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Brazil’s health regulatory agency, Anvisa, has announced travelers will once again be required to wear masks at airports and on airplanes as of Friday, November 25, 2022.

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Do you need travel insurance in 2023?

Forbes | Travel insurance in 2023
Updated December 06, 2022
Travel insurance

The travel landscape is dramatically different from last year. COVID is less of a concern now, but experts fear the summer's airline problems could carry over into 2023. There's also more geopolitical uncertainty and economic worries — all making travel more uncertain than ever next year.

It's not too soon to declare 2023 the year of travel insurance. READ MORE ...

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India removes travel restrictions

India | Travel off path
Updated December 03, 2022
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Travelers can now visit India Covid-stress-free! The Indian government announced the last pandemic-related travel requirement, the Air Suvidha form, has been removed.

International travelers were required to fill out this health declaration form to present it at the Delhi Airport, they will no longer have to do this nor take a PCR COVID-19 test.

READ MORE ABOUT NEW GUIDELINES ...

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Brazil reinstates travel mask mandate

Anvisa | Mask mandate
Updated November 23, 2022
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Brazil’s health regulatory agency, Anvisa, has announced plans to once again require travelers to wear masks. As of Friday, November 25, 2022, Brazil will once again require masks at airports and on airplanes.

Brazil was only one of the more recent countries to lift its mask mandate, as the country stopped requiring them for travel back in August 2022. The mask requirement won’t be quite as strict as before, as airlines will be able to serve food and drinks as usual (while previously there were restrictions regarding service on domestic flights).

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United Airlines expects busiest travel day since start of COVID this Thanksgiving

United

United Airlines said Wednesday it expects to carry 5.5 million passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period, up about 12% over 2021.

The U.S. carrier will operate more than 3,700 flights per day on average during the Nov. 18-30 period. United forecasts it will carry about as many passengers over the holiday as the pre-pandemic period in 2019.

United also predicts Nov. 27 – the Sunday after Thanksgiving – will be its busiest travel day since before the pandemic with more than 460,000 passengers.

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China eases COVID-19 travel rules, but they are still onerous

China eases COVID travel rules

China is loosening its strict zero-COVID policy for travelers in several key ways, but international visitors will still be required to jump through plenty of hoops. Chinese authorities announced the end to the so-called “circuit breaker” policy of suspending airlines when five or more passengers on an inbound flight test positive for COVID. Passengers flying to China will be now only required to take one pre-departure COVID test within 48 hours of departure, rather than two, according to a notice from China’s State Council.

But international travelers without a permanent address in China will still need to spend a total of eight days quarantining in a hotel.

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Analysis: Airlines reboot as COVID sparks a revolution in one-day business trips

Reuters | Analysis: Airlines reboot
Updated November 07, 2022
Airlines reboot

Airlines around the world are ripping up schedules and bringing in new flights to cope with a COVID-triggered trend in corporate travel for executives like Jerome Harris - the scrapping of one-day business trips in favor of longer stays.

For Sydney-based Harris, exhausting one-day treks to Melbourne or Brisbane - meaning four taxi rides, two flights, extended waits and the risk of delays - are no more after a pandemic-driven reassessment of his travel habits.

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Coronavirus Statistics - Worldometer

Worldometer
Updated November 06, 2022
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Click here to get the latest COVID-19 statistics from around the world.

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Travel rebounding amid dwindling COVID entry restrictions

Travel rebounding

As more and more countries lift coronavirus-related travel restrictions, Americans have the most international destination options to visit since the pandemic started.

According to Bloomberg.com, there are 118 countries and territories that welcome travelers from the United States without COVID-19 vaccination requirements, while another 109 still require testing, quarantines or both for unvaccinated travelers.

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Spain drops COVID-19 vaccine, test requirement for entry — What to know

Spain COVID requirements

Spain dropped all COVID-19-related entry rules on Friday, becoming one of the last European countries to do so.

Going forward, Spain will no longer require travelers from outside the European Union to show proof of vaccination, a negative test, or proof of recovery to enter, according to the government. That puts Spain in line with nearly every other country in Europe that has dropped pandemic-era travel restrictions.

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Next COVID wave could be on a collision course with holiday travel

COVID wave

The summer of 2022 delivered on predictions it would be the season of “revenge travel,” with countries dropping coronavirus restrictions, passengers filling up long-haul flights and cruise ships, and demand soaring to levels not seen since 2019.

With the winter holidays approaching, that demand shows no signs of slowing down. The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 2.5 million passengers on Sunday, the highest daily figure since February 2020.

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COVID travel restriction ends: 118+ countries open for unvaccinated tourists

COVID travel rules are ending

Japan’s reopening is major news, but the bigger story is more countries have ended Covid travel restrictions than those that still have them. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are losing their importance for world travelers. There are now more countries and territories—118, according to Kayak.com data—that welcome any US traveler without restrictions. Of the 109 destinations that still require testing, quarantines, or both for unvaccinated travelers, 17 don’t allow US tourism anyway.

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Tourists flock to Japan after COVID restrictions lifted

Japan COVID restrictions lifted

Eager to admire colorful foliage, eat sushi and go shopping, droves of tourists from abroad began arriving in Japan on Tuesday, with the end of pandemic-fighting border restrictions that had been in place for more than two years.

"We got the news that we can finally come. We are really, really happy,” said Nadine Lackmann, a German who was among the crowd of tourists arriving at Tokyo's Haneda airport.

Travelers like Lackmann are expected to deliver a sorely needed 5 trillion yen ($35 billion) boost to the world’s third-largest economy. And the flood of visitors is expected to keep growing.

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Which countries still have COVID travel restrictions?

COVID travel restrictions

While much of Europe and many popular tourist destinations have done away with COVID-19 documentation at the border, these 27 countries and territories still insist on it. READ MORE ...

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U.S. CDC ends country-specific COVID travel health notices

COVID travel health notices

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday it had ended its COVID-19 country travel health notices as fewer countries reported enough data for accurate assessments. READ MORE ...

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Germany and Canada scrap mask mandates on planes

Mask mandates | MainlyMiles
Updated October 03, 2022
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There’s more good news for fewer mask-wearing requirements on board flights this week, with both Germany and Canada ending their mandates for passengers to wear a face covering on board both domestic and international flights to and from their countries, effective from 1st October 2022.

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Going to Hong Kong? Get ready for a barrage of COVID tests

CNBC | Hong Kong COVID tests
Updated September 30, 2022
Hong Kong

Travelers headed to Hong Kong no longer need to quarantine in a hotel upon arrival.

But they will have to submit to a barrage of COVID tests.

They can go to work, take public transportation and go to supermarkets, but for the first three days, travelers can’t go into “high-risk premises” such as restaurants, bars and gyms.

Visitors who plan an eight-day trip must take 12 tests — four PCR and eight rapid antigen tests — which averages to 1.5 tests per day.

Moreover, those who test positive must isolate in a community facility for at least a week.

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Canada to drop all COVID-19 travel restrictions on Oct. 1 – What to know

Canada to Drop All COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Canada will lift all of its COVID-19 travel restrictions on Oct. 1.

The country will no longer require travelers to show proof of vaccination, testing, or to submit health information via Canada's ArriveCan app, officials announced in a press conference on Monday.

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Australia reopens to international travel

BBC | Australia reopens
Updated September 29, 2022
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Australia has announced the reopening of its borders to vaccinated tourists and other visa holders for the first time in almost two years. The grand reopening begins on Feb 21 and comes with a few ground rules. Travelers entering the country must be fully vaccinated to avoid a two-week hotel quarantine and must test negative before arrival.

Unvaccinated travelers who have a medical reason for not being jabbed will still need to apply for a travel exemption and, if successful, will be required to quarantine at a hotel.

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CDC drops COVID-19 mask recommendations for U.S.

NYTimes | CDC mask guidelines
Updated September 29, 2022
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The CDC offered new guidelines suggesting that 70% of Americans can now stop wearing masks and no longer need to social distance or avoid crowded indoor spaces.

The recommendations no longer rely only on the number of cases in a community to determine the need for COVID related restrictions. Instead, they direct counties to consider three measures to assess risk of the virus:

1) New COVID-related hospital admissions over the previous week

2) Percent of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients

3) New coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the previous week

Based on these three factors counties can calculate whether the risk to their residents is low, medium or high and only areas of high risk should require everyone to wear a mask.

READ MORE...

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Updated COVID19 travel rules for EU/Schengen countries

Schengenvisainfo
Updated September 29, 2022
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After considering the increased vaccination rates and concluding that strict travel measures no longer have a significant role when it comes to halting the spread of COVID-19, European Union and Schengen Area countries have decided to relax their entry rules.

While some EU countries decided to abolish COVID-19 measures altogether, others decided to impose less stringent rules.

Click here to find the entry rules that each EU/Schengen Area country currently applies.

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US extends mask rule for travel

US mask extension | AP
Updated September 29, 2022
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Federal officials in the US are extending the requirement for masks on planes and public transportation through mid-April. The mask mandate was scheduled to expire March 18, but the Transportation Security Administration said Thursday it will extend the requirement through April 18.

The TSA said the extra month will give the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention time to develop new, more targeted policies that will consider the number of cases of COVID-19 nationally and in local communities, and the risk of new variants.

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COVID travel restrictions end in the UK

UK travel restrictions | BBC
Updated September 29, 2022
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All remaining COVID travel restrictions have been lifted for passengers entering the UK. Unvaccinated arrivals no longer have to take tests or complete passenger locator forms. All have been scrapped. These rules were already lifted for vaccinated travelers.

It comes almost exactly two years after the first COVID lockdown measures were imposed in the UK. The government said contingency plans had been drawn up to respond to any future COVID variants.

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Singapore reopening borders

Singapore reopens | CNBC
Updated September 29, 2022
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A new simplified framework allowing fully vaccinated travelers to enter Singapore quarantine-free will go into effect starting April 1. This framework replaces all existing vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) and unilateral opening arrangements.

  • All fully vaccinated travelers will be able to enter Singapore with just a pre-departure COVID-19 test.

  • All fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to apply for entry approvals or take designated VTL transport to enter Singapore quarantine-free.

  • All fully vaccinated travelers from any country or region will be able to enter Singapore without the need for quarantine, as long as they have not visited any countries or regions in the restricted category in the past seven days.

    • There are currently no countries or regions on the restricted category.

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Managing travel risks

TSA.gov
Updated September 29, 2022
Female traveler

Personal safety is on everyone's mind as they return to travel. Review these infographics for helpful reminders of things you can do to mitigate risk and stay safe.

On the Airplane

At the Hotel

On the Ground

At your Destination

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4th COVID vaccine study

CNN | 4th vaccince
Updated September 29, 2022
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A fourth dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine seems to offer short-lived overall protection against infection, but protection against severe illness did not wane for at least several weeks, according to a new study.

The study looked at the health records of more than 1.25 million vaccinated people, 60 or older, from January through March 2022.

The rate of severe Covid-19 infection in the fourth week after a fourth dose of vaccine was lower than in people who got only three doses by a factor of 3.5. Protection against severe illness did not seem to wane in the six weeks after the fourth shot, though the study period wasn't long enough to determine exactly how long this protection lasts.

READ THE FULL STUDY ...

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CDC extends U.S. travel mask requirement

US Mask extension | APNews
Updated September 29, 2022
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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was keeping its mask order in effect, and the Transportation Security Administration announced it was extending the mandate for an additional 15 days.

The CDC said it was extending the order, which was set to expire on April 18, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant that is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the U.S.

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Thailand dropping more COVID-19 restrictions

Thailand | Travel&Leisure
Updated September 29, 2022
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Starting May 1, Thailand will no longer require visitors to get tested before coming or upon arrival, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated travelers will be able to come into the country and travel freely without any quarantine restrictions or mandatory hotel stays. Rules will be slightly different for unvaccinated travelers.

Visitors who are not fully vaccinated and arrive without a negative COVID-19 test will be required to book a minimum 5-day stay in an approved hotel, quarantine, and get tested with a PCR test on day 5 of their trip. Unvaccinated travelers may skip quarantine and travel freely throughout Thailand if they arrive in the country with a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their trip.

All travelers to Thailand must register for a Thailand Pass online and obtain an insurance policy with a minimum coverage of $10,000.

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Greece & Italy lift COVID restrictions

Greece and Italy | Washington Post
Updated September 29, 2022
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Greece and Italy both recently lifted several COVID-19 restrictions.

Greece discarded the requirement to show proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID to enter indoor and outdoor spaces. The country also lifted nearly all COVID rules for domestic and international flights, though masks will be required for passengers.

Italy also eased restrictions, scrapping its passenger locator form and dropping its Green Pass requirement — which demonstrates proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID or a negative test result — for places such as restaurants and cinemas. The pass is still required for some settings, including hospitals.

Greece lifted its requirement that visitors fill out a passenger locator form in March.

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EU dropping mask mandates for airplanes and airports

EU dropping masks | Forbes
Updated September 29, 2022
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The European Union will no longer require masks to be worn at airports and on planes starting May 16th.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it hoped the joint decision, made with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, would mark “a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel" for passengers and crews.

Individual airlines may still enforce mask measures if they are traveling between destinations where the rules are different.

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Global cases start to drop

Cases drop | CIDRAP
Updated September 29, 2022
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On May 25th the World Health Organization (WHO) said that after a week of stabilization global COVID-19 cases are declining again. Global cases declined 3% last week compared to the week before, with deaths down 11% over the same period.

Part of the decline came from South Africa, which had experienced a spike involving the more transmissible BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants in late April.

The WHO has repeatedly urged caution in interpreting trends, owing to decreased testing and surveillance in a number of countries.

READ MORE ...

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Dublin, Gatwick, Manchester: Who’s to blame for Europe’s airport chaos and what are your rights?

Airport chaos | Euronews
Updated September 29, 2022
Europe airport

If you're traveling this summer, it’s likely you’re feeling a little nervous.

Winding queues, packed departure halls, and travelers missing flights have become an all too common sight in Europe’s airports. Thousands of people have missed their flight this week alone, unable to get through airports quickly enough due to a lack of staff..

But who’s really to blame for this chaos - the airport, or the airline? Can you avoid it? READ MORE ...

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US lifts COVID-19 test requirement for international travel

US entry req | APNews
Updated September 29, 2022
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The US has lifted its requirement that international travelers test negative for COVID-19 within 24 hours before boarding a flight to the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the requirement will end June 12th. The health agency said it will continue to monitor state of the pandemic and will reassess the need for a testing requirement if the situation changes.

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Predictions on the future of airport travel post-Covid from a CEO in the industry

Predictions on airport travel | Forbes
Updated September 29, 2022
Future of airport travel

It is no secret that Covid-19 had a significant effect on the aviation industry. The future of air travel has changed as we know it. How can air travel become a more human experience while coping with the rising demand? The answer is continued innovation to ensure that a traveler’s experience is stress-free and enjoyable from the minute they check in. Below are my predictions on the future of airport travel post-Covid and beyond.

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Pro tips to mitigate airport chaos

Pro tips | EuroNewsTravel
Updated September 29, 2022
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The return to travel has been overshadowed by short staffing, canceled flights and long lines at airports around the world. Travel experts are suggesting ways travelers can mitigate some of the chaos.

  • Don't show up too early, it just adds to long wait times

  • Refamiliarize yourself with what airport security allows in hand luggage

  • Make travel plans later in the day when airports are less busy

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CDC adds Dominican Republic, Kuwait to COVID travel warning list

CDC Travel Warning | The Hill
Updated September 29, 2022
CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added the Dominican Republic and Kuwait to its list of high-risk COVID-19 travel advisories on Monday.

The Dominican Republic was previously considered to be a moderate-risk destination for COVID-19 while Kuwait had a low risk, according to a web archive of the CDC’s website. A CDC high-risk designation means potential travelers should not visit if their COVID-19 vaccines are not up to date.

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EC recommends “emergency brake” on travel from southern Africa

Evening Standard | Emergency Brake
Updated September 29, 2022
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The European Commission has recommended EU countries introduce an “emergency brake” on travel from southern Africa after a new COVID variant has been detected in several countries in the region.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc must “act very swiftly” as the first infection of the new strain was detected in Belgium.

The new B.1.1.529 variant, first detected in Botswana, has sparked alarm among scientists due to its high number of mutations and has been classified as a Variant of Concern (VOC). It has also been found in Israel and Hong Kong.

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Canada to resume mandatory random Covid testing at airports

Mandatory random testing | Forbes
Updated September 29, 2022
Mandatory random Covid testing

The government of Canada has just announced that mandatory random Covid-19 testing will resume at airports as of July 19, 2022 for fully vaccinated international air travelers. Testing had remained in place for travelers not considered fully vaccinated, however, the government announced it will resume testing fully vaccinated travelers in order to detect new Covid variants. Random testing for fully vaccinated Canadians had been suspended last month due to complaints from the tourism industry and airport authorities that it was causing long delays.

The government’s press release states that “Mandatory random testing will resume as of July 19, 2022, for travelers who qualify as fully vaccinated, arriving in Canada by air to the four major Canadian airports, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto...."

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Top airlines of 2022

CNN | 2022 Top Airlines
Updated September 29, 2022
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Given the thousands of lost bags and huge number of flight delays and cancellations, picking the right airline – if you’ve got that option – can go a long way to making sure your flight isn’t just clean and safe but reliable, too.

If you’re on the hunt for the best airlines around right now, we might just have an answer. A new ranking from AirlineRatings.com has weighed up stuff like customer reviews, safety ratings, fleet age and environmental commitments to come up with 2022’s best airlines in the world.

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TSA no longer scanning boarding passes at some airports

Boarding Passes | Conde Nast
Updated September 29, 2022
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Travelers at dozens of U.S. airports no longer need to show their boarding passes to TSA officers, eliminating one more item that fliers need to scramble for in order to get through security. A new piece of equipment, called a credential authentication technology (CAT) scanner, is programmed to automatically match traveler's ID information to flight manifests.

The scanners can digitally process a traveler's ID and match their biographical information like name and birthdate against the Secure Flight database in real time, eliminating the need for a boarding pass since the Secure Flight database contains the names and flight details for people ticketed to travel in the next 24 hours. Both large international airports and smaller regional facilities alike are utilizing the new scanner equipment, including Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Boston Logan International, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports, both airports in Washington, D.C., and New York's John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, plus dozens of others.

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France lifts COVID entry restrictions

France | Washington Post
Updated September 29, 2022
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France became the latest country in Europe to get rid of pandemic-era entry restrictions for visitors.

Travelers going to France no longer need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test. Earlier this summer, the country required travelers be vaccinated, or show proof of recovery or a recent negative test.

The changes follow the decision in France to end emergency measures put into place because of covid-19. Travelers don’t have to offer health information in advance of arriving in France or test upon arrival.

Destinations including Italy, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Germany have all dropped their covid-era entry rules.

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Hong Kong reduces hotel quarantine

Bloomberg | Hong Kong
Updated September 29, 2022
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Hong Kong will reduce the period of time people entering the city must spend in hotel quarantine to three days from seven.

People arriving at Hong Kong’s international airport will be required to undertake the reduced quarantine period at an approved hotel, and -- if they don’t test positive for COVID -- can then do four days of health monitoring either at home or in a hotel. The four-day monitoring period will be subject to relatively loose movement rules, with travelers able to leave their homes and only restricted from entering high-risk places.

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CDC says people exposed to COVID-19 don't have to isolate. What does that mean for travel?

USA Today | Relaxed Quarantine
Updated September 29, 2022
CDC relaxes quarantine

Unvaccinated Americans don’t have to quarantine anymore if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, according to newly relaxed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, people who test positive for the coronavirus can end isolation sooner if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms improve quickly. READ MORE ...

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Japan set to allow more tourists to enter; ease Covid test rule

Japan eases Covid test rule

Japan is set to more than double the number of people it will allow into the country and may scrap the need for a negative Covid-19 test to enter, as the last rich economy with stringent entry requirements still in place looks to join the rest of the world in easing pandemic curbs.

The daily limit on tourists will be raised to 50,000 people as soon as next month from the current 20,000, broadcaster FNN reported, citing unidentified government officials.

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This week is the last chance to order free at-home COVID tests in the U.S.

Rapid COVID Test

The federal government is pausing its free COVID-19 test kit program citing a lack of funding. According to the government’s website, “Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.” Free tests can still be obtained at several federally-funded community sites (libraries, museums, pharmacies, etc.), community health clinics, and both public and private health insurance plans will reimburse the cost.

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U.S. Airline Customer Service Dashboard

US Airline Customer Service Dashboard
Updated September 29, 2022
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The U.S. Department of Transportation has created a dashboard to ensure the traveling public has easy access to information about services that U.S. airlines provide to mitigate passenger inconveniences when the cause of a cancellation or delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control.

A green check mark on the dashboard means an airline has committed to providing that service or amenity to its customers. A red “x” means the airline has not made that commitment. However, airlines with a red “x” may provide these services and amenities in some instances in their discretion.

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What to do if you test positive for COVID-19 while traveling, according to experts

COVID testing

Ever since the pandemic set in, I’ve been on the COVID-conscious side. But after more than two years of sidelining my global travels, I was ready to dive back in, even if it meant seeing the world from behind a KN95 mask while eating my meals outdoors with obsessively sanitized hands. As a longtime germaphobe, I carefully planned my travels (filled with socially distanced and outdoor activities) and packing list (so many wipes, hand sanitizer bottles, and masks), and set off to make up for lost adventures with a quick succession of trips to Italy, the West Coast, and the U.K.

As it turns out, my extreme pandemic paranoia was justified when I caught the virus not once, but twice, within a five-week period, which included three five-day quarantines since I was believed to be a Paxlovid rebound case the first go-round.

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New Zealand eliminates vaccine, testing requirements for travel

New Zealand

New Zealand has eliminated all COVID-19-related travel restrictions and testing requirements, marking the end of what was once some of the strictest pandemic-era rules in the world.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lifted all vaccine restrictions, starting Sept. 13, as well as lifted the requirement to self-test after arrival. Going forward, testing will simply be “encouraged,” but not mandated. READ MORE ...

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It’s not your imagination: Planes are dirtier

Washington Post | Plane cleanliness
Updated September 29, 2022
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Your flight might not look as clean as it did in 2020, but experts say it’s still safe to fly. Early in the pandemic airlines began marketing the cleanliness of their planes. They tried to put covid-concerned passengers at ease with measures such as HEPA filtration, free sanitizing wipes at the door and deep cleaning after each flight.

Today, however, your plane might look more like it did in 2019. As pandemic fears have eased, science on surface transmission has evolved and airlines cope with staffing shortages, some of those cleaning commitments have been relaxed. Still, experts say it remains safe to fly, especially as vaccinations and natural immunity have become more widespread.

Want to know why your plane might not look as clean as it did early in the pandemic, and what the experts say about the risks of catching the coronavirus on a flight? READ MORE ...

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Spain extends COVID entry restrictions to mid-November

Spain extends COVID restrictions

Spain has extended its COVID entry restrictions until November 15.

Unvaccinated arrivals must continue to show evidence they have recovered from Covid-19 within the last six months or show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test.

Vaccinated arrivals are exempt from testing requirements, although anyone who had their second jab more than 270 days ago will be required to have a booster to be classed as fully vaccinated.

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CDC moves 3 tropical island getaways to 'moderate' risk category for COVID-19

Tropical island getaways

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday moved three tropical island getaways and one Middle Eastern nation into its "moderate" risk category for Covid-19. There were no new additions to its "high" risk category this week.

The four new places now at "moderate" risk, or Level 2, are: • Fiji (in the South Pacific) • Kuwait (Middle East) • Saint Kitts and Nevis (Caribbean) • Sint Maarten (Caribbean)

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Sweden ending COVID restrictions

NYTimes | Sweden ending restrictions
Updated February 05, 2022
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The Swedish government will lift most COVID restrictions next week. The move adds Sweden to the growing list of European nations, including Denmark and Norway, that are scrapping pandemic protocols even though new cases continue to soar in Europe.

Starting on Feb. 9, there will be no limit on how many people can gather at restaurants, sports stadiums, and other events. People will no longer be required to work from home. And travel restrictions on visitors from other Nordic countries will be relaxed.

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Tracking vaccinations around the world

Vaccination tracker
Updated January 29, 2022
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61% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 10+ billion doses have been administered globally and almost 25 million are now administered each day.

The Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford has compiled data tracking the number of people vaccinated by country. A vaccinated person refers to someone who has received at least one dose of a vaccine, and a fully vaccinated person has received all required doses of a vaccine.

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Is a universal coronavirus vaccine on the horizon?

Universal vaccine | Nat Geo
Updated January 22, 2022
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Scientists are racing to develop a single vaccine that protects against many SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as emerging coronaviruses with the potential to trigger a new pandemic. Every time a new variant comes along, COVID-19 vaccine and drug makers reassess their “recipes” to see if they work against an evolving virus—like Omicron, which has spread quickly around the globe in little more than a month.

Since the start of the pandemic in December 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has mutated multiple times, giving rise to different variants. Because most vaccines were designed to recognize the original SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, or at least parts of it, more mutated variants like Omicron are better at escaping protection offered by the vaccines, although they still prevent severe disease.

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Face mask rules and COVID passes ending in England

BBC | end of plan b
Updated January 20, 2022
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Boris Johnson announced England's Plan B measures are to end next Thursday, with mandatory face coverings in public places and COVID passports both dropped.

The prime minister also said the government would immediately drop its advice for people to work from home.

The PM said England was reverting to "Plan A" due to boosters and how people had followed Plan B measures.

He said, this should not be seen as the "finish line" because the virus and future variants cannot be eradicated - instead "we must learn to live with COVID in the same way we live with flu".

He urged people to continue taking steps to keep the virus at bay, including hand washing, ventilating rooms and self-isolating if positive - and pressed those who were unvaccinated to come forward to get their jabs.

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What you need to know

What you need to know - BCD Blog
Updated January 15, 2022
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Check out our website for expanded information on governmental travel restrictions, health certifications and vaccine updates along with detailed airline, hotel and airport requirements.

Each report is updated regularly with information to keep you in the know and how best to prepare for your upcoming travel.

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Flurona - it's a real thing

Flurona | Washington Post
Updated January 06, 2022
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While the term Flurona is relatively new and rising in popularity, cases of flu and coronavirus co-infections are not. Flurona is not a distinct disease but refers to when a person has been infected with both viruses. Flurona instances have been detected in countries including the United States, Israel, Brazil, the Philippines and Hungary.

Fever, congestion, headache, change in taste or smell, cough, body aches, sore throat, runny nose, and fatigue are all symptoms commonly related to both viruses. Depending on the individual, infections can vary from mild to severe.

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Israel approves 4th vaccine for most vulnerable

4th vaccine | AP
Updated January 01, 2022
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Israel approved a fourth vaccine dose for people most vulnerable to COVID-19, becoming one of the first countries to do so as it braces for a wave of infections fueled by the omicron variant.

Israel launched trials of the fourth dose earlier this week, administering it to some 150 medical personnel who had received a booster in August. Israel is also among the first countries to receive Pfizer’s Paxlovid, a pill that can be taken at home to ward off the most severe symptoms of the coronavirus. All the previously authorized drugs require an IV or injection.

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Novavax's COVID vaccine approved in the EU

Novavax | Euronews
Updated December 20, 2021
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Novavax's COVID vaccine has become the fifth vaccine authorized for use in the European Union.

Called Nuvaxovid, this new vaccine uses a more conventional technology than the other COVID 19 vaccines already in use, it is similar to the technology used in the decades-old hepatitis B and pertussis vaccines and does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures.

The jab is given as two injections three weeks apart.

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Pfizer says Covid-19 pill near 90% effective

CNBC | Pfizer COVID pill
Updated December 15, 2021
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On Tuesday Pfizer said final analysis of its antiviral Covid-19 pill still showed near 90% efficacy in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients, and recent lab data suggests the drug retains its effectiveness against the fast-spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The U.S. drugmaker last month said the oral medicine was around 89% effective in preventing hospitalizations or deaths when compared to placebo based on interim results in around 1,200 people. The data disclosed on Tuesday includes an additional 1,000 people.

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Mix & match combinations of COVID vaccines should work as boosters

NYTimes | vaccine boosters
Updated December 03, 2021
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People looking for a booster shot of a Covid-19 vaccine probably don’t need to fret about what brand it is: Many combinations of shots are likely to provide strong protection, according to a large new study.

In a comparison of seven different vaccine brands, British researchers found that most of them prompted a strong immune response, with the mRNA shots from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech eliciting the largest responses. The study was published on Thursday in The Lancet.

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South Africa identifies new COVID19 variant

NYTimes | South African variant
Updated November 26, 2021
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Scientists in South Africa have identified a new coronavirus variant prompting several countries to quickly limit travel from the region. The new variant is genetically distinct from previous variants including the beta and delta variants, but scientists do not know if these genetic changes make it any more transmissible or dangerous. So far, there is no indication the variant causes more severe disease.

The World Health Organization designated it as a “variant of concern,” naming it “omicron” after a letter in the Greek alphabet. A number of variants have emerged since the onset of the pandemic. One underlying concern about them is whether they will stymie the fight against the virus or limit the effectiveness of vaccines.

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Britain adding booster shots to NHS travel pass

BBC | Booster Shot
Updated November 19, 2021
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Travelers who have had a COVID19 booster shot in England can now prove their vaccination status using the NHS COVID Pass.

It enables quarantine-free travel to countries such as Israel, Croatia and Austria, which have a time limit for vaccination status to be valid.

Third doses are not being added to the domestic pass as they are not currently needed to qualify as fully vaccinated.

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Japan approves booster shots for all residents

JapanTimes | Booster shots
Updated November 12, 2021
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Japan plans to allow COVID-19 booster shots for anyone who has received two vaccination doses — a stark contrast to other countries offering them only to older people and those with pre-existing conditions.

Tokyo had initially considered giving booster shots only to front-line health workers and older people. But a health ministry panel decided that everyone who has had two shots will be eligible, given that research overseas has shown that vaccine efficacy declines to around 50% over a few months.

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Britain approves first COVID-19 antiviral pill

REUTERS | C19 antiviral pill
Updated November 06, 2021
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Britain is the first country to approve a potentially game-changing COVID-19 antiviral pill, jointly developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, in the fight against the pandemic.

Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommended the drug, molnupiravir, for use in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness, such as obesity, older age diabetes, and heart disease.

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Pressure Grows to Get Covid Vaccines to the Poor

NYTimes | G20 Summit
Updated November 01, 2021
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The world’s leaders are focusing on preventing future pandemics, but experts say rich nations are not doing enough to help the poor survive the current one.

While wealthy nations are offering people third vaccine doses and increasingly inoculating children, poor countries have administered an estimated four doses per 100 people, according to the World Health Organization.

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EU COVID19 Passport/Certificate - Everything you need to know

SchengenNews
Updated October 29, 2021
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The EU COVID-19 Vaccine Passport/Certificate is a one-piece document that can be issued to a traveller in both a paper and digital format.

Depending on the traveller’s status, there are three types of EU’s COVID-19 passport launched.

  • Vaccination passport

  • Test certificate

  • Recovery certificate

Those holding such a document are mainly eligible to travel throughout Europe without the need to quarantine or test for COVID-19. However, travellers must be aware that several Member States are imposing tighter restrictions on particular countries with a higher COVID-19 rate.

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Canada rolls out standard vaccine passport

GOV of CAN | Proof of Vaccination
Updated October 22, 2021
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Canada is rolling out a national standard for vaccination credentials that will be required for domestic and international travel, unifying the country’s patchwork of proof-of-immunization programs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.

The national proof of vaccination standard features a QR code and official logos from the federal government and the recipient’s province or territory. It will be available digitally and in hard copy.

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What is the U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act?

CNTraveler
Updated October 13, 2021
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In order to keep residents safe, many destinations currently require that travelers present proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or a negative test to enter. And while the United States has certain restrictions in place for international visitors, it has yet to implement any rules when it comes to domestic air travel.

A new bill aims to change that.

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Flying the vaccinated skies

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Today air travelers within the United States are not required to be vaccinated against covid-19. But depending on which airline you fly, there might be a mandate for employees.

While all major U.S. carriers are trying to get their workforces vaccinated, some are going further than others, with United being the first to mandate vaccinations, in August. Other airlines instead have been offering their employees incentives, mandating testing for the unvaccinated or tacking on an extra insurance charge.

READ MORE on what major U.S. airlines are requiring for employees

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New US international travel policy

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Beginning in November all adult foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. will be required to be fully vaccinated before boarding their flight. This is in addition to the current requirement that travelers show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure to the U.S.

The CDC says the U.S. will accept full vaccination of travelers with any COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, including those from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson used in the U.S. Other vaccines are also approved by the WHO and used widely around the world, including from AstraZeneca and China's Sinovac, with varying degrees of effectiveness against COVID-19 and its more transmissible Delta variant. The WHO is reviewing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine but hasn't approved it.

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The fight to manufacture COVID vaccines in the global south

Nature | manufacturing vaccines
Updated September 19, 2021
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Vaccines against COVID-19 are not reaching many people in the global south, despite donations from wealthy nations. Less than 1% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated, and just 10% are vaccinated in lower-middle-income countries, compared with more than half in high-income countries.

Drug companies and wealthy countries are facing increased pressure to partner with firms in the global south but are reluctant to relinquish control.

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No Vaccine? Might mean no hotel stay.

Forbes | hotels requiring vaccines
Updated September 14, 2021
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As the delta variant fuels a new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, some hotels are now mandating guests show proof of their COVID19 health status.

These new—and growing—vaccination requirements from travel-related businesses add another layer of complexity to planning a trip. Travelers should bring their country’s official vaccination card or digital health pass and expect to show them in order to check in. Some hotels in Mexico, the US, Portugal and Austria are now requiring proof of vaccination to stay.

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European countries reimpose bans on US travelers

CNN | EU travel bans
Updated September 06, 2021
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Earlier this week, the European Union announced it was dropping the United States from its safe list, advising its 27 member states to reconsider allowing entry to nonessential US travelers.

Beginning on September 4, the Netherlands says the United States will be designated a "high risk area," joining Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia as fresh additions to this list, according to a government website.

While travelers from these and other high-risk countries will be allowed entry if fully vaccinated, they must still quarantine for 10 days. And as of September 6, they must also produce a negative COVID test.

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Meet Grace, the healthcare robot

Reuters | Robot nurse
Updated August 28, 2021
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The Hong Kong team behind celebrity humanoid robot Sophia is launching a new prototype, Grace, targeted at the healthcare market and designed to interact with the elderly and those isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grace's resemblance to a healthcare professional and capacity for social interaction is aimed at relieving the burden of front-line hospital staff overwhelmed during the pandemic.

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Singapore launching 'Vaccinated Travel Lane'

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Singapore will pilot quarantine-free travel lanes for vaccinated passengers next month from Germany and Brunei and open up to visitors from Hong Kong and Macau in its first big move to lift border restrictions that have been in place since early in the pandemic.

In what are the highly anticipated first steps of the city’s reopening, travelers from Germany and Brunei can enter Singapore from Sept. 8 without the need to have a purpose for visiting and controlled itinerary or sponsor requirements, officials said during a press briefing in the city-state Thursday.

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CDC approves vaccine booster shots for vulnerable Americans

CNBC | Booster shots
Updated August 15, 2021
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave final approval to start administering Covid-19 booster shots to Pfizer and Moderna vaccine recipients after a key panel unanimously voted to endorse third doses for immunocompromised Americans.

The CDC’s decision and recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices followed the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the booster shots for immunocompromised patients. With both agencies’ OK, booster doses could start being administered immediately.

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New face mask prototype can detect COVID19 infection

MIT News | Facemask Prototype
Updated August 07, 2021
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Engineers at MIT and Harvard University have designed a novel face mask that can diagnose the wearer with Covid-19 within about 90 minutes. The masks are embedded with tiny, disposable sensors that can be fitted into other face masks and could also be adapted to detect other viruses. The sensor technology could also be used to create clothing that detects a variety of pathogens and other threats.

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Japanese airports expand 'Face Express' recognition technology

Japan Times | Facial Recognition
Updated August 05, 2021
Face Express

Japan’s Narita and Haneda airports started the full-scale use of facial recognition, allowing international travelers to check in baggage and pass security checkpoints without showing passports or flight tickets.

With the “Face Express” system aimed at speeding up the boarding process and providing a touchless experience for passengers, travelers need to have their photos taken at check-in when they register their passports and boarding passes upon arriving at the airports.

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England ends quarantine for fully vaccinated EU, U.S. visitors

heathrow

England will allow fully vaccinated visitors from the European Union and United States to arrive without need of quarantine starting August 2nd.

The new rule applies to England, and devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales said they would follow suit. The UK government said international cruise sailings could also restart from England.

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The Covid travel checklist

Covid Travel Checklist

While our suitcases have been gathering dust over the past 16 months, the travel industry has been rapidly adapting to cope with the demands of the new Covid era.

This means that if you're making your first flight for a while, things may be very different from what you've previously been used to.

It's no longer just about packing your power adapter and making sure your shampoo is in little bottles. We've put together this Covid Travel Checklist with everything you now need to think about before you set off.

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Traveling? What you need to know about the Delta variant

NYTimes posting | Delta variant
Updated July 15, 2021
Delta variant

With vaccinations on the rise and mortality rates related to Covid-19 going down in Europe and other parts of the world, many people are making plans to travel this summer and beyond. But experts say the quickly circulating Delta variant can be a concern, particularly for unvaccinated travelers.

If you’re wondering how the variant will affect your travel plans, here are some things you should know before booking a flight.

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Guam's vacation & vaccine program

Guam V&V program
Updated July 11, 2021
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Taiwanese tourists can now take part in the Air Visit & Vacation (nicknamed V&V) program organized by the Guam Visitors Bureau. The program enables eligible visitors from Taiwan ages 12 and up to travel to Guam and get their first shot as soon as one day after arriving.

In order to participate, travelers must book their flights and reserve rooms at one of 11 designated hotels, then arrange private transport from the airport to the hotel and book their vaccination appointment online. The vaccines are administered on-site at the hotels.

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Qatar Airways uses latest Honeywell UV cabin disinfection technology

Qatar Airways
Updated July 02, 2021
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Qatar Airways announced it will be operating Honeywell’s Ultraviolet (UV) Cabin System version 2.0, further advancing its hygiene measures on board.

The latest version of the Honeywell UV Cabin System, owned and operated by Qatar Aviation Services (QAS), has been introduced to add flexibility, improve reliability, mobility and ease of use compared to its predecessor, with extended UV wings that treat both narrow and wide areas on board, reducing the overall disinfection time.

The new version also includes a hand wand that disinfects areas like the cockpit and other smaller spaces and is non-motorized leading to less battery consumption.

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New rules on the use of face masks in Spain

El Pais | Face Masks
Updated June 25, 2021
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New rules on the use of face masks in Spain will come into effect on Saturday, June 26. As of this date, the covering will not have to be worn outdoors if a distance of 1.5 meters can be observed. It will, however, be mandatory to carry a face mask at all times so that it can be put on in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.

These were some of the details shared on Wednesday by Health Minister Carolina Darias following a meeting of the Inter-Territorial Council of the National Health System, which brings together central and regional health officials.

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New digital health certificate supports free movement in the EU

EU Digital COVID19 Certificate
Updated June 22, 2021
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The European Union is introducing the EU Digital COVID Certificate to facilitate the safe free movement of EU citizens within the EU during the pandemic. EU Member States have already started issuing and using the certificate, although it officially launches on July 1, 2021.

It’s up to national authorities to issue the certificates to their citizens and residents, including foreign nationals. The certificates will share a common design across all EU member states. They could be issued by health authorities, through eHealth portals or by testing centers.

The digital version can be stored on a mobile device, although a paper version will also be available.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate may be issued to all EU citizens and their family members, and to non-EU nationals legally living in a Member State and who have the right to travel to other Member States.

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Need easy access to travel documents, vaccine cards and more? TripSource has a Vault for that.

BCD Travel Blog
Updated June 21, 2021
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BCD Travel is committed to making sure travelers have easy access to the information they need to travel confidently. And to deliver on that commitment we've recently added a Document Vault to TripSource®, our award winning traveler engagement mobile app. With the new Document Vault, travelers can easily take photos and upload airline attestations, vaccine cards, test results, travel insurance details and more. All the documents they may need along the way –all in one place.

When travelers log into TripSource and swipe left from the home screen, they can select 'See all documents,' view them individually, and add new documents via their files, camera or photo gallery. It's that simple!

TripSource simplifies business travel and keeps travelers organized, informed and within company guidelines.

Available for iPhone, Android and at tripsource.com.

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Africa is priority for G7's donated COVID-19 vaccine doses

Rueters
Updated June 18, 2021
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Africa will be the priority for the 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine pledged by the G7 countries said a senior World Health Organization on Monday.

"You will see that Africa is one of the most vulnerable, under-served (areas), so the priority would be for doses to go... to the African continent writ large. Those numbers will be sorted out the coming weeks," Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO adviser and coordinator of the ACT (Access to COVID-19 Tools) Accelerator, told an online news briefing from Geneva.

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Could a distaste for broccoli indicate greater resistance to COVID-19?

Supertasters
Updated May 29, 2021
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Researchers are investigating whether so-called supertasters might have an edge against severe infections.

Henry Barham, a rhinologist at the Baton Rouge General Medical Center, in Louisiana, published a study in the medical journal JAMA Network Open that analyzed nearly 2,000 patients and found that “supertasters”—individuals who are overly sensitive to some bitter compounds—were less likely to test positive for the virus. If this association holds true, it implies, for example, that people who don’t find broccoli too bitter are in a higher risk group for severe COVID-19.

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The pursuit of doing good - US businesses support vaccination effort

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While some retailers and pharmacies have been directly involved in the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations more surprising are the number of companies offering help despite having little to do with health care.

Microsoft is opening its office campus as a vaccination center as part of their partnership with the State of Washington. Google Cloud built a dashboard solution that provides counties and tribes across Arizona with a consistent approach to managing and monitoring the vaccine administration process. And Amazon set up on-site vaccination clinics.

And it's not just the tech giants. Starbucks is assigning workers from its operations and analytics departments to help design vaccination sites, donating the labor while continuing to pay employees. McDonalds' "We can do this" campaign is designed to promote COVID-19 vaccine confidence, encourage prevention and support community efforts. Shake Shake's Stand for something good campaign has teamed up with the NYC mayor's office. And Krispy Kreme and White Castle are offering food promos to help incentivize vaccination efforts.

These are just a few, hundreds of businesses, big and small, are taking an active role to support the national vaccination effort. The pursuit of doing good is alive and well.

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Delta announces COVID-19 vaccine requirements as workplaces reopen

Delta announcement
Updated May 19, 2021
Delta

Delta Airlines' mandate that all new hires in the U.S. be vaccinated, unless they qualify for an accommodation, officially went into effect on May 17th. With some 91,000 full-time workers, the Atlanta-headquartered airliner became the largest U.S. employer to date that has announced a vaccine mandate for new employees.

The company said it will not be putting in place a company-wide requirement that current employees be vaccinated, but noted that more than 60% of its employees have already been vaccinated.

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CDC announces those fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks

CDC announcement
Updated May 15, 2021
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People fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday, May 12th.

"If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic," Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House Covid-19 briefing. "We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy."

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English residents to use NHS app for COVID19 vaccine records

NHS app for COVID19 vaccine
Updated May 12, 2021
NHS

With less than a week before international leisure travel from England is planned to resume, the government has assured vaccinated travelers they will have certificates to prove their status by Monday 17 May.

From 17 May, English residents across the UK can already use the NHS app to refill prescriptions, arrange appointments to see their doctor and view their medical records. Now the app is being adapted to include vaccine verification.

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BCD Travel expands COVID-19 PCR testing partnerships for travelers leaving Singapore

Updated May 04, 2021
Singapore PCR Test

BCD Travel has partnered with Parkway Shenton Medical Group and Raffles Medical Group for travellers requiring PCR testing prior to departing Singapore.

Shenton Medical Group offers a corporate rate of S$161.50 per test. Simply book an appointment at any of these clinics, present your BCD Travel travel receipt and receive test results within 24 hours.

Raffles Medical Group offers a corporate rate of S$152.10 per test. Test results will be emailed within 36 hours, excluding weekends and public holidays. Just book an appointment online and indicate BCDTRA in the remarks box.

Now travellers have even more options to get ready for their upcoming trip.

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Biodegradable face masks

Biodegradable face masks
Updated April 24, 2021
biodegradable face masks

Face masks are now a normal part of our daily routine. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 89 million medical masks will be needed for every month of this year. And while wearing a mask helps stem the risk of infection, it's creating a secondary problem: an enormous amount of plastic pollution, already one of the biggest environmental issues facing our society.

Learn how researchers are addressing this problem with new biodegradable, moisture‐resistant, highly breathable, and high‐performance fibrous mask filters.

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IATA partners with Eurofins COVID19 testing network

IATA partners with Eurofins
Updated April 17, 2021
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced an agreement with Eurofins to incorporate its worldwide COVID-19 testing network into IATA Travel Pass. Eurofins is a leader in bio-analytical testing with 800 laboratories across 50 countries. As part of the partnership, Eurofins’ dedicated COVID-19 portfolio encompassing multiple test types and hundreds of COVID-19 sampling stations globally will be made available through the IATA Travel Pass.

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Worried about airport layovers during COVID-19? Here's what you can do to stay safe.

USA Today
Updated April 09, 2021
Layover at DFW

Airports are notorious for being germ incubators and during a pandemic, this risk rises. As people become vaccinated, widespread travel will become feasible again. But medical experts say there are ways to mitigate the risks while traveling while waiting for the country to reach herd immunity through widespread vaccination.

Although the availability of direct flights is improving, many travelers – especially those who live outside of major cities – have needed to book connecting flights to reach their final destinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Flight layovers are a particularly vulnerable time but it is also a time when you can enact a lot personal safety measures to reduce your risk of contracting disease,” says Dr. Alaina Brinley Rajagopal, a Southern California-based emergency medicine physician, virologist and host of the "Emergency Docs" podcast.

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BCD Travel India partners with Metropolis Healthcare Limited