UK Covid news: India added to England’s travel red list with rules coming into force at 4am on Friday | Politics


We’ve now detected a total of 557 cases of this variant since it was first identified in December. We’ve seen a cluster of cases in south London – predominantly in the London boroughs of Wandsworth, Lambeth and Southwark, and identified single cases over the last week in Barnet, Birmingham and Sandwell.

Around two-thirds of these cases are related to international travel and have been picked up by the day two and day eight testing for international arrivals, however, we have seen a small amount of community transmission too.



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US holidays: Foreign Office update as some travel rules relax in America | Travel News | Travel


The US Government shut borders to most travellers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In recent months, though, the nation has sped through its vaccination roll-out.

In its latest update, the FCDO provided “new information and advice under ‘Entry for Green Card and Current Visa Holders’ and ‘New Visas and Humanitarian Exceptions’.”

It explained: “Since 16 March 2020, it is not possible for most British nationals to enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, or China within the previous 14 days.

“On 30 January 2021, South Africa was added. Those arriving from outside these areas will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor.

“US citizens and permanent residents of the USA, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visas holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt.

“They will still be able to enter the USA, subject to normal entry requirements.”

It continued: “New and renewed Green Cards (a Permanent Resident Card) are not currently being issued. However, existing Green Cards remain valid, although individuals who have been away from the USA for a substantial period of time should check their validity with their nearest US Embassy or Consulate before travelling.

“Those with existing visas remain valid as long as the holders are in the USA. All current visa holders based in the USA wishing to travel to the UK or any other country covered by the Presidential Proclamation are strongly advised to check before they travel as to whether they would need an exception to re-enter the USA.”

Students travelling from the UK and Ireland with valid visas are allowed to travel without “a national interest exception”.

New visas and humanitarian exception visas are only being provided in “emergency and mission-critical” situations.

The FCDO adds: “The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires all arrivals by air into the US to quarantine for at least 7 days, and to take a COVID-19 test (NAAT or antigen) three to five days after arrival.”

Travellers who have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, China and South Africa within the previous 14 days are not allowed to enter the US for the purposes of transiting to another country.

COVID-19 restrictions remain in place across the US, though these vary from state to state.

Travellers from the UK currently in the US are advised to follow the advice of local authorities.





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New CDC guidance could bring changes to Hawaii's travel rules – Pacific Business News – Pacific Business News (Honolulu)



New CDC guidance could bring changes to Hawaii’s travel rules – Pacific Business News  Pacific Business News (Honolulu)



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Bolivia tightens travel rules to prevent COVID-19 infections – Xinhua


LA PAZ, April 1 (Xinhua) — Bolivia on Thursday announced tighter travel regulations, including a 10-day quarantine for anyone arriving from abroad, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Those entering the South American country by air, land or water must present a certificate of negative PCR test for COVID-19 carried out up to 72 hours before their departure.

Visitors must guarantee they have health insurance, except Bolivians, who are covered by the Unified Health System, and foreigners with permanent residency in Bolivia.

Bolivian President Luis Arce announced via Twitter that as of Friday, the country will close its border with Brazil for a week to prevent the entry of a virus variant reported in Brazil, which is considered to be more contagious.

Bolivia has so far reported 272,411 cases with 12,257 deaths from the disease. Enditem



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Colombia updates travel rules aimed at curbing COVID-19 – Xinhua


BOGOTA, April 1 (Xinhua) — Colombia’s Ministry of Health and Social Protection on Thursday unveiled updated rules for travelers on national and international flights amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new rules, which take effect on April 7, relax or scrap certain measures while introducing new ones.

For example, there will be no more temperature taking at air terminals, since evidence now shows it is not an imperative measure, according to the ministry’s director of epidemiology and demography, Julian Fernandez.

“Some recommendations that are already obsolete or have little scientific evidence (to back them up) are updated, such as those that have to do with restrictions on aircraft entertainment systems, since if they are properly disinfected they do not represent a greater risk” to users, said Fernandez.

Due to the circulation of new variants of the virus, all arriving Colombian or foreign travelers must now present a negative PCR test taken in the last 96 hours.

“Given the emergence of the new variants and the contact with people of different origins in closed spaces, which despite the ventilation of the airplanes, forces us to take extreme measures,” said Fernandez.

He also encouraged travelers to use two applications developed to orient travelers: CoronApp for domestic flights and Check-Mig for international flights.

“The reason we believe CoronApp is effective is because it now connects to COVID-19 sample results and reveals whether people have tested positive in the past 14 days,” Fernandez said.

On flights of more than two hours, passengers will only be able to eat at intervals assigned by rows and everyone should wear a face mask, he added.

According to the Ministry of Health, as of Wednesday Colombia registered 2,406,377 cases of COVID-19 and 63,422 deaths as a result of the disease. Enditem



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Mallorca Ramps up COVID Testing to Meet German Travel Rules | World News


By Guillermo Martinez and Ilona Wissenbach

PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain (Reuters) – Mallorca is scrambling to meet Germany’s new requirement that its citizens on holiday there test negative for coronavirus before their return home, opening testing centres at the airport and in large hotels, and boosting lab capacity.

Accommodating Berlin’s travel rules, introduced at three days notice, is a test for Balearic authorities and private health care providers on how flexible they must be in future months to keep foreign tourists arriving and booking more holidays.

But German tourists already in Mallorca are disgruntled at the rule change, after already having to show a negative result to enter Spain. Future bookings have also been hit.

“The process of getting a test appointment has cost us a day of our holiday, and the test several hours, it’s all quite a hassle,” German tourist Andreas, who did not give his last name, said at the airport, by a testing booth.

Battling soaring infections at home, Berlin introduced the negative test requirement for all returnees on Monday to avoid importing more cases, shortly after lifting an obligatory quarantine.

Tour operator TUI said the German government’s shifting requirements had put some people off taking a trip.

Bookings for Mallorca trips are still coming through but not at the high levels seen immediately after Germany dropped a quarantine requirement, company spokesman Aage Dünhaupt said.

That is bad news for businesses on the tourism-dependent island, which already faces a long and uncertain path to recovery after the pandemic devastated international travel.

Foreign tourism to Spain plunged 80% last year to 19 million visitors – its lowest in half a century – and few expect a return to pre-COVID levels before 2023.

German tourists must pay for the tests themselves.

For those staying in larger hotels with capacity for more than 100 people, private health companies offer in-house testing, while others at smaller sites must go to a private clinic.

“I am here for the third time this year, but in the meantime it has got quite complicated,” complained Peter, another German heading home at the airport.

Antoni Fuster of the association of Balearic private healthcare providers said testing capacity was not a concern on the islands but tourists shouldn’t leave organising a test to the last minute.

Healthcare provider Quiron, which runs the island’s largest private lab, said it had boosted capacity to handle between 10,000 and 20,000 tests a day – for tourists and residents.

A clinic at the airport, intended as a last resort for travellers who show up without a test, has had to double capacity after long lines formed on Monday.

“We’ve seen a lot of demand and a lot of people have been complaining about the queues,” said a spokesman for Megalab, which operates the airport testing centre.

Still, the bottleneck has not led to significant delays in flights, according to airport operator AENA.

If a returning tourist tests positive for COVID-19 they are either taken to a private hospital or a hotel that has been set up to cater to asymptomatic patients or those with mild cases.

For tourists from within the Schengen area, Spain’s government passes on the cost of any enforced hospital stay to their home country, while the Balearic regional government pays for the quarantine hotel.

In Mallorca’s quarantine hotel – the Melia Palma Bay – there are 11 people in isolation: two German tourists, a family from Croatia and five local residents, the local health service said.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Nathan Allen in Madrid, Guillermo Martinez in Mallorca and Ilona Wissenbach and Maria Sheahan in Germany; Writing by Nathan Allen; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.



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What it’s like to travel to Alaska right now with relaxed entry rules


What it’s like to travel to Alaska right now with relaxed entry rules

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COVID vaccinated rules: Can you travel for spring break?


Spring break is here for many people across the country. But there’s still some uncertainty about whether travel is allowed.

The state of play

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 1.5 million people at the airports on Sunday, March 21. That’s the busiest day at an airport since March 13, 2020.

To see the true difference, the TSA said it screened about 548,000 people on March 21, 2020, though. Compare that to the 2.2 million who were screened in 2019, according to USA Today.

So right now, travel remains caught in the middle. Less people are traveling than before the pandemic, but more people are traveling since the beginning of the coronavirus’ spread.

Travel has its own set of consequences and results. Look at Miami. The Florida city — known for its exuberant nightlife and party culture — was party central over the last weekend. In fact, there were so many spring breakers in Miami that local officials had to declare a curfew and a state of emergency to stop the potential spread of coronavirus and any damage from the partying.

What do experts recommend?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new page about spring break travel. Simply put, travel increases the chances you’ll either get or spread COVID-19 to others.

“CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19,” the agency suggests on its website.

I followed up with the CDC to see if they had any additional information. Jasmine Reed, a spokeswoman for the CDC, said in an email: “The recommendation is to reconsider travel, as you can have an increased risk of getting the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Reed recommended the CDC’s website for more information.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts, worries that too much travel right now could lead to another surge, especially since so many states are opening up and limiting their mask mandates, according to The New York Times.

“There’s always a risk of another surge and that’s the thing we really want to avoid because we are going in the right direction. That’s why I get so anxious when I hear pulling back completely on public health measures like saying, ‘no more masks, no nothing like that’ I mean, that’s is risky business,” Fauci said.

What if you travel?

You might decide to travel for spring break. So the CDC does have some suggestions for what you should do ahead of time.

For example, you’ll want to see what potential vaccines, medications or advice there is for where you’re going to go. You’ll also want to make sure what local restrictions there are in any given area.

Some states — like Florida and Texas — have started to open up a little bit more amid the pandemic. Mask mandates aren’t around in some states, either. You’ll want to consider those as you visit those locations to see what you are allowed to do and what you might not be allowed to do.

For example, if you were planning to visit Disneyland — since it’s reopening at the end of April — you should know the park is only opening for California residents.

What if you’re vaccinated?

We don’t know, really.

The CDC has released guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals, but they don’t say anything about travel. Right now, the guidelines say people who have received the full COVID-19 vaccine — either two doses of Moderna and Pfizer, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson — can gather with low-risk people indoors.

  • “For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19,” the CDC wrote.

So you could, in theory, spend some time with your grandma. So traveling up to Boise, Idaho, might not be totally out of the cards for vaccinated folks.

But questions still remain about other gatherings. Can you travel on an airplane if you’re vaccinated? Can you visit your grandma in Alaska or Iowa?

President Joe Biden — who has been fully vaccinated — has started to travel through parts of the country, visiting Pennsylvania and Georgia, according to Yahoo News.

Of course, you can do these things if you choose. But the CDC hasn’t released any guidelines on the matter.

More recommendations are coming

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts, said recently that there will be new announcements from the CDC about guidelines for vaccinated people, according to The Hill.

“They will address travel, they will address workplaces, they will address houses of worship,” Fauci said of the upcoming recommendations. “You’re gonna see that coming out pretty quickly.”

“You’re gonna see that very soon,” he added.



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Hawaii Gets Tourism Surge as Coronavirus Rules Loosen Up | Hawaii News


HONOLULU (AP) — Tourists are traveling to Hawaii in larger numbers than officials anticipated, and many are wandering around Waikiki without masks, despite a statewide mandate to wear them in public.

Hawaii’s “Safe Travels” program reported that about 28,000 people flew into and throughout the islands on Saturday, the highest number of travelers in a single day since the pandemic began, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

Before the pandemic, Hawaii had about 30,000 arrivals daily. When quarantine rules were put in place early in the pandemic, arrivals plummeted and the state’s tourism-dependent economy tanked.

In October, state officials launched a pre-travel testing program that allowed visitors to sidestep quarantine rules. But travel remained sluggish until the second week in March, when spring break tourists started arriving in the islands.

Travel company Pleasant Holidays president and CEO Jack Richards told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the agency’s bookings increased 30% over the last two weeks.

“We haven’t seen travel demand for Hawaii this strong for over a year,” Richards said. “I thought we would have a U-shaped recovery; it’s V-shaped. January and February were terrible, but we’ve gone from zero to 150 mph in two weeks.”

Hawaii News Now reported that officials are receiving complaints about visitors not wearing masks. With a few exceptions, people in Hawaii are still required to wear masks while in public.

“I’m a believer that if you’re outdoors, you can remove it,” said Glenn Day, a visitor from Indiana.

Visitors said rules in their home states are different than those in place in Hawaii.

“We carry our masks around and if we walk into an establishment we’ll wear one, and if people look like they’re uncomfortable with us around, we’ll put one on. But otherwise, like I said where we come from, people are really not required to wear them,” Wisconsin visitor Larry Dopke said.

“I’m not wearing one right now, I’m outdoors,” said Todd Hasley who was visiting from Idaho. “Boise city has an indoor mask mandate. The rest of the state has a mask recommendation.”

Some lawmakers expressed concern about a possible backlash from residents.

“I think we’re all going to have to be prepared for a potential surge in tourism,” said Hawaii state Rep. Scott Saiki, a Democrat. “I think we have to be prepared because the public may have a response to a sudden surge.”

Such a reaction could hinder economic recovery.

“Pushing back against tourism is the same thing as telling your neighbor they shouldn’t have a job,” said Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii’s Economic Research Organization.

Hawaii requires all visitors and returning residents to get negative pre-travel COVID-19 tests before flying to the state to be exempt from the 10-day quarantine rule.

The island of Kauai has additional measures that will be in place until April 5. All visitors to Kauai must either spend three days on another island or quarantine at a county-approved resort for three days and then get second, post-arrival tests.

Violating the state’s coronavirus mandates, which are outlined in Hawaii Gov. David Ige’s latest emergency proclamation, is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a $5,000 fine, a year in prison, or both.

Each island county’s police are responsible for enforcing the rules. Messages from The Associated Press seeking comment from the Honolulu Police Department regarding enforcement of mask rules in Waikiki was not immediately returned.

Tim Sakahara, a spokesman for Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, said in an email that the city recently put up banners throughout Waikiki reminding people to wear masks and remain socially distanced.

“These banners provide a tool to help Honolulu Police officers do their jobs in gaining compliance with COVID-19 rules,” Sakahara said. “The majority of residents and visitors are compliant with the rule or are cooperative when informed of it.”

However, some residents have also opposed wearing masks. Two people were arrested and two others were cited during a weekend anti-mask rally in Waikiki.

Hawaii has had among the lowest rates of confirmed coronavirus infections in the U.S.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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