‘Virtually entire White Sox traveling party’ receives COVID-19 vaccine


Thursday was a pretty good day for the White Sox.

With the team playing in front of home fans for the first time since 2019, Lance Lynn threw a complete-game shutout and Yermin Mercedes continued his journey to becoming a cult hero by blasting a 485-foot home run.

And those might not be the only reasons the Sox will view that day so fondly.

Before their 4-3, 10-inning loss Sunday to the Royals, the Sox announced that ‘‘virtually the entire White Sox traveling party’’ received a COVID-19 vaccine after the home opener Thursday. The optional vaccines were the one-time Johnson & Johnson version and were administered at the ballpark.

General manager Rick Hahn said more than 90% of the traveling party was vaccinated. At this point, the Sox haven’t reached the 85% threshold because they haven’t been able to offer vaccines to all of their players and staff at their alternate site in Schaumburg. The 85% mark is important because when a team reaches it, Major League Baseball will relax safety protocols for that club.

Hahn, however, said he anticipates surpassing that level when the Sox get more access to vaccines.

‘‘We are thrilled with where we are at,’’ said Hahn, who thanked the city of Chicago, the Chicago Department of Public Health and Rush University Medical Center.

Hahn and manager Tony La Russa sounded especially happy about how much the team bought in to getting vaccinated. While acknowledging the obvious individual benefits, Hahn said it goes beyond that. He said it sends a great message to the community and a great message about being a good teammate.

La Russa, who received a vaccine before the start of spring training, didn’t go player-to-player talking about the vaccines, leaving it instead to medical professionals to inform the team.

‘‘It’s an independent decision times 26 or 40, but I do know that they got a lot of information,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘It’s a big issue. It’s not something that you decide on lightly. But there’s a lot of community in what the final outcome was, which is good for us.’’

Infielder Danny Mendick said he was one of the players who was vaccinated. He said he did it for the team, his family and everybody around him.

Mendick admitted he felt ‘‘a little crummy’’ Friday after getting inoculated, but that seemed a small price to pay for peace of mind. The Sox scheduled the vaccinations around their off-day Friday and had another day to recover when their game Saturday was postponed because of rain.

‘‘I think it’s pretty cool to see that all the guys pretty much went in there and got the vaccine for everybody else, you know what I mean?’’ Mendick said. ‘‘It helps for families, for road trips and different things like that. It shows that everyone has bought in. We’ve got a 162-game season, so it’s great to get it started like this.’’

The news doesn’t mean the Sox are completely free of COVID-19 concerns. The pandemic is still a part of everybody’s lives and requires precautions. The inoculations, however, will lower Hahn’s worries about the coronavirus infiltrating the Sox’ clubhouse.

‘‘Quite frankly, one of the strong benefits of the participation [in] the vaccination program is that when my phone rings and it’s [athletic trainer] James Kruk on the other end, it’s more likely to be an actual baseball injury than it is something COVID-related,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘Having dealt all of last summer and spring this year with that risk, I would say that there’s actually a little bit of comfort spending our time talking about hamstrings instead of a pandemic.’’



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Tahiti to reopen to tourism next month | News


The president of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch, travelled to Paris to meet several members of the French government, including president Emmanuel Macron.

During the trip, he revealed the islands of Tahiti will reopen to tourism on May 1st.

Fritch argued the Covid-19 pandemic in French Polynesia is now “under control,” with less than 20 new cases per week.

This is due to new protective measures, authorities said.

The vaccination campaign in the destination is also accelerating, with vaccination against Covid-19 now open to all.

Regarding entry conditions, Fritch said: “We are going to put in place a protocol at the entry of our borders using virological testing, serological testing, vaccine and an ETIS (Electronic Travel Information System).

“We will explain this protocol in detail with the high commissioner in the coming days.”





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How to survive hotel quarantine


(CNN) — Being stuck in isolation in a small hotel room for days on end with no option to leave could easily have been the basis for a fly-on-the-wall wall reality show a few years ago.

However, as travel restrictions continue to change due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this scenario is becoming part and parcel of traveling during the pandemic.

A number of destinations around the world, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, have a mandatory two-week quarantine in place for arrivals, while those traveling to Hong Kong are required to remain in isolation for a staggering three weeks.

Although this may seem like a lot to go through for a vacation, it’s an unavoidable obstacle for those who need to travel during these uncertain times.

According to Hickie, many travelers don’t realize how vital being awake and active during the day and having social interactions is to their overall wellbeing and end up approaching their mandatory hotel quarantine in an “unhelpful” way.

Be purposeful

“People tend to lie about binge-watching streaming services through the night and sleeping through the day just to get through the period,” he tells CNN Travel.

“But that is very unhelpful. Travelers are surprised at how quickly their mood deteriorates after a few days of this.”

Instead of watching series after series of TV shows back to back, Hickie advises travelers to spend at least six hours a day “doing something purposeful” in order to stimulate their minds fully.

“Your brain is a very energy-intensive organ, which is not used up very much by staring at a screen,” he explains.

“Just by engaging in complex activities, which may be work-related or other things that engage you deeply, you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something.

“And it helps with these 24-hour cycles. If you’ve actually exhausted yourself mentally, as well as physically, it will help you sleep.”

Before completing Hong Kong’s mandatory three-week quarantine back in February, CNN features producer Zahra Jamshed sought advice from a number of seasoned hotel quarantiners, who suggested she put a routine in place from the get go.

Although Jamshed was able to work from the hotel during her quarantine period, so her days had a regular structure to them, she decided to create a “to do” list with a number of allotted tasks so that each day would feel purposeful.

“I was nervous that the weekends could feel empty and monotonous,” she explains.

“This way I knew I wasn’t going to wake up on the weekends wondering ‘what do I do with the day’ while scrolling through everyone else’s feeds on Instagram.”

Making sure to get an early start was also vital, as there was just one big window in her hotel room, and the best time for direct sunlight was early in the morning.

“The odd day that I slept in and missed my time in the sunshine, I really felt it take a toll on me mentally,” she says.

Daylight factor

A member of the cleaning staff prepares a room for a guest at the St Giles Hotel, near Heathrow Airport in west London, on February 10, 2021.

In January, the UK introduced a mandatory 10-day quarantine for visitors from “high risk” countries.

BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

As Jamshed discovered, daylight is hugely important when it comes to regulating our moods and maintaining our sleep schedules.

“Sunlight is so essential for enhancing moods and setting your regular 24 hour cycle / body clock in terms of brain function and emotion in particular ways,” explains Hickie.

“And if you’re in rooms that face away from the sun and don’t have a balcony, that’s much harder.”

Staying physically active can be difficult while in a confined space, but it can make a huge difference to your mood.

In the run up to the Australian Open in Melbourne earlier this year, tennis star Novak Djokovic was pictured trying to stay fit while in quarantine by swinging tennis rackets on his hotel balcony, while British player Katie Boulter shared images of herself doing yoga in her suite.

Jamshed says she also tried to exercise daily, alternating between yoga and circuits.

The impact of simple things like being able to go outside, get regular daylight and move around were apparent to CNN Travel digital producer Lilit Marcus, who sailed through a two-week hotel quarantine in Sri Lanka.

As the destination’s hotel quarantine rules are slightly less restrictive than those in other countries, she was allowed to leave her suite and enjoy the resort’s amenities, which included a pool, gym and spa, as well as visit ‘approved’ tourists sites.

“As quarantines go, there are worse ones than Sri Lanka’s,” says Marcus, who is based in Hong Kong.

“Even though I was working remotely to stay busy, having the ability to go for a swim first thing in the morning and eat meals somewhere other than my bed went a long way for my mental health.

“Guests and staff had masks and gloves on, and the size of the resort made it really easy to socially distance, even at the breakfast buffet. I felt safe, but I also had fun. Who could have imagined?”

Although Marcus’ movements were restricted and she was unable to socialize freely, she was ultimately spared the complete isolation and lack of social interaction that many in quarantine struggle with.

Stay connected

This photo taken on January 13, 2021 shows a laptop computer photographed during an interview with South Korean vegan entrepreneur Lee Jung-soo, as she plays guitar and sings a song during her three-weeks of mandatory quarantine inside a hotel room at a different location in Hong Kong.

Lee Jung-soo stayed busy by recording videos of herself playing the guitar while in quarantine in Hong Kong.

ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images

“Being out in the social world interacting with people is essential to your normal mental health and wellbeing,” says Hislop.

“We [humans] are social animals and we expect to be able to interact with people physically and emotionally.

“Humans cope best in groups. A lot of people have never really lived their lives on their own, especially for an extended period. So that’s really challenging.”

However, he notes that one of the major benefits of modern technology is that staying connected while being physically apart is much easier.

Jamshed spent a lot of time writing thank-you notes to friends “on the outside” as well as having video and phone calls with her loved ones.

But while social media can also be helpful in terms of keeping up with news back home, it can also be overwhelming, particularly with the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

Hickie recommends that travelers “turn off the 24-hour news cycle” where possible and focus on “stuff that is more purposeful.”

This approach worked for Lee Jung-soo, who stayed busy by documenting her Hong Kong hotel quarantine in January.

The South Korean entrepreneur shared at least 70 Instagram posts detailing the experience, including all of her meals, during the course of her mandatory hotel stay.

“I wouldn’t recommend watching the news all day,” she told AFP via video chat while in quarantine. “That’s just not a good headspace to be in, constantly updating yourself about the latest (outbreak), you’ll just drive yourself up the wall.”

Jamshed says she tried to view her quarantine period as two blocks of ten-day periods, so that she wasn’t counting down three weeks.

“I think that was essential, because the bigger numbers tend to be scarier and more overwhelming the longer you’ve been in here,” she explains.

“It’s way harder to comprehend “I’ve been in here 16 days” than it is to say “I only have five days left!”

Keep focused

Novak Djokovic of Serbia (C) waves to fans from a hotel balcony in Adelaide, South Australia on January 20, 2021,

Tennis player Novak Djokovic exercises on his hotel balcony while in quarantine in Australia in January.

MORGAN SETTE/AFP via Getty Images

While she coped well for the first two weeks, day 16 proved to be a particularly low point.

“I’m not sure why, I started to miss the feeling of solid ground under my feet, and fresh air,” she says. “But by day 17 I was back to better spirits.”

According to Hickie, many travelers are surprised by the impact being in isolation for an extended period can have on their mental wellbeing.

“It’s interesting, I’ve spoken to a number of people who’ve been far more challenged by it than they thought they would,” says Hickie.

“They just assumed they would go in, count the days and be out the other end. Then after three or four days in a row, they start to think ‘this is really challenging.’

“Those who’ve been in quarantine more than once came to realize how essential their daily activities are in maintaining their normal moods.

“When deprived of that, they suddenly become disturbed in ways they wouldn’t have predicted at all.”

Now she’s out the other side of quarantine, Zamshed admits there’s a few things she would do differently given the opportunity, and reducing the amount of plastic waste she accumulated during her stay is top of the list.

“In Hong Kong everything in your room either leaves with you, or it’s thrown out once you leave for hygiene reasons,” she explains.

“My room came with boxes of plastic water bottles, dozens of mini shampoo bottles, all of which I didn’t need.

“Oh, and I would have brought less clothes… the reality is you just end up cycling through the same leggings and T-shirts every day.”



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Most of White Sox traveling party gets COVID-19 vaccine | Buffalo Sports


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Most of White Sox traveling party gets COVID-19 vaccine


More than 90% of the traveling party for the Chicago White Sox got the COVID-19 vaccine after their home opener, moving the team closer to meeting Major League Baseball’s threshold for relaxing some of the protocols put in place for the pandemic.

Showing an unusual amount of transparency for the sport, the White Sox announced the step before Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Royals. The team said in a release that “virtually the entire” traveling party had received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and general manager Rick Hahn put the number at “well in excess of 90%.”

“We got to an extraordinarily high percentage of those eligible participating and we couldn’t be happier with that,” Hahn said.

In its release, the team thanked the city, the Chicago Department of Public Health and Rush University Medical Center for their help with the vaccinations.

Major League Baseball and the players’ association sent a memo to players and staff last month that said some of the sport’s coronavirus-related restrictions would be eliminated once 85% of the team’s major league players and primary field staff are vaccinated. The memo said players and staff are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the one-dose vaccine.

While the White Sox got most of their traveling party vaccinated on Thursday, Hahn said they haven’t met the 85% threshold because it also includes players and staff at the club’s alternate site in Schaumburg. But he thinks the organization will reach 85% “in the coming weeks.”

In the meantime, under MLB protocols, there are individual benefits to the vaccine for players and staff. Fully vaccinated people who have close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not have to quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms.

“I think it’s pretty cool to see that all the guys pretty much went in there and got the vaccine for everybody else,” said shortstop Danny Mendick, a vaccinated player. “You know what I mean? It helps for families, for road trips and different things like that. It shows that everyone has bought in.”

For Hahn, the team’s vaccination program had at least one benefit very specific to his job.

“When my phone rings and it’s (head athletic trainer) James Kruk on the other end, it’s more likely to be an actual baseball injury than it is something COVID-related, having dealt with all of last summer and spring this year with that risk,” Hahn said. “I would say that there’s actually a little bit of comfort in spending our time talking about hamstrings instead of the pandemic.”

___

Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap





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Two New Airlines Set To Launch In The U.S.


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Despite the pandemic doing its utmost to all but cancel travel plans and dash the vacation hopes for millions of Americans, there have been signs of encouragement from American travelers in recent months. From airlines adding new domestic and international routes, to the CDC declaring vaccinated travel to be low-risk, summer getaways might just be on the cards for US-based travelers – and they might be doing so on brand new airlines.

Two airlines are set to launch in the US in the coming months – Avelo Airlines and Breeze Airways – coming just as Americans are getting the taste for travel once more. Here’s what we know about their industry newcomers so far.

Two New Airlines Set To Launch In The US In The Coming Months

Avelo Airlines – A New Name In Low-Cost Travel

Avelo Airlines might be a new name in the travel circuit, but it is backed by a wealth of experience that should see it take off smoothly. The airline was founded by Andrew Levy, former co-founder and president of Allegiant Air, and once the CFO of industry heavyweights United Airlines.

plane landing

Based out of Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), Levy talked up his choice of base, stating that:

“No airport is closer to downtown L.A., Hollywood, Pasadena, and Southern California’s many other attractions than Burbank. As the San Fernando Valley’s hometown airport, Burbank will give you easy access to an abundance of beautiful and relaxing new non-stop destinations across California and the Western U.S. And for those considering LA for their next vacation or long weekend getaway, Burbank is the ultra-convenient, stress-free gateway to Greater L.A., and the world-famous fun-in-the-sun activities Southern California is known for.”

plane runway

 The airline is to be very attractively priced, with fares expected to start from just $18, and will carry passengers on 189-seater Boeing 737-800 planes. Whilst a full list of destinations is yet to be published, those confirmed already include Arcata-Eureka, CA (ACV); Bend-Redmond, OR (RDM); Bozeman, MT (BZN); Eugene, OR (EUG); Grand Junction, CO (GJT); Medford, OR (MFR); Pasco, WA (PSC); Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (AZA); Ogden, UT (OGD); Redding, CA (RDD) and Santa Rosa, CA (STS).

plane taking off take off

Only Santa Rose and Phoenix-Mesa will operate daily, with the other routes to feature three to four flights per week. As is typical with budget airlines, charges will be added for amenities such as checked baggage and priority boarding. Avelo will start flying on April 28th.

airplane landing

Breeze Airways – Coming Soon

Breeze Airways is another new low-cost airline that is expected to start operations in the next few months. Based in Salt Lake City, it has been founded by former WestJet and Morris Air founded David Neelaman.

plane above New York skyline

Breeze’s modus operandi will be to focus on smaller destinations, and those that other airlines have pulled back from as a result of the pandemic. The airline is waiting to receive its final certification from the FAA in the next month or so, after which it will announce its start date and which routes it will serve.

The airline will fly Airbus A220 aircraft, as well as two Embraer planes, and will paint them in metallic blue in the hopes of separating themselves from the crowd. Breeze hopes to provide a great flight experience for all customers, and will offer flexible booking and the option of being able to bring on board one free personal item for passengers.

Woman at airport wearting mask with luggage

Read more:

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Most of White Sox traveling party gets COVID-19 vaccine


CHICAGO (AP) — More than 90% of the traveling party for the Chicago White Sox got the COVID-19 vaccine after their home opener, moving the team closer to meeting Major League Baseball’s threshold for relaxing some of the protocols put in place for the pandemic.

Showing an unusual amount of transparency for the sport, the White Sox announced the step before Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Royals. The team said in a release that “virtually the entire” traveling party had received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and general manager Rick Hahn put the number at “well in excess of 90%.”

“We got to an extraordinarily high percentage of those eligible participating and we couldn’t be happier with that,” Hahn said.

In its release, the team thanked the city, the Chicago Department of Public Health and Rush University Medical Center for their help with the vaccinations.

Major League Baseball and the players’ association sent a memo to players and staff last month that said some of the sport’s coronavirus-related restrictions would be eliminated once 85% of the team’s major league players and primary field staff are vaccinated. The memo said players and staff are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the one-dose vaccine.

While the White Sox got most of their traveling party vaccinated on Thursday, Hahn said they haven’t met the 85% threshold because it also includes players and staff at the club’s alternate site in Schaumburg. But he thinks the organization will reach 85% “in the coming weeks.”

In the meantime, under MLB protocols, there are individual benefits to the vaccine for players and staff. Fully vaccinated people who have close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not have to quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms.

“I think it’s pretty cool to see that all the guys pretty much went in there and got the vaccine for everybody else,” said shortstop Danny Mendick, a vaccinated player. “You know what I mean? It helps for families, for road trips and different things like that. It shows that everyone has bought in.”

For Hahn, the team’s vaccination program had at least one benefit very specific to his job.

“When my phone rings and it’s (head athletic trainer) James Kruk on the other end, it’s more likely to be an actual baseball injury than it is something COVID-related, having dealt with all of last summer and spring this year with that risk,” Hahn said. “I would say that there’s actually a little bit of comfort in spending our time talking about hamstrings instead of the pandemic.”

___

Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





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Germany: Politicians blamed as summer vacation bookings plunge | News | DW


The German tourism industry is showing few signs of recovery with the travel forecast for the upcoming summer looking gloomy, sector chiefs said on Sunday.

Bookings for 2021 are already down on last year’s poor figures, Michael Frenzel, the president of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW), told Welt am Sonntag.

“For the summer season,” Frenzel began, “bookings are 76% below the figures for the same period last year in terms of turnover.”

Indeed, in spring, cancellations had even begun to exceed bookings, according to the BTW.

There may be a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, though, with shoots of optimism that the third quarter may provide some late summer sun, both for travelers and the industry itself.

“The majority of people are betting on late travel, in the fall,” the tourism chief continued. “You can see that from the fact that the declines in bookings for this period are lower than in the summer months before.”

Stop ‘stigmatizing’ travel

The head of the BTW also has a message for German lawmakers, if the industry is to survive. He said they “need to stop the “stigmatization” around the concept of traveling.

His message follows complaints from MPs after Germany reopened travel to Spain’s Balearic islands last month due to low COVID incidence rates.

Concerns are rising that foreign tourism hotspots could fuel a further wave of the pandemic.

German tourist in Mallorca

German travel bookings for summer 2021 are down 76% compared to last year

Frenzel also believes in the notion of vaccine passports, giving those who have received a dose of the coronavirus jab a certificate, allowing them to travel. “These are not privileges, but basic rights,” he concluded.

The idea of vaccine passports appears to be doomed, however, despite positive noises coming out of Brussels as recently as last month.

On March 28, the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton expressed optimism that Europe would have a summer tourist season this year akin to 2020, supported by a ramp-up in its COVID-19 inoculation efforts and vaccine certificates.

However, the so-called vaccine passports have been met with skepticism by some member states, while the United States has ruled them out on a federal level.

While many are keen to facilitate travel in any way possible, critics fear the travel pass will segregate vaccinated people and those who can’t or won’t get jabbed.





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