WTTC says 50 million tourism jobs are at stake

Empty St. Mark's square in the morning in Venice

The World Travel & Tourism Council on Friday said up to 50 million jobs in travel and tourism are at risk from the Covid‐19 pandemic, and WTTC called for measures to be taken to ensure a swift recovery.

The organization also joined fellow travel groups in condemning the President Donald Trump’s ban on most travel from Europe to the U.S., saying it will damage the U.S. economy but isn’t likely to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“We all share the priority to stop the spread and should take all necessary actions,” WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara said in a statement. “However, the new travel ban will have a dangerous economic impact on the U.S. and many other countries, and there is little evidence to show this will stop the spread of Covid‐19.”

Guevara suggested that rather than an outright ban, “the priority should be on public health within the country and mitigating the potential harm to individuals.”

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Oxford scientists develop new coronavirus test that provides results in just 30 minutes

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Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a new coronavirus test that produces results around three times faster than the current fastest testing methods, and that requires only relatively simple technical instrumentation. In addition to these benefits, the researchers behind the test’s development say that it could even help detect patients affected by coronavirus in earlier stages of infection vs. current methods, and that its results can can “read by the naked eye,” which makes it more accessible to a broader range of healthcare facilities and professionals.

The Oxford-developed test can provide results in only half an hour – the fastest current methods that focus on viral RNA, like this one does, produce results in between 1.5 and 2 hours. The new tests have already been validated using real clinical samples of the virus at the Shenzhen Luohou People’s Hospital in China, and though they’ve so far only been used on 16 samples, evenly split between those positive for the virus and those that contain none, they’ve demonstrated a 100% success rate, which is a very reassuring result.

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