Airline passengers from Europe rush to US to beat looming travel restrictions

UNTV News   •   March 13, 2020   •   431

Dozens of travelers from Europe arrived at Dulles International Airport near Washington on Thursday (March 12), a day after U.S. President Donald Trump announced sweeping restrictions on travel from the continent as he responded to mounting pressure to take action against the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump restricted certain travel from Europe for 30 days to the United States in a televised address on Wednesday (March 11), and on Thursday, weary and confused travelers rushed to airports to board the last flights back to the U.S.

Arriving from Amsterdam after cutting short their spring break trip, Virginia Tech students Havisha Annamreddy and Kayleigh Stevenson said they rushed to the airport as soon as they heard of the new travel restrictions.

“We panicked and half of us went to the airport trying to stand on the American Airlines line, our friend’s dad immediately started trying to look for tickets. Everyone’s parents were really panicking. We didn’t even like check out of the hotel, we have wet clothes in some of our bags,” Annamreddy said.

Stevenson said she was adapting to a new normal of trying to avoid catching coronavirus.

“I think just being kind of aware of the situation around me, like if people are coughing a little bit more like not covering their mouths, maybe like standing somewhere else,” Stevenson said.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents returning from Europe will be screened for the virus and asked to go into “self-quarantine” for 14 days as part of new travel restrictions that affect 26 nations but exempt Britain and Ireland, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview with CNN.

Trump on Thursday defended his decision to impose the measures, which go into effect at midnight on Friday and last for 30 days. Speaking to reporters at the White House, he said the ban could be lengthened or shortened.

The travel restrictions will heap more pressure on airlines already reeling from the pandemic, hitting European carriers the hardest, analysts said. (Reuters)

(Production: Kevin Fogarty, Liza Feria and Njuwa Maina)

Apple to re-close more stores in seven states, bringing total to 77

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2020

REUTERS – Apple Inc said on Wednesday (July 1) that it would re-close more than two dozen stores in seven states, including its home state of California, bringing the total closures to 77 as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Starting Thursday (July 2), stores will close in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma.

As of Wednesday, additional stores had already closed in Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Utah.

Apple has taken an city-by-city approach to opening and closing stores, evaluating data for each community.

In cities where stores remain open, Apple requires face coverings for employees and customers while also performing temperature checks and frequent cleaning, the company said.

Apple has said its retail employees will continue to be paid through the closures. (Production: Angela Moore)

Iran’s arrest warrant for Trump is a ‘propaganda stunt’ —U.S. official

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020

U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook said on Monday (June 29) that an Iranian arrest warrant for President Donald Trump and 35 others over the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani was a “propaganda stunt”.

Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr announced the warrants, asking Interpol for help, according to the Fars news agency.

Hook speaking in Saudi Arabia alongside Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir, said: “This is a political nature. This has nothing to do with national security, international peace, or promoting stability. It is a propaganda stunt that no-one takes seriously.”

The United States and Interpol both dismissed the idea of acting on such a warrant.

The United States killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, with a drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3. Washington accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

Alqasimehr said the warrants had been issued on charges of murder and terrorist action. He said Iran had asked Interpol to issue a “red notice” seeking the arrest of Trump and the other individuals the Islamic Republic accuses of taking part in the killing of Soleimani. (Reuters)

(Production: Mohammed Benmansour, Matthew Stock, Aiden Nulty)

Number of Californians with COVID-19 keeps rising; governor declares budget emergency

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday (June 25) declared a budget emergency in the most populous U.S. state, blaming expenses and the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Declaring a budget emergency allows the state to tap into its rainy day fund. California anticipates a $54.3-billion budget deficit due to costs and a drop in revenue linked to the pandemic.

The state’s budget crunch lies in the shadow of coronavirus cases that continue to mount.

Nearly 5,350 people tested positive for the coronavirus in California the past 24 hours, Newsom said. The increase was smaller than Wednesday’s (June 24) record of 7,149 new cases. But the number of Californians becoming very ill continued to rise, using about 34% of the available intensive care beds in the state, up from 29% on Wednesday.

A total of 4,240 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday in the state, using about 9% of total available beds, Newsom said.

The surging cases have prompted the state to put 11 counties, representing about half of California’s population, on a watch list of places that might be required to roll back recent efforts to reopen their economies. (Reuters)

(Production: Jane Ross)

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