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Revelers warned to wear thermals in New York on NYE

Thousands gathered in New York's Times Square more than 12 hours before the midnight countdown ..

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  • Thousands gathered in New York's Times Square more than 12 hours before the midnight countdown to 2018
  • NYPD is warning revelers to wear extra thermals, hats and gloves or risk frostbite and hypothermia
  • It could be one of the coldest celebrations on record with temperatures expected to drop to about 10 degrees Fahrenheit in Times Square
  • Freezing cold weather is also expected to usher in for New Year's Eve celebrations across the Northeast and Midwest as well
  • Some New Year's Eve events have been cancelled in parts of the country due to the dangerous low temperatures

By Emily Crane For Dailymail.com

Published: 15:16 EST, 31 December 2017 | Updated: 15:23 EST, 31 December 2017

New York police are warning revelers to suit up in extra thermals, hats and gloves or risk frostbite and hypothermia as the city prepares for one of the coldest New Year's Eve celebrations on record.

Thousands of people had already started gathering more than 12 hours before the midnight countdown to 2018 to see the glittering crystal ball drop in Times Square.

It could be one of the coldest celebrations on record, held under tight security after a year that saw several fatal attacks on large crowds, including one in Times Square itself last spring.

Thousands of people had already started gathering more than 12 hours before the midnight countdown to 2018 to see the glittering crystal ball drop in New York City's Times Square

Thousands of people had already started gathering more than 12 hours before the midnight countdown to 2018 to see the glittering crystal ball drop in New York City's Times Square

Partygoers were being warned they would be penned in place for hours and to bundle up in preparation.

The National Weather Service expects temperatures in the middle teens in Times Square at midnight Sunday, with wind chill values that could make it feel like minus 5 (-15 Celsius).

The NYPD tweeted out a checklist for partygoers, including hand warmers, wool socks, thermals and more thermals.

The event could rival some of the coldest New Year's celebrations on record: In 1962 it was just 11 degrees outside, and in 1939 and 2008 it was 18 degrees. The frostiest ball drop on record was back in 1907 when temperatures dropped to 1 degree.

Partygoers were being warned they would be penned in place for hours and to bundle up in preparation Partygoers were being warned they would be penned in place for hours and to bundle up in preparation 

Partygoers were being warned they would be penned in place for hours and to bundle up in preparation

New York police are warning revelers to suit up in extra thermals, hats and gloves or risk frostbite and hypothermiaNew York police are warning revelers to suit up in extra thermals, hats and gloves or risk frostbite and hypothermia

New York police are warning revelers to suit up in extra thermals, hats and gloves or risk frostbite and hypothermia

The police department estimates that it costs $7.5 million to protect the event - with security being tighter than ever beforeThe police department estimates that it costs $7.5 million to protect the event - with security being tighter than ever before

The police department estimates that it costs $7.5 million to protect the event – with security being tighter than ever before

The National Weather Service expects temperatures in the middle teens in Times Square at midnight SundayThe National Weather Service expects temperatures in the middle teens in Times Square at midnight Sunday

The National Weather Service expects temperatures in the middle teens in Times Square at midnight Sunday

Extra police and fire personnel will be around Times Square to monitor weather conditions and the safety of those in attendance to outdoor events.

The police department estimates that it costs $7.5 million to protect the event – with security being tighter than ever before.

Garages in the area will be emptied of cars and sealed off and detectives are stationed at area hotels working with security officials to prevent sniper attacks.

Thousands of uniformed officers will line the streets, while cement blocks and sanitation trucks will block vehicles from entering the secure area where spectators will gather.

Revelers must pass through one of a dozen checkpoints where they will be screened and then screened again as the make their way to the main event.

  A frozen fountain is shown amid the freezing temperatures in Bryant Park in New York, New York Saturday afternoonA frozen fountain is shown amid the freezing temperatures in Bryant Park in New York, New York Saturday afternoon

A frozen fountain is shown amid the freezing temperatures in Bryant Park in New York, New York Saturday afternoon

People are  bundled up as they walk in Washington Square Park in New York, New York during the Artic blastPeople are  bundled up as they walk in Washington Square Park in New York, New York during the Artic blast

People are bundled up as they walk in Washington Square Park in New York, New York during the Artic blast

Freezing cold weather is also expected to usher in for New Year's Eve celebrations across the Northeast and Midwest as well.

Some events have already been cancelled due to the frigid weather, including the New Year's Eve gathering at the village of Orchard Park near Buffalo in upstate New York.

The weather service predicted lows would hit minus 20 degrees to minus 30 degrees (minus 7C to -34C) from Montana into the Dakotas and Minnesota, which is well below average.

Temperatures could drop to around zero (minus 18C) as far south as the northern border of Oklahoma on New Year's Day.

They will stoop into the minus 30s near the Canadian border over the next few days.

Icy roads will make travel difficult over much of the United States, from the south-central states of Texas and Oklahoma and eastward over Arkansas.

Kevin Deiner of Erie, Pennsylvania pushes his Ford Escape out of the deep snow on SaturdayKevin Deiner of Erie, Pennsylvania pushes his Ford Escape out of the deep snow on Saturday

Kevin Deiner of Erie, Pennsylvania pushes his Ford Escape out of the deep snow on Saturday

Ron Rodney of Erie and his daughter Leah, 4, climb the stairs behind Strong Vincent Middle School in Erie, Pennsylvania while sled riding SaturdayRon Rodney of Erie and his daughter Leah, 4, climb the stairs behind Strong Vincent Middle School in Erie, Pennsylvania while sled riding Saturday

Ron Rodney of Erie and his daughter Leah, 4, climb the stairs behind Strong Vincent Middle School in Erie, Pennsylvania while sled riding Saturday

Timothy Gigone, 51, of Erie, Pennsylvania skis south on Sassafras Street near the intersection of West 14th Street on SaturdayTimothy Gigone, 51, of Erie, Pennsylvania skis south on Sassafras Street near the intersection of West 14th Street on Saturday

Timothy Gigone, 51, of Erie, Pennsylvania skis south on Sassafras Street near the intersection of West 14th Street on Saturday

Ice and snow were seen at an abandoned Niagara Falls on SaturdayIce and snow were seen at an abandoned Niagara Falls on Saturday

Ice and snow were seen at an abandoned Niagara Falls on Saturday

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Australia

Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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