The situation with the coronavirus pandemic keeps deteriorating, especially in the United Kingdom, where a new mutation of the disease has emerged. EU countries are therefore closing their borders for travelers from the UK. The royal family has plenty of news as well - Prince Harry and Meghan have started a new charity project and Elizabeth II's Christmas speech will available virtually!
Since last Sunday, people arriving to the Czech Republic from the UK have to enter mandatory self-quarantine for up to ten days. Moreover, starting today, the Czech Republic will ban all flights from Britain. This is due to a new coronavirus mutation that has emerged in England.
Britain reported almost 36,000 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus - almost double the figure from last Sunday. France and Italy, where the new strain has also been detected, report high numbers of new infections too. The patient who tested positive for the mutation had traveled to Rome from Britain.
Since 1952, the voice of Queen Elizabeth II has filled the homes of many on Christmas Day as she gives her annual address to the UK. This year, the British Queen's message will be available not only on the BBC, YouTube, and the royal family's official social media accounts - but also via Amazon's virtual assistant, Alexa.
Amazon Echo owners around the world who have the language on their product set to English can tune in to the Queen's address on December 25 at 10 a.m. by saying: "Alexa, play the Queen's Christmas Day message."
According to a statement from Amazon Alexa Europe, the hope is that the Queen's speech being made available via Amazon Echo products will lift spirits and reach new audiences.
"After a challenging year, millions of people from across the Commonwealth will be eagerly awaiting Her Majesty the Queen's message on Christmas Day. By creating this world-first innovation, we hope that even more people will be able to enjoy the uplifting words of Her Majesty,"
Yesterday, Congressional Leaders unveiled the year-end package with COVID-19 Relief and spending provisions that should provide immediate help to the country shaken by months of pandemics.
The bill includes checks in the mail: $166 billion in new direct payments of up to $600 per adult and child. The bill expands direct payments to mixed-status households. More unemployment benefits: An additional $300 per week for some unemployment recipients.
A U.S. Postal Service grant: Congress agrees to convert a $10 billion loan approved in March into direct funding for USPS without requiring repayment. Payroll loans: $284 billion for government payroll loans, including expanded eligibility for nonprofits and newspaper and TV and radio broadcasters.
The package also includes, for example, vaccine distribution aid, rent and eviction aid or assistance in the field of transport.
Today, British President Boris Johnson will chair the negotiations on international travel, in particular on the transport of goods to and from Britain. Yesterday, several European countries (including the Czech Republic) began closing their borders for travelers from Britain to try to prevent the new coronavirus mutation that had emerged in the UK from spreading.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps has appealed to British citizens, especially carriers, not to travel to the ports of Kent in southern England, as the area is expected to be severely infected. Travel restrictions come at a difficult time for many British companies that wanted to build up stocks at the last minute before 31 December, when the transitional period with the European Union ends and new customs rules enter into force.
Yesterday, British Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that their new charity, the Archewell Foundation, has concluded an agreement with World Central Kitchen and its chef, Jose Andres, to feed the hungry in disaster-stricken areas around the world.
It will be possible to always open the centers quickly, just like service kitchens during emergencies such as natural disasters. They will also be used for food distribution, schools and medical clinics.
"The health of our communities depends on our ability to connect to our shared humanity. When we think about Chef Andrés and his incredible team at World Central Kitchen, we’re reminded that even during a year of unimaginable hardship, there are so many amazing people willing—and working tirelessly—to support each other,"
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said for the press. The first of the four centers is scheduled to open in 2021 on the Caribbean island of Dominica, which was hit by Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017. The second center will be built in Puerto Rico, which was also ravaged by tropical storms.
We wish you a successful start to the new week and don't forget the words of former President of the Czech Republic Václav Havel:
"Hope is not the belief that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something has a meaning - no matter how it turns out."