Several European countries including France and Britain on Thursday moved to further lift crippling coronavirus lockdown measures, but fresh restrictions in parts of Asia signalled the crisis is far from over.
As much of the world grapples to find the path forward, with the deadly virus still spreading in some places and a vaccine at best a distant reality, Europe is slowly emerging from isolation.
France is set to reopen its bars, restaurants and museums next week — when Britain will send some children back to school and shops throw open their doors.
On the sporting front, the English Premier League and Italy’s Serie A unveiled plans to resume play in mid-June.
“Freedom will be the rule and restriction the exception,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.
But of course, there was sombre news as well.
The death toll mounted to more than 357,000 around the world. More than 5.7 million have been confirmed as infected since the virus emerged in China late last year.
On the economic front, the number of unemployed climbed as well — more than 40 million in the United States have filed jobless claims since the crisis began, and Brazil shed five million jobs in the first quarter.
British carrier EasyJet said it would axe up to 30 percent of its staff, and Japanese car manufacturer Nissan reported a huge $6.2 billion annual net loss.
And in Asia, restrictions were reimposed in South Korea and Sri Lanka after a spate of new infections sparked fears of a second wave of contagion.
The picture remained grim in Latin America, now fully in the throes of the pandemic, with deaths in Brazil topping 26,000, and Chile recording a new record daily death toll Thursday.
In the Chilean capital Santiago, residents have taken to the streets to demand state aid as their livelihoods vanish.
“We don’t even get a little help from the government here. They believe that we can live without money. But how can we buy food?” asked welder Oscar Gonzalez.
‘Real sense of freedom’
In France, residents enjoyed the reopening of iconic department store Printemps on Thursday — and the news that restaurants can serve patrons on outside terraces from June 2.
At the country’s museums, face masks will be required.
Citizens will also be allowed to travel more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) from their homes, just in time for the summer holidays.
“The virus is still present to varying degrees across the territory,” Philippe warned as he unveiled the new measures, urging citizens to respect social-distancing guidelines and be vigilant about hand-washing.
France has recorded 28,662 virus-related deaths — the fourth highest total in the world.
In Britain, football fans rejoiced as the Premier League announced play would resume on June 17. In Italy, Serie A competition will begin again three days later.
Both leagues will play without supporters in the stands, but in Russia, a limited number will be allowed to attend matches when play restarts next month.
“Football is back soon,” tweeted England captain Harry Kane, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur.
Elsewhere in Europe, Spaniards were revisiting old joys — belting out tunes from “Grease” at a 50s-themed drive-in theatre.
“It gives you a real sense of freedom. We really wanted to get out of the house,” said 22-year-old Belen Perez, who came with her flatmate.
In the United States, the country processed a grim milestone — more than 100,000 Americans have succumbed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
“To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!” President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday, as the US death toll reached 101,573.
More and more US states are moving to open up their economies, but health experts have warned not to move too quickly.
The US capital Washington will slowly move into its phase one of reopening on Friday.
The new unemployment data — another 2.12 million workers filed claims for benefits — along with US-China tensions, including over the virus, sent Wall Street tumbling at the close.
- Fresh restrictions –
Amid all the reopenings, there were renewed signs of caution as well.
South Korea — held up as a global model in how to curb the virus — reimposed some social distancing rules after a series of new clusters emerged, many in the capital Seoul.
Museums, parks and art galleries will all be closed again from Friday for two weeks, while companies were urged to reintroduce flexible working, among other measures.
And in Sri Lanka, some lockdown rules will be rolled out again from Sunday after more than 250 returnees from Kuwait were found to be infected with coronavirus.
In a bit of happier news in Asia, a Bali zoo named a newborn giraffe after the virus.
“Corona is healthy and is still breastfeeding. We’ll keep her under observation for three months,” said zoo spokesman Anak Agung Ngurah Alit Sujana.
But visitors will have to wait to meet the young calf, as the zoo remains closed to the public.
Reporting and photo: 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.
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 www.eleanorapp.com.
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: https://www.emiratesgroupcareers.com/cabin-crew/
Celebration5 days ago
Embrace Glitz & Glam at SO/ Maldives: The epitome of sophisticated festivities
Celebration1 week ago
Endless Fun in the Winter Sun at Cora Cora Maldives
Offers4 days ago
Dusit Thani Maldives introduces exquisite romantic and family all inclusive packages for an unforgettable escape 2023
Love6 days ago
Vakkaru Maldives crowned Leading Luxury Honeymoon Resort 2023
News1 week ago
Canareef Resort Maldives broadens global reach with new sales representatives in Russia and the UK/Ireland Markets
Celebration1 week ago
Experience the enchantment at Ifuru Island: Let the magic shine this Festive Season!
Food1 week ago
Anantara Kihavah introduces the Maldives’ first ever immersive dining under water at SEA Restaurant
News6 days ago
Amari Raaya Maldives unveils RAAYA: Luxurious private yacht for unforgettable seafaring experiences