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Coronavirus: An Opportunity To Enforce Long-Desired Controls In Amsterdam

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Coronavirus outbreak has changed the demands of the citizens of Amsterdam. According to them, they are tired of cannabis, sex and mass tourism. In fact, they are taking Coronavirus as an opportunity to impose the long-desired controls and demand the betterment of mass tourism in the city.

Life Before Coronavirus Outbreak In Amsterdam

Before the begining of COVID-19 pandemic, there was a calamity over mass tourism in Amsterdam. It’s inhabitants felt detached due to accumulation of riotous travellers, scattering garbage in parks and in malls. Additionally, there used to be an uproar and public disorder in the historical city center.

Source: DW

Effects Of The Pandemic

Generally, there used to be 55,000 visitors per day in the pleasing, 500-year-old Dutch city. As a result of the pandemic, the number of these visitors drastically dropped to zero.

At the moment, as most of the Europe, the Netherlands is reopening after months of lock downs and restrictions, many people in Amsterdam wants to ensure that the city says “good riddance to mass tourism.” They further want to return to the numbers of visitors as they used to be in 2014, before the circumstances get out of control from low-fare flights, Airbnb and economical trips.

According to reports, half-clothed sex workers in the windows of bawdy houses in small lanes like Stoofsteeg in the red-light district were no more seen. So did the amassment of tourists who used to stare at them.

Coffee shops on historical plazas such as Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein used to sell cannabis, hence, persuading  thousands of travellers to visit them. However, the number of these visitors gradually reduced.

Also Read: Marijuana Infused Cosmetics, The Next Big Step

In previous years, Amsterdam undertook various steps in order to manage both the quantity and quality of its visitors. So this is not the first time when Amsterdam is trying to instigate sustainable tourism. Also, this further preserves employment.

Nonetheless, as The Guardian simplifies: “Most hotel groups, tour operators and national tourism authorities – whatever their stated commitment to sustainable tourism – had continue to prioritize the economies of scale that inevitably lead to more tourists paying less money and heaping more pressure on those same assets.”

On the whole, the 2020 prediction for international travel before the outburst of the pandemic was an increase between 3 percent to 4 percent.

Tourist Taxes

Amsterdam has one of the extortionate tourist taxes since last year in Europe. Per person per night stay costs €3 along with 7 percent of the price of a room. Airbnb also increased its tariff by 10 percent per night. For cruise passengers, the charges were €8 per person. However, over-tourism had not weekened the numbers in any drastic way.

Amsterdam has only 870,000 inhabitants. According to official analysis, it enthrals more than 19 million overnight visitors per year.

Post-pandemic Petition

In order to minimize the number of visitors, forbid the establishment of new hotels and levy an increase in tourist taxes, a post-pandemic petition has been signed by 27,000 citizens. This will provoke a city council refrendum to have a discussion regarding the future of tourism in the city.

However, the major aim of the citizens is to limit the number of visitors to 12 million overnight per year.

This might create anxiety or stress among businessman’s who only focus on tourists. But, this proposes a welcome break to all the citizens who felt detached from their city to a great extent.

The proposal wants to change the mind-set that tourists are not visiting an entertainment park but a bustling city with a diverse neighborhood economy.

Also Read: Chinese Firm To Start Human Testing For A Coronavirus Vaccine

This proposal includes:

  • Reduce the number of coffee shops selling marijuana along with a clean up of the red light district,
  • Foreign visitors cannot buy drugs,
  • No extensions in current hotels and a complete or limited ban on holiday rentals,
  • New increase of the tourist tax and re-evaluating it after every half of the year,
  • Using extra revenues from the tax to withstand tourism issues and further improve the quality of life of the citizens.

According to a survey by Amsterdam’s research, information and statistics office, around 42 percent of the British visitors refused to return to Amsterdam quite often if they cannot buy cannabis over there.

Whether the reduction in the number of visitors due to COVID-19 pandemic has numerous economic consequences for local businesses, the residents on the other hand are appreciating and adoring this break.

 

 

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Cannabis

Patients Prescribed Cannabis In Georgia, USA, Can’t Legally Obtain It

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Georgia cannabis patients can't get theirs

The United States of America often astounds the rest of the world with just how ludicrous its laws seem. Take the example of recreational cannabis, which remains federally illegal since decades. However, a few select states, such as California, Colorado and Georgia, allow small quantities of legally purchased cannabis. Everywhere else, possession of cannabis remains a misdemeanor offense, and other disproportionately severe punitive measures.

In Georgia, in particular, the case of medicinal marijuana recently emerged as troubling. For many patients, medicinal weed simply is a lifesaver and experts agree that it packs unique therapeutic effects. However, in the state of Georgia in particular, it seems like a cruel joke that obtaining said weed becomes near impossible. And this is despite the fact that it’s been legal to possess since 2015.

Despite the usage of medicinal cannabis being legal in the state of Georgia, purchase or sale remains illegal

As far as ridiculous laws go, this one stands out as extremely cruel. With doctors able to prescribe doses of cannabis to ailing patients, the lack of any places to legally obtain it seems absurd. And no, buying cannabis from a shady back alley dealer is not a safe idea. Not just because of the chance of getting caught but because there’s no guarantee the product is what you pay for. Only a legal and regulated avenue available would help.

In 2019, at the behest of several concerned citizens, official government action started. The state governor set up the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission in 2019 to discuss this terrible issue. And yet, the problem still stands. This is because the panel only convened once, before the COVID-19 pandemic put the matter on hold indefinitely. Thus, millions of patients needing their drug have no one else to ask for help from.

For many patients with a variety of ailments, medicinal marijuana works wonders for their health

Medical science generally holds several consensuses on the health effects of different substances. No respectable doctor will ever claim that arsenic is good for your health. And when it comes to cannabis, the leading consensus after extensive studies and research holds opinions that cannabis may hold several cures. Weed, which consists primarily of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), exerts effects on the body’s physiology. This leads to improvements in breathing, blood circulation, mood, and pain relief.

Various types of disorders that lead to seizures, such as West Syndrome, in all age groups exist. Fortunately, cannabis is also a known therapeutic agent for reducing the intensity of seizures. In many young individuals, such as a recent UK toddler, it offers marked improvements to health. Furthermore, cannabis offers health benefits to patients with PTSD, anxiety, extreme pain and even in certain cancers. However, there also exists evidence that in the smoked form, it can lead to cardiovascular issues in the long term. Hence, edibles or inhalables suit most users better, and offer better efficacy of the weed.

The United States sorely needs to fix its haphazard and primitive legislation regarding both recreational and medicinal cannabis use

Several conservative states, like Texas, where the most anti-cannabis attitudes prevail, reflect that in their legislation. From introducing ridiculous hemp regulation laws, to launching an entire War On Drugs, they’ve done it all. None of that changes the fact that cannabis stays, and will always do so.

The time comes now that lawmakers, urged by the people, reexamine the science. And then, hopefully change laws for the better. That remains to be seen, however.

 

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Protests Erupt In Madrid, Spain, District Over New Lockdown Due To COVID-19

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Spain city of Madrid facing partial lockdown

In Madrid, once a city of enchantment and tranquility, COVID-19 now strikes again. The city now grapples with emerging cases of the disease, as Spain reigns the country in Europe with the most cases. Alarmingly, the COVID-19 pandemic was not new in the country, with a previous spike having fallen. This ‘second wave‘ of the coronavirus prompted officials to impose lockdowns on the most effected districts. Unfortunately, this may have also triggered a class conflict in the process.

On Monday, September 21, 2020, the southern laying district of Vallecas in Madrid, went into lockdown. However, this official mandate has not made things any easier for the time being. Widespread protests over the news that Vallecas would face shuttering down emerged. Residents of the district took to the streets to voice their belief that the decision was based off socioeconomic status.

Madrid faces the worst peak of COVID-19 ever, and precautionary measures needed severely

The country’s regional health chief for Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, recently stated the severity of the pandemic in an interview. The nation, at the time of writing, bears over 640000 cases of infections and over 30400 deaths. These numbers come off as staggering, and few nations, like the United States, top it. Escudero even stated that should the necessity arise, a city-wide lockdown would follow. Conversely, the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, assured viewers that another nation-wide lockdown was not under plan.

Thus, the Mayor of the city of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, also spoke in favor of the lockdown. He urged residents of the city to unite and cooperate with government mandates. The rationale behind this policy, and towards shuttering Vallecas, reflects the highest COVID-19 cases concentrated there. The lockdown strategy, after all, does show proof of good results in most parts of the world.

Vallecas residents believe the lockdown restrictions mean to control only them, while leaving others unchecked

Peaceful protests, over the city’s controversial sudden stance, emerged immediately. Vallecas, being one of the lowest median income districts, generally sits on a low socioeconomic position. The residents, numbering over 850000 strong, also include high proportions of immigrants. Despite the conditions of economic poverty, many united on the streets to call out the perceived injustice. In addition, they also call for the removal of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the Madrid regional leader. She had recently come under fire for blaming the rise in COVID-19 cases on immigrants, a racist stance.

The rationales behind the limited lockdown conflict on both sides. The city government maintains it only started due to the high concentration of cases in Vallecas. And that it is entirely unrelated to any socioeconomic discrimination. Meanwhile, protestors are far from convinced. Many simply dread the closure of schools, businesses and meetings in their neighborhoods. And they believe the sole cause for this is due to their income levels, while the richer areas are less restricted.

Spain seems the most at-risk nation in the continent, and should tread carefully

The coronavirus, established to have at least thrice the infectiousness influenza does, spreads quickly and silently. Often at times, with testing procedures rendered unavailable or slow, the virus spreads and infects faster than detected. Hence, Spain’s resurgence of cases after a drop-off in the first wave indicates the need for serious action. Regardless of where in Madrid one lives, masks and social distancing are paramount.

In other news, many nations have begun, or nearly completed work on a COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to read about one of them!

 

 

 

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Coronavirus measures may curb the impact of the flu season

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With the fast approaching flue season, will SOPs be enough to ward off the burden on the healthcare system?

The United States may not necessarily see a ‘double whammy’ this fall, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Despite of fearing a setback to the healthcare system due to the concurrence of the flu season with the novel coronavirus, the scenarios observed in Australia are giving hopes to experts in the United States.

Australia usually experiences its flu season starting from April, with a peak arriving in August. This year however, due to numerous preemptive measures, the country was successful in curbing the impact of the flu season. According to the reports of WHO, flue cases in the country ‘virtually dropped off to baseline or negligible levels’.

CDC officials see vaccines as being mainly responsible for this major decline of flu cases in the country. The demand for flue vaccines in the region was at a record breaking high, resulting in about 18 million vaccinations.

Let’s take a look at what these results could mean for the United States.

Coronavirus and its preventative measures

The SOPs put in place for coronavirus might be also be warding of other diseases in the background. This trend was observed by researchers in March, whereby flu circulations got controlled after widespread social lock-downs. A similar tendency was seen in summers where the flu cases stood at historically low levels in the region.

In the opinion of a recent study, “If extensive community mitigation measures continue throughout the fall, influenza activity in the United States might remain low and the season might be blunted or delayed.”

These findings were published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This means that avoiding crowds, wearing masks and frequently washing hands can help take the edge off the flu season.

In addition to this, Dr. Anthony Fauci has also urged Americans to get vaccinated against the flu. This is mainly because the healthcare system is not in a position to deal with any escalations in patient numbers. Healthcare providers are wary of combating an unknown number of flu cases if the virus spirals out of control.

He is seeing the flu season as an opportunity to educate the masses about the importance of vaccines. This is specially important for those individuals who have certain misconceptions about COVID-19. According to a poll conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation, about one in five respondents believed wearing masks could harm them. In addition to this, it was found that 1 in 4 participants believed that hydroxychloroquine is helpful in treating COVID-19. Ironically, this drug has been praised by Donald Trump, who claims to have used it himself. There is no scientific evidence of its efficacy for coronavirus whatsoever.

All of these misconceptions have stressed the need of educating the public about important issues relating to virus protection measures.

COVID-19 Vaccine

The question of whether or not people will get themselves vaccinated if a coronavirus vaccine is made available soon is getting mixed responses. According to latest research findings, a majority of Americans now believe that an increased political pressure may rush its approval by the FDA.

The numbers of these dubious individuals has risen from what it was a few months ago. About 54% of respondents of a poll conducted by KFF said that they would not get the vaccine even if it was available for free before the November 3 elections.

“Public skepticism about the FDA and the process of approving a vaccine is eroding public confidence even before a vaccine gets to the starting gate,” says KFF president and CEO Drew Altman.

Anthony Fauci sees a huge risk in this type of mindset. He believes that if a lesser number of people get themselves vaccinated, it is not going to stop the spread of the virus. “If you have a vaccine that is highly effective and not enough people get vaccinated, you’re not going to realize the full, important effect of having a vaccine.”

Cases of outbreaks have still continued to happen during long-weekends or personal gatherings of people. A vaccine for COVID-19 might be the only viable solution, but politicizing it as an opportunity to win big in elections is raising skepticism among the public. This has created an environment where misinformation can be easily created and widely shared.

 

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