St. Kitts and Nevis Shuts Borders in Advance of COVID-19

Dual-island nation St. Kitts and Nevis is the latest Caribbean country to close its borders in an attempt to stem the COVID-19 virus’ spread. Beginning at 11:59 p.m. on March 25, all commercial flights to the nation will be banned through April 7, said government officials in a statement.

St. Kitts and Nevis officials have further stipulated “nationals and residents overseas who cannot return by the deadline will need to remain offshore until the border closing is lifted.” The county currently reports no confirmed coronavirus cases.

The Caribbean nation is allowing medevac and medical emergency flights “should the need arise.” Also permitted are international air and sea cargo shipments to the islands “in order to maintain connectivity that enables the Federation to import needed commodities such as food, fuel, medical supplies and equipment.”

“Testing is being done, and thus far we are grateful that ale results obtained have been negative,” said Mark Brantley, St. Kitts’ minister of foreign affairs and aviation and Nevis’ premier, in a March 19 address to the country. “However while we pray that continues, we continue to prepare for the real possibility that we may develop cases here in Nevis and in the wider federation,” he said.

“As such, my government continues to take every prudent measure on the advice of the chief medical officer and the federal task force, as well as the head of our local effort, Dr. Judy Nesbit.”

Officials are advising travelers scheduled to visit the country in the coming weeks to “contact their travel advisor, travel provider, hotel and/or airline for information about fees and policies for rescheduling or canceling trips.”

As in other tourism-reliant Caribbean destinations, the border closure will have a profound impact on the St. Kitts and Nevis economy. The island had already suffered the impact of canceled bookings at its signature luxury resort, the Four Seasons Nevis, earlier this month as the virus began its global spread.

In a Tweet, Brantley said the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank pledged to provide loan relief for Nevis commercial customers, including “no loan payments for six months and no late charges or fees.”

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to our twin-island destination once again when this time of uncertainty is behind us,” the government statement reads. “In the meantime, we ask all persons to stay informed about the latest news and developments relating to COVID-19 and to take all recommended precautions including preventative actions to stem the spread of the virus, including frequent handwashing and social distancing.”

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Google Maps Street View: Man’s unexpected reaction when he notices Google camera

Google Maps Street View was developed in 2007 and allows users to navigate their way around the world at street level. It works by taking multiple mages of an area and stitching them together in post-production to create a 360-degree virtual world.

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Usually, the cameras are attached to cars and driven around the streets of the world.

While the feature is known for capturing people off guard, often revealing unexpected and bizarre scenarios, occasionally people notice the camera resulting in hilarious results.

In Sweden, one man’s hilarious reaction to the camera was snapped and lives on in Street View forever.

It happened in the town of Lugano, Switzerland where a construction worker was working on a task along with a friend when he appears not have noticed Google’s car zooming on by.

The man, stood at the side of the road assisting with some roadside works, can be spotted wearing red trousers, a checkered jacket, and a baseball cap.

The moment he first notices the car is obvious, as even though Google’s privacy facial blur, his open mouth is easily noticeable.

However, it is the following moment, which is captured as the car drives away from him, which causes the most humour.

The man appears to be in a state of disarray.

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He stands, mouth still agape, his hands either side of his head.

Is he left concerned that he has been caught on camera?

Or is he feeling sad he missed his chance to create a hilarious scenario for Street View users to happen upon?

The moment was shared on Reddit, where users have come up with their own back story to what might have happened.

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The user who found the moment said: “When you realise that you’re going to be on Google Street View but you have nothing funny planned.”

Another described the scene as “the funniest thing I have seen all day.”

Someone else begged the question: “Isn’t there something that shows you when the Google car’s gonna come to your area next?”

Indeed, if you are keen not to miss your chance on the camera there is a way you can find out if the Google car will be driving in your neighbourhood.

On Google Maps’ explore page it tells users where the Google car is heading next, and for how long it will be there.

However, the page only offers a “time period” and does not outline a specific date and time, which means you could be waiting for quite some time.

On the other hand, while there are those who are eager to be snapped by the camera, others seem to be caught off guard.

One man in Poland was spotted sunbathing in a very brazen ensemble, which could leave him red-cheeked if he discovered the moment was immortalised on Google Maps forever.

The man was snapped wearing just his underpants while relaxing on a park bench.

Luckily Google Maps’ privacy function means that all people captured on camera automatically have their face blurred, to protect their identity.

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Popular National Parks Closing to Help Combat Coronavirus

Three of the most popular national parks in the United States closed to the public Tuesday as a result of restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the Star Tribune, government officials called on the National Park Service to temporarily shut down the Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Great Smoky Mountains parks after good weather resulted in overcrowding at the facilities.

As a result of the high number of visitors and the updated social distancing measures, officials decided it would be safest to shut down the parks until further notice.

“The National Park Service listened to the concerns from our local partners and, based on current health guidance, temporarily closed the parks,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly and Grand Teton acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail told The Associated Press.

The three parks join a growing list of tourism destinations closing as a result of the viral infection, including Alcatraz, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Statue of Liberty, Yosemite and more.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced last week that all parks still open to the public would waive all entrance fees, but the decision to close or modify operations to combat the coronavirus outbreak would be left up to the individual park superintendents.

While not all national parks have closed, many have started shutting down shuttles, campgrounds, visitor centers and trails, including Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park and others.

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Doctor is named Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year

Snow-capped mountains and tranquil lochs: The stunning best entries in the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, with a frontline doctor declared the overall winner

  • Inverness-based Dr Kenny Muir has scooped the title of Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year 
  • He wowed the judges with his portfolio of three stunning images that were taken in Glen Affric and on Harris 
  • Other awards were handed out in categories including Scottish weather, seascape, four seasons and urban 

A frontline doctor has been crowned the winner of a photography competition that aims to capture Scotland’s natural beauty. 

Inverness-based Dr Kenny Muir scooped the title of Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year with his portfolio of three stunning images shot in remote Glen Affric and on the Isle of Harris.

The first image, called Wild Caledonia, captures the morning light hitting the native Caledonian pinewoods of Glen Affric after snowfall.

One of the pictures by Dr Kenny Muir, which helped him scoop the title of Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year.  This one shows a Seielbost gneiss boulder glowing in the evening light close to the Luskentyre Estuary on the Isle of Harris 

Dr Muir took this image in Glen Affric. It shows Loch Salach a’ Ghiubhais (Dirty Loch of the Scots Pine). He said: ‘The ancient Scots pine which provides the focal point, is surrounded by regenerating woodland’ 

Dr Muir called this image Wild Caledonia. He said: ‘Morning light hitting the native Caledonian pinewoods of Glen Affric after snowfall. This was possibly the coldest morning of 2019 at -12C’

David Queenan was named the overall competition’s runner-up with his portfolio of three pictures. One of them is this stunning image of golden pine trees taken in Beecraigs Country Park in West Lothian. He said: ‘After a failed sunrise shoot at Linlithgow Loch due to thick fog I relocated to the nearby Beecraigs and was just in time to catch the sun breaking through the mist and tall pines’

Another stunning image by runner-up David Queenan. It shows waves lapping up against a groyne on Portobello beach in Edinburgh. He said: ‘Despite being a pleasant summer evening a large bank of cloud blocked the setting sun – but it also helped to simplify the scene and give the image a monochromatic colour palette’ 

David Queenan’s serene shot of Discovery Point in the city of Dundee. David said: ‘After taking in the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year exhibition at Dock Street Studios, I popped over the road to capture a panoramic image of the V&A Museum and Captain Scott’s ship, RSS Discovery’ 

The second shows one of the small lochs deep within Glen Affric, while the third is a tranquil shot of the Luskentyre estuary with the mountains of North Harris behind it.

Dr Muir, who works at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, said: ‘I am shocked and delighted to have won this competition, particularly when surrounded by so many talented photographers.

‘Two of the winning images are part of a personal project to document the wilder side of Glen Affric, one of Scotland’s largest remnants of Caledonian Forest. I hope to highlight the importance of preserving and regenerating these areas of natural beauty.

‘As a hospital doctor I will be taking a break from photography to focus on current events, but really appreciate receiving the award.’

Photographer Gary Robertson captured this stunning image of Cir Mhor on the Isle Of Arran. It earned him the runner-up spot in the landscape category. He said: ‘A summer bivvy on Caisteal Abhail’s summit rewards us with a wonderful sunset followed by the most beautiful sunrise cloud inversion, including awe-inspiring views of Cir Mhor and Goatfell’ 

The winner of the spring award in the four seasons category was Katherine Fotheringham for this stunning shot she called Copper Beech Light, which was captured in Scone, Perthshire 

The autumn award in the four seasons category went to Tony Higginson for this incredible shot he captured near the River Beauly in Balchraggan in the Scottish Highlands. He said: ‘I spotted these classically shaped beech trees illuminated by the warm light of the setting sun. An amazing evening where everything seemed to be glowing, these trees were just begging to be photographed’ 

The winner of the landscape category was Ben Eaton-Williams with this image, which he called Raging Ridge

Max Eve was named runner-up in the youth category, thanks to this amazing shot of Princes Street in Edinburgh. He explained: ‘I combined two exposures of the same tram travelling in opposite directions’ 


This spectacular aerial shot of Loch Droma, left, was captured by Jurre Jan de Wit, who was the winner of the ‘your vision’ award. Pictured right is a shot by Janet Jamieson called Skip Doon The Lane, which she captured in Glasgow. She was the winner of the urban category

Andrew Bulloch was named the winner of the youth category for this snowy image of Edinburgh, which he took from the top of Arthur’s Seat 

Runner-up in the overall contest was David Queenan, who captured golden pine trees in a West Lothian park and waves crashing against a groyne (an anti-erosion barrier) on an Edinburgh beach. 

In addition to the overall award, the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition handed out gongs in several other categories – landscape, seascape, urban, monochrome, four seasons, Scottish weather and your vision.  

The competition, now in its sixth year, is the brainchild of Perthshire-based landscape photographer Stuart Low.

The winner of the Scottish weather award was Andy MacDougall for this shot of the Sound of Raasay on the Isle of Skye. He said that the image was a ‘great reward after days of wind and rain that had made photography difficult’

Graham Niven was the runner-up in the Scottish weather category thanks to this image, which shows the city of Edinburgh during wintry conditions. He said: ‘March 2018 saw wild Arctic blasts sweeping across the country. I managed to make my way up Arthur’s Seat to capture a familiar view in unfamiliar conditions – with epic snowy squalls sweeping across the city’ 

The winter award in the four seasons category went to Sarah Rose, who snapped this image while on a snowy walk in Aberdeenshire 

Kylie Macbeth was the runner-up in the urban category for her photo Into the Fog, which shows the Forth Rail Bridge in North Queensferry. She said: ‘On the way to visit my Grandma for her 96th birthday in North Queensferry, I just had to jump out the car and capture this scene. I had just taken up photography that month’ 

Bill Ward was the winner of the seascape category for this dramatic shot showing an incoming storm in Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris. He described it as an ‘extraordinary winter’s afternoon’ 

The runner-up spot in the monochrome award went to Waldemar Matusik, who captured this stunning image of the Union of South Africa at Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway Station

The winner of the monochrome category was Katrina Brayshaw, who snapped this image in the sand dunes of Gairloch 

James Woodend was runner-up in the ‘your vision’ category after snapping this very unusual image of a close-up of a steel barrier on the Isle of Harris. He said: ‘It triggered my interest because, like many macro shots of man-made structures, it strangely echoes the natural environment in which they are found’ 

He started the contest to promote conservation, to inspire photographers of all levels to explore Scotland’s stunning landscapes and to promote Scotland’s natural, cultural and historic heritage to an international audience.

Stuart said: ‘This year, photographers from across the globe entered the competition and once again the standard just keeps getting better and better.

‘In these difficult times ahead of us, we hope these stunning images will bring a little joy to everyone.’

All the winning images will be showcased in a limited edition yearbook, which will be available from next month. 

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Coronavirus flights: At least 50,000 Britons stranded abroad – ‘contact MPs’ says expert

A travel expert has revealed there are at least 50,000 Britons currently stranded abroad as a result of coronavirus. These Britons have been urged to return to the UK by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) – but are finding it nigh on impossible to do so. The FCO latest advice on the matter is as follows: “If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available.

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“Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”

Travel expert Simon Calder appeared on BBC Breakfast today to share his travel advice with these Britons stranded abroad.

“Unfortunately we have still have at least 50,000 people who are not where they need to be,” said Calder.

“They are typically stuck in parts of Asia without any obvious links back.

“There are also a lot of people in New Zealand and Australia.

“There are 1,000 or so Brits in Peru – they are relatively lucky because there is actually sitting on the ground at Lima Airport a Boeing 7777 waiting to take some of them home and with more planes promised later this week.”

A major problem at the moment is that major hubs around the world are closing down as countries go into lockdown, preventing connectivity.

“The world depends on global connectivity and key hubs such as Dubai, the hub for Emirates, the biggest intercontinental airline in the world, closes down today and Singapore which has banned transit passengers,” explained Calder.

“The Foreign Office is trying to get Singapore to change its mind to allow flights to refuel there.”

He continued: “It’s a matter of trying to get the hubs unlocked but unfortunately individual countries have been ignoring the advice from the WHO which says that once coronavirus is established in a population flight bans are absolutely futile.”

Calder pointed out that it perhaps would have been better if the UK government had insisted Britons came back at the same time they banned all but essential travel eight days ago.

“It is those flight bans which have gradually been building up,” said the expert, “there are a lot of people who feel that if the government had said eight days ago ‘Don’t go abroad and if you are abroad come back now’ there would not be so many tales of distress.”

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When asked whether planes currently parked in airports around the UK would be put to use, Calder said: “We will see some more action of more planes being chartered, not military ones there’s plenty of civil aircraft around.”

Calder dubbed the coronavirus crisis an “awful situation” as well as “really frightening, scary and confusing.”

However, he explained that those stuck abroad should put pressure on the government and contact their MP.

“The best thing anyone who is stranded can do is contact their MP,” he said, “yes they do have a kind of magic bullet but a magic email through to the Foreign Office where you can alert to particular cases of distress.

“Of course if you can get yourself out of there then please do but increasingly the avenues are closing down.

“It’s really a matter, in these extreme circumstances, of putting increasing pressure on your MP, on the Foreign Office and just doing what you can.”

Calder that the best thing that can happen for stranded people at the moment is some of those closed hubs reopen.

The current FCO advice is: “As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”

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Oman Air to ground all flights from Sunday

Oman Air will be suspending all passenger services to and from Muscat from noon on Sunday.

No date has been announced for the resumption of services, with cancellations in place until further notice.

Oman Air domestic flights to and from Musandam Governorate will continue to operate as normal.

Additionally, Oman Air’s cargo operations will operate as normal too.

“This is a temporary suspension of our passenger services.

“We regret the difficulty and inconvenience this may cause, but it’s vital for us as the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman to assist in the country’s efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19,” said Oman Air chief executive, Abdulaziz Al Raisi.

“We will prioritise the needs of our guests and employees as we continue to assess the evolving situation,” Al Raisi added.

“This is an unprecedented time for our industry, but I am confident we will emerge stronger from this crisis as we had successfully done so in the past.”

When its temporary suspension is lifted, Oman Air will take an orderly approach to restoring its international services with a focus on safety, the carrier added.

In the Middle East, Emirates and Etihad have grounded the vast majority of flights in recent days.

The International Air Transport Association has also warned over the long-term viability of carriers in the Middle East and Africa without government support.

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Airline will pay you £7,300 if you catch coronavirus after flying with them

Vietnamese airline Vietjet has announced that it’s prepared to pay customers up to 200m VND (£7,344) if they catch coronavirus after flying with them.

The payout will be part of its new “SKY COVID CARE insurance” scheme, which will cover all domestic flights between 23 March and 30 June 2020.

It will be offered free of charge to all eligible customers, regardless of age and nationality.

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In a statement announcing the launch of the insurance, the airline said: “With the insurance, passengers are eligible for insurance coverage and benefits from Vietjet within 30 days starting at 00:01 of the flight date, regardless of how passengers are infected with the disease.”

The airline said it has set aside “tens of billion dong” of its own money to cover the scheme, which is designed to “bring passengers assurance”.

In order to qualify for the coverage, the airline said prospective customers must provide “all information in accordance with Vietjet’s terms and conditions” when purchasing tickets.

This includes full name with relevant ID as proof, date of birth, contactable phone number and email address.

In addition, customers must “comply with all regulations on disease prevention and control of Vietjet, the Ministry of Health and authorities”.

While the airline doesn’t discriminate against customers of certain ages or nationalities, those who have already been confirmed positive for Covid-19 are ineligible, as are those who breach any safety regulations, such as isolation or travel bans, outlined by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health or other government authorities.

However, the airline has said it won’t cover passengers with epilepsy, mental illness or suicidal behaviours under the policy either.

Customers hoping to make a claim can do so via the form on its website, and will need to provide proof that they’ve tested positive for Covid-19 as well as proof of treatment.

This is not the first time the airline has courted controversy.

In 2012, the airline was fined after it hosted a bikini show on one of its planes.

Vietnam‘s Civil Aviation Authority issued a 20m VND (£735) fine as it said the airline staged the show without receiving official approval.

Vietnam currently has 113 confirmed cases of coronavirus according to the latest World Health Organisation report, dated 23 March.

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Trains timetable: Will trains still be running? Have trains been cancelled in lockdown?

Last night Boris Johnson announced new restrictions on socialising and going outside, after previous measures failed to slow the spread of coronavirus. All non essential travel is no longer permitted, and the public has been asked only to leave the house once a day to exercise or to make essential journeys.

If you or the people you live with have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay at home.

Trains are continuing to run across the country, however, timetables have been heavily amended and some lines are not running at all.

You should check with your rail provider before travelling to see if you are still able, and all train times can be found on the National Rail website.

Train companies have agreed to offer refunds on advance tickets bought before, and valid for travel from, 7am on Monday, March 23 and have waived the usual refund/processing fees.

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The quickest and easiest way to request an exchange or refund for your train tickets is by doing it online due to a very high volume of requests.

The Trainline released a statement saying: “We’re working incredibly hard to resolve the exceptionally high volume of requests we’re currently receiving.

“We’re sorry you’re having to wait longer than usual, but we’re prioritising customers with time-sensitive travel needs. We’ll get your queries resolved as soon as we can.

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Transport for London has issued a statement regarding reports that tube trains in the capital are still packed as people head to and return from work.

It reads: “To save lives, everyone must follow the Government and Mayor’s instructions to stay at home and only travel if absolutely essential.

“Only critical workers should be using public transport and no one else.

“We thank those acting on that which has brought passenger journeys on the Tube down by around 87 per cent.

“But to save lives and enable critical NHS and other workers to use our reduced services, more people need to stop travelling right now.”

The last 24 hours have seen the biggest rise in UK deaths, jumping by 87 cases to 422.

The World Health Organisation has confirmed that 85% of new cases are in the US and Europe.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that the ExCel Exhibition Centre in east London is being turned into a temporary hospital with the help of the military.

It will have two wards and be able to hold 4000 patients.

He said: “We will, next week, open a new hospital – a temporary hospital – the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the Excel centre in London.

“The NHS Nightingale Hospital will comprise two wards, each of 2,000 people. With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure that we have the capacity that we need so that everyone can get the support that they need.”

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National Express travel updates: Are National Express buses running?

Popular coach operator National Express has announced it has changed its timetables in line with new Government rules on travelling and social distancing. The coach company provides national and international services across Europe.

Are National Express buses running?

Coaches are still running but to a heavily amended timetable, and the company has extended flexibility rules regarding fixed tickets.

Capacity on services has been reduced to 50 percent, in order to allow passengers to spread out and practice social distancing rules while on their trip.

Kiosks at bus and coach stations will not be manned for the foreseeable future.

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The travel provider has completely suspended international services to Paris and other European cities.

Chris Hardy, managing director of National Express UK Coach, said: “Latest Government advice is that people should avoid travelling unless it is essential.

“We are still operating to be able to help those individuals with essential travel needs and ask all others to follow guidance and not travel unnecessarily.

Mr Hardy added: “Our drivers, customer service teams, customer contact centre and the wider National Express team are working incredibly hard to keep these services running safely.

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“We are doing all we can to support everyone who works in our business at this challenging time , especially our front-line staff who can’t work from home; including paying company sick pay from day one.

“And we’re trying to help our customers as best we can in this uncertain time by offering a free amend to re-book their travel with us again in the next 12 months or a full refund for anyone whose travel has been cancelled.”

National and regional travel services have made various announcements over the last week to warn commuters about new timetables and to avoid travelling unless totally necessary.

Police now have the power to stop travellers and ask them where they are going.

Announcing the new rules on Monday evening, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review.

“We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

“But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.”

Mr Johnson insisted there was a “clear way through” and he believed the “people of this country will rise to that challenge”.

“We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together.

“And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.”

Do you have any questions about the coronavirus, self-isolating or the Government lockdown?

Get in touch with us and Express.co.uk will ask an expert to find the answers for you. Email your question to [email protected]

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Google Maps: Near-nude man shocks viewers with brazen public display in park

Google Maps Street View is a handy tool which can help users navigate their way around far off lands, or map a new route from A to B with street-level precision. However, it is also increasingly being used to discover some of the more weird and wonderful happenings that the globe has to offer.

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One such incident was spotted in a public park in Poland, where an older man left onlookers feeling quite aghast.

The scene unfolds on a sunny day in a busy park, where a man can be seen relaxing on a park bench.

He seems to be enjoying the pleasant day, clearly hoping to soak up the most of the sun’s rays.

Sat in a cross-legged position with his arms folded across his chest, the man seems to have not a care in the world.

This may seem surprising when you take into consideration his choice of outfit.

Indeed, the man is wearing just a pair of grey underpants and a silver wristwatch.

An ensemble that may leave some red-cheeked in public, it doesn’t seem to have bothered this man at all.

What makes the scene even more bizarre is that the man doesn’t even have on a pair of shoes, and it proudly sat barefoot on the bench.

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His clothes, meanwhile, sit folded on the side of the bench.

It is likely he arrived at the park fully clothes and then proceeded to strip down to his underpants in full display of passersby.

The user who happened upon the moment shared it on Reddit, saying: “Found this almost naked man just chilling on a park bench in Poland.”

Other users were quick to add comments to the piece, some making jokes.

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One said: “Don’t bother the dude, he’s just catching a tan. And a cold.”

Meanwhile, another bantered: “Can’t a man get some sun in peace?”

Someone else echoed: “Let him chill.”

Indeed, the last thing he probably wanted was someone to snap his photograph.

Though this man may have been comfortable to boldly strip down to his pants anonymously, he may not have realised he was being captured on camera.

The good news is, while the man’s bold statement may be housed on Google Maps StreetView forever, his identity is well concealed.

As part of Google’s privacy policy, all faces are blurred to protect the identity of people captured on the application.

According to Google: “We have developed cutting-edge face and license plate blurring technology that is designed to blur identifiable faces and license plates within Google-contributed imagery in Street View.”

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