent approach.”
The government plans to test the idea of a covid passport to allow people to return to large events, including concerts, theatres, nightclubs and sports events in England.
“This Covid passport is unavoidable to come back to a normal life, to go back to crowded places or to travel without being scared to be infected or infect others.” says Wendy from London, 29.
During the Brit Awards at the London’s O2 Arena that will take place on 11 May, the 4000 people attending won’t have to wear a mask or be socially distanced but will have the obligation to present a negative Covid test result.
However, it has been announced that a Covid passport will never be required in settings such as essential shops or public transports.
What about the rest of Europe?
While a proof of a negative test is already required for international travels, Europpean officials have announced plans for an EU-wide “Green Digital Certificate” that would allow people to travel freely within the Europpean Union.
The holders of such certificate “should not be subjected to complimentary travel restrictions such as quarantining or Covid 19 tests” said the French parliament.
“All countries should try their maximum to agree among themselves and have a Covid passport that would be valid everywhere in the world.” points out Christophe from France, 59.
At this moment, only Denmark has actively put in place their “Coronapass” since early April 2021. Danish people have to show the proof that they have either been vaccinated, immunised after being ill with Covid 19 or have been tested negative in the last 72 hours before being allowed in restaurants, bars, museums, stadiums, as well as hair salons or driving schools.
“The Covid passport won’t only be useful for leisure activities but will also make working life easier. For example, I’m a high school teacher and it’s a nightmare to work in those conditions. If such passports could apply to more places, that would make the teaching environment more efficient and comfortable to work in, just like it used to be.” Says Anastasia from France, 30.
Front image: COVID-19 Vaccination Passport, Photo by Lukas on Unsplash
Switzerland has further relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions, since infection and hospitalisation rates have become increasingly stable. Currently, the vaccination roll-out is speeding up to over 51,000 jabs a day.
With the easing of restrictions it is now possible, for university students in Switzerland to return to campus after a year of online teaching, following recent government approval.
But there are still some restrictions; no more than 50 people in a class and rooms should not be filled beyond a third of capacity, mask wearing and hygiene measures also still apply.
For its part, the University of Geneva said that it would stick to online learning until the end of the spring semester on May 28, as it had announced earlier. This is to give stability to students and professors during what has been a very unpredictable time.
Many other Swiss universities have now confirmed that they will either go back to some face to face teaching within the next few weeks or that they will remain online for the rest of the semester.
Switzerland is not the only country that has been keeping its university campuses shut during the pandemic. Universities in neighbouring countries France, Germany and Italy are also closed for on-campus teaching.
University students in England will be allowed to return to face-to-face teaching from May 17 “at the earliest”.
Lana, a 19 year old university student studying in Geneva shared her thoughts and concerns on returning to in person learning. Listen to the audio interview below to find out what she said.
The Indian Variant (B.1.617) that was first detected within the UK on the 22nd February 2021, is likely to be considered a ‘Variant of Concern’ according to reports.
Currently, The Indian Variant has over 400 cases across the UK, and makes up 10% of Covid cases in London and despite numbers being relatively low, its status as ‘Variant under Investigation’ is highly likely to be changed on Friday
If changed to a ‘Variant of Concern’, a response from PHE (Public Health England) would suggest ordering surge testing, similar to the South African variant.
The strain – B1.617.2 – is one of three related variants first seen in India which have been detected in the UK and designated “under investigation” by PHE.
The other two are the B1.617.1 and B1.617.3.
The most recent data by PHE, confirm 193 cases of the B1617.1 variant, up by 61 since the last update on April 21.
The B1.617.2 variant shows 202 cases, and the B1.617.3 variant shows just five cases.
According to internal documents from PHE, dated to May 5 and seen by The Guardian, the ongoing risk to public health from the variant subtype B1617.2 is “high”.
As England already started lifting restrictions, Poland went into another big lockdown on March 27 when the 3rd wave of coronavirus hit. At first, the new restrictions were supposed to apply only for two weeks but were quickly stretched until the end of April.
On Wednesday Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Health Minister Adam Niedzielski held a live conference where they announced the reopening plan for May. It looks like by the end of the next month Poland will be fully out of lockdown.
The first stage of restarting the economy begins on May 4 as museums, art galleries, malls and elementary schools classes 1-3 will be reopening. On May 8th hotels in Poland will be finally reopened with an occupancy rate of 50%.
However, restaurant, wellness and spa zones in these places will stay closed.
A week later, from May 15, people are going to be able to go out and enjoy their time in the restaurant gardens. And from May 29th the opening of the restaurant under a strict sanitary regime will be possible.
From that day on, it will also be possible to go to the cinema and theater. It is important to mention that from May 15 elementary school classes 4-8 will be reopened and high schools will follow on May 29.
As most people are happy about lifting the restrictions we cannot say the same about students and teachers, as all schools are reopening 4 weeks before the end of the school year. Most people believe that there is not a point in reopening school this close to the end and are afraid that it will only increase Covid-19 cases which would cause a 4th wave.
Headmaster Ewelina Bober of Sport school SMS Rzeszów said “In my opinion reopening schools on May 29 wasn’t the best decision. Schools should have stayed closed as we still have around 8,000 new cases per day. In addiction, the end of the school year is on June 25 and we have to announce final grades on June 10 and there is nothing we can really do in schools after that. I believe that reopening schools for 4 week will bring more harm than good.”
Recently, relevant China University staff have begun to inoculate New Coronavirus vaccine.
This is definitely another step in the battle against COVID ‘-19.
In order to do a good job of normalized epidemic prevention and control, build a strong immune barrier, and ensure the life and health safety of teachers and students, the overall deployment of the epidemic prevention and control leading group of Guangdong University of foreign studies began to carry out the vaccination work for teachers and students in batches.
Teachers and students who are going to be vaccinated come to the gymnasium early to wait in line, in good order. Vaccination site is divided into information registration area, vaccination area, observation area and emergency response area. And after they have completed the vaccination, they need to sit in the observation area of the venue, and they can leave without any discomfort after staying for half an hour.
People’s daily life has returned to normal. Under the strict inspection of the University, people don’t need to wear masks to live on campus.
The old people and children living in the University have begun to walk and play. The hotel is also open.
At the same time, things are getting better in the UK. According to Matt Hancock, the UK health secretary, the UK has reached another milestone in the covid-19 vaccination, with more than half of the population vaccinated at least once.
Author hopes that people all over the world can defeat covid-19, and that global leaders will unite to ensure that everyone around the world has access to the new vaccine, testing and treatment of covid-19
The UK is slowly starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel after long months of complete restrictions, Spain on the other hand has more than 10,000 infections per day and around 137 deaths as of yesterday. With the pandemic currently striking the country, the Spanish government is now considering what next steps it should take in the long run to help ease the situation.
Some good news that is brining a little optimism to the current situation is, that due to the increase in the number of vaccines administered, the overall situation in Spain after so many months of uncertainty, is slowly and gradually moving towards improvement, breaking a new record of 481,910 daily vaccine inoculations administered yesterday, 29th of April.
So far, the total number of people vaccinated in Spain is 4,413,784 million people, or 9.3 percent of the entire population.
Although the immunisation status is not close enough to being adequate for this pandemic situation to end in the country, these figures raise expectations of a prompt, albeit slow recovery, hoping as soon as possible to be able to welcome back one of the most important economic bases for the country, tourism.