Specially-trained dogs are dispatched to detect COVID-19 in airline passengers
All passengers arriving into the United Arab Emirates must present a negative COVID-19 result, from a medical test undertaken no more than 96 hours before their trip. But passengers from high-risk countries and those who display symptoms are often subject to secondary screening in the airport. Officials in Dubai International and Dubai World Central airports are now getting a helping hand with these health screenings from police sniffer dogs who are capable of detecting the virus in humans with 92% accuracy.
The non-invasive process sees officials from Dubai Health Authority take sweat samples from passengers. The sample is then placed in a pot with a funnel-like opening to be studied by the dogs at a safe distance. There is no direct contact between the dogs and the sample or the passenger. If the dog detects a positive result, the passenger is then taken for a nasal swab test.
Experiments have been carried out across Europe in recent months to see if odour detection dogs can identify COVID-19. The charity Medical Detection Dogs is working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to see whether their dogs – who are trained to detect malaria, cancer, Parkinson's and bacterial infections through the sense of smell – can be re-trained to provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis of the virus.
Dogs are trained to sniff samples in the laboratory in Milton Keynes © Medical Detection Dogs
While in Germany researchers last month from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover trained army sniffer dogs to distinguish between samples of fluids taken from healthy patients and those infected with COVID-19. The dogs had an accurate detection rate of 94%, with 157 correct positive identifications, 792 correct reflections of non-infected samples and 33 incorrect results.
Their findings were published in the BMC Infectious Diseases journal with the team concluding that "in countries with limited access to diagnostic tests, detection dogs could then have the potential to be used for mass detection of infected people. Further work is necessary to better understand the potential and limitation of using scent dogs for the detection of viral respiratory diseases."
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Lonely Planet.
Great American Outdoors Act becomes law
Today, President Trump signed into law the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, which provides $900 million annually and an additional $9.5 billion over the next five years to cover the maintenance backlog in America's public lands. The bill is expected to create at least 100,000 jobs across America restoring public lands. Arizona Rep. Paul Grijalva, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, called the GAOA "one of the biggest wins for conservation in decades." He called the bill a "generational opportunity to ensure America's crown jewels are protected." Each year, over 300 million people visit America's public lands. The park service estimates that it has over $11 billion of deferred maintenance needed to update buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure. It will also address infrastructure updates that will address climate change. The Great American Outdoors Act is a huge step in addressing this backlog and ensuring that America's public lands are available for future generations to enjoy.
Delta turns flight around because passengers refused to wear a mask
Last week, a Delta Airlines flight out of Detroit had to return to the gate after two passengers aboard refused to wear a mask. A spokesperson for Delta stated that the "customers in question were removed due to non-compliance with Delta’s mask requirement." Delta's website states the current mask policy as this:Delta customers and employees are required to wear a face mask, or appropriate cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their travel, aligning with best practice guidelines from the CDC, opens in a new window. Plastic face shields may be used in addition to a mask but are not approved mask replacements. Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta operated flight. Face coverings will be required across all Delta touchpoints: Lobby Check-in Delta Sky Clubs Boarding Gate Areas Jet Bridges On board the aircraft for the duration of the flight – except during meal service Usage is strongly encouraged in high-traffic areas, including security lines and restrooms.
Alaska Airlines will begin giving passengers a "yellow card" for violating its mask policy
Alaska Airlines has announced that flight crews will begin handing out "yellow cards" to passengers who do not wear a face mask during flights. The yellow card is intended to serve as a final notice that passengers must put a mask on. Similar to the rules of soccer, customers who do not comply after receiving a yellow card will be subject to suspension by the airline. According to a blog post from the Airline:"Starting in early July, our flight attendants will be empowered to issue a final notice to any guest who repeatedly refuses to wear a mask or face covering on board our aircraft. With that warning – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – the guest’s travel with us will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period. That would be a decision we do not take lightly. By working together, we do more for the common good."The Airline will supply masks for passengers who do not have one. About COVID-19COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Current CDC guidelines suggest that wearing a mask in public and following social distancing guidelines is the best way to prevent the illness.
These are the US states that require or recommend travelers to quarantine
Lockdown de-escalation efforts are well underway across the US and inter-state travel has more or less resumed as health officials lift quarantine directives in most places. But not every state is throwing its doors wide open to travelers this summer; some, like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, are asking arrivals to quarantine upon arrival and, in the case of Alaska, to undergo health screening. If you are planning to travel inter-state for a vacation or short trip, it's best to check your destination's travel advisories before packing your bags as the situation is constantly changing but for now here's a state-by-state breakdown of places across the US which still require or recommend quarantine. AlaskaTravelers arriving from another state or country must complete a traveler declaration form on arrival; present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours or receive a test upon arrival and self-isolate while awaiting results. Travelers can only use roads or maritime highways and avoid remote areas. ArkansasTravelers returning from Connecticut, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York or any international destination must self-isolate for 14 days. ConnecticutAnyone arriving from a state with a positive coronavirus test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average, must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. This includes returning citizens. Arrivals from the tri-state area are required to self-isolate upon arriving in Florida ©Sean Pavone/ShutterstockFloridaTravelers arriving from Connecticut, New Jersey or New York must self-isolate for 14 days. HawaiiAll travelers arriving into Hawaii, including residents, from out-of-state must self-quarantine for 14 days. The rule is in place until 31 July. Residents traveling between any of the islands do not have to quarantine but they are required to have their temperature screened at the airport and complete a health and travel form. KansasAnyone arriving from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona or Maryland must self-isolate for 14 days, as should those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case MaineAll arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, except for those traveling from New Hampshire or Vermont. Massachusetts requires out-of-state travelers to self-isolate ©Getty Images/iStockphotoNew YorkSimilar to Connecticut, anyone arriving from a state with a positive coronavirus test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or a state with a 10% or higher rate over a seven-day rolling average, must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. This includes returning citizens. Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday (24 June) those states currently include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas. The list of states on the quarantine list will be updated on a daily basis as the infection rate changes. New JerseyNew Jersey's quarantine policy is in line with New York and Connecticut's: anyone arriving from a state with a positive coronavirus test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or a state with a 10% or higher rate over a seven-day rolling average, must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. "Unfortunately many states continue to have high transmission rates. We are proud to work with our partners in New York and Connecticut on a joint incoming travel advisory to ensure continued progress against this virus and to keep residents of the tri-state area safe," Governor Phil Murphy said. MassachusettsAll arrivals entering the state "by any mode of transportation for any reason" is required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, and asked not to travel if they display coronavirus symptoms. NebraskaArrivals returning from international destinations must self-isolate for 14 days. New MexicoAnyone who arrives in New Mexico from the state's airports must self-isolate for 14 days, except for airline crew and essential workers. Rhode IslandAnyone returning from an international destination must self-isolate for 14 days. This article originally ran on our sister site, Lonely Planet.