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WHO reports record virus cases as Trump proposes face-to-face G7 summit



The World Health Organization on Wednesday reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, as US President Donald Trump proposed hosting world leaders for the annual G7 summit as a sign of “normalisation.”

Trump, who is seeking to revive the battered US economy and his political fortunes ahead of the November election, again lashed out again at China, saying its “incompetence” was responsible for “this mass Worldwide killing.”

The WHO, another frequent Trump target, said that 106,662 virus cases reported to the UN agency on Tuesday — the most in a single day since the outbreak erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

As the global death toll topped 325,000 and the number of cases neared five million, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “very concerned” about the situation in low- and middle-income nations.

World toll of coronavirus infections and deaths. PHOTO: AFP / Jonathan WALTER

As the number of cases rises, and the United States added more than 1,500 deaths in the past 24 hours, Trump said the country was “Transitioning back to Greatness” and he may host the G7 summit in June at Camp David.

“I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David,” he said on Twitter.

“The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all — normalization!”

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said a face-to-face summit, rather than one by videoconference as had been planned, would be a “show of strength and optimism.”

Mock body bags are seen outside the White House during a protest against President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO: AFP / Eric BARADAT

G7 countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — take turns organising the annual gathering.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said he would attend the summit if “health conditions allow.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would “wait and see what happens.”

Promising studies

A patient suspected of having coronavirus is transported in Mexico City. PHOTO: AFP / PEDRO PARDO

There was encouraging news on the scientific front Wednesday, as two studies on monkeys offered hope that humans can develop protective immunity to the virus.

Researchers reported progress from one study which looked at a prototype vaccine, and another on whether infection with COVID-19 provides immunity against re-exposure.

“We demonstrate in rhesus macaques that prototype vaccines protected against SARS-CoV-2 infection and that SARS-CoV-2 infection protected against re-exposure,” said senior author Dan Barouch of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Many governments see the development of an effective vaccine as the only surefire way to fully reopen their economies without risking increased death tolls.

Brazil is now a global coronavirus hotspot — here, health workers and patients are seen in a COVID-19 intensive care unit at Gilberto Novaes Hospital in Manaus. PHOTO: AFP / MICHAEL DANTAS

Latin America has seen infections surge and, in some cases, countries have reinstated lockdown measures that had been eased.

Brazil has been hardest hit, rising to the third-highest number of cases in the world. Peru, Mexico and Chile have also seen steady increases in infections.

Health officials in Brazil reported 1,179 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, the first time the daily toll exceeded 1,000, but far-right President Jair Bolsonaro remains bitterly opposed to lockdowns, having described them as unnecessary over a “little flu.”

With the outbreak in the world’s sixth-largest country expected to accelerate until early June, Bolsonaro has refused to accept experts’ advice, pressing regional governors to end stay-at-home measures.

And like Trump, he has promoted the use of anti-malaria drugs against the virus despite studies showing they have no benefit and could have dangerous side effects.

Cemetery workers dig graves at the San Vicente cemetery in Cordoba, Argentina, which has seen a spike in infections. PHOTO: AFP/File / DIEGO LIMA

There are worrying signs in Argentina too, with authorities in Cordoba having to backtrack on easing lockdown measures following a sharp spike in infections.

Peru saw its case count shoot past 100,000 and deaths top 3,000.

Europe hopes to save tourism

European officials are scrambling to try to save the summer tourism season, crucial for the continent’s economies. PHOTO: AFP / Fred TANNEAU

Europe is meanwhile hoping the worst is behind it, with the number of new cases and deaths on a steady decline.

The global death toll now stands at more than 325,000. More than 93,400 deaths have occurred in the United States, the hardest-hit country, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Lockdown measures are being eased in many parts of Europe, with residents enjoying some of their old freedoms.

“I haven’t seen the sea for two months,” said Helena Prades at a beach in Barcelona. “We just really wanted to hear the sound of the waves.”

As Spain emerges from one of the world’s toughest lockdowns, face masks are now mandatory for anyone aged six and over in public where social distancing is not possible.

European officials are scrambling to try to save the summer tourism season, which is crucial for the continent’s economies.

World map showing official number of coronavirus deaths per country, as of May 20 at 1900 GMT. PHOTO: AFP / Simon MALFATTO

European Union tourism ministers held a virtual meeting on Wednesday as Greece announced plans to restart its travel season.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said seasonal hotels could reopen from June 15 and international flights would resume from July 1.

In Italy, airports were given the green light to reopen from June 3, including for international flights.

Gradual reopening in Asia

A South Korean student undergoes a temperature check at Kyungbock High School in Seoul as schools started reopening after a two-month break. PHOTO: AFP / Ed JONES

Countries in Asia have also been gradually reopening, with South Korean students lining up for temperature checks and given hand sanitiser as they returned to school after two months off.

And India said domestic air travel will resume on May 25 after a two-month shutdown, even as the world’s second-most populous country reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections, with 5,611 new cases in 24 hours.

Nearly 107,000 cases have been reported in India and more than 3,300 people have died, with experts predicting that infections will peak in June-July.

Reporting and photos: AFP


Emirates undertakes largest known fleet retrofit project



Emirates has kick-started its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft – two of the largest commercial aircraft types in service today.

This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion dollar investment to ensure Emirates’ customers “fly better” for the coming years, officially commences in November and is managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.

The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.

In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.

No other airline has handled a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. Therefore Emirates Engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.

Trials began on an A380 in July, where experienced engineers literally took each cabin apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out. Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in just 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.

As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning. First Class suites will be carefully disassembled and sent to a specialised company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.

From the trials, Engineers discovered several unexpected solutions for instance: that existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.

Until the retrofit programme starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training.

Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, is currently available to Emirates customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney. More customers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit programme picks up momentum.

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Eleanor helps over 30 Maldives hotels elevate guest services



Eleanor has been named as one of the top 10 concierge software providers globally.

Based on accurate, timely reviews from real users, the HotelTechAwards rank the world’s best hotel software firms and products and it also provides hoteliers direct access to a growing network of hotel technology professionals and decision-makers.

“The guest experience is the cornerstone of our platform. Our unified resort wide solution, Eleanor, has been built for resorts off the back of many years working in the industry and addresses the needs of both Sales and Marketing departments and perhaps just as importantly, the operational requirements of the team on the ground at the property. The days of resorts working with disjointed systems are now behind us,” says Darren Caple, co-founder and CEO.

“We are on a mission to make the guest’s resort experience as easy and as frictionless as possible. Whereas traditional providers in the market have come at this purely from a guest communication perspective, our background in resorts has allowed us to combine this basic requirement with the streamlining of operational processes. The result is truly a resort wide solution that removes the need for countless different systems to be deployed.

Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. More than 30 properties in the Maldives use our Eleanor platform to help butlers and guest services elevate the guest experience. These properties are seeing an increase in incremental revenue by over 30% and operational efficiencies of 600+ man hours per month. We are also beginning to roll out the platform in some Caribbean properties!”

Eleanor is making waves in the hospitality industry by pushing the conventional limits of what a resort guest app can achieve through its unique ability to facilitate direct bookings for services and activities. The traditional ‘request to book’ feature that is common amongst almost all other hotel apps is removed by a power booking and operational platform sitting at the heart of the solution that covers all the resorts’ departments. It’s this module which realises enormous operational benefits and insights for the resort.

“We, at Eleanor, are humbled and honoured that our clients have provided such positive reviews. Feedback from our clients, partners and hoteliers are incredibly valuable for us and we will continue to improve our offering and services”, said Caple.

To celebrate this success, Eleanor is currently offering resorts a free one month trial, together with free setup and training and discounted monthly fees.

Eleanor, founded in 2018 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Created from over 15 years of hands-on expertise, Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to its guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. Eleanor also helps to unlock operational efficiencies and boost incremental revenue and guest loyalty.

Hotel Tech Report’s Best Concierge Software 2022 Runner Up, reviewed as a preferred and reliable hotel software product by the global hotelier community.

For more information, visit

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Emirates’ recruiters scour the world for cabin crew talent with 30 city stops



Emirates, the world’s most global airline, is seeking talented people with a passion for service to join its award-winning cabin crew team.

As air travel returns with a vengeance, the airline’s recruiters are busy meeting and hiring candidates in 30 cities from now until the end of June. In this latest drive, Emirates’ teams will travel from Australia to the UK, and dozens of European cities in between, as well as Cairo, Algiers, Tunis and Bahrain.

Abdulaziz Al Ali, Emirates Group’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources said: “There’s no more exciting airline than Emirates for anyone interested in a flying career, and we’ve received tremendous interest since we began our recruitment drive for cabin crew in November.”

“While parts of the application process are done online, we always make the effort to meet our candidates in person whenever we can, and that is why our Talent Acquisition team is doing a whirlwind 30-city tour over the next 6 weeks to assess prospective candidates.”

Emirates’ truly global cabin crew team represent 160 nationalities, reflecting its customer mix and international operations in over 130 cities on six continents.

All Emirates crew are based in the exciting cosmopolitan city of Dubai, with company-provided accommodation, tax-free salary and more benefits.

Interested candidates can read more about the Emirates cabin crew role, and apply online at:

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