International Travel

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What has happened to the $1.6 billion donated to restore Notre Dame

<p>It seems like a whole world away, but long before COVID-19, the world was brought to a standstill by the fire that gutted Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral.</p> <p>The fire occurred on April 15th and was all that anyone could talk about as the 850-year-old landmark and priceless artefacts were destroyed by a blaze that ripped through the cathedral.</p> <p>It motivated some of the world’s richest people into action, and within days, 1.6 billion had been pledged by France’s wealthiest individuals and corporations to restore the Roman Catholic cathedral.</p> <p>However, many are curious as to whether or not they will pay up. Six months after the fire, only some of the money from wealthy donors materialised. Early work to repair the building replied on $59 billion in smaller donations from individuals and businesses.</p> <p>As the first anniversary of the fire approaches, where are the billions for the Notre Dame?</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97A_xlhZ7w/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97A_xlhZ7w/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (@notredamedeparis)</a> on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:35am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>This week, the Foundation Notre Dame, which is the largest of the four official charities overseeing the repairs, said that all of the donor pledges have come through.</p> <p>"I can confirm that all the companies that committed to pay money for the restoration of the cathedral to the Notre Dame Foundation have either already paid it in full or have contracted to pay it as and when needs," the foundation's funding director Jean-Michel Mangeot said to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.businessinsider.sg/notre-dame-fire-one-year-reparations-billionaire-donations-progress-2020-3" target="_blank">Business Insider</a></em>.</p> <p>The other three charities raising money have not revealed the status of the pledges they have received.</p> <p>The future of the cathedral remains unclear due to the coronavirus pandemic delaying vital work, with 500 tonnes of melted metal lattice on the roof of the weakened building threatening to come down at any minute.</p> <p>It is not currently known when workers are able to start repairing the cathedral. </p>

International Travel

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Tennis legend Roger Federer surprises fans with trick shot video

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Roger Federer has delighted fans by posting a trick-shot video on Twitter.</p> <p>The 20-time grand slam champion is making sure he’s still got the trick-shot kills by hitting between-the-legs “tweeners” and behind-the-back shots effortlessly in the snow.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Making sure I still remember how to hit trick shots <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TennisAtHome?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TennisAtHome</a> <a href="https://t.co/DKDKQTaluY">pic.twitter.com/DKDKQTaluY</a></p> — Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) <a href="https://twitter.com/rogerfederer/status/1244696825602473988?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 30, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>He cheekily captioned the video “Making sure I still remember how to hit trickshots”.</p> <p>The video has already been viewed by fans 4.6 million times and has 260,000 likes on Twitter.</p> <p>Fans were thrilled at the video, saying that it’s helped them during quarantine.</p> <p>“Thank you for this video Mr Goat, it’s helped my tennis drought x 100”, one fan commented.</p> <p>Another counted how many shots Federer took in the vide.</p> <p>“15 shots. 5 tweeners, 3 behinds the back, 2 backhand slices, 5 forehands and six in the net”.</p> <p>As Wimbledon announced that it wasn’t going ahead due to coronavirus, many tennis fans are settling for this video.</p> <p>“The sound of your racquet is music to my ears”, one fan said joyfully.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-er0bhltTD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-er0bhltTD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Another glimpse into the stay at home practice routine 🧤🧣🎾👊 I hope everyone is safe and healthy. Stay positive. Keep active. Support one another. We will get through this together🙏 #stayhome</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/rogerfederer/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Roger Federer</a> (@rogerfederer) on Apr 2, 2020 at 6:10am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Federer also gave fans another glimpse into his “stay at home” practice routine, saying he’s going back to the “olden days” of playing tennis against a wall. He also urged fans to take care during this time.</p> <p>“Staying active at home is very important at the moment, and I’m even working on the trick shot once in a while,” he joked about his viral video.</p> <p>“Seriously now, I think it’s very important that we listen to local government, that we adapt to the new situation and we try our best there.”</p> <p>“I’ll keep practicing in the meantime, might go for a run later and play some tennis against the wall like in the olden days.”</p> <p>The video quickly ends as Federer accidentally hits the ball against the camera, but he fixes it and wishes everyone to stay safe.</p> <p>“Stay safe everyone, and take care!”</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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8 of Sydney’s iconic buildings, illustrated

<p>When it comes to Sydney’s famous attractions, most will point to the great Opera House. However, it is only one among a vast trove of modern architectural heritage that the city has to offer.</p> <p>Strolling around Sydney is not an option right now, but there is another way to explore and appreciate the iconic sites in the NSW capital.</p> <p><a href="https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/blog/an-illustrated-tribute-to-sydneys-most-beautiful-buildings.html">Budget Direct</a> has launched a series of illustrated tributes to Sydney’s architectural landscape in collaboration with illustrator Luis Gómez Feliu and photographer Cauê Zanella. The ‘Pencil vs Camera’ compared the live buildings with their art counterparts – and the result could be seen here.</p> <p><strong>Queen Victoria Building</strong></p> <p>Start your tour of Sydney’s top buildings at the Queen Victoria Building, and you might not see much else! This cathedral-like market building covers an entire block on George Street and is home to nearly 200 fashion and interior stores and restaurants. The QVB was built in the 1890s, and its stained-glass windows, wrought-iron balustrades, and 20-metre glass and copper dome add a regal style seldom found elsewhere in the city.</p> <p><strong>Sirius Building</strong></p> <p>This Brutalist residential building is named after the brightest star in the sky. However, the block itself is bright in concept rather than aesthetics. Built from (apparently) piled concrete shoeboxes, the Sirius is a very retro, 1970s shade of dirty grey – but the shape and flow of the structure make it a real superstar building, which saved it from being demolished earlier this year.</p> <p><strong>NSW Conservatorium of Music</strong></p> <p>The Conservatorium of Music’s castle-like building looks like something out of a dream. Its backstory is almost as surreal. The architect, Francis Howard Greenway, came to Australia as a convict, having first been sentenced to death for forging financial documents. In 1817, he was commissioned to design new Government House stables and came up with this turreted façade in the Gothic Picturesque style. The English royal commissioner John Bigge condemned the structure’s “useless magnificence” but let work continue so as not to waste what had been done. On completion, Greenway’s building was considered to be the wrong proportions to be much use as a stable, and it went underused until architect R. Seymour Wells converted it in the early 20th century.</p> <p><strong>Government House</strong></p> <p>Government House is a Gothic Revival mansion set among eclectic Regency- and Italianate-style gardens. Like the former stables nearby, crenellated battlements and turrets give the building the look of a fortress, while a porte-cochère (coach gate) adds regal dignity at the entrance.</p> <p><strong>Sydney Mint</strong></p> <p>In the 1810s, NSW governor Lachlan Macquarie wanted to build an “elegant and commodious” hospital for convicts, but the British government refused to fund it. Instead, Macquarie cut a deal with local rum merchants to fund construction. But as the rum trade soured, the quality of construction also went downhill (Francis Greenway said the columns lacked “classical proportion.”). The building was in a great position, and its double-storey columns and, yes, commodious verandas lent it a certain dignity. When the state-wide gold rush hit in 1851, the hospital was repurposed as the Sydney Mint. Today, the original, sophisticated cast iron frame and underground machinery shafts are still visible, and the terracotta ceiling tiles are the oldest on view in Australia.</p> <p><strong>State Library of New South Wales</strong></p> <p>Australia’s oldest library is a symbol of the power of public investment. The organization started out as the Australian Subscription Library but was bought by the state after it built up huge debts. As the State Library of NSW, the initiative repeatedly outgrew its premises. The Mitchell Building, with is Maroubra sandstone and trachyte outer walls, was added 1906-1910. It was based on Walter Liberty Vernon’s designs and was further developed over the next half-century, becoming a rare example of the Inter-war Academic Classical style.</p> <p><strong>Auburn Gallipoli Mosque</strong></p> <p>The Auburn Gallipoli Mosque is a place of worship primarily used by Turkish-Australian Muslims. However, it is also a symbol of peace and unity for the Australian and Turkish people who lost family on opposing sides of the Gallipoli campaign in the First World War. The Turkish marble of the open interior creates a stirring echo as sound reaches the dome. The call to prayer can only be heard inside the building due to local bylaws. But from the outside, the classical Ottoman style mosque is a picture of quiet dignity, having withstood petrol bombs and threats from anti-Muslim agitators.</p> <p><strong>Sydney Observatory</strong></p> <p>Sydney Observatory is not the first viewing station to be built on Observatory Hill. William Dawes established a short-lived observatory in 1788 to catch sight of a comet that failed to materialize. Australia’s first Government Astronomer, William Scott, was later appointed to build the observatory we know today. The sandstone building is in the Florentine Renaissance style. Its most notable features are the two octagonal telescope domes and ‘timeball tower’ from which a ball was dropped every day at noon, triggering a cannon to be fired to indicate the time to the city. The ball is still dropped in modern times, but now it falls at 1pm daily.</p>

International Travel

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Princess Mary shares beautiful family video from quarantine

<p>The Danish royals are currently keeping themselves and others safe by self-isolating at their home in Denmark, but they still managed to share an important message with their fans and followers.</p> <p>Over the weekend, the family gave a glimpse into their lives, as they created a beautiful home video for Instagram featuring Mary and Frederik with their four children, Prince Christian, 14, Princess Isabella, 12, and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, both nine.</p> <p>And in a royal first, the two-minute clip included the royal couple speaking candidly alongside their children – something we rarely get to see from them.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-SdjC-g48P/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-SdjC-g48P/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Lige nu sendes programmet “Danmark står sammen” på TV 2, hvor danskere fra hele landet sætter ord på den særlige situation, som samfundet befinder sig i for tiden. I den forbindelse har Kronprinsfamilien netop sendt en hilsen. Se eller gense den her. 🎥 Kongehuset ©</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/detdanskekongehus/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> DET DANSKE KONGEHUS</a> (@detdanskekongehus) on Mar 28, 2020 at 12:08pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>While they may be speaking Danish, a handy translator in the comment section revealed the pair were talking about the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking the people on the frontline, including doctors, nurses and volunteers as they tirelessly helped those suffering from the deadly virus.</p> <p>The video gets even better as it’s revealed the couple’s children are playing in the backyard just out of frame.</p> <p>They quickly regather to be in-shot with their parents as they continue to discuss how they’re coping with quarantine.</p> <p>During a point in the video, Prince Vincent makes the family laugh as he shares his own insight. According to the translator in the comments section, the Prince was saying how he finds home schooling very boring.</p>

International Travel

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4 virtual tours you can do from the comfort of your home

<p>More and more people are cancelling their trips and staying indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.</p> <p>However, you can still explore other parts of the world from the comfort of your home.</p> <p>Here are some virtual tours you can go on.</p> <ol> <li><strong> Wellington, New Zealand</strong></li> </ol> <p>While the capital of New Zealand remains physically off limits, aspiring visitors can take a stroll around the city through a virtual reality game.</p> <p>In WellTown, which is described as “the world’s first gamified virtual city”, people can try out different Wellingtonian experiences, ranging from an underwater dive in the capital’s harbour to a stargazing session during Matariki.</p> <p>Users can also stand next to the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium as well as tour the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa and learn more about movie production at the Oscar-winning Weta Workshop.</p> <p>Those with VR headsets can access the interactive experiences through Steam and Oculus VR stores. Some of the 360-virtual trips have also been made available on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSYQLfOl2OcLb7R5PRLPeczsSy5ohZqgc">Youtube</a>.</p> <ol start="2"> <li><strong> Yosemite National Park, US</strong></li> </ol> <p>While the Californian national park is closed indefinitely in the wake of the growing pandemic in the US, visitors can zip around the cliffs and waterfalls through the <a href="https://www.virtualyosemite.org/">Virtual Yosemite site</a>.</p> <p>Trail across the famous Half Dome, see the majestic view of Washburn Point from the Glacier Point Road and watch the dawn break at the million-year-old Mono Lake.</p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong> Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France</strong></li> </ol> <p>The Paris museum boasts a vast trove of paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography – all of which can be viewed on <a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/musee-dorsay-paris?hl=en">Google Arts &amp; Culture</a>.</p> <p>The collection ranges from Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic <em>Self-Portrait </em>to Alexandre Cabanel’s <em>The Birth of Venus</em>. You can also click on the artist to find more of their works on the platform.</p> <ol start="4"> <li><strong> Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, US</strong></li> </ol> <p>Zoos across the world have closed their doors until further notice, but Georgia Aquarium is offering live views of their marine animals through <a href="https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/beluga-whale-webcam/">special webcams</a>.</p> <p>See how African penguins, beluga whales and sea otters spend their day with no human visitors, or learn more fun facts about harbor seals and puffins on the animal guide.</p>

International Travel

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Great first time to try: Travel writing from the home

<p>While many are cancelling treks to Nepal, putting dreams of Venice on hold and wondering what we can substitute for a tropical beach escape, it is worth remembering we’re not the first who have had to rethink the notion of travel.</p> <p>There is a precedent for thinking about journeys in a more imaginative sense: travel and the near-at-hand.</p> <p>Vertical travel and travel writing – where we immerse in the spaces around us in greater detail, peeling back layers of history, botany and culture – goes back to the late 18th Century in Turin and a man named Xavier de Maistre.</p> <p>De Maistre wrote <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/328696.Journey_Around_My_Room_and_a_Nocturnal_Expedition_Around_My_Room"><em>A Journey Around My Room</em></a> while imprisoned in his bedroom for six weeks after he was caught fighting a duel in the north Italian city <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jun/04/journey-around-my-room-review">in 1790</a>.</p> <p>Rather than sulk through his imprisonment, he decided to challenge the popularity of imperialist travel writing and he wrote a travel book about the contents of his bedroom. De Maistre observed his surroundings, detaching and looking with new eyes to give the reader an alternative perspective on what travel could mean:</p> <blockquote> <p>What a comfort this new mode will be to the sick; they need not fear bleak winds or change of weather. And what a thing, too, it will be for cowards; they will be safe from pitfalls and quagmires. Thousands who hitherto did not dare, others who were not able, and others to whom it never occurred to think of such a thing as going on a journey, will make up their minds to follow my example.</p> </blockquote> <p>De Maistre’s room became a place with latitude and topography.</p> <p>He immersed in the scenes of the paintings on his walls and saw his bed as a vehicle for imaginative transportation alongside his dog, Rose, his trusted travel companion. De Maistre was so taken by the journey that he subsequently wrote <a href="https://archive.org/details/anocturnalexped00maisgoog/page/n6/mode/2up"><em>A Nocturnal Expedition Around My Room</em></a> to “revisit the country which I had formerly so delightfully travelled through”.</p> <p><strong>Writing of a microcosm</strong></p> <p>There were many inspired by this new style. Heinrich Seidel <a href="https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/T/bo13345214.html">refocused</a> his apartment into a microcosm where each item had a history and an interconnected story. Similarly, Alphonse Karr produced two volumes and <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4516782-a-tour-round-my-garden">700 pages</a> focused solely on his garden where he lived in Montmartre with his pet monkey Emmanuel.</p> <p>In Henry David Thoreau’s <em><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16902.Walden?from_search=true&amp;from_srp=true&amp;qid=nlaVV5Nqqh&amp;rank=1">Walden</a></em> (1854), the author lived alone and in seclusion in a log cabin at Walden Pond; George Orwell meticulously captured the intricate details of weather, vegetable production and an egg count in his <a href="https://orwelldiaries.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/26-4-40/">domestic diary</a> from the early 1940s.</p> <p>This notion of rethinking space and valuing the mundane as an ethical and creative choice acts as a counter to the assumed importance of distance with many travel(ling) writers of the era.</p> <p>This has not diminished in the modern era.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/649680.Isolarion?from_search=true&amp;from_srp=true&amp;qid=INXscYSn06&amp;rank=1"><em>Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey</em></a> (2007), James Attlee extends the notion of close travel or “home-touring” as he walks along a solitary Oxford street.</p> <p><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6718808-a-week-at-the-airport?from_search=true&amp;from_srp=true&amp;qid=MFOKECzsHE&amp;rank=1"><em>A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary</em></a> (2009) sees Alain de Botton at a desk in the departure hall of London Heathrow’s Terminal 5, confined for the duration of his stay, to understand the airport both as a destination in itself and as a location with a distinct culture.</p> <p>Meg Watson’s essay <em><a href="https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2014/10/03/another-life-paris-thanks-airbnb/14122957881047">Another life in Paris</a> </em>for The Saturday Paper focuses on her experience inhabiting another person’s space as an Airbnb guest in Paris:</p> <blockquote> <p>On my first night in Canelle’s bed, I watch Midnight in Paris and drink rosé from one of her stained teacups. In a classic display of unabashed French nonchalance, the bedroom door is nothing but a clear panel of glass.</p> </blockquote> <p>Within the intimacy of the apartment, Watson shows the reader a closer and more nuanced perspective of Paris. Simultaneously, the voyeurism of this approach also allows the reader to appreciate the sameness of many travel experiences.</p> <p><strong>Tips for your own close travel</strong></p> <p><strong>Look intimately</strong></p> <p>Take a closer look at the items around your house.</p> <p>Especially if you have things from previous travels, take the time to reflect on the item’s journey, write its story, or look through the photos of that period– it might even involve some research of your own, discovering what the pattern on your Moroccan mirror means, or the significance of the Easter Island statues on your bookshelf.</p> <p><strong>Smell deeply</strong></p> <p>Stroll through your garden. Take a closer look at all the plants, the soil and the trees. Look closer again.</p> <p>By sifting through my own soil I discovered shards of 100-year-old-bricks which prompted <a href="https://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/crow-eaters/">my journey</a> towards a better understanding of the history of my state.</p> <p><strong>Remember the outside world</strong></p> <p>Look out your window. Just as many have in Wuhan, Barcelona and Rome, conversations with new encounters, impromptu music performances and shared meals and experiences (even over a fence or across a road) are much of what we search for in conventional travel.</p> <p>This new dimension can bring surprising togetherness.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. 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More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ben-stubbs-1007399">Ben Stubbs</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Creative Industries, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/great-first-time-to-try-travel-writing-from-the-home-134664">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Why Germany’s coronavirus death rate is remarkably low

<p>Germany is one of the countries most affected by the new coronavirus pandemic. As of March 31, it had the fifth-highest number of reported cases in the world, with more than 66,800 people being infected.</p> <p>However, only 645 people have died from the virus, giving a death rate of just under 1 per cent. It gives Germany one of the lowest rates in the world, faring better than other European countries such as Italy – where 11 per cent of infected people have died from COVID-19 – and France, which has a rate of 6.7 per cent.</p> <p>Experts said the most important factor contributing to Germany’s low death rate is the widespread testing across the country.</p> <p>While other countries only test very symptomatic cases, Germany “very rapidly rolled out testing to a very large number of people relative to the population”, said Dr Liam Smeeth, clinical epidemiology professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/covid-testing">Our World in Data</a>, Germany conducted 167,000 tests as of mid-March while France and Spain carried out 36,747 and 30,000 respectively.</p> <p>The testing helps detect milder coronavirus cases, bringing the total number up.</p> <p>“I believe that we are just testing much more than in other countries, and we are detecting our outbreak early,” Christian Drosten, director of the institute of virology at Berlin’s Charité hospital told <em><a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/03/25/820595489/why-germanys-coronavirus-death-rate-is-far-lower-than-in-other-countries">NPR</a></em>.</p> <p>“We have a culture here in Germany that is actually not supporting a centralised diagnostic system, so Germany does not have a public health laboratory that would restrict other labs from doing the tests. So we had an open market from the beginning.”</p> <p>Germany also has <a href="https://gateway.euro.who.int/en/hfa-explorer/">the second-highest number of intensive care beds</a> per capita in Europe and 13.2 nurses per 1,000 people in the general population, higher than other heavily affected countries such as <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.MED.NUMW.P3?end=2018&amp;start=2018&amp;view=map">France with 9.7 and Italy with 5.9</a>.</p> <p>“In general, we have a rather good intensive care situation in Germany,” German virologist Martin Stürmer told <em><a href="https://www.vox.com/world/2020/3/27/21196246/coronavirus-germany-death-rate-covid-19-cases-italy-europe">Vox</a></em>. “We have highly specialized doctors and facilities, and maybe that’s part of the reason why our severely ill patients survive compared to those in other countries.”</p>

International Travel

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“They must pay!”: Donald Trump delivers brutal message to Prince Harry and Meghan as they move to the US

<p>The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have fired back at President Donald Trump after he tweeted that the United States will not pay for the couple’s security on Sunday.</p> <p>A spokesman for the pair said they “had no plans to ask the US” and added that “privately funded security arrangements have been made”.</p> <p>The sudden response came shortly after Trump said the couple should foot the bill for their bodyguards now they have moved across the border from Vancouver.</p> <p>In a tweet on Sunday, Trump said: “I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen &amp; the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen &amp; the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!</p> — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1244338645198352386?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 29, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Meghan’s mother Doria lives in Los Angeles, and the former actress grew up there. The couple took a private jet with their son Archie, ten months, just before non-essential travel between Canada and US was suspended.</p> <p>Trump has the final say over whether the couple can have US-funded diplomatic protection in the US, because Harry will no longer be classed as an “international protected person” when he completed the final phase of exiting the royal family next week.</p> <p>The British Metropolitan Police is still responsible for their security and it is understood Scotland Yard will still provide their own protection officers in the US.</p> <p>However, it is unknown as to what the “private” security arrangements Meghan and Harry claim to have made are.</p> <p>The couple made the decision to move to California after Canadian authorities said they would refuse to contribute to the cost of protecting them with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after March 31.</p>

International Travel

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"Stay inside silly": Nick Kyrgios takes a gentle swipe at former partner's quarantine photo

<p>There isn’t much to do during the global sporting shutdown, which is why many athletes are spending their time on social media.</p> <p>And that includes Nick Kyrgios.</p> <p>Kyrgios took to Instagram to send a cheeky message to a female tennis star.</p> <p>The star’s former doubles partner Amanda Anisimova posted a photo of herself on Instagram at the beach, writing: “When your backyard is a beach #quarantine”.</p> <p>Kyrgios saw the photo and commented: “Stay inside silly.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B94vo6aJBKv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B94vo6aJBKv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">When your backyard is a beach #quarantine</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/amandaanisimova/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Amanda Kay Victoria</a> (@amandaanisimova) on Mar 18, 2020 at 12:25pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The 24-year-old was referencing the fact that nearly a third of the world’s population is in lockdown, with governments urging the public to stay inside and only leave the house when absolutely necessary.</p> <p>While he may have been joking, a number of other Instagram followers appeared to seriously question Anisimova’s actions.</p> <p>Kyrgios and Anisimova have shared a special friendship for a long time, with the Aussie tennis player previously speaking about her before they played mixed doubles together.</p> <p>“She’s an amazing person. I’m just looking forward to go out there and hopefully – I mean, she lost first round. I know it’s not going to be easy for her to be around the tournament,” he said.</p> <p>“Hopefully I can get her up, bring some good vibes. Hopefully, we can do well. I think we can. She's an amazing player. I'm looking forward to it.</p> <p>“I've been excited for this for like a month and a half. I'm like a little kid at the moment. I'm pretty excited.”</p>

International Travel

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“Did not come early enough”: Swiss doctor scolds Aussie coronavirus response

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>A Swiss doctor looked at his Italian neighbours and prepared for the likely spread of coronavirus through his region of Ticino, Switzerland.</p> <p>Paolo Ferrari also monitored the situation of his wife’s country, Australia, and his final verdict is stern.</p> <p>He believes measures to stop spreading the virus are too late and that Australian hospitals must hurry to increase capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.</p> <p>"The containment measures did not come in early enough, you heard new measures every day, but you still had cruise ships coming in with people that are positive and disembarked," Paolo Ferrari told AAP.</p> <p>"One person can infect 3500 people within five days and each one of those 3500 can infect as many other people. So, what you see now is just a tip of the iceberg of how far in the community the virus has spread."</p> <p>Under the advice of Professor Ferrari, Ticino grew its intensive care capacity ten days before it even had a positive case. The region now has about 300 cases and is expected to peak in two weeks time.</p> <p>"You will have way more patients requiring hospital admission that you would have had if the measures had been introduced early enough," he said.</p> <p>"So the only way now to be able to care for those patients is to create those beds that are not there."</p> <p>He argues that early intervention was key in countries that have managed the pandemic so far, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.</p> <p>Professor Ferrari says that Singapore learnt from the SARS virus outbreak 17 years ago, which is an idea that’s supported by Flingers University Professor Michael D Barr.</p> <p>"In 2003, I watched the epidemic unfold day by day and felt the initial response was hopeless, until at least halfway through the crisis," Prof Barr said to<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/aust-shutdown-came-too-late-says-swiss-doc/news-story/7e36507a062ceff74ba4a71938f95a02" target="_blank">news.com.au</a>.</p> <p>"Ad hoc, inconsistent responses at that time now remind me of how Australia's political leaders are behaving during the current COVID-19 crisis."</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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The kindness we need right now – and it's spreading fast

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>As the coronavirus continues to strike fear into the hearts of many, some community members are turning to social media to spread some cheer around the world.</p> <p>A Facebook group called The Kindness Pandemic started the group as “so many people needs acts of kindness right now”.</p> <p>They are aware that the kindness “won’t make COVID19 go away, but it will make our lives easier and more rewarding”.</p> <p>People have taken to the group in droves to share their stories about their lives as well as gestures of kindness that have restored their faith in humanity.</p> <p>Steve Lucas shared the heart-breaking story of how his father suddenly passed away, but due to new funeral restrictions from the Australian government, his father can no longer have the send-off his Navy father deserves.</p> <p>“Last Wednesday, my Dad suddenly passed away. He was married to my Mom for nearly fifty years; she passed in July 2018,” Steve shared.</p> <p>“Services for my Dad are in the next few hours. With the current restrictions in place, there is no mass, no 21-gun salute (he was Navy) and no more than ten people can be in the room at once.</p> <p>“I don’t like asking for things, however, today I ask this: those that were in the military, salute my Dad sometime today. And, if one or more of your parents are still alive - tell them that you love them today!”</p> <img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835285/stevelucas_720px_v2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/82bb06d3353e4644aafa4300e9b191c0" /><br /> <p>Lysandra Beckett explained her story, saying that only six years ago, she was “a crackhead”, but things have gotten better.</p> <p>“Today I start my new job as the very first <span>EVS [Environmental Services]</span><span>manager of the very first stand alone ER in my state,” she said.</span></p> <p>“Everything I do from now on is a first. And to add to that I'm doing it in a time that is unprecedented. A pandemic is sweeping my nation and the world right now. I will be on the front line protecting my staff, practitioners and patients in this.”</p> <p>Environmental service workers are the workers who clean the facilities to hospital standards by thoroughly santising public and private rooms in the hospital.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 434.72222222222223px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835287/lysandra_720px.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/91f519adf8d543a9b6494794085eec34" /></p> <p>Others are sharing random acts of kindness that they’ve been able to do in pandemic times.</p> <p>Sharleen Caruana shared to the group her random act of kindness.</p> <p>“Was at the pharmacy last week and the lady in front of me didn’t have $8 in her bank to buy medicine for her child. I told her that I will pay for it. She nearly cried with happiness. Was a lovely feeling.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 172.22222222222223px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835286/sharleen_720px.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ee2c47f5740c4d1a804eaf6fc5cd96e7" /></p> <p>Kat Ashleigh shared the kindness of her neighbour after she was “feeling helpless and sorry for myself”.</p> <p>“My neighbor overheard me crying outside to my mum today because I’m struggling right now. I’ve been let off from my main job, have to move house in less than two weeks, and I genuinely had a moment of feeling helpless and sorry for myself,” she explained.</p> <p>“He knocked on my door tonight and apologized for listening in to my conversation, and offered me two bags full of food ( noodles, rice, pasta, canned items, deodorant, toilet paper, tampons) and continued to tell me his story of how he grew up in a country that was constantly in war &amp; how he had the choice of either feeding himself or feeding his family.</p> <p>“He said that he came to Australia to live a better life and now that he is well off, it hurt him to hear that a fellow Aussie was so upset and in a bad place. “I broke down in tears in front of him. I couldn’t even comprehend his generosity and kind nature.”</p> <p><img style="width: 431.6546762589928px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835288/kat_720px.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ea019db59121441caa77947cb308bbde" /></p> <p>Many comments commended the neighbour for his kind gesture.</p> <p>“This has brought me to tears,” one woman wrote.</p> <p>Another agreed, saying “What a wonderful man. So thoughtful!”</p> <p>“Proud to call him an Aussie, need more caring people like him,” another commented.</p> <p><em>Source: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/515507852491119/" target="_blank">Kindness Pandemic Facebook page</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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How Prince William and Prince Harry are stepping up in the Queen’s absence

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>With the new coronavirus pandemic, it appears that Prince William is on the brink of facing his biggest test to date as the future King of England.</p> <p>The 37-year-old prince is likely to step up and take over some of the duties that are usually undertaken by the Queen in the coming months as her and Prince Charles go underground.</p> <p>According to royal expert Nigel Cawthorne, the prince will likely become the main physical presence for the British Monarchy while the Queen and Prince Charles continue to socially isolate for their own safety.</p> <p>"There has to be a physical presence to the monarchy, not just a virtual one. He's third-in-line to the throne and in robust health like his brother, and COVID-19 is unlikely to be any serious threat for him or his wife or children. He will do a great job," the biographer told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8129735/Prince-William-step-Queen-Prince-Charles-amid-coronavirus-crisis-plan-say-experts.html" target="_blank">the Daily Mail</a>.</em></p> <p>The seriousness of the situation might see Prince Harry stepping back into his royal role as Prince William and Prince Harry help to maintain the British Institution.</p> <p>"I am sure he would come back and be delighted to help out, too, and do anything to protect his father and grandmother," the royal expert added.</p> <p>The news came after the Queen shared a sweet message in support for the world during this unsettling period, after confirming that her and Philip are at Windsor.</p> <p>"At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation's history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal."</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97Au1YnjDm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97Au1YnjDm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A MESSAGE FROM HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN . As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty. We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them. At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal. We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals - today and in the coming days, weeks and months. Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part. ELIZABETH R</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/theroyalfamily/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> The Royal Family</a> (@theroyalfamily) on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:32am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>She continued: "We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals - today and in the coming days, weeks and months."</p> <p>She ended with an empowering message, writing: "Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part."</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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3 reasons great thinkers liked armchair travel

<p>Coronavirus has led to unprecedented <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/mar/18/coronavirus-latest-travel-updates-countries-restrictions-bans-fco-warnings">worldwide restrictions on travel</a>. But philosophers and others have argued for centuries that real-world travel comes second to armchair travel. From your own living room, you can visit new places by reading about them, tucked under a blanket with a mug of cocoa. In these grim times, here’s a light-hearted look at three benefits of voyaging without leaving your home.</p> <p><strong>1. Fewer monsters</strong></p> <p>In 1605, English philosopher <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-Hall">Joseph Hall</a> published a voracious attack on travel. His book Another World and Yet the Same parodied popular books like Mandeville’s Travels. It stars a man named Mercurious Britannicus, who sets sail on the ship Fancie towards the south pole. There he discovers a new continent: Terra Australis.</p> <p>Mercurious spends three decades exploring its lands. He discovers that Gluttonia, Drinkallia, Viraginia, Moronia and Lavernia are populated by gluttons, drunkards, women, morons and criminals. Afterwards, he argues that people shouldn’t bother travelling:</p> <blockquote> <p>Have you considered all the dangers of so great an enterprise, the costs, the difficulty? …</p> <p>There is heaven, you say, but perhaps you can scarcely see it through the continuous darkness.</p> <p>There is earth, which you won’t dare to tread upon, perhaps because of the multitude of beasts and serpents.</p> <p>There are men, but you would prefer to do without their company. What if some Patagonian Polyphemus [Cyclops] were to tear you to pieces and then straightaway devour the throbbing and still-living parts?</p> </blockquote> <p>Hall believes it’s better to visit new worlds by reading, avoiding storms, sails, and “never-ending tossing of waves”. Certainly, there are no serpents or Patagonian Cyclops in your living room.</p> <p><strong>2. Many books are better than one trip</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Socrates">Socrates</a> refused to set foot outside Athens. He argued he could learn much more about the world by reading: “you can lead me all over Attica or anywhere else you like simply waving in front of me the leaves of a book”. Similarly, a 1635 <a href="http://tei.it.ox.ac.uk/tcp/Texts-HTML/free/A07/A07439">Mercator atlas</a> claimed that maps allow you to see at home what others have sought through travel: “uncouth Continents… the Rocks, the Isles, the Rivers and their falls… God’s greatest Work”.</p> <p>Like Socrates, philosopher <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Immanuel-Kant">Immanuel Kant</a> never travelled far from his birthplace of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), Prussia. Yet he was fascinated by the world, reading travelogues, writing and teaching geography. He said <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qpPeBQAAQBAJ&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;source=gbs_ge_summary_r&amp;cad=0#v=onepage&amp;q=no%20time%20for%20travel&amp;f=false">he didn’t have time to travel</a> – because he wanted to know so much about so many countries.</p> <p><strong>3. The best travel writing was free of travel</strong></p> <p>Some of the best travel writing is made up. One such tale is that of English sailor <a href="https://www.americanheritage.com/longest-walk-david-ingrams-amazing-journey#1">David Ingram</a>, who lost a sea-battle in 1567 and was marooned on the coast of Mexico. Ingram claimed he spent the next 11 months trekking through north America, covering around 3,000 miles to Nova Scotia.</p> <p>The distance itself is impressive – in modern times, writer <a href="http://www.richardnathan.com/walk/walk.html">Richard Nathan</a> re-traced the trek in nine months. Less plausible are the things Ingram encountered along the route: elephants, red sheep, giant birds with peacock-like feathers, uncrossable rivers; and cities laced with gold, pearls and crystals.</p> <p>Richard Hakluyt <a href="http://www.hakluyt.org">published</a> Ingram’s account alongside writings by exploration giants such as Gerardus Mercator, Francis Drake, and Martin Frobisher. Yet historians have long doubted its veracity. <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Travelers_and_Travel_Liars_1660_1800.html?id=ClfXAAAAMAAJ&amp;redir_esc=y">One</a> writes that the most fantastic thing about Ingram’s tale is not that he made this journey “along rivers that for the most part flowed the wrong way”, rather that “intelligent” people believed it.</p> <p>But Ingram was far from alone. At the turn of the 19th century, <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Francois-Auguste-Rene-vicomte-de-Chateaubriand">François-René de Chateaubriand</a> published several beguiling travel books – large chunks of which were probably imaginary.</p> <p>His <em>Voyage en Amérique</em> describes a six-month trip during which he visited New York, New England, the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls; met George Washington; lived with native Americans; and roamed Ohio and Florida. In 1903, a <a href="https://fr.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Fichier:B%C3%A9dier_-_%C3%89tudes_critiques,_1903.djvu&amp;page=7">historian</a> argued that this trip was impossible, and its descriptions were plagiarised from earlier sources.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/how-to-talk-about-places-youve-never-been-9781620401378/">one scholar</a> explains, Chateaubriand even changed geography to suit his fancy. He describes an island buzzing with “glittering baubles”: dragonflies, hummingbirds, butterflies. Between travel books, this island migrates from Florida to Ohio. As another <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/book/37672">historian</a> put it, to treat Chateaubriand’s journeys as a source of authentic information “would be folly”.</p> <p>In 1704, Frenchman <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/04/london-forgotten-aryan-asian-fraudster/361035/">George Psalmanazar</a> published An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa. This travel book about latterday Taiwan was a complete fabrication, based on other books and the contents of Psalmanazar’s head.</p> <p>What’s amazing is how far Psalmanazar took the fraud. The book contained a fictional yet apparently convincing alphabet. And despite his blond hair and blue eyes, Psalmanazar convinced England he was Asian, kidnapped from Formosa by Jesuit priests. Psalmanazar had an answer for everything – even claiming his skin was white because <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/04/london-forgotten-aryan-asian-fraudster/361035/">Formosans lived underground</a>.</p> <p><strong>Off on your own armchair travels</strong></p> <p>Marco Polo <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Did-Marco-Polo-Go-To-China-1st-Edition/Wood/p/book/9780429500992">probably never</a> made it to China. The safest, most learned and <em>imaginative</em> travel is undoubtedly embarked on from the fireside. How else can you traverse rivers running uphill, and cram more miles into a trip than is strictly possible? If you’re stuck in one place for a bit and fancy some armchair roaming, here are some classics to strike out from.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Percy G Adams, <em><a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Travelers_and_Travel_Liars_1660_1800.html?id=ClfXAAAAMAAJ&amp;redir_esc=y">Travelers and Travel Liars, 1660-1800</a> </em>(1980): This well researched but funny book collects many travel fraudsters together, describing travellers who “embellished” their tales and made up whole chunks of geography.</p> </li> <li> <p>Pierre Bayard, <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/how-to-talk-about-places-youve-never-been-9781620401378/"><em>How to Talk About Places You’ve Never Been: On the Importance of Armchair Travel</em></a> (2015): This tongue-in-cheek study argues there’s no need to visit a place to write interestingly about it, and provides lots of evidence. It includes the endearing tale of Édouard Glissant who was too old to journey to Easter Island to write a book - so sent his wife instead.</p> </li> <li> <p>Francis Wood, <em><a href="https://www.routledge.com/Did-Marco-Polo-Go-To-China-1st-Edition/Wood/p/book/9780429500992">Did Marco Polo Go To China?</a> </em>(2018): This more serious but readable study of Marco Polo’s Travels asks, how far did he really get? Wood argues probably no farther than Constantinople.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/133958/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </li> </ul> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-thomas-341632">Emily Thomas</a>, Associate Professor of Philosophy, author of The Meaning of Travel: Philosophers Abroad (2020), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/durham-university-867">Durham University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/three-reasons-great-thinkers-liked-armchair-travel-133958">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Free impromptu concerts break out from Italian rooftops and balconies

<p>From Australia to Europe, the deadly coronavirus outbreak is forcing a number of people around the world to go into self-isolation, leading to not only widespread anxiety, but a little bit of positivity too.</p> <p>In Italy, opera singer Maurizio Marchini took to his balcony to serenade the town with his soulful voice, filling Florence’s empty streets with life once again after he gave a beautiful rendition of Giacomo Puccini’s famous aria “Nessun Dorma”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">During Italy's quarantine, Italian tenor Maurizio Marchini wanted to do something to spread joy amid all the sadness in Florence.<br /><br />So climbed on to his balcony and serenaded the entire town.<br /><br />Wow.<a href="https://t.co/yVgADAU9bt">pic.twitter.com/yVgADAU9bt</a></p> — Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) <a href="https://twitter.com/MuhammadLila/status/1238671011698151427?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 14, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Footage of the heartwarming act has been viewed over four million times since it was shared on Twitter on Facebook.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">From my balcony in Turin, Italy. Free concert performed by fellow balcony dwellers. Watch with the sound on to also hear the thunderous applause from all the neighbors. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/coronavirus?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#coronavirus</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Covid_19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Covid_19</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lockdown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#lockdown</a> <a href="https://t.co/Fc2mCCVuRH">pic.twitter.com/Fc2mCCVuRH</a></p> — D. Schmudde (@dschmudde) <a href="https://twitter.com/dschmudde/status/1238598881719582720?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 13, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>And he wasn’t the only one filling the streets with cheer, as residents in Turin took to their balconies to play instruments and sing. With one resident describing the moment as a “free concert” and shared a video of it on Twitter.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Scenes like this from Italy fill me with so much joy and hopefulness. Here is a DJ in Palermo playing a set for the whole neighborhood...music does unite! 🎶 <br /><br />Remember to spread love❤️ during these trying times. Stay safe, and very importantly, positive everyone! <a href="https://t.co/Nz5PCLPBPt">pic.twitter.com/Nz5PCLPBPt</a></p> — Andrew Arruda (@AndrewArruda) <a href="https://twitter.com/AndrewArruda/status/1238869074173505539?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 14, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>There was also an upbeat performance by a DJ from the city of Palermo, who set up his equipment in his balcony to keep the positive energy flowing. Cheers and whistles could be heard as the unidentified man bellowed into a microphone and waved his hands in the air.</p> <p>On Monday, multiple Italians came together to form a flash mob, as they shined lights out of their windows and balconies while other residents cheered around them.</p>

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Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus

<p>With some of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/nzs-decision-to-close-its-borders-will-hurt-tourism-but-its-the-right-thing-to-do-133707">toughest border restrictions</a> and a newly-announced <a href="https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/backing-our-health-services-combat-covid-19">NZ$500 million boost to health services</a>, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>New Zealand is also fortunate in having a brief window of opportunity to refine and roll out an effective response to COVID-19. At the time of writing, there were <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/412042/eight-new-cases-of-coronavirus-in-nz-health-ministry-confirms">20 confirmed cases in New Zealand</a>, all related to overseas travel. There is no evidence of community transmission.</p> <p>This situation could change rapidly as mild cases may not seek medical attention, effectively resulting in “<a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/13/science.abb3221">silent transmission</a>”. This process has seen other countries slip into widespread community transmission.</p> <p>New Zealand is vulnerable until our testing rates and contact tracing capacity increases, potentially to the levels used successfully in <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/coronavirus-cases-have-dropped-sharply-south-korea-whats-secret-its-success">South Korea</a>.</p> <p>To guard against this risk New Zealand should consider a short “pulse” (a few weeks) of intense social distancing, including bringing forward the school holidays and temporary closures of most businesses, social meeting places and public transport.</p> <p>Doing this now has the potential to slow undetected chains of transmission while containment measures are being ramped up. If containment is sustained, there may be the chance of avoiding the prolonged lock-downs seen in many countries.</p> <p>New Zealand’s effort to contain COVID-19 will also help <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-nzs-tough-coronavirus-travel-rules-are-crucial-to-protecting-lives-at-home-and-across-the-pacific-133779">protect Pacific Island</a> nations. Samoa in particular has a terrible history of devastating pandemics, notably <a href="https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2018/11/07/a-100-years-ago-today-a-death-ship-from-nz-arrived-in-samoa-a-reminder-of-nzs-responsibilities-to-its-south-pacific-neighbours/">influenza in 1918</a> and more recently measles.</p> <p><strong>Intensive containment can work</strong></p> <p>Like other countries, New Zealand has relied on advice from the World Health Organization, whose pandemic plan, originally developed for influenza, focuses on managing spread <a href="https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/new-zealand-influenza-pandemic-plan-framework-action">through successive phases</a>.</p> <p>But <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30567-5/fulltext">COVID-19 is not influenza</a>. Its longer incubation period (median of five to six days, compared to influenza with one to three days) means we have a better chance of case identification and isolation, but probably only if <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30074-7/fulltext">done swiftly and effectively</a>.</p> <p>By introducing border restrictions and maintaining a focus on stamping out chains of transmission, New Zealand has joined countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan that rigorously pursue containment of COVID-19.</p> <p>The strongest evidence that containment works comes from the remarkable success of China in <a href="https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf">reversing a large outbreak</a>. Also relevant are <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/opinion/coronavirus-best-response.html">examples of smaller Asian jurisdictions</a>.</p> <p><strong>Planning for the next phase if containment fails</strong></p> <p>New Zealand needs to continue planning for the scenario where containment fails and we move into widespread community transmission. With COVID-19, it seems impossible to spread demand for treatment sufficiently to manage it through <a href="https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf">existing health sector capacity</a>.</p> <p>At this point, we would need additional social distancing measures to suppress the epidemic to ensure <a href="https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf">New Zealand’s hospital and intensive care capacity</a> are not overwhelmed.</p> <p>We also need to strengthen other critical components of the national response, notably hospital capacity to treat large numbers of critically ill patients with pneumonia while also ensuring high standards of infection control.</p> <p>And it is vital to support vulnerable populations to reduce their risk of infection. As with influenza, the risk of COVID-19 infection is particularly concentrated in older people and those with <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jid/article-abstract/221/2/183/5611323">chronic medical conditions</a>. This makes Māori and Pacific peoples particularly vulnerable – as <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/18/1/11-0035_article">seen in past pandemics</a>.</p> <p>Support with social distancing, hygiene and home isolation in a way that is consistent with tikanga (Māori customary practices) is particularly important for protecting these groups. Services for community diagnosis and treatment need to be responsive to these populations, as well as those with disabilities and the elderly.</p> <p><strong>Strategic challenges ahead</strong></p> <p>Countries have consistently underestimated the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of its global spread and intensity. They now seem to be diverging markedly in their strategic responses.</p> <p>New Zealand is among those countries and territories committed to containment, but elsewhere, the aim in most high-income countries seems to be to mitigate the effects. Across much of the rest of the world, including the United States, it is unclear whether there this is an agreed goal to guide the national response.</p> <p>The possibility of uncontrolled outbreaks in some regions means countries that pursue containment will face long-term challenges, until a vaccine or treatment is available.</p> <p>All of these approaches have uncertainty and risks and we will only understand the net societal benefits and costs in hindsight. Certainly in New Zealand, the containment approach appears to have widespread public support, particularly across the health sector.</p> <p>Many of us are working to monitor and evaluate it so that we can learn how to better manage such threats in the future, some of which may be far worse as biotechnology advances open up new hazards.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/133714/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-baker-169808">Michael Baker</a>, Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-otago-1304">University of Otago</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-wilson-133898">Nick Wilson</a>, Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-otago-1304">University of Otago</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-new-zealand-needs-to-continue-decisive-action-to-contain-coronavirus-133714">original article</a>.</em></p>

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The other outbreak engulfing eastern Africa

<p><span>Coronavirus has continued to dominate the news cycle as governments around the world increase their efforts in limiting the spread.</span></p> <p><span>However, another plague is threatening food, jobs and health on three continents.</span></p> <p><span>Hundreds of billions of locusts are swarming through parts of East Africa, the Middle East and South-West Asia, devouring crops and bringing an unprecedented threat to food security in what the United Nations (UN) described as the worst infestations in decades.</span></p> <p><span>The upsurge of the desert locusts could be traced back to 2018, when cyclones in the southern Arabian Peninsula – along with poor rains, drought and floods – provided favourable breeding conditions which allowed the undetected and uncontrolled breeding of three generations.</span></p> <p><span>“It is these weather events which are creating the environment to facilitate the current locust outbreak,” said Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock. </span></p> <p><span>“Unusually heavy rains and increase in the frequency in cyclones in the Indian Ocean have created favourable conditions for the locusts to breed.”</span></p> <p><span>The first swarms started invading Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran in early 2019 and went on to breed and move to other countries including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Pakistan and India.</span></p> <p><span>By early 2020, infestation in Kenya has reached its worst in 70 years with up to 200 billion locusts while Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing their biggest outbreaks in a quarter of a century. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned that the number of locusts could expand <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-26/east-africas-huge-locust-outbreak-major-hunger-threat/12004470">500 times by June</a>.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Desert locust swarms could create a serious food crisis in East Africa. <br /><br />It is the worst outbreak in decades. <br /><br />Learn more 👉<a href="https://t.co/pKAnXLgc6P">https://t.co/pKAnXLgc6P</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Desertlocust?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Desertlocust</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Locusts?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Locusts</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/foodsecurity?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#foodsecurity</a> <a href="https://t.co/FEiFHSUxxw">pic.twitter.com/FEiFHSUxxw</a></p> — FAO (@FAO) <a href="https://twitter.com/FAO/status/1230794272317870081?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 21, 2020</a></blockquote> <p><span>During plagues, the locust population could spread to 20 per cent of the Earth’s land and affect more than 65 per cent of the world’s poorest countries, according to <a href="http://www.fao.org/food-chain-crisis/how-we-work/plant-protection/locusts/en/">the UN</a>.</span></p> <p><span>Speaking at <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/02/1057071">UN Headquarters</a> in February, Lowcock said immediate action is needed as the rainy season beginning in March may exacerbate the situation. </span></p> <p><span>“In this region where there is so much suffering and so much vulnerability and fragility, we simply cannot afford another major shock,”Lowcock said.</span></p> <p><span>“We do have a chance to nip this problem in the bud, but that’s not what we’re doing at the moment. We’re running out of time.</span></p> <p><span>“There is a risk of a catastrophe. Perhaps we can prevent it; we have an obligation to try. Unless we act now, we’re unlikely to do so.”</span></p> <p><span>The FAO has appealed for $138 million in funding to assist the countries in curbing the spread, but has amassed just <a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1263867/icode/">$52 million as of mid-March.</a></span></p>

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New evidence shows how coronavirus has affected global air pollution

<p>The COVID-19 pandemic is getting more overwhelming by the day with increasing lockdowns, a death toll of over 7,000 people across the world, and a direct hit to the global economy.</p> <p>But amongst the disaster lies a beacon of hope, as the coronavirus has been decreasing air pollution and possibly even saving lives in the process.</p> <p>On March 8, Stanford University environment resource economist Marshall Burke did some back-of-the-envelope calculations are the recent air pollution drop over parts of China and the amount of lives that may have been saved.</p> <p>While the numbers won’t stay the same for long, according to Burke, it’s likely that the lives saved locally from the reduction in pollution exceed COVID-19 deaths in China.</p> <p>“Given the huge amount of evidence that breathing dirty air contributes heavily to premature mortality, a natural – if admittedly strange – question is whether the lives saved from the reduction in pollution caused by economic disruption from COVID-19 exceeds the death toll from the virus itself,” writes Burke.</p> <p>“Even under very conservative assumptions, I think the answer is a clear ‘yes’.”</p> <p>The reduction of pollution over the course of two months has probably saved the lives of 4,000 children under the age of and 73,000 adults over 70 in China according to Burke. That’s significantly more than the current global death toll from the virus itself.</p> <p>"It is remarkable that both the number of deaths and the loss in life expectancy from air pollution rival the effect of tobacco smoking and are much higher than other causes of death," <span>physicist Jos Lelieveld from the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia stated at the time.</span></p> <p>"Air pollution exceeds malaria as a global cause of premature death by a factor of 19; it exceeds violence by a factor of 16, HIV/AIDS by a factor of 9, alcohol by a factor of 45, and drug abuse by a factor of 60."</p> <p>So, it’s proven that air pollution does kill.</p> <p>Burke’s analysis was just using data from China, and was completed before there was more information about how coronavirus has affected the rest of the world.</p>

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Coronavirus: Queensland man defends decision to visit New Zealand after being tested

<p><span>A Queensland man has defended his decision to travel from Australia to New Zealand after being tested for coronavirus.</span></p> <p><span>Andre Reynaud, 69, voluntarily took the test for COVID-19 at a Townsville GP on Thursday after returning from France. </span></p> <p><span>Reynaud and wife Jane then flew to New Zealand on Friday morning. Not long after arriving in Wellington, and while having breakfast at Milk Crate café, Reynaud was informed he had contracted the virus.</span></p> <p><span>In a joint statement shared on the Ann Roberts School of Dance, the couple said Reynaud had followed direction from authorities.</span></p> <p><span>“While away Andre had read recommendations from authorities advising that it was possible to voluntarily report for virus testing following international travel and he did so almost immediately,” the statement read. </span></p> <p><span>“Given that he was completely asymptomatic he had no expectation that the result would be positive.”</span></p> <p><span>Reynaud said he and his wife decided to fly to Wellington as planned because there had been no requirements for international arrivals to self-isolate at the time.</span></p> <p><span>“Our decision to travel to New Zealand was made with the best of intentions and with the best information available in Australia or New Zealand before we departed,” the statement read, noting that mandatory self-isolation only came into effect in both countries on the weekend.</span></p> <p><span>“Had these restrictions been in place or had Andre had any idea that he was carrying the disease, despite feeling fit and well, we would not have travelled.”</span></p> <p><span>Reynaud was the first confirmed coronavirus case in Wellington. The couple and their daughter Isabelle are currently under self-isolation in the city. </span></p> <p><span>The café and its neighbouring gallery Precinct 35 announced they will be closed indefinitely.</span></p>

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