The Yachts of Seabourn today announced that the co

first_imgThe Yachts of Seabourn today announced that the company will not operate a planned five-month, 15-cruise series of voyages in the Indian Ocean aboard the 208-guest, all-suite yacht Seabourn Legend in late 2010 and early 2011. The vessel will instead be positioned back to the Americas at the end of its Mediterranean season to cruise in the Caribbean for the winter.Calling the decision “regrettable,” Seabourn’s president and CEO Pamela Conover said that while the intended shore-side destinations remain apparently safe for visitors, the high seas routes between them are currently vulnerable to incidents of piracy that have not been adequately controlled.“It makes me sad to have to cancel these cruises,” Conover said. “I personally loved touring Kenya’s game parks, and the islands of the Seychelles, Madagascar and Zanzibar are lovely and exotic destinations where we sincerely had hoped to be able to take our guests. We look forward to a time when the sea routes are controlled enough for us to cruise there for a season.”Seabourn yachting enthusiasts looking for exotic itineraries still have a stunning selection from which to choose. Seabourn Spirit will depart the Mediterranean in November of 2010, sailing through Egypt, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and Oman to Dubai. Spirit will then continue via India, Thailand and Malaysia to Singapore, to begin a season of cruises exploring Bali, Borneo, Java and the myriad islands of the Java, Flores and Savu Seas. The intimate vessel will even venture southward to Australia’s Northern Territories and Great Barrier Reef.Seabourn Pride, meanwhile, will be cruising in Asia for the full year, and in the autumn will be sailing in China, Thailand and Vietnam, with included or optional extensions to Beijing, Guilin, Cambodia & Laos and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Seabourn Odyssey will make a maiden circumnavigation of South America in early 2011, encompassing the Peruvian and Chilean coasts, the Chilean fjords and Patagonia, Cape Horn, the Falkland Islands, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and the Amazon.Seabourn Legend’s voyages among the favored yacht harbors and unspoiled islands of the Caribbean remain a very popular choice for travelers looking for an award-winning small-ship experience in a relaxing and beautiful destination. Itineraries are designed to take advantage of Legend’s intimate size and features, such as the unique fold-out watersports marina that can be deployed in a secluded cove for Seabourn’s signature “Champagne and Caviar in the Surf” beach barbecue. Activities ashore range from snorkeling, yacht-racing, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding and zip-line adventures to visiting artists’ studios, tony boutiques and strolling or relaxing on world-class beaches. On board, deck barbecues and al fresco dining options make the most of the bucolic climate, as do Dancing and Movies Under the Stars. Week-long itineraries sail between Ft. Lauderdale and St. Thomas, or round trip from St. Thomas.www.seabourn.comlast_img read more

Vaccine could soon be enlisted in the fight against Ebola in the

first_imgDRC Health Minister Oly IIunga (with white cap) flew to Likati on 17 May to help coordinate the Ebola response. Peter Piot, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Vaccine could soon be enlisted in the fight against Ebola in the DRC Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The Democratic Republic of the Congo has moved a step closer to using an unlicensed vaccine to battle an Ebola outbreak that began last month in a remote northeastern part of the country. Yesterday, the country’s government submitted a formal vaccine trial protocol, developed with Epicentre, the Paris-based research arm of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), to an ethical review board.If the plan gets the green light, the first doses of the vaccine could go into the arms of people at risk within 2 weeks, according to an official at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO today issued a “donor alert,” urgently requesting a 6-month budget of $10.5 million to support the vaccine study (which may require 5000 doses), as well as surveillance, treatment, and conventional prevention and control efforts.But whether the shots will actually be needed is unclear. So far, there have been only two confirmed Ebola cases and 41 suspected or probable cases. More than 350 contacts of cases were being monitored. But samples from several dozen suspected cases tested negative on Monday, raising the possibility that the outbreak may be quite small, and perhaps already nearing the end. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The MoH did not respond to emailed questions about why it didn’t request the vaccine sooner. One reason, says Epicentre Director of Research Rebecca Grais, is that the outbreak’s extent remains so unclear. “It’s not like they were dragging their feet,” she says. DRC officials may also feel confident they can stop the outbreak without vaccines, as they have seven times in the past, says Peter Piot, who heads the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and was part of the team that responded to the first known Ebola outbreak, near Likati, in 1976. “We should really leave some of the decision-making to people on the ground,” Piot says.But Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, says authorities should have been prepared to deploy the vaccine more quickly. Every African country at risk of Ebola by now should have approved a study protocol, he says, and the DRC should keep the vaccine ready in a freezer in Kinshasa. Under a WHO emergency-use status, the vaccine could also have been deployed without trials, Osterholm notes. A Merck application for that status filed in December 2015 is in limbo; a WHO spokesperson says “there was not necessarily sufficient data to enable a full assessment.”Even without the vaccine, Ebola experts don’t expect the outbreak to explode as it did in West Africa. “My gut feeling,” says Piot, “is this is going to be more like the outbreaks we had before in DRC,” the largest of which had 318 cases. “Proper isolation of patients and care plus contact tracing and quarantine should really bring this epidemic under control—except if someone gets to Kisangani or Kinshasa.”There’s another reason to be optimistic: The international response to the outbreak so far has been overwhelming. Acutely aware of its failings in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone in 2014 and 2015, the international community is determined to help end the outbreak as soon as possible.Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, immediately traveled to Kinshasa from her office in Brazzaville, in the neighboring Republic of the Congo, to help coordinate the battle. The United Nations dispatched cargo planes and helicopters, and DRC government officials began holding daily coordinating committee meetings attended by representatives from international aid, and development organizations, WHO, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “All those actors have strengthened their presence because of what happened in West Africa,” says epidemiologist Yap Boum, Epicentre’s Africa representative. “People are afraid.” By Jon Cohen, Gretchen VogelMay. 24, 2017 , 7:15 AM The outbreak is in the northeastern Bas-Uélé province, about 500 kilometers north of Kisangani, a city of 1.6 million people. The location slows spread but poses huge challenges. Poor and conflict-ridden, the area has few passable roads and bridges. Helicopters carry teams and equipment to the town of Likati, where motorbikes take over. Workers set up two mobile labs, but a generator failed in one and had to be replaced.The vaccine, made by Merck and stored in the United States, was tested in 2015, during the massive outbreak in West Africa that left more than 11,000 dead. WHO and MSF set up a trial in Guinea with an unusual “ring vaccination” design that selectively gave shots to people most likely to have had contact with a known case. People in a control group, also potentially exposed, received shots 3 weeks later. The results showed 100% protection 10 days after immunization, but the unconventional approach led Merck to put off applying for regulatory approval so it could gather more safety and immune data from other studies. For the moment, the vaccine can only be used in experimental settings.Epicentre and the DRC’s Ministry of Health (MoH) have written a protocol for a new ring vaccination study in the DRC. The trial would carefully evaluate safety, but this time there will be no control group because withholding the vaccine from some participants is no longer seen as ethical. As a result, the trial cannot evaluate the vaccine’s efficacy. “We’ll try to bring more data in to help with licensing, but we’re using the vaccine as a public health intervention,” says MSF’s Micaela Serafini in Geneva, Switzerland. If approved, the protocol could also be used in any future outbreaks. We should really leave some of the decision-making to people on the ground. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email EUGENE KABAMBI/WHO last_img read more