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Online Rob Lightbody

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Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« on: Jul 09, 2020, 11:04 AM »
Hi,

As you know I've been closely following COVID-19 in relation to cruise ships since January.  I've also more generally been closely following the information around the virus in my personal life, as I am a part time carer for my elderly and disabled mother, and can't do anything to risk taking the virus to her.

Before I started reading, I had thought that planes would be the worst place to be during a pandemic.  However I now know, after doing reading on the matter, that a well-maintained plane will have highly effective HEPA filters that filter out 99.9% of all known viruses.  As I understand it, and as British Airways explain on their website, the air comes out of the ceiling, passes over us, and is pulled down to and out of the floor.  It is then filtered by the highly effective filters, mixed with some fresh air, and reintroduced through the ceiling again.  My understanding is, that done right, there is actually a low risk in a plane - certainly compared to any other enclosed space you might come across.

Quote from: British Airways
Refreshed air : In the cabin, air is completely replaced every 2 to 3 minutes, passing through HEPA filters.

Quote from: British Airways
HEPA filters : HEPA filters remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over 99.9% efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.


Do cruise ships have filters?  At the moment I'm afraid I don't want to be anywhere near any cruise ship - BUT if one of them convinced me they'd done something clever with their air-con, I might. 

Other things on board need to permanently change - I am imagining that buffets will never be the same for example, but also they need to reduce the number of things people touch around the ship.  Stupid people don't sanitise their hands properly, so you can't assume they will.  Doors should self open for example.  UV light is another possible tactic for them to use.

I am currently having a similar battle with my workplace, where they are starting to talk about getting people back into the office - which has always had terrible air-conditioning, and they don't seem to be planning to do anything about it....  recirculated air is a no-no.
« Last Edit: Jul 09, 2020, 11:21 AM by Rob Lightbody »
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Offline cunardqueen

Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 09, 2020, 05:17 PM »
Quote
Quote from: British Airways
Refreshed air : In the cabin, air is completely replaced every 2 to 3 minutes, passing through HEPA filters. 
How nice to read that at least they can do something right, Maybe not the most popular of Airlines right now, But they are doing quite a lot , your inflight meals are delivered box style with all you need in the box ,  Granted its not a delicious wholesome box , and some might say they could do a lot better . However no alcohol being served which im all in favour of, it's testing enough times anyway without adding drink into the system .  And for a short time anyone who was flying in their premium classes was able to use the coveted Concorde Lounge (usually for First Class passengers) but the lounges are reopening. A small thing that always used to irritate me , they have in a chiller open top unit always full with about 25 large bottles of Highland Spring water, and again Joe Public comes along past and while there can be, and l once counted 12 bottles of water that had been opened and a glass full taken out, they will still open another new bottle. And yet in the chiller fridges there are smaller bottles that go relatively unused.

 What is always a constant niggle is the boarding, no matter what method is used when you have Joe Blogs who has had more than enough time to get his bits required out for the flight, then decides at his seat he must get them out now and holds everyone back . Some airlines want your cabin bag checked into minimizing holds up onboarding, again a great idea, But as a leisure traveler you have all your travel documents, insurance details and dare i say good old cash in there , and id be very loath to give that up to the mercies of the aircraft hold .  Southwest do allow your cabin bag to be gate checked, but then again it's about minimizing handling. Ryanair doesn't want your bags checked into the hold it involves more handling and does promote the carry on baggage. Aberdeen does for the most part board from the front and rear and that does save precious minutes, but then those precious minutes are spent stacking over Heathrow.
Southwest at the moment , and until September are having their middle seat blocked ( A great many airlines are not doing this ) and even with this seat blocking their fares do appear to be still not much more than last year.   

Buffets, While these are great for feeding the masses, quickly, i dont think we should dismiss them, a good buffet set up can and does work wonderfully well, but a bad buffet can and does look as though its serving slops.
Caesars Palace, Its still my goto Buffet iv noticed over the years have changed their presentation and now for the most part are serving individual small plated portions to put on your tray, there are still a few dishes that are served with tongs but you have the advantage of a server serving you the portion. It also looks better, and does help portion control, its surprising just how many people out there do need both hands to hold a plate, and when they are finished the tongs are just dumped anywhere. But then Christmas week they are serving about 8k guests a day.

I visited with a local friend one local casino for a buffet brunch, where everything was in big serving containers and each container had its own set of tongs, what surprised me was how efficient it was, everyone knew the score , the line progressed at a very rapid pace and you all were going in the same direction , no hissy fits from the vegetarian or lactose-free brigade asking this and that and before a new food container was empty there was a new one there to replace it. l hate to think how many people were there , what was nice was a little sign at the start "Please take only what you know you will eat, not what you think you will"  Start to finish we were in and out in 55 mins. 

     
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 09, 2020, 08:14 PM »
This is a fascinating article.

https://www-ft-com.ezproxy.babson.edu/content/7a4a0d2b-52b3-4a6d-a9ca-629fc093ce82

One of the first things I remember Michael telling me after I got to know him, was that they could almost (not quite!) give away the tickets, as long as they filled the ship.  A full ship will make money.

So - here's the question - would you pay double the normal fare, or even triple, for a ship that is only half full with all sorts of social distancing going on? 

Quote from: FT
Jamie Rollo, a Morgan Stanley analyst, said the level of cash burn was taking companies’ leverage to “unsustainably high levels”. Carnival, for instance, is burning through roughly $1bn in cash each month and this week delayed more sailings until next year.

Quote from: FT
EU guidelines released last week recommended that cruises be cut to between three and seven days, and ships make fewer port visits, avoid offering buffets and apply social distancing of 1.5 metres.

They also said those over 65 years old, who make up about 30 per cent of cruise passengers, should be subject to more stringent health checks before boarding and recommended activities be organised by age to prevent the spread of infection between groups.

The captain of an ocean-going liner said such guidelines would make it “very difficult for companies to start cruising whilst adhering to the spirit of the policy”.

« Last Edit: Jul 09, 2020, 08:17 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Offline cunardqueen

Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 09, 2020, 10:31 PM »
Quote
One of the first things I remember Michael telling me after I got to know him, was that they could almost (not quite!) give away the tickets, as long as they filled the ship.  A full ship will make money.   

Is this OUR ship or their other ships or the ones out with the Carnival fleet.
Is this assuming that people spent money onboard? i used to know one couple, they were slightly mad, when they paid their fare, that was all they ever paid, they didn't spend one bean onboard but still had a good time and cruised twice a year on QE2 . They were perfectly happy to do so, didn't bother with any souvenirs, tours, drinks or photos. I think they even took their own laundry powder onboard .  While we might moan about the onboard prices , a great many will always pay .

Quote
So - here's the question - would you pay double the normal fare, or even triple, for a ship that is only half full with all sorts of social distancing going on?   
In a word NO
Perhaps now might be a time for cruise lines to rethink life aboard, even the simple things like meal times , with the multiple options on ships these days there is no reason why they couldn't extend times and go for reservations only for breakfast lunch Afternoon tea and Dinner it would give the kitchen a better idea of how many would be where and at what time. If the one venue is full then you know you're going elsewhere.
 
Its always been accepted you could eat generally when you wanted on board and where you wanted to go , perhaps now its time to rethink a lot of what used to be the norm. Decrease some of the larger tables, they can and do take forever to get through a meal, and the rule of thumb goes out the window, a table of Two can be in and out in a fraction of the time. Afternoon tea was always at 4 pm and was always busy, how many of us were there half an hour beforehand to get a table? Quite easy to make it reservations only and pop them in a lounge.  Even dare i say scrap the Midnight buffet, or if you must do a smaller themed buffet, but how many actually are looking for food at that time, while it was always nice to have a look round and have some pickings, it really wasn't required , was it ?. 
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Twynkle

Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #4 on: Jul 09, 2020, 11:48 PM »
News from the Foreign Office for British travellers on cruise ships - and more importantly, - the shipping lines, Crews, Ports, travel agents etc, it is not at all good...
Quoted in all the newspapers tomorrow
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cruise-ship-travel
From The Times
"The government has scuppered holiday plans for thousands by announcing an effective ban on cruising.

"The Foreign Office (FCO) has advised Britons against travelling on cruises, meaning that holiday companies will not be able to operate trips and passengers’ travel insurance will be void.

Officials said the move was based on medical advice from Public Health England. It is a huge blow to the industry, which had been gearing up to restart sailings from British ports later in the year...

In a statement the FCO said: “The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice. If you have future cruise travel plans, you should speak to your travel operator, or the travel company you booked with, for further advice. The FCO continues to support the Department for Transport’s work with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel.....”

Hopefully, this "advice" cannot last for long - the situation regarding the intensity of infectivity is remarkable - and the scientists will have to find a solution  before long.
COVID-19 is a universal problem - with tracking, tracing and isolation, and eventually vaccination, there should be sufficient means and skills to stop the virus in its tracks.
« Last Edit: Jul 10, 2020, 12:26 AM by Twynkle »
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for what seemed like ages...Please don't leave her looking more like a Hotel-with-a-Hull than the greatest Liner afloat - Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline Thomas Hypher

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Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #5 on: Jul 10, 2020, 07:43 AM »
In my opinion, I simply don't see how it'll all work sustainably enough for the cruise lines to survive for years to come let alone months, not to mention that I and most others I know who cruise wouldn't go on a cruise anytime soon given the rules in place let alone the risk of an outbreak. It wouldn't be a proper and relaxing holiday. Not to mention how practical some of these rules are in an "in action" setting on a cruise with fare paying passengers. Is 1m, 1.5m, 2m social distancing actually going to work? I don't really see how it will work even with partially filled ships given the spots that always get crowded in some way and in ways that can't necessarily be controlled or predicted very well (stairways etc). The social distancing alone is tricky to adhere to at all times on land, say when shopping at the supermarket, or heck anyone who went to the pubs recently (not me). If people are required to wear facemasks how practical would that be? Would people refuse? I wouldn't want to wear a facemask on holiday so would avoid going altogether for that reason alone if the rules were such. It is bad enough wearing a facemask on a long bus journey on a boiling summer's day let alone wearing one most of the time on a warm to sweltering Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise.

As Rosie mentions above, I would agree and say a solution (a vaccine) and if this virus mutates into a less severe strain (as it might already be, so I've heard - whether this is true or not) and works it's way into the human population without the current level of severity and with things to control it (like other viruses already amongst us such as the Flu virus and the twice yearly developed vaccines for the different strains of that) will be the only outcomes where things can even start to be practical, normal, and popular with passengers in regards to cruising. This strain of Coronavirus appears to be here to stay in some way shape and form (other strains of Coronavirus also being amongst us anyway), and it's how we try to mitigate it that will decide whether industries like the cruise industry will survive, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: Jul 10, 2020, 07:48 AM by Thomas Hypher »
First travelled on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and travelled on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008 - we had the better view!

Offline Anubhav Mitra

Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #6 on: Jul 10, 2020, 09:04 AM »
Hi,

As you know I've been closely following COVID-19 in relation to cruise ships since January.  I've also more generally been closely following the information around the virus in my personal life, as I am a part time carer for my elderly and disabled mother, and can't do anything to risk taking the virus to her.

Before I started reading, I had thought that planes would be the worst place to be during a pandemic.  However I now know, after doing reading on the matter, that a well-maintained plane will have highly effective HEPA filters that filter out 99.9% of all known viruses.  As I understand it, and as British Airways explain on their website, the air comes out of the ceiling, passes over us, and is pulled down to and out of the floor.  It is then filtered by the highly effective filters, mixed with some fresh air, and reintroduced through the ceiling again.  My understanding is, that done right, there is actually a low risk in a plane - certainly compared to any other enclosed space you might come across.


Do cruise ships have filters?  At the moment I'm afraid I don't want to be anywhere near any cruise ship - BUT if one of them convinced me they'd done something clever with their air-con, I might. 

Other things on board need to permanently change - I am imagining that buffets will never be the same for example, but also they need to reduce the number of things people touch around the ship.  Stupid people don't sanitise their hands properly, so you can't assume they will.  Doors should self open for example.  UV light is another possible tactic for them to use.

I am currently having a similar battle with my workplace, where they are starting to talk about getting people back into the office - which has always had terrible air-conditioning, and they don't seem to be planning to do anything about it....  recirculated air is a no-no.
Yes, Planes are safer not only because of the filters also because passengers on aircrafts can be served packaged foods and you are in plane for a few hours only.

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #7 on: Jul 10, 2020, 10:12 AM »
In my opinion, I simply don't see how it'll all work sustainably enough for the cruise lines to survive for years to come let alone months, not to mention that I and most others I know who cruise wouldn't go on a cruise anytime soon given the rules in place let alone the risk of an outbreak. It wouldn't be a proper and relaxing holiday. Not to mention how practical some of these rules are in an "in action" setting on a cruise with fare paying passengers. Is 1m, 1.5m, 2m social distancing actually going to work? I don't really see how it will work even with partially filled ships given the spots that always get crowded in some way and in ways that can't necessarily be controlled or predicted very well (stairways etc). The social distancing alone is tricky to adhere to at all times on land, say when shopping at the supermarket, or heck anyone who went to the pubs recently (not me). If people are required to wear facemasks how practical would that be? Would people refuse? I wouldn't want to wear a facemask on holiday so would avoid going altogether for that reason alone if the rules were such. It is bad enough wearing a facemask on a long bus journey on a boiling summer's day let alone wearing one most of the time on a warm to sweltering Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise.

As Rosie mentions above, I would agree and say a solution (a vaccine) and if this virus mutates into a less severe strain (as it might already be, so I've heard - whether this is true or not) and works it's way into the human population without the current level of severity and with things to control it (like other viruses already amongst us such as the Flu virus and the twice yearly developed vaccines for the different strains of that) will be the only outcomes where things can even start to be practical, normal, and popular with passengers in regards to cruising. This strain of Coronavirus appears to be here to stay in some way shape and form (other strains of Coronavirus also being amongst us anyway), and it's how we try to mitigate it that will decide whether industries like the cruise industry will survive, in my opinion.

So... shouldn't they be starting to put ships into cold lay-up?  How long does it have to go on before they do this?  Carnival says they're losing a billiion a month and are becoming over-leveraged with debt.  Something has to give soon I think...
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Offline Twynkle

Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #8 on: Jul 10, 2020, 03:14 PM »
Hi Again!

Just a mention about how the Corona Virus (COVID-19) is transmitted - because, it is one of the most infectious viruses that has occurred for generations - and is definitely rated as 'deadly' by Professors who are Doctors Virologists and epidemiologists.
To become infected - it needs to be transmitted by tiny droplets  either through breathing it in, by nose or mouth (licking, touching etc)  or through the eyes, or even by just walking through air that has become infected because of coughing sneezing nearby. (Elevators, hand-rails, keypads, light switches etc etc)
In other words it is now considered as an airborne virus (WHO) - slightly different to the classification given before this week.
To sit opposite or next to someone for just brief moments - (Planes, Theatres, lido etc) who has yet to develop symptoms (and might still be registering as Negative on testing), could be The most dangerous time  - they may be cooking the virus and highly infectious. 
No matter where you are - on plane, in coach, on train, in Gym, in a Bar - and on a ship, you are still Inside and prey to transmission. Apparently, this virus can last for 3 days on metal!
The age for transmission is changing and the prevalence remains very high in groups of men, of people who are obese, and for those of multi-ethnic origin...
 
The other thing to consider are the Crew - Will they be insured?

However - because the virus is so dangerous - my guess is that as soon as ships go into Cold Lay-up there might (God willing!) be a vaccine showing great results...
So, Rob -  maybe give warm lay-up another 6 months!!

In the meantime the Independent Sage Group are Looking at every aspect - they are holding Zoon Qs and As for the media (and public at times) You can watch and hear them on YouTube - I've worked with a few of them (HIV etc) and they are Superb thinkers.
@IndependentSage on twitter
- this was today's conference
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for what seemed like ages...Please don't leave her looking more like a Hotel-with-a-Hull than the greatest Liner afloat - Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline Thomas Hypher

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Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #9 on: Jul 10, 2020, 06:31 PM »
So... shouldn't they be starting to put ships into cold lay-up?  How long does it have to go on before they do this?  Carnival says they're losing a billiion a month and are becoming over-leveraged with debt.  Something has to give soon I think...

I can see that becoming the norm alongside scrapping unless there is some breakthrough/miracle by the end of the year at the latest. But then it would only reduce the cruise line's outgoings, so yet again it wouldn't be financially sustainable long term either but it might be just enough to make it through. The fact the cruise line's (at least over here in Europe) keep revising their restart of operations doesn't bode well either in this regard, in my opinion. It's definitely not open ended regardless, and the effects will be felt for several years to come regardless too. Very sad all round regarding the cruise industry.

Has anyone been able to confirm either way if Fred Olsen's fleet are now in cold layup at Babcock in Rosyth? Last time I checked the other week, the AIS of all the fleet besides Boudicca were updating regularly, and a Fred Olsen Officer I follow on Instagram still seemed to be onboard one of their ships.
First travelled on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and travelled on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008 - we had the better view!

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #10 on: Jul 10, 2020, 06:57 PM »
Hi Again!

Just a mention about how the Corona Virus (COVID-19) is transmitted - because, it is one of the most infectious viruses that has occurred for generations - and is definitely rated as 'deadly' by Professors who are Doctors Virologists and epidemiologists.
To become infected - it needs to be transmitted by tiny droplets  either through breathing it in, by nose or mouth (licking, touching etc)  or through the eyes, or even by just walking through air that has become infected because of coughing sneezing nearby. (Elevators, hand-rails, keypads, light switches etc etc)
In other words it is now considered as an airborne virus (WHO) - slightly different to the classification given before this week.
To sit opposite or next to someone for just brief moments - (Planes, Theatres, lido etc) who has yet to develop symptoms (and might still be registering as Negative on testing), could be The most dangerous time  - they may be cooking the virus and highly infectious. 
No matter where you are - on plane, in coach, on train, in Gym, in a Bar - and on a ship, you are still Inside and prey to transmission. Apparently, this virus can last for 3 days on metal!
The age for transmission is changing and the prevalence remains very high in groups of men, of people who are obese, and for those of multi-ethnic origin...
 
The other thing to consider are the Crew - Will they be insured?

However - because the virus is so dangerous - my guess is that as soon as ships go into Cold Lay-up there might (God willing!) be a vaccine showing great results...
So, Rob -  maybe give warm lay-up another 6 months!!

In the meantime the Independent Sage Group are Looking at every aspect - they are holding Zoon Qs and As for the media (and public at times) You can watch and hear them on YouTube - I've worked with a few of them (HIV etc) and they are Superb thinkers.
@IndependentSage on twitter
- this was today's conference

Thanks Rosie for posting the link to this You Tube video. It was heartening to listen to so many experts who were talking a lot of common sense, and really put into perspective some of the challenges we are and will be facing. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #11 on: Jul 11, 2020, 06:36 PM »
A long article here about the future of tourism in general, starting with the cruise industry.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/jun/18/end-of-tourism-coronavirus-pandemic-travel-industry

It is clear from the article that there are many different situations and considerations, and that some tourism is actually useful to the places being visited.

And then there are all the people employed in the industry...


Offline Twynkle

Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #13 on: Jul 12, 2020, 11:10 PM »
There's to be a major Conference hosted by Carnival in July..
More on this later.

The only way that would seem possible and sensible - would be to hope for good results from the trials ongoing to test vaccinations. Otherwise requesting that both passengers as well as those in the Ships' Company isolate for 2 weeks prior to embarkation - then on the day of embarkation -  test the person for either virus (or eventually a reliable antibody test) for Covid-19, check the result, hopefully a "negative", and a symptom free passenger can be allowed to join the ship.
There could be the same exercise as after port visits - go to just one port, and self isolate for remainder of voyage!

Today I was sent a passage from a good friend taken from the Journal published by Bloomberg - written by Fran Brandon.  "The world’s cruise ships can’t sail. Now, what to do with them?
Hurricanes, humidity, expired permits—they’re all costly threats to empty ships."

https://apple.news/AIjLPe9-1SjCUJtrtWyfJoA
It was one of the situations where the reader is told this is an offer etc - and encouraged to join and pay!
If you can access it - it makes salutory reading regarding cold lay ups etc


« Last Edit: Jul 12, 2020, 11:18 PM by Twynkle »
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for what seemed like ages...Please don't leave her looking more like a Hotel-with-a-Hull than the greatest Liner afloat - Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Coronavirus - How to get going again?
« Reply #14 on: Jul 13, 2020, 12:47 PM »
Good articles above, the Bloomberg one - and its video - are great.

It's hard to know what the answer is, until there's a vaccine.  And then you have these vast cruise companies saddled with enormous amounts of debt...  for the ships, it's going to be a case of the survival of the fittest...

Our previous two trips with Cunard didn't impress, and we had no future sailing plans before this, and certainly don't now.  But I know cruising is a massive part of many people's lives, and they'll be desperate to return as soon as they are able.

For me, other non-ship-based holidays and adventures over the years have left more lasting impressions, and it's more of those that I'm looking forward to.  The odd day on the Waverley will give me the sea air that I need from time to time!
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Offline Chris Frame

Did cruising restart too soon?
« Reply #15 on: Aug 05, 2020, 04:06 AM »
Given the news this week about the outbreaks on board Hurtigruten - it’s probably fair to ask whether cruising resumed too soon? I made a little video about it, but would be keen on your thoughts. I do wonder how cruising (or any form of global travel) can safely resume until there’s a successful COVID vaccine? In Australia (and NZ) there’s travel bans in place and borders are closed between Australian states. There’s no cruising at all, and you need a very good reason to even be able to fly or drive between some states, so things are quite strict here which a majority of people seem supportive of. Other areas in the world are more relaxed about travel - including cruising - so I’m sure there’s a variety of thoughts on the topic. 


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