The GAC title race reaches fever pitch

Vusimuzi Mngomezulu Richards Bay FC


Staff Reporter

Friday May 06, 2022. 13:00

All eyes will be on Richards Bay and University of Pretoria as they head into the penultimate round of the GladAfrica Championship level on points, with all games set to take place on Sunday, May 8.

On matchday 28, Richards Bay lost two crucial points in their 2-2 stalemate against Uthongathi at the King Zwelithini Stadium, while Tuks made sure to capitalize following their 1-0 win over Venda.

The results meant that going into this week’s round of fixtures, Richards Bay and Tuks are level on points (50), making for an exciting end to the 21/22 campaign.

Richards Bay will travel to the Kabokweni Stadium as they face TS Sporting who will be fighting to avoid the drop. As for Tuks, the Pretoria side will take on Cape Town Spurs at the Athlone Stadium.

Over in the Mother City, Spurs will be hoping to shrug off their poor run of form and are currently three points from the drop zone. The Cape Town outfit have recorded just one win in their last five outings, recording three draws and a loss during this time.

Elsewhere, Venda Football Academy face a stern test in the form of Black Leopards, who are currently the most in form team in the league. Venda are currently in fourth place and off the back of a 1-0 defeat against Tuks. As for Lidoda Duvah, they are currently on a run of six consecutive wins in the league.

In other fixtures, Free State Stars will host Polokwane City at Goble Park, as both teams look to finish in the top half come the end of season. The visitors currently occupy 6th spot, while Free State Stars are 8th, as the two sides are separated by one point.

Jomo Cosmos, who were relegated from the professional ranks of South African football last week, will welcome Platinum City Rovers to the Tsakane Stadium.

Also, TTM will look to steer away from the drop zone when they face Uthongathi at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, as they linger just three points ahead of TS Sporting who occupy the 15th spot.

JDR Stars will host Pretoria Callies as they look to end the season on a high after recording four draws and a loss in their last five fixtures. Callies head into the tie with a slightly more favourable form sheet, after picking up a 2-0 away win against Polokwane City in their last outing.

Fixtures:

Sunday, May 8

15h00: Hungry Lions v CT All Stars

15h00: TS Sporting v Richards Bay

15h00: Free State Stars v Polokwane City

15h00: Jomo Cosmos v Platinum City

15h00: TTM v Uthongathi

15h00: JDR Stars v Pretoria Callies

15h00: Black Leopards v Venda Football Academy

15h00: Cape Town Spurs v University of Pretoria

Dan Tehan told federal parliament on Wednesday travel bubbles beyond New Zealand would be possible when 80 per cent of eligible Australians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  

Australia could have travel bubbles with Singapore, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom once the nation’s 80 per cent COVID-19 vaccine target is achieved. 

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan told federal parliament on Wednesday extending travel bubbles beyond New Zealand would be possible when the vast majority of Australians are fully vaccinated. 

“When we get to phase C, where we see 80 per cent are fully vaccinated, outbound international restrictions will be lifted and travel bubbles will be expanded,” Mr Tehan said. 

“So not only will we have travel bubbles with New Zealand but the Pacific Islands, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, the US, the UK are all possibilities that we will be able to extend our travel bubbles to.

“It means dollars in tourism businesses and more importantly it means security for the 660,000 people who are employed in our tourism industry.” 

Australia’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, with the closure of the international border coupled with internal border restrictions impacting businesses. 

“I think there is no doubt that the national plan will be greeted by the tourism industry, probably more so than any other industry across this nation,” Mr Tehan said. 

“Because the impact that this pandemic has had on the domestic tourism industry and on our international tourism industry has been severe.

“And the fact that we now have a national plan which details a way out of this pandemic, which lays out how we can learn to live with this virus, has been extremely welcomed by the tourism industry.”

Australia is currently in the suppression phase of the virus and will move to Phase B on the pathway out of the pandemic when 70 per cent of Australians aged over 16 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and Phase C when 80 per cent have received both vaccine doses.

“When we get to phase B, which is 70 per cent vaccination rate, Australians will have more freedom to see their loved ones and go to sporting events, and that means travel,” Mr Tehan said.

“And that means dollars and the businesses, the tourism businesses, and it means jobs.” 

A trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand  was cleared for take-off in April but has since been paused due to the escalating COVID-19 situation in both countries.  

Across Australia, 54.4 per cent of individuals aged over 16 who have received one dose of the vaccine and 31.6 per cent are fully vaccinated. 

The data confirms the recent upward air travel trend to levels not seen since before the pandemic: On June 11, 2019, the TSA screened 2.7 million people.

“The growing number of travelers demonstrates this country’s resilience and the high level of confidence in Covid-19 counter measures, to include ready access to vaccines,” acting TSA chief Darby LaJoye said in a statement.

Before the pandemic, the TSA screened on average between 2 and 2.5 million travelers per day.

Another indicator that Americans are getting back out and about: National parks are citing spikes in attendance.
Last month, Yellowstone National Park saw the most visitors it had ever recorded for a month of May, with 658,513 visits — an 11% increase over the previous May record, set in 2016. It’s also more than four times the number of visitors Yellowstone had in May 2020, when the park was closed for the first half of the month due to Covid-19.
Grand Teton National Park, also in Wyoming, set a May record as well. It had 363,712 visitors last month, 30% above the last pre-pandemic May in 2019. Numbers are likely to go even higher further into the summer.

“Historically, July and August have been the busiest months of the year at the park,” Grand Teton said in a press release Friday.

Vaccines recommended despite rare heart inflammation risk

More than 308 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the US, according to data published Saturday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 143 million Americans — 43.1% of the total population — are fully vaccinated, and 52.2% have had one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data. More than 64% of adults have received at least one dose and nearly 54% are fully vaccinated. The Biden administration aims to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one dose by July 4.

Most blue states will make Biden's July 4 vaccine goal. The red ones won't.
The American Heart Association recommended on Saturday that everyone eligible should get a coronavirus vaccine, despite worries about a possible increased risk of heart inflammation.

The CDC has scheduled an emergency meeting of its vaccine advisers for next week to discuss a possible link between the vaccines and inflammatory conditions known as myocarditis and pericarditis, mostly among younger men.

It noted the reports of cases were very rare, and 81% of the 270 patients under 30 with suspected myocarditis related to vaccination have had a full recovery.

“We remain confident that the benefits of vaccination far exceed the very unusual risks. The risks of Covid-19 infection include its potentially fatal consequences and the potential long-term health effects that are still revealing themselves, including lingering consequences affecting the heart, brain, vascular system and other organs after infection,” the association said.

Travelers line up to go through a TSA checkpoint at Orlando International Airport before the Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 28, 2021, in Florida.

AAP issues new guidelines for kids in sports

Many kids’ sports are getting back to full speed in the summer months, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued updated guidelines for children returning to sports and other activities.

Unvaccinated athletes should wear a

Gov. David Ige announced today that beginning June 15, the state will be ending restrictions on intercounty travel between the Hawaiian islands and extend the quarantine exemption for returning Hawaii travelers who verify being fully vaccinated in the state.

“Those returning who have been vaccinated in the state with one or both shots will be able to travel (to the mainland) without having to get a pre-travel test and can arrive here in the islands and not be subject to quarantine,” Ige said.

By mid-June, Ige said the state expects 55% of the population to be fully vaccinated.

Once Hawaii reaches 60% fully vaccinated statewide, visitors from the mainland, Alaska and U.S. territories may also skip the current, mandatory 10-day quarantine period or COVID-19 pre-travel testing if they can provide proof of their vaccination status.

“We would be working to verify that electronically,” said Ige, adding that the cards from mainland visitors can also be verified manually.

>> RELATED: Planning to visit or return to Hawaii this summer? Here’s what you need to know about Safe Travels for a smooth trip

When Hawaii reaches the goal of 70% vaccinated statewide, essentially all travel and COVID-19 public health restrictions will be lifted, Ige said, and there will no longer be a need for the Safe Travels program. That is also the milestone at which he expects to lift indoor mask mandates, he said.

All of this, he said, is subject to the continued monitoring of COVID-19 variants as well as health capacity, he said.

“We will always take appropriate action should there be a health crisis in our community,” he said. “I can and will change policies based on the health conditions that we see and the rate of virus circulating in our community.”

Ige said he has designated June as #HiGotVaccinated month to motivate more people in Hawaii to get vaccinated.

In addition to offering more vaccination sites and accessibility, the state is launching an incentives campaign, with a variety of prizes and discounts this month.

Among the prizes are 1 million HawaiianMiles from Hawaiian Airlines, distributed as 10 prizes of 100,000 each, along with a trip to Las Vegas for two from Vacations Hawaii, four roundtrips for two from Alaska Airlines, a one-year auto lease from AutoSource, Zippy’s for a year, Papa John’s Pizza for a year and more.

“The positive effect of vaccination is clear,” said DOH Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “We’ve seen a decrease in cases.”

Hawaii’s average of daily new cases has dropped to 52, said Char, reflecting the positive effect of the vaccines.

“But we’re not done yet,” she said. “We need to continue this progress. That’s why the Department of Health is focusing our efforts to excite and engage those who are not yet vaccinated.”

This month, there will be more than 300 locations across the state, she said — from malls to farmer’s markets and churches — offering COVID-19 vaccines. There will also be continued outreach to communities through partners, along with new

Speaking of 2019 champions, Lambert, Dalton, McIntosh, Oconee County (4A in 2019, now 3A), Westminster, Georgia Military and Wesleyan are still alive. Only Thomasville, the defending 2A champion, is missing from the semifinals. Thomasville lost to Gordon Central 5-2 in the quarterfinal round.

Follow the LINK to the boys playoff brackets. Go here to see the PREP SCOREBOARD powered by Score Atlanta. Here are the PAST BOYS SOCCER CHAMPIONS provided by the GHSA.

Here is the semifinals schedule and the quarterfinals results:

GHSA boys soccer playoffs

Semifinals games scheduled for Tuesday

Class 7A

R6 #3 Lambert at R6 #2 Denmark

R6 #4 South Forsyth at R4 #1 South Gwinnett

Class 6A

R4 #2 Lakeside-DeKalb at R5 #1 Dalton

R7 #1 Johns Creek at R4 #1 North Atlanta

Class 5A

R3 #1 Woodward Academy at R8 #1 Johnson-Gainesville

R2 #2 McIntosh at R7 #1 Blessed Trinity

Class 4A

R3 #1 Islands at R8 #1 East Hall

R8 #2 Jefferson at R7 #1 Southeast Whitfield

Class 3A

R5 #1 Westminster at R8 #1 Oconee County

R5 #2 Greater Atlanta Christian at R6 #1 Coahulla Creek

Class 2A

R6 #2 Lovett at R5 #1 Bremen

R7 #1 Gordon Central at R6 #1 Pace Academy

Class A Public

R7 #2 Georgia Military at R8 #1 Towns County

R8 #2 Lake Oconee Academy at R7 #1 ACE Charter

Class A Private

R5 #1 Atlanta International at R8 #1 Athens Academy

R5 #2 Wesleyan at R4 #1 St. Anne-Pacelli

Quarterfinals results

Class 7A

R6 #3 Lambert 2, R3 #1 Walton 0

R6 #2 Denmark 2, R2 #1 Campbell 1

R6 #4 South Forsyth 3, R3 #2 Harrison 2

R4 #1 South Gwinnett 5, R6 #1 Forsyth Central 1

Class 6A

R5 #1 Dalton 4, R4 #3 Tucker 0

R4 #2 Lakeside-DeKalb 3, R8 #1 Central Gwinnett 1

R7 #1 Johns Creek 2, R1 #1 Valdosta 0

R4 #1 North Atlanta 1, R6 #1 Allatoona 0

Class 5A

R3 #1 Woodward Academy 6, R7 #2 Cartersville 1

R8 #1 Johnson-Gainesville 2, R2 #1 Starr’s Mill 1

R7 #1 Blessed Trinity 5, R2 #3 Whitewater 2

R2 #2 McIntosh 2, R8 #2 Clarke Central 1

Class 4A

R3 #1 Islands 2, R8 #4 Flowery Branch 1

R8 #1 East Hall 3, R2 #1 LaGrange 1

R7 #1 Southeast Whitfield 2, R3 #2 Benedictine 0

R8 #2 Jefferson 2, R2 #2 Columbus 0

Class 3A

R5 #1 Westminster 5, R3 #1 Savannah Arts 1

R8 #1 Oconee County 1, R2 #1 Pike County 0

R5 #2 Greater Atlanta Christian 5, R1 #1 Pierce County 1

R6 #1 Coahulla Creek 5, R4 #1 Morgan County 4

Class 2A

R5 #1 Bremen 4, R3 #1 Lamar County 0

R6 #2 Lovett 10, R2 #1 Bacon County 0

R7 #1 Gordon Central 5, R1 #1 Thomasville 2

R6 #1 Pace Academy 5, R4 #1 Putnam County 1

Class A Public

R7 #2 Georgia Military 6, R3 #1 Claxton 1

R8 #1 Towns County 3, R2 #1 Atkinson County 0

R7 #1

A £7 million pound investment in a new family leisure park will create 60 new jobs – and a training ground for the next generation of Olympians right here in Gloucestershire.

It is a long way from David Stevens first business success, running the former Cheltenham family laundry business Paragon, a firm he and brother Robert helped grow to £30 million turnover before selling in 2015.

More than two years ago Mr Steven’s, who also runs the Warehouse Climbing Centre in Gloucester, revealed plans to transform Bentham Country Club close to Crickley Hill, and that vision now has planning approval.

Once complete 270 Climbing Park will boast sports facilities, a glamping area, high-ropes course and zip wires – and create scores of full and part time jobs.

‘It has been a long time coming, but Tewkesbury Borough Council wanted to get it right – and so did we. It is a sensitive site – not just environmentally,’ said Mr Stevens, referring to the six-acres of land which are within an AONB and the Green Belt.

‘We hope to be on the ground in spring perhaps summer time, and opening – perhaps with a phased development – in September 2022.’

He added: ‘It was held up by the pandemic, but we can honestly say we are glad we did not open a year ago. If we had we would have had the burden of Covid on our balance sheet like many others now have.’

Changes have also been made to the plans for the facilities as a result of the pandemic – including better ventilation.

‘We hope we have seen the last of Covid-19, but we do not know whether it will come back either,’ said Mr Stevens, who now heads up Maisemore-headquartered Adventure Activity Company.

The firm’s business model allows it to open 52 weeks of the year, with indoor and outdoor facilities catering for all levels, from those just starting out and there for fun to those aiming for the very summit of climbing – an Olympic gold.

Cheltenham-based architects Corylus Planning & Environmental has helped design the scheme.

‘We have not named a contractor yet, but plan to work with Gloucestershire businesses as much as we can going forward,’ said the Gloucestershire entrepreneur.

Read more: Plans for a new £7 million climbing park in Gloucestershire have been approved

By Andrew Merrell


Follow SoGlos on LinkedIn and sign-up to the weekly SoGlos business newsletter for the very latest Gloucestershire business news stories.

© SoGlos
Wednesday 14 April 2021

DALLAS — Evidence is mounting that Americans are eager to drive or fly somewhere after being mostly cooped up at home for a year.

American Airlines said Monday that bookings are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels as more people get vaccinated, but public health leaders repeated their concern that travel will spread the virus as new reported infections grow in the United States.

At U.S. airports, Sunday marked the 18th straight day of more than 1 million people streaming through checkpoints. That is easily the most prolonged travel rebound during the pandemic, although Sunday’s crowds were still 37% below the comparable Sunday in 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The strongest travel demand is for domestic and short-haul international trips. American said that as of Friday, its seven-day moving average of net bookings — new trips minus cancellations — was about 90% of bookings during the same period in 2019.

American said strong bookings should continue into the second quarter, which starts Thursday.

As a result, the airline expects to return most of its planes to service in the second quarter after grounding hundreds during the pandemic.

Other airlines, including Delta and Southwest, have reported that bookings began picking up around mid-February.

Gasoline demand is up too, as more Americans travel by car.

Separately, Bank of America said Monday that a recovery in leisure travel is now “in full swing” even as parts of Europe impose new restrictions and the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control tells people not to travel.Earlier Monday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made a renewed plea to avoid travel and to get vaccinated.

Walensky said she had a feeling of “impending doom,” and suggested that virus cases could be about to spike in the United States as they have in several European countries.

We’re not out of the woods yet:  CDC reiterates that Americans should ‘please limit travel’ as US hits 30 million cases of COVID-19

‘I can’t believe this is happening’:  Travelers recount tales of getting stuck in Mexico after testing positive for COVID-19

“What we’re seeing now is more travel than we saw throughout the pandemic, including the Christmas and New Year’s holidays,” which were followed by surges in new cases, Walensky said at a White House briefing. “I would just sort of reiterate the recommendations from CDC, saying please limit travel to essential travel for the time being.”

New reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have increased 18% in the past two weeks. Through Sunday, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases stood at 63,239, up from 53,670 two weeks earlier, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

However, deaths declined 29% over that same period, to an average of 1,363 per day to 970 per day by Sunday.

White House officials said Monday that more than 50 million Americans — nearly one in five adults — are now fully vaccinated.

“We’re headed in the right direction, but we can’t slow down. Millions remain unvaccinated and

Americans may be rounding a corner — literally — in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of daily passenger vehicle trips has hit a major milestone, reaching pre-pandemic levels for the first time in a year, according to data provided to The Associated Press by the transportation analytics firm Inrix, with Americans driving more often and farther than at any time since pandemic lockdowns were invoked.

The rise in vehicle travel comes amid other encouraging health and economic indicators. Consumer spending and manufacturing have been picking up. Employers have been adding workers. Governors have been easing restrictions on indoor dining and social gatherings. More auto fuel is being purchased. The winter peak in COVID-19 cases has receded. And more than one-fourth of Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Some of the largest travel increases have occurred in rural, suburban and smaller metropolitan areas, Inrix transportation analyst Bob Pishue said.

In Pensacola, Florida, passenger vehicle miles traveled last April dipped to around 50% of the average levels of January and February 2020, before pandemic restrictions were imposed. The situation is significantly different this spring. On the weekend of March 20-21, passenger vehicle miles topped 150% of the pre-pandemic level, according to Inrix data.

“If you drove through downtown Pensacola a year ago, it was a ghost town — everything was closed,” said Kaycee Lagarde, the city’s public information officer. “Now if you go downtown, it basically looks normal as far as the number of people being out.”

Lagarde said the traffic surge appears to have been aided by tourists, who have returned to beaches that were temporarily closed last year.

In general, “higher travel is reflective of a good economy,” said Tim Lomax, a research fellow at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. “They are traveling for a purpose, whether that’s a job, retail or school.”

Last spring, many vehicles got parked for an extended stay as governors and mayors issued stay-at-home orders, schools went virtual and work sites shifted from offices to homes as a precaution intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Passenger vehicle miles traveled plunged to almost half their pre-pandemic levels nationally, and declined even more in some of the largest cities with the greatest restrictions.

Less driving meant less money for state transportation departments, which rely heavily on motor fuel taxes. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials had estimated agencies could face a $28 billion revenue loss over a five-year period.

But “we’re starting to see a rebound here from a travel standpoint, and that’s been very helpful,” said association executive director Jim Tymon.

Passenger vehicle miles traveled have been climbing upward this month, reaching 112% of their pre-pandemic levels during the week ending March 19, according to Inrix, which compiles passenger vehicle traffic data from anonymous GPS signals, such as from cellphone apps.

Midsize cities, particularly in the South, have seen a resurgence. Passenger vehicle miles traveled topped 160% of their pre-pandemic levels for two

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has welcomed the opening of its 1,000th hotel worldwide.

Alila Napa Valley in St. Helena, California, opens its doors earlier, pushing the company toward the historic milestone.

Founder Jay Pritzker purchased the first Hyatt hotel in 1957 with a new vision for hospitality, built around people.

Since then, Hyatt’s purpose to care for people so they can be their best has driven ground-breaking hotel designs, the award-winning World of Hyatt guest loyalty program and strategic brand acquisitions.

Today, this milestone reinforces Hyatt’s continued commitment to intentional growth in places that matter most to guests, members, customers, and owners.

“Hyatt’s thoughtful journey to 1,000 hotels has been grounded in listening, growing, and innovating along the way to meet the various needs of those people we work with along the Development journey,” said Peter Norman, senior vice president development Europe, Middle East, south-west Asia, Africa at Hyatt.

“Today, we remain focused on expanding our global footprint and building our business based on where we can best extend care and make a positive impact on our guests and the communities in which we operate.

“With a strong pipeline of new openings and developments in Europe, Middle East, south-west Asia, Africa and across the globe, Hyatt continues to offer memorable experiences that will cater to the growing demand for leisure destinations our guests are seeking as they get back to travel.”