EU Countries Move Towards COVID Passes to Reopen Summer Travel | World News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries formally agreed on Wednesday to launch COVID travel passes as a step towards reopening to tourism this summer and will negotiate details with the bloc’s lawmakers in May, two diplomatic sources said.

The certificates would allow those vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or with negative test results to travel more easily in the EU, where restrictions on movement have weighed heavily on the travel and tourist industry for over a year.

The 27 EU member states “underlined their commitment to have the framework ready by the summer of 2021,” said a document endorsed by national envoys and seen by Reuters.

The European Parliament, which must also agree to the proposal for it to take effect, is due to agree its own position later this month and final talks between the lawmakers, national envoys and the bloc’s executive are expected to start in May.

EU countries are working in parallel to ensure “that the necessary technological solutions are in place”, the EU27 decision read, so that the new digital or paper certificates can be put to use once approved.

The member states’ agreement includes provisions against discrimination towards those who cannot or do not wish to get vaccinated and allows for a range of tests to prove recovery.

While member states would be obliged to recognise EU-approved vaccines, specific countries could also issue certificates covering jabs Russia’s Sputnik or China’s Sinovac vaccines that are only authorised on their territory.

Other EU countries would decide whether to accept a certificate referring to a vaccine not approved by EU regulators.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

Source link

32 passengers, 6 from travel agency booked over fake Covid reports

The local crime branch of Mira-Bhayandar, Vasai-Virar (MBVV) Tuesday booked 32 passengers and six others, including the owner of a private travel agency, for allegedly making forged negative RT-PCR test reports to carry 32 passengers from Maharashtra across the Gujarat border. Three have been arrested while the others have been served notices.

Mahesh Patil, DCP, crime, MBVV police confirmed the development.

Since April 1, a negative RT-PCR test report for Covid-19 is mandatory for all passengers travelling to Gujarat from Maharashtra.

Acting on a tip off, local crime branch officials stopped a bus around 12.30 am on the national highway near Fountain hotel in Kashimira, while it was heading to the Gujarat border. The Pawan Travels bus was carrying 32 passengers. On checking their test reports, it was found that 20 of them were fake. The passengers had paid Rs 300 extra for the reports to the agency but their test was never done. As they were aware of this, they too have been booked.

The crime branch caught two drivers, two cleaners, one office employees and the owner, Hiteshbhai Patel, of Pawan travels for allegedly making 20 false negative RT-PCR reports.

Patel wanted to carry 32 passengers to Gujarat in his bus, but the passengers had not got the tests done. So Patel and his employees made the false reports at their office.

The FIR was registered for forgery under IPC and for violating Covid 19 guidelines under Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Disease Act.

Source link

Bangladesh to impose week-long air travel ban after COVID surge | Coronavirus pandemic News

All international and domestic flights to be banned for a week from Wednesday, coinciding with another lockdown amid spike in cases.

Bangladesh has announced plans to ban all international and domestic flights for a week from Wednesday, coinciding with yet another lockdown to counter a spike in novel coronavirus infections.

All international passenger flights to and from Bangladesh will remain suspended from April 14 to 20, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) said on Sunday.

More than 500 flights will be cancelled because of the ban, said the CAAB’s Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman.

Domestic passenger flights and chartered helicopter flights are included in the suspension, while some exceptions may be made for medical evacuations, humanitarian relief and cargo flights, the aviation authority said.

A surge in COVID-19 cases since March prompted the government to enforce a nine-day nationwide shutdown until Tuesday, to be followed by yet another seven-day lockdown from Wednesday to slow the spread of the virus.

The authorities imposed a ban on air passengers from Europe and 12 other countries on April 3. Passenger flight operations on domestic routes were suspended on April 5.

Ex-PM tests positive

Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, her oppositional Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said on Sunday.

Zia has been asymptomatic and was doing well, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, a senior leader of the BNP, told a news briefing, urging people to pray for her.

The 74-year old politician has been under the supervision of her private physicians at home in Dhaka ever since she was released from jail after the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina suspended her prison term on health grounds in March last year.

Zia, a three-time prime minister in the 1990s and 2000s, had been in prison since February 2018 after a court sentenced her to five years in jail for misappropriating funds meant for orphans. A higher court later doubled the term.

Eight other staff members of her home have also been tested positive for the COVID-19, according to her physician Mohammad Al Mamun.

Bangladesh, which reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus last March, reported its highest single-day increase in infections on Friday, with 7,462 cases. So far, the country has reported some 684,756 cases and 9,739 deaths.

The South Asian nation previously imposed a nationwide shutdown for more than two months beginning March 2020.

Source link

Travel After COVID Vaccine: These Countries Are Open to Fully Vaccinated Travelers

With coronavirus vaccines becoming more widely available and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently clearing fully vaccinated people for travel, many of us are eager to start planning our first post-pandemic trips. Countries are once again welcoming international visitors, too—some, with unique rules for vaccinated travelers—but there’s still a lot to consider before deciding to travel to another part of the world.

For one, vaccine distribution continues to be uneven, with poorer countries receiving and administering fewer COVID-19 vaccines than wealthier countries. And though fully vaccinated travelers are largely protected from the virus themselves, it’s still not clear the extent to which they can spread the virus to others.

“Once an individual or group gets vaccinated, there’s this great sense of relief that they’re protected and wanting immediately to get back to normal, but we have to recognize that other people are still vulnerable,” says Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System. “Even though you’re protected, by traveling, you could still be a vector for spreading the virus to others. We really have a global obligation to protect each other and work together.”

For those who decide to travel, health officials recommend waiting at least two weeks after becoming fully vaccinated and diligently following COVID-19 precautions like wearing masks, social distancing, hand-washing, and avoiding crowds. Fully vaccinated people do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the U.S. (unless it’s required by state or local rules), but all travelers still need a negative COVID-19 test to board flights to the U.S. The CDC also recommends vaccinated travelers getting tested three to five days after international trips.

With the health and safety of local communities in mind, for now, avoid traveling to countries with high infection rates, low vaccination rates, and overwhelmed medical infrastructure—all factors that can fluctuate rapidly. The CDC regularly updates its list of travel recommendations by destination, which categorizes countries by their local COVID-19 risk level: low, moderate, high, and very high.

“It’s really important to think about the burden on the health system,” says Maragakis. “While countries may welcome the income from tourism, additional cases can tip over a fragile health system.”

Those considerations in mind, we’ve rounded up a few destinations that we’re looking to for post-vaccination trips. Travel guidelines continue to change, so travelers should check their destination country’s official government websites—and the CDC website—regularly before and during any trip. You may also want to consider purchasing travel insurance. In addition to rules about COVID-19 vaccination and testing, all of the below countries require travelers to follow local public health guidelines. Read on for the places to travel after your COVID vaccine.

Countries that are open to vaccinated travelers


Seychelles, the small Indian Ocean nation made up of more than 100 islands off the east coast of Africa, is now open to all travelers, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. (One exception: visitors from South Africa are still barred from entry due to the variant.) Sylvestre Radegonde, Seychelles’ tourism minister, says the country is reopening because it has successfully implemented an aggressive vaccination campaign among residents.

Source link

Why COVID is just the tip of a terrifying, but potentially revolutionary, antibiotic resistant iceberg

LONDON, April 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Based in the UK, SpectrumX is currently raising capital to expand its testing operations alongside other innovative public health products. These include a sanitisation tunnel to disinfect larger crowds attending mass events, new non-alcohol based disinfectants and skincare products.         

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been defined as one of the major potential health crises of the 21st century. Medical research has intensified its focus on addressing this issue, however, a bridge has certainly been crossed. Notable bacteria are resistant to nearly all antibiotics and some have even become resistant to all forms of treatment.

AMR occurs naturally, but the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and agriculture has accelerated the developmental pace of antibiotic resistance strains. It’s currently estimated that 700,000 deaths per year are caused by AMR. The AMR Review predicts that, by 2050, AMR will account for 10,000,000 deaths annually.

Cancer currently accounts for 8,200,000 deaths globally.

AMR doesn’t respect lockdowns. From contaminated agricultural runoff water to denser living conditions, our current defences against AMR are worrying. Despite the reduction in international travel, antibiotic resistance has accelerated at an unprecedented rate with Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling it the ‘silent pandemic’ when speaking with other ministers at the 2018 G7 summit.

A month before our world changed pretty dramatically in 2020, Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies explained that AMR is ‘…just as important and deadly as climate change and international terrorism…’ If COVID-19 has taught us one thing, it’s that these previous warnings require a drastic change in approach.

Although no new class of antibiotics has been brought to the market for decades, new developments in treatments for bacterial infection are providing glints of hope. 43 new antibiotics are being actively researched and tested. 13 are currently at the final phase 3 stage. On the surface this appears promising, however, these treatments tackle infections in the same way those that became resistant do.

That’s why pharmaceutical research is exploring alternative treatments to provide more security against history repeating itself.

One such interesting development is Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL). A highly oxidised, mildly acidic antimicrobial solution, HOCL is produced in the human body when white blood cells attack pathogens. It was first discovered in 1834 and has multiple FDA approvals. It is 300 times stronger than bleach yet completely safe and has broad spectrum antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

Historically, HOCL has been overlooked by “Big Pharma”. This is in large part due to that fact that it has never previously been patent protectable. However, in 2020 the SpectrumX Group in collaboration with Spectrum Antimicrobials announced the completion of the development of SCP-069. SCP-069 is a new class of HOCL-based therapy designed to treat viral, bacterial and fungal infections in the lung and respiratory tract. It was primarily developed to eradicate AMR ‘Superbugs’.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated research and investment into HOCL-based therapies. Phase 2 academic clinical trials are currently being led by the Medical University Hospital Innsbruck, testing the nebulised treatment of COVID-19 patients with SCP-069. Nebulisers are medical devices that disperse vapour into the deeper areas of the respiratory system (like lung tissue). Dr Jerry Stonemetz, Medical Director at Johns Hopkins University Hospital explains that:

“HOCL has been well researched, published and later cleared by FDA in different therapeutic areas including reduction of topical inflammation and topical pain as well as disinfection of food and food preparation areas. However, none of the above mentioned products have been able to provide stability at lower concentrations for safe use of the product on people. Spectrum Antimicrobials unique and patented formulations provide rapid disinfection in the presence of soil and other organic matter, at concentrations of 0.032% where other HOCL based products have been shown to certainly fail in stability and performance.”

The primary endpoints of the study are to demonstrate that inflammation symptoms of patients are reduced, allowing easier breathing after treatment and increased recovery time to reversal of symptoms. With the benefit of successful trial data, several other potential infection treatment possibilities, pertinent to the ongoing AMR crisis, could be investigated. These include pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, flu and the common cold.

Media contact –
E-mail –
Company – SpectrumX Holdings Limited

Source link

COVID US: Travel confidence increasing as more people get vaccinated, experts say

PHILADELPHIA — America’s airports have seen a sharp spike in travelers over the past few weeks, and it may be a sign of things to come.

After a year of restrictions, it seems more and more of us feel ready and safe to take vacations again.

The first thing to remember is that we are still in a pandemic, and traveling will look a lot different than we are used to.

The experts say no matter where you are headed, there are some good deals to be had, but with more and more people starting to travel again, those deals may not last long.

More people are getting vaccinated and experts say that’s equating to more people traveling.

“We are looking at a year of Cabin Fever, a lot of people are experiencing it. A lot of people are ready to go out and explore again,” said Ken Grant with AAA.

Grant says a recent travel survey revealed a vast majority of people are ready to travel or are planning trips.

“We still obviously advise you to follow all the regular protocols. You know, don’t necessarily see this as a license to go nuts or anything,” said Grant.

AAA says before you book a trip, do your research and keep in mind, we are still in a pandemic.

“There is nothing worse than making all the plans and getting to your destination and finding out oh, they still want me to quarantine for two weeks,” said Grant.

Travelers say an increase in vaccinations has definitely boosted their confidence.

“I think people, there are more vaccinated, but also they feel safer now. The environment is just better,” said Phil Smitherman of Birmingham, Alabama.

“You have an open seat next to you. I felt very safe. You are required to wear a mask the entire time,” said Pamela Heruth of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Beach destinations are always hots spots, but Melissa Dohmen with Orbitz says planning a trip off the beaten path may score you a great deal.

“Mountain regions and lake towns have a lot of interest right now. I think particularly, you can imagine being outside, being outdoors feels particularly safe,” said Dohmen.

The travel industry is still in recovery mode and Dohmen says there is still availability no matter where you want to take a trip. She cautions, as demand increases so will the prices.

“I say book early and lock in places that you really want to go now because I do think the deals will start to kind of taper off, particularly as we get to summer,” said Dohmen.

Travel experts say due to restrictions, international travel may be off the table until next year. They also say, it may be a good idea to look into travel insurance just in case something goes wrong.

Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Source link

COVID pandemic still crippling air travel, IATA warns | News | DW

On Wednesday the new head of the global airline industry body, the International Air Traffic Association (IATA), Willie Walsh, said international traffic “was down almost 89%” in February 2021 from February 2019 — the most recent year without major disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Walsh said there were no immediate indications of a potential recovery in the first two months of 2021, with restrictions being reimposed in parts of the world as a third wave gathers pace. “In fact, most indicators went in the wrong direction as travel restrictions tightened in the face of continuing concerns over new coronavirus variants,” he said.

19 in 20 Asian flights off, 9 in 10 in Europe

The Asian continent suffered the most drastic drop in air traffic. International air traffic fell 95.2% in February 2021 compared with February 2019. That was a slight decrease from the 94.8% drop in passenger traffic from January 2019 to January 2021.

European carriers recorded an 89% decline in traffic in February 2021 compared with February 2019 — far worse than the 83.4% decline in January 2021 compared with 2019. North American, Latin American and African airlines experienced similar drops in air traffic in the same time frame.

Walsh, in his first news conference since taking control of the IATA earlier this month, said the developments in rapid tests for COVID-19 “should reassure governments that there are ways to efficiently manage the risks of COVID-19 without relying on demand-killing quarantine measures and/or expensive and time-consuming PCR testing.”

He also pushed for the “development of global standards for digital COVID-19 test and/or vaccination certificates” and “to accept certificates digitally” in order for air travel to recover.

Australian and Russian domestic exceptions

The Australian domestic market bucked the trend. The country saw a 60.5% drop in air traffic in February 2021 when compared to the same month two years prior, but that marked a dramatic improvement compared to the 77.3% decline in traffic between January 2019 and January 2021.

The IATA said the reduced impact from the pandemic came after some state border restrictions were lessened in February, which allowed for more domestic travel.

“This tells us that people have not lost their desire [to] travel. They will fly, provided they can do so without facing quarantine measures,” said Walsh.

Another major exception was the Russian domestic airspace, which saw a 2.9% increase in air traffic in February 2021 as compared to the same month in 2019.

Overall around the world, domestic air travel fell by just over 51% in February 2021 when compared to February 2019.

Airlines hurting

The EU on Tuesday approved a €4 billion ($4.7 billion) recapitalization for struggling French flag carrier Air France-KLM. The French government’s share in the airline will increase to 30% as a result. In return for the aid, the airline also promised to make slots available for competitors as the Paris Orly airport. 

“The public support will come with strings attached,” said European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager.

Air France-KLM posted a record annual loss of €7.1 billion in 2020, while German flag carrier Lufthansa lost a record €6.7 billion. 

Lufthansa warned shareholders this week that recapitalization would be necessary to pay back part of the loan it received from the German government by using a new loan taken out on the capital market. Germany took an almost 17% share in the company as a result of the rescue.


kbd/msh (AP, Reuters)

Source link

N.J. COVID updates: 16 and older to be vaccine-eligible soon; Travel restrictions eased; Mask dispute attack. (April 6, 2021)

Everyone who lives, works or studies in New Jersey and is 16 or older will be eligible to schedule an appointment for a coronavirus vaccine in less than two weeks.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that he was removing all restrictions for those 16 and older on April 19 as the state races to get 70% of its adult population — about 4.7 million people — vaccinated by June.

Monday was the first day anyone 55 and older was allowed to make an appointment. Monday’s large expansion of eligibility also included higher education employees, utility workers and sanitation workers.

As of 9:50 a.m. Monday, at least 1,796,798 in the state had been fully vaccinated, according to the department of health’s coronavirus dashboard. In addition, 3,013,713 have been administered at least one dose. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots weeks apart, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-shot.

Murphy reported 2,984 more COVID-19 cases and 15 additional deaths on Monday.

There were 2,329 patients in the state’s 71 hospitals as of 10 p.m. Monday, an increase of 40 from the previous 24-hour period. There are 461 patients receiving critical care with 227 on ventilators.

There are 35 more patients in hospitals than there were on April 1 and hospitalizations are up 21.6% since March 1. Since Jan. 1 the number of patients in hospitals with coronavirus-related issued is down 33.4%, though.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

Here’s a roundup of the latest coronavirus news in New Jersey and elsewhere:

N.J. loosens COVID travel restrictions, Murphy announces: New Jersey is changing its travel and quarantine guidelines to reflect new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Murphy said at his Monday coronavirus briefing.

“New Jersey is no longer advising fully vaccinated individuals who travel domestically to self-quarantine after their trip or to get tested before or after travel,” Murphy said. “The federal requirement for testing upon return to the United States following international air travel stands.”

Angry customer stiffs N.J. server over bar’s COVID rules; locals rally with huge donation: New Jersey residents have rallied around a local server who was recently stiffed by a customer who disagreed with the bar’s COVID-19 regulations, specifically its 90-minute time limit for seated service.

The incident took place at Glenbrook Brewery in Morristown and gained traction Sunday when the morristown.nj Instagram account — a page dedicated to town happenings, not associated with the local government — posted an image of a receipt with zero tip on an $86 bill, featuring the message, “I’m sorry the server gets screwed on this. Don’t kick paying customers out after 90 minutes.”

All Jersey City employees will return to their offices starting in May: Jersey City is bringing all city employees back to their assigned worksites starting in May, ending the work-from-home program that was put in place at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to all city employees, Human Resources Director Joanne Rosa said the state’s second-largest city is ending the program as she cites decreasing COVID-19 cases, vaccinations increasing and public schools returning to in-person learning.

Burger King customer attacks, chokes worker after face-mask argument, cops say: A New Jersey man who argued with Burger King employees over not wearing a mask returned later in the day and choked one of the workers, authorities said Monday.

The attack occurred shortly after 4 p.m. on March 27 at the fast food restaurant on Route 23 in Wayne, according to township police Capt. Dan Daly.

U.S. cases: At least 555,169 of the approximately 30,785,734 million to test positive for the coronavirus in the U.S. have died as of 7 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide cases: As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, the coronavirus has led to more than 2.86 million deaths in 192 counties, according to the center. More than 131.9 million have been infected since the outbreak started in December 2019. At least 74.9 million have recovered.

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to

NJ Advance Media staff writers Matt Arco, Karin Price Mueuller and Jeremy Schneider contributed to this report. Jersey Journal reporter Joshua Roario also contributed.

Source link

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

Australia Post’s submission to the same Senate inquiry clearly indicates it doesn’t resile from the position she stood aside.

It said:

On 22 October 2020, Ms Holgate agreed to stand aside from the role of group chief executive officer & managing director of Australia Post pending the outcome of an investigation by the shareholder departments and any further actions taken by Australia Post. On 2 November 2020, Ms Holgate resigned with immediate effect and advised that she was not seeking any financial compensation from Australia Post.

The submission also quotes the Maddocks review of the incident, which it said contradicts Holgate by finding that:

  • The “former Chair’s position is that he did not” approve the provision of the watches to the watch recipients
  • There was “contradictory evidence as to whether the former Group CEO & Managing Director informed the former Chair that it was her intention to purchase the Cartier watches”.

Australia Post said it considers current chair, Lucio Di Bartolomeo’s, evidence to the Senate “to be accurate” but that is after “incorporating the subsequent clarification provided on 21 December 2020”.


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 providing “seriously misleading” evidence to the Senate on 9 November including regarding his knowledge of a BCG report into the incident.


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.


PNG man dies of Covid in Queensland hospital











Source link