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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Thomas Cook ordered to pay for illness in Egypt

In 1967, a virus called Motaba, which causes a deadly fever, is discovered in the African jungle. To keep the virus a secret, U.S. Armyofficers Donald McClintock and William Ford destroy the camp where soldiers were infected. Twenty-eight years later, Colonel Sam Daniels, a virologist, is sent to investigate an outbreak in Zaire. .. .. .. that is Dustin Hoffman movie ‘Outbreak’  !!

On one of the last patches of land along the Nile River in central Cairo, Egypt is constructing Africa’s tallest building. In a difficult feat of engineering, the project will twist from a thin triangular base to form a rectangular skyscraper, rising 70 stories and providing a panoramic view of the Nile and—for the top floors—of the pyramids. It is meant as a monument with a message: After years of instability, Egypt is ready for investment. Designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid in 2007, the “Nile Tower” will be part of a plan to transform the area between downtown Cairo and the Nile River into an upscale district. The bill for the project is set at $600 million, though it’s likely to cost nearly $150 million more according to Diaa Tantawy, the design manager at Living In Interiors, the company developing the building..

¬  Egypt is in news .. .. Thomas Cook has been ordered to pay £26,000 in compensation and costs to a family struck down with a gastric illness at the hotel in Egypt where a British couple were staying when they died suddenly last week.  Newport county court ruled against the tour operator last month after the Valu family, from south Wales, claimed it was negligent and “provided hotel accommodation which was so unsafe that no reasonable holidaymaker would agree to go on holiday there”. They alleged that Thomas Cook failed to ensure food and drink was safe for human consumption, free from pathogenic microorganisms and stored, cooked or reheated in a safe manner. They also alleged that they were served raw, undercooked and stale food.

The ruling came four weeks before the deaths of John and Susan Cooper, from Burnley, who were on an all-inclusive package holiday at the same resort in Hurghada. The couple became ill last Monday night and died the following day. The Two guests evacuated from the Egyptian hotel where a British couple died last week claim they have an infection known as shigella. The mother and daughter were among hundreds who left the resort in Hurghada after John and Susan Cooper died suddenly just hours apart.

The pair who have fallen ill are part of a family of four, all of whom became unwell on the Thomas Cook holiday, their lawyer Nick Harris said.  Since the deaths of Mr Cooper, 69, and his wife, 63, from Burnley, Lancashire, dozens of guests have claimed they were taken ill at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel.  Shigella is a contagious cause of food poisoning which is said to kill hundreds of thousands a year worldwide. Samples showed the mother and daughter had the bacterial infection, a health officer told The Daily Telegraph. This development follows dismissals from the hotel manager of any increased incidences of illness among guests.

‘Shigella is a communicable disease.  It is often food borne but it’s also water borne so one can get through contaminated water.’ Mr and Mrs Cooper's daughter, Kelly Ormerod, has questioned how they could have fallen ill so quickly, saying there is 'something suspicious about their deaths. Thomas Cook has commissioned its own tests into air conditioning and food hygiene at Aqua Magic, thought the organisation has not been granted access to the Coopers¿ room.  Thomas Cook admitted a high level of illness had been reported at the five-star hotel but would want to protect its reputation, he said, while its German owners initially claimed no one had been taken ill. Local authorities would be very wary of what a sickness scandal could do to the tourism trade, he added.

Egyptian authorities initially claimed Mr Cooper had died from a heart attack and his wife then collapsed from grief. Now Thomas Cook’s chief executive,  has flown to Egypt to meet Prime Minister of Egypt to enquire  about the deaths. 

Outbreak released in  1995 was about the dreaded virus spreading ..     film directed by Wolfgang Petersen was  based on Richard Preston's nonfiction book The Hot Zone. It stars Dustin Hoffman,  focussing  on an outbreak of a fictional Ebola-like virus, Motaba, in Zaire and later in a small town in the United States. It is primarily set in the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the fictional town of Cedar Creek, California. Outbreak's plot speculates how far military and civilian agencies might go to contain the spread of a deadly, contagious disease.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
31st Aug  2018.

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