Travel news: Eight countries now classified as green list travel destinations | UK | News


Holidaymakers could be allowed to travel to international locations as soon as May 17 under the Government’s plans for the easing of lockdown. However, based on the traffic light system that indicates which countries are safer to travel to, Britons can currently only chose from eight countries if they wish to enjoy quarantine-free holidays.

New modelling conducted by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief at BA and its owner IAG, listed USA, Gibraltar, Israel, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, and Australia and New Zealand as green list nations.

The Government is set to review the system on June 28 and popular tourist destinations such as Spain and Greece – which currently remain on the amber list – could turn green if their coronavirus figures improve.

The study read: “Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower-risk rating than the mainland and that could happen again this year.”

The report labelled Gibraltar as “the surest case for green,” adding that “ it has essentially zero cases of any type and the population is fully vaccinated.”

It added: “Israel must be the next most likely. Again, it has vaccinated close to its entire population and case numbers are below even last year’s threshold.”

There is currently speculation over whether India should be added to the red list after a new coronavirus variant was first identified there.

The UK has already detected 160 cases of the variant, which has a “double mutation” in the spike protein, E484Q and L452R.

The strain is currently dubbed a “variant under investigation” rather than a “variant of concern” by the UK health authorities.

Professor Beate Kampmann, director of the Vaccine Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, stressed that herd immunity may not work in a scenario where various strains of coronavirus are in circulation.





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Travel news live: domestic holidays get the go-ahead


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It’s getaway day!

According to the government’s roadmap, domestic travel in “self-contained accommodation” is permitted from today, 12 April.

It means, after more than three months of lockdown, trips to Airbnbs, campsites and caravan parks and some holiday parks – including Center Parcs – are permitted for one household or social bubble only.

Follow live as The Independent’s travel desk heads off on domestic adventures…

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Everything you need to know about domestic travel

Here’s a handy digest of everything you need to know about what travel rules are changing today: what you can do, where you can go and with whom.

Cathy Adams12 April 2021 09:01

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Train stations gear up for a busy day

Commuter trains to London appear to be busier than they have done for months.

Overall passenger numbers on Britain’s railways have been at or below 25 per cent of pre-pandemic levels since the third lockdown began. By far the highest proportion of journeys are to and from London.

While final figures will not be in for 10 days, anecdotal evidence suggests stations are significantly busier than over the past two weeks; the “stay at home” rule in England was lifted on 29 March. 

As the Monday morning rush hour got under way, station staff said they were seeing many more passengers. Train operators have increased the number of trains running from 70 to 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Vauxhall station in southwest London gears up for a busy day

(Simon Calder)

Robert Nisbet, director of Nations and Regions for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Rail companies are pulling out all the stops so that people can travel with confidence as restrictions ease, with continued extra cleaning, more services, high levels of face mask wearing and ventilation that refreshes air in the carriage at least every 10 minutes.

“We are advising that people to travel at quieter times [and] leave longer for their journey.”

Simon Calder12 April 2021 08:24



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Australia news live updates: Scott Morrison blames ‘supply problem’ for slow Covid vaccine rollout | Australia news





Former Australia Post chief executive, Christine Holgate, has lodged an explosive submission to the Senate inquiry into her sacking for the decision to award executives Cartier watches as bonuses.

“It is almost five months since the events of October 22nd, 2020, when, for no justified reason, I was humiliated in Parliament and then unlawfully stood down by the Australia Post Chair from a role I was passionately committed to,” the submission begins.

In the submission, Holgate doubles down on her claim she never voluntarily stood down and accuses Australia Post chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, of unlawfully standing her down and alleged “he lied repeatedly to the Australian people and to their parliament about his actions”.

”Time after time he has made statements that I had agreed to stand down when I had done no such thing.”

Holgate said she offered to resign, but alleged Australia Post then leaked the letter to the media, before sending a counter-offer which is “itself confirmation that no agreement had been reached”.

Holgate said the gift of Cartier watches was “legal, within Australia Post’s policies, within my own signing authority limits, approved by the previous chairman, expensed appropriately, signed off by auditors and the CFO, [and] widely celebrated within the organisation”.

Holgate accused Di Bartolomeo of “seriously misleading” evidence to the Senate on 9 November, including about his knowledge of a BCG report into the incident.

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Travel agents and hotel operators have welcomed details of the two way travel bubble with New Zealand, but have warned “there will be very little real benefit” for the sector in the short term.

This is because most of the initial travellers from 19 April are expected to be low-spending tourists visiting family and friends, as Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive, Margy Osmond, told the Guardian.

Accommodation Association of Australia has backed that prediction up, with its chief executive Dean Long reigniting calls for post-jobkeeper wage support for CBD hotels in Melbourne and Sydney that are still reeling from a drop off in international tourism and business travel.

The Association said Sydney is currently the worst performing city market in Australia with revenue declines of 67% and forward booking rates of less than 10% for the next 90 days and that Melbourne is similarly decimated.

Long said:


The opening of the trans-Tasman corridor is a very welcome step in the right direction but the reality is while it’s good news for the travel sector, given most travellers will be catching up with friends and families there’s very little immediate benefit for our tourism sector or our hotels and motels. With the end of jobkeeper and given the massive holes in the market especially in Australia’s international hubs of Sydney and Melbourne, the flow on benefits for our hotels and motels, and the many small businesses who supply them is negligible. There’s no doubt it will be a big kick along for consumer confidence but it doesn’t erase the need for tailored support for our accommodation sector. The reality is it’s great news for our travel sector but not so good for tourism.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents chair Tom Manwaring said many of his members were already seeing “increased interest in booking NZ albeit primarily to visit friends and family”.

Manwaring said:


It’s not a massive increase in business and our sector still desperately needs support but it is a much needed step in the right direction.” However, we urge both the Australian and the New Zealand governments to do all they can to ensure now the corridor is open that it stays open. This is important both in terms of consumer confidence in booking travel and from a workload perspective for travel agents who are still working hard on repatriating the outstanding $4bn still owed to Australians by airlines, hotels and tour operators on Covid-impacted travel and managing re-bookings and cancellations as a result of state restrictions.

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A few frequent flyers ‘dominate air travel’


John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, told BBC News: “Taxing frequent fliers is a good idea – but we also have to do something about air miles, which reward frequent fliers for flying more frequently. This is obscene during a climate crisis – and it should be stopped.”



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Some Californians Willing to Travel a Distance to Get COVID-19 Shots – NBC Bay Area


Everyday it seems many people are hearing stunning stories of friends and neighbors going to great lengths to get vaccinated as soon as they can as Bay Area counties continue to struggle with vaccine supply issues.

For example, thousands of cars coming and going at the Levi’s Stadium mass vaccination site in Santa Clara all day long but don’t be misled.

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib told NBC Bay Area the county received just 40,000 doses last week. “However, I would warn people, basically, that there aren’t many first dose appointments,” he said.

Fenstersheib said he expects numbers to remain flat again this week. That means for at least one more week, it’s going to be difficult to get your first shot in Santa Clara county.

For Santa Cruz county resident Vijay Char, he said it seemed impossible to find his first shot in his county, so he went to the MyTurn website. “It prompted me to go look in Solano, so I absolutely looked there,” he said.

Char tells NBC Bay Area that he and his wife drove more than two hours from their Aptos home, six days ago to a site in Fairfield, only to find a note above the door stating no vaccines ran out.

Char added that dozens of people showed up in the few hours as he waited there to see if more vaccines would arrive. “It was sad to see some of the older folks that were struggling out of their wheelchairs and getting into their walkers and hobbling over to the door only to find that rejection there,” he said.

The couple did not give up, finally setting up their appointments directly through CVS Pharmacy’s vaccination page. But it was a CVS that was located two and a half hours away in Fresno. “The drive, I mean, it’s okay during these times to get out of the routine and go somewhere,” Char said.

Another looming issue could drag out the supply problem. There is mounting skepticism over AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is still awaiting FDA emergency authorization. This comes after the company revealed that its publicly stated efficacy findings may have not been final.

Fenstersheib said he’s sure that the FDA and every federal and state agencies involved in approving the drug will vet the vaccine thoroughly. “To the point of making sure that no vaccine is authorized for this country that has unacceptable safety issues around it,” he said.

Fenstersheib believes everyone who wants to be fully vaccinated will be able to do so before the end of summer.





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Travel picking up: SFO officials see more flights being booked


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – After more than a year of staying home, San Francisco International Airport leaders say they’re starting to see more people booking flights.

Some people said they’ve been waiting to travel for a long time and many people are flying to tropical places for leisure.

“This is the first time that I’ve traveled since the pandemic,” Antonio Perez said.

Perez says it’s been more than a year since he’s checked in for a flight and he’s not alone in his decision to fly.

“Last month there were probably 10,000-11,000 people per-day going through our security checkpoints, that number is now up to 14,000-15,000 a day and continues to climb,” Doug Yakel said. 

Doug Yakel with San Francisco International Airport says many of these people are taking vacations.

“We’re not expecting much in business travel for the remainder of this year so we do think that as travel is starting to recover and it is, it’s really that leisure sector that is leading the recovery,” Yakel said. 

Airport leaders are trying to keep people safe — They have reminders for people to social distance, hand sanitizer available, and partitions up.

“Masking is still a requirement. Although a lot of states around the country have lifted their masking requirement at any airport on any aircraft in the united states it’s now a federal requirement that you wear a face mask at all times,” Yakel said. 

Still, Perez says he’ll be taking extra precautions on his flight.

“I cannot say that I feel very safe — That’s why I brought this one because I want to wear this on the plane because I think the air in the plane can be more contaminated than outside,” Perez said. 

Airport officials are looking into creating a digital health app that will be able to certify that people have been vaccinated or have had a negative test recently.



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Desire for Normalcy Is Fueling a Busy Travel Season – NBC Boston


Hope is on the horizon for those dreaming of summer travel. With President Joe Biden targeting July 4 for small gatherings and public health experts giving summer getaways the green light, many are already planning an escape.

At Audley Travel, the phones are ringing off the hook from those looking to book.

“In the last three months, we’ve seen a 300% increase in bookings,” said Alex Shattuck of Audley Travel.

Shattuck said prices are still reasonable, but will be going up due to all of the pent-up demand. He also said many are looking to travel to domestic destinations first.

“Hawaii is our single biggest booking destination, followed by the U.S. national parks,” Shattuck said.

On Cape Cod, vacation rentals and hotels are also in hot demand. Matt Pitta, the director of communications for Red Jacket Resorts, said they are expecting a huge summer at their properties.

“We started getting hundreds of phone calls in January from people inquiring about availability, and from that point on, it has done nothing but accelerate,” Pitta said.

Pitta said the popular summer weekends are already starting to fill up and anyone looking to book a Cape escape should do so soon.

“If you want a certain room or date, don’t wait. There is so much demand this year, we are going have to hire more employees,” he said.

The travel and tourism industry is starting to bounce back in Boston, too. Martha Sheridan of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau said more people are starting to inquire about small weddings and events. She said what would help is more advance notice from the state about when the gathering limit will increase.

“We’re hopefully that will increase as vaccinations go up and infection rates go down. People are tired of being cooped up at home and they’re ready,” Sheridan said. “They’re not looking, they’re booking.”





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John Kerry to travel to Europe next week for climate talks


Benzinga

Medically Necessary: FDA Way Behind On Facility Inspections

This is an excerpt from the March 4, 2021 edition of Medically Necessary, a health care supply chain newsletter. Subscribe here. Good afternoon. Medically Necessary is a newsletter by Matt Blois about the health care supply chain — how we get drugs, devices and medical supplies to health care providers and patients. FDA way behind on facility inspections The problem: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration largely stopped conducting surveillance inspections — periodic evaluations of manufacturing plants to ensure drug quality — during the coronavirus pandemic. The FDA only conducted three surveillance inspections of foriegn facilities between March and October of 2020, compared with more than 600 during the same period a year earlier. Domestic surveillance inspections plummeted as well, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. The agency conducted about 1,000 international inspections per year from 2016 through 2019. About 74% of manufacturers making active ingredients and 54% of facilities making finished drugs for the U.S. market are located outside the country. (Credit: Government Accountability Office) Why it matters: A recent report from a team at Johns Hopkins University’s school of public health says postponed FDA inspections contributed to drug shortages last year, including drugs critical for treating COVID-19 patients. The delays have also slowed the process for approving new drugs. The FDA recently deferred or denied approval for six drugs because it couldn’t inspect manufacturing facilities, according to this must-read story from Politico. A guidance document for drug manufacturers notes that the FDA would try to approve applications for manufacturing facilities by gathering information remotely, but if an inspection is needed they may need to delay a decision. The past: The GAO has criticized the FDA’s oversight of “an increasingly global pharmaceutical supply” for years, according to the GAO report. The GAO determined the FDA wasn’t conducting enough foriegn inspections in both 1998 and 2008. The agency made some recommendations and increased inspections. Inspections started to fall again in 2016. FDA officials said that was because they didn’t have enough staff to keep up, according to the GAO. The pandemic: While the FDA halted many inspections, the agency argued in an annual report from its Office of Pharmaceutical Quality that it still achieved its most important goals. The agency continued some pre-approval inspections — needed before a facility starts producing a drug — by requesting documentation or relying on inspections by European regulators. The FDA used those methods for more than 150 pre-approvals. In 2020, the FDA approved applications for production of 942 generic drugs, down only slightly from 2019. The FDA also told drug producers that manufacturing changes for drugs used to treat patients with COVID-19 would receive priority treatment, and some regulatory flexibility, in order to prevent shortages. In the absence of in-person inspections, FDA did look for other ways to monitor the quality of drug manufacturing during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the GAO called some of these measures inadequate. The agency allowed European regulators to vouch for the quality of drug manufacturers all over the world. Normally, the FDA only accepts those regulators’ inspections of European facilities. It beefed up inspection and testing of products as they entered the U.S., which caught dozens of drug quality problems. The future: The current backlog of inspections could also gum up the drug supply chain for years to come. The GAO report notes that the FDA wasn’t able to complete more than 1,000 of its planned inspections for fiscal year 2020. The FDA aims to inspect drug manufacturers at least once every five years. The backlog means the agency may not meet that goal, increasing the risk of poor-quality drugs entering the supply chain. Each year, the agency creates a list of facilities that need inspection. The highest-risk locations — those that have never been inspected or haven’t been inspected in five years — get priority. Remaining resources go toward other facilities. Previously, the FDA spent less than a third of its inspection resources on the highest-risk facilities, allowing the agency to stay ahead of the curve. By 2022, the GAO estimates the FDA will need to use the vast majority of its resources on high-risk facilities. (Credit: Government Accountability Office) Back on the horse: By October, the FDA started conducting some international inspections once again. FDA conducted nine pre-approval inspections in China during late 2020 and early 2021 but didn’t complete any surveillance inspections. The agency started inspections in India in January, completing two by Feb. 25. Catching up: Like a college student pulling an all-nighter after procrastinating all semester, the FDA is looking for creative ways to cram in inspections after falling behind. The FDA plans to continue using the tools, such as reports from European regulators and document reviews, that helped it carry out its work during the pandemic, but it’s also exploring creative options to speed things up. The agency is researching whether it could use videoconferencing tools to conduct inspections remotely. The Johns Hopkins University team recommended creating new partnerships, similar to agreements with European countries, that would allow inspections by regulators from countries with advanced pharmaceutical markets, like Australia or Japan, to stand in for FDA inspections during pandemics or other emergencies. The Office of Pharmaceutical Quality’s annual report also says the agency is developing a new risk management strategy to prepare for future disruptions. It’s not clear what that strategy looks like. Biden promises vaccine doses for all U.S. adults by May, prioritizes teachers (Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0) Supply boost: The Biden administration is promising to have enough doses of COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate every adult in America by May. However, actually vaccinating every adult will be a different challenge. “It’s not enough to have the vaccine supply. We need vaccinators — people to put the shots in people’s arms, millions of Americans’ arms,” President Joe Biden acknowledged during a press conference on Tuesday. Biden highlighted the federal governments efforts to increase the number of vaccinators, such as enlisting retired doctors and nurses, deploying Federal Emergency Management personnel and the national guard to administer vaccines. Focus on schools: Biden also directed states to start vaccinating teachers so schools can reopen. Many states are already doing that. The White House set a goal of vaccinating every teacher by the end of March. “Let’s treat in-person learning like an essential service that it is. And that means getting essential workers who provide that service — educators, school staff, childcare workers — get them vaccinated immediately,” Biden said on Tuesday. The federal government plans to allow teachers to get shots at retail pharmacies to achieve that goal. The numbers: There are still 18 states that haven’t made teachers eligible for early vaccines, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation policy database. In the 2017 to 2018 school year, there were about 4 million teachers in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The U.S. has recently been delivering about 1.8 million COVD-19 vaccine doses per day. Some days are well above 2 million doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. government is sending about 2.4 million doses to retail pharmacies every week, White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt reported on Twitter. Reading list: The best stories about the health care supply chain A Covid-19 Vaccine Without a Needle? These Firms Are On the Case —The Wall Street Journal Freight pilots are flying Covid-19 vaccines around the world — and calling for their turn to be vaccinated —STAT Amazon Care’s health provider has quietly filed paperwork to operate in 17 more states —STAT Merck’s COVID Manufacturing Deal With US Government Goes Well Beyond J&J Vaccine —The Pink Sheet Thanks for reading. Please send an email to mblois@freightwaves.com if you have questions, praise or grievances. If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here. Matt Blois See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaAir Cargo 2021: The Good, The Bad And The UglyRepublicans To White House: Limit Infrastructure Spending To Roads And Bridges© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.



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Poland will now allow vaccinated tourists to not undergo quarantine


Poland will now allow vaccinated tourists to not undergo quarantine

As vaccination is making its way into our lives, a lot of travels now revolve around it. If you are travelling to Poland, you can avoid quarantine by getting vaccinated. According to latest rules in Poland, if a traveller is vaccinated, he or she can avoid quarantine. But this rule applies to only those travellers who are permitted to travel to Poland, according to the rules of the nation. As of now, if you are travelling from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Georgia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, Tunisia, and Australia, as well as their spouses and children, you are restricted from gaining entry.

According to Polish laws, travellers are supposed to undergo ten days of home quarantine. But if you happen to have a COVID-19 negative test report, and that has been taken 48 hours before arrival, then you can avoid the entire quarantine process. Now Polish authorities have further extended this rule to vaccinated travellers. As in, thsoe who are vaccinated can now avoid going under quarantine.

Poland will now allow vaccinated tourists to not undergo quarantine

Meanwhile, Poland has eased restrictions, so the country has opened up its skiing destinations for a two-week trial, and museums, art galleries, and shopping complexes have also reopened. On the other hand, cinemas, opera houses, and theatres have also opened up with fifty percent capacity in the country, and restaurants can serce take-away food only. However, it is important that travellers and locals continue to wear masks, and maintain social distancing at all times in public.

Poland is a terrific European destination that has a historical past, and it is full of great experiences for those who would like to explore Europe in its truest form.





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Does being fully vaccinated get you around New York’s travel advisory rules?


For now, the answer appears to be “no,” but several other states are lifting quarantine rules for domestic travelers who have received both doses of the vaccine.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — 2 On Your Side has been getting questions from viewers asking whether receiving both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will exempt them from having to follow New York’s COVID-19 travel advisory, which requires testing and quarantine protocols for certain domestic travelers.

Except for certain individuals traveling as essential workers, here is the current Traveler’s Advisory, last updated in early November for any traveler to New York State from a non-contiguous state, US territory or CDC level 2 (and higher) country who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours:

  • Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York State
  • The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days
  • On day four of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests comes back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test

For travelers who were out-of-state for less than 24 hours:

  • The traveler does not need a test prior to their departure from the other state, and does not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York State
  • However, the traveler must fill out the state’s traveler form upon entry into New York State, and take a COVID diagnostic test four days after their arrival in New York

According to a person who answered a call we placed to New York’s COVID-19 hotline on Monday, travelers must still follow the testing and quarantine protocols, even if they have received both doses of vaccine.

What some individuals may find as nonsensical (and even maddening) is that New York is clinging to these rules, even though the governor announced more than a week ago that the state would follow another new set of CDC guidelines pertaining to individuals who have been fully vaccinated.

Those guidelines advise that those who’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, need not have to quarantine, even if they are exposed to someone with the virus. 

However, New York still requires you to abide by its quarantine protocols even if you haven’t been exposed, merely because you traveled somewhere. New York is one of only 18 states that still have quarantine requirements for domestic travelers.

And while a number of states, including Vermont, Alaska, and Hawaii have in recent days announced plans to lift restrictions for domestic travelers who have had both doses of the vaccine, there is no word thus far if New York is preparing to do likewise.





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