International travel: U.S. easing restrictions for vaccinated tourists
Foreign nationals will need to show proof of vaccination before getting on planes to the U.S.
Staff video, USA TODAY
Norway announced Friday it would soon open its borders to citizens from the European Union, the European Economic Area and a handful of other countries.
Starting Saturday at 4 p.m., Norway will allow citizens from the EU, EEA and countries on its purple list – currently New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan – as well as residents of the United Kingdom and Switzerland to enter. These travelers will not have to quarantine or undergo testing if they have been fully vaccinated or can prove that they had been infected and recovered from the coronavirus within the last six months.
Travelers who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery may face additional entry requirements. If they are 18 and older from red, dark red, purple, gray or third-party countries, they will need to quarantine but can isolation 72 hours after arrival with a negative PCR test. Travelers from green and orange areas do not need to quarantine.
► Which EU countries are open to tourists?: A breakdown of EU travel restrictions by country
► ‘Without our loved ones, we are lost’: Travelers relieved at US plans to reopen borders
Norway is dropping its pre-arrival testing requirement, but travelers from red, dark red, purple, gray or third-party countries will need to take a test at the border. Norway is dropping its requirement to test on day seven of a trip but recommends children take a second test 72 hours after arrival.
Most travelers from outside the approved countries – including the U.S. – cannot enter Norway unless they meet certain exemptions, such as visiting a romantic partner or close family members who live in Norway.
US travelers to Norway will have to wait
A proposed second phase to the country’s reopening plans, which could start in the second half of October, would lift entry restrictions on travelers from the EU’s third countries, which does not include the U.S.
The final phase, in which the country would reconsider its remaining entry restrictions, has no proposed start date.
The changes come as Norway’s daily COVID-19 cases continue a downward trend after their latest spike. The country reported 721 new cases in the past day, fewer than half of its record high of 1,785 in August, and has more than 67% of its population fully vaccinated, according to Friday data from Johns Hopkins University.
Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg noted that the country’s hospital admissions have flattened out and expects large parts of the population to be fully vaccinated in the coming weeks. Norway’s National Institute of Public Health now believes there is little risk that the epidemic will get out of control, allowing the country to return to a normal, everyday life, Solberg said in a press release.
The country is also set to end a number of national coronavirus measures on Saturday, including capacity limits at events.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.
The U.S. on Monday announced plans to ease international airline travel restrictions to allow vaccinated foreign nationals to once again travel to the country starting this fall.
The new policy, slated to go into effect in early November, will require travelers to show proof that they are fully vaccinated before boarding a U.S.-bound plane as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of the flight, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said.
Testing requirements also will tighten for unvaccinated Americans, who will now be required to be tested within a day of their trip to the U.S. and again after returning.
For Southern Nevada, the changes signal the return of one of the key cogs that has been missing amid the recovery of the region’s tourism-reliant economy.
The news was met with cheers by tourism and travel officials.
“Today marks an important turning point in the recovery of international visitation essential to Las Vegas’ tourism industry. This milestone is also significant and welcome news for many of our major tradeshows and conventions that draw exhibitors and attendees from around the world,” Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority CEO Steve Hill said in a statement.
Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, called the move an “essential step for Las Vegas’ recovery to continue moving forward.”
“Las Vegas attracted nearly six million international visitors in 2019, which supported tens of thousands of jobs and generated billions of dollars for our local economy. The lack of this key business has had a substantial economic impact on our community over the past 18 months,” Valentine said in a statement.
Roger Dow, CEO and president of the U.S. Travel Association, said getting the international travelers back is “huge,” in large part because they tend to stay longer and spend more than their domestic counterparts.
“When you look at CES and all the monster conventions that come here (to Las Vegas), if they can’t have the international buyer here, we lose,” said Dow, who’s in town for the travel association’s annual conference.
When those international flights will return remains up in the air. Some of the logistics are still not clear, including which vaccines will be acceptable under the U.S.’s system and whether those unapproved in the U.S., such as AstraZeneca, would be acceptable. Zients said that decision would be up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will also require airlines to collect contact information from all U.S- bound travelers to facilitate tracing efforts.
The U.S. has been one of the slowest countries to lift international travel restrictions, frustrating allies in the United Kingdom and European Union as well as tourism and travel officials.
The EU and UK had previously moved to allow vaccinated U.S. travelers in without quarantines, in an effort to boost business and tourism. But the EU recommended last month that some travel restrictions be reimposed on U.S. travelers to the bloc because of the rampant spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus in America.
In May, Rosemary Vassiliadis, McCarran International Airport’s director of aviation, testified before a Senate subcommittee and pushed for the federal government to find ways to restore international travel to the U.S., saying that the country’s “blanket approach is unnecessarily crippling our economic productivity.”
At McCarran, domestic air travel has started to look more like it did pre-pandemic. International travel, however, has continued to lag.
International traveler volume for for first seven months of 2021 is down nearly 90 percent compared with the same period in 2019, with international carriers accounting or just 246,054 passengers at McCarran during that time, compared nearly 2.2 million in 2019.
“For Las Vegas, so much of our travel is dependent on people coming in for tourism reasons,” Chris Jones, chief marketing office for McCarran International Airport, said.
“In terms of domestic air, we are back to where we were,” Jones added. “International [travel] has been a huge missing component.”
Jones said the return of those international flights will vary by market and by airline. Some airlines plan their international schedules in six-month segments, which could mean that some carriers may not bring those flights back until sometime in the spring, he added.
Jones said that officials from McCarran and the LVCVA will be in Milan for a conference next month to meet with air carriers.
President Joe Biden will ease foreign travel restrictions into the U.S. beginning in November, when his administration will require all foreign travelers flying into the country to be fully vaccinated
All foreign travelers flying to the U.S. will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of flight, said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, who announced the new policy on Monday. Biden will also tighten testing rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who will need to be tested within a day before departure to the U.S., as well as on their return.
Fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to quarantine, Zeints said.
(Adds background, details)
LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Britain will on Friday consider easing England’s COVID-19 rules for international travel after the travel industry complained that a myriad of onerous rules and red tape were hobbling airlines, holiday and tourism companies.
In a bid to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Britain has a maze of different rules requiring expensive private testing and quarantine and a so-called traffic light system which ranks destinations as green, amber and red.
“The COVID sub-committee of cabinet that decides these things will be considering that probably later today,” Agriculture Secretary George Eustice told Sky News.
The British travel industry has called on the government to ease travel restrictions, force companies to offer cheaper testing and allow those who are double vaccinated more freedom.
Tourists and ministers have complained about the price travellers are being charged for obligatory private COVID-19 tests – which are listed as costing around 50 pounds but which can cost up to 399 pounds, according to current listings.
Ministers will cut the number of “red list” countries – currently 62 – by removing the “amber list” and those who are double vaccinated will no longer have to pay for costly polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, The Times newspaper reported.
For those returning from red-list countries, quarantine hotels are expected to remain in place, the newspaper said.
($1 = 0.7247 pounds) (Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Sarah Young)
As though the rules for international travel were not already complex enough, government officials have now confirmed fully jabbed travellers returning to England and Wales from France will still have to quarantine from Monday.
The move has been branded a “catastrophe” by the travel industry.
From July 19th, adults who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 arriving from amber list countries will not need to isolate for ten days.
However, officials have stated the easing would not apply to France due to “persistent” cases of the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa.
There are concerns vaccines may not work as well against the Beta variant.
The more infectious Delta variant – first identified in India – accounts for almost all new cases in the UK.
Health secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take rapid action at our borders to stop the spread of Covid-19 and protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme.
“With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.”
Criticism in response to the decision has been widespread.
Willie Walsh, the director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said: “The UK has no coherent policy on international travel” and is “destroying its own travel sector and the thousands of jobs that rely on it”.
The sentiments were echoed by Gary Lewis, chief executive of the Travel Network Group.
He said: “The last few government announcements are a catastrophe for the travel industry.
“Creating confusion and worry not of the virus but in customers’ fear of their freedom being restricted on return from travel.
“People want and need to travel.
“Customers are not scared of the risks.
“The vast majority are no longer at high risk of this disease because we are jabbed, or are young.”
An ABTA spokesperson said the decision was likely to cause further confusion.
“While we understand that public health must come first, this announcement will undoubtedly dent consumer confidence in overseas travel just as we are about to see many amber-listed countries opening up for UK visitors in time for the summer holidays.
“Continuing changes to travel restrictions will delay any meaningful recovery for the industry and this news is just the latest example of why a tailored package of financial support for the travel and tourism sector must be introduced,” a statement explained.
Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be able to enter Canada without undergoing quarantine starting the night of July 5, the federal government announced today.
The news comes as many Canadian provinces have hit key vaccination targets, with more than 75 per cent of eligible Canadians having received at least one dose and over 20 per cent having received two.
Canadians and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated won’t be able to simply walk through customs, however.
According to officials at a government briefing for journalists, those entering will need to show documents proving they received doses of vaccines approved in Canada at least 14 days prior to entering the country.
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Officials said travellers must electronically submit COVID-19-related information to the government’s ArriveCAN app before arriving, meet the pre- and on-arrival test requirements, be asymptomatic and have a suitable quarantine plan.
“Final determination regarding exemptions is made by a government representative at the border based on the information presented at the time of entry into Canada, which is why a quarantine plan is still required,” said a government media statement.
If approved, those accepted travellers will not have to quarantine. Those arriving by air will also not be forced to stay at a government-authorized hotel and non-vaccinated children or dependent adults travelling with them will also be exempt from the hotel stay.
Children who aren’t vaccinated will be able to go home with their parents, but must quarantine for two weeks, said an official speaking on background.
WATCH | Fully vaccinated Canadians do not need to quarantine starting July 5
There are no changes to border restrictions for travellers who are not fully vaccinated. Those who land by air will still have to stay in hotel quarantine for up to three days pending a negative arrival test, quarantine at home for the remainder of the 14-day period and take a test on day eight of their self-isolation period.
Canadians still advised to avoid non-essential travel
The easing also does not apply to foreign nationals. Ottawa announced Friday it would be continuing existing restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border for at least another month, until July 21.
“At this time, the Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
“Although the future is looking brighter than it has for a long time, with COVID-19 cases on a downward trend and vaccination efforts going well across the country, we can’t let our guard down.”
Maryscott Greenwood, CEO of the Canada America Business Council, said she’s frustrated by the federal government’s rationale for not allowing fully-vaccinated U.S. citizens into the country.
“What’s the difference between fully vaccinated Canadians and fully vaccinated Americans? Unless you work for the NHL, in which case I guess there’s a special exemption,” she said.
“It’s frustrating, not only to Americans but to Canadian businesses that we work with on a daily basis. We need to get back into a place where we’re able to do business in a safe way and Canada is, for reasons that are really puzzling to us, quite reluctant.”
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said she’s still consulting with provinces about the next phase of easing travel restrictions.
- We want to hear about your plans to reunite with someone you’ve been separated from for an upcoming story: Email us COVID@cbc.ca
Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, said the government should have a clear plan for opening international travel.
“A transparent plan with clear benchmarks to reopen travel would be a powerful tool for encouraging Canadians to get fully vaccinated. The Council is disappointed that the government hasn’t seen fit to tell Canadians what they can look forward to as the vaccination campaign rolls on,” he said in a statement.
“I’m disappointed, too, that the light at the end of the tunnel is still a long ways off for Canada’s battered travel, tourism and hospitality sectors.”
The new rules kick in July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino also announced that individuals approved for permanent residence may travel to Canada as of June 21. Previously, foreign nationals who held a valid confirmation of permanent residence issued on or before March 18, 2020, were exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions.
Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.
The federal government is set to announce Monday the loosening of some border restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents but says “the finish line” won’t come until there are significantly increased vaccination rates in Canada.
The changes to the border restrictions will be limited to a few measures, with all non-essential travel still discouraged, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton in an interview that aired Sunday on Rosemary Barton Live.
There would be “changes with respect to the government-assisted hotels, perhaps some implication on who would be subject to quarantine, what it means to be a fully vaccinated traveller and what changes can now be accommodated for those people who are, in fact, fully vaccinated,” Blair said.
Ottawa announced Friday it would be continuing existing restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border for at least another month, until July 21, but that changes would be coming on Monday for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents.
The shift in policy at the border comes as many Canadian provinces have hit key vaccination targets — with more than 75 per cent of eligible Canadians receiving at least one dose, and over 20 per cent receiving two.
- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: Covid@cbc.ca or join us live in the comments now.
Pressure from both sides of the border
Mayors of Canadian border cities have loudly and frequently called for more clarity from the federal government.
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley told Barton he believed the extension of restrictions to late July made sense but that better communication is needed.
“So far, all we get is leaks of information. We want to see a clear plan and a crisp plan that’s understandable to Canadians,” he said.
Bradley added that he had long felt fully vaccinated travellers should be able to more easily cross the border but that “it could all go off the rails with the [COVID-19] variant. I hope that doesn’t happen. People are tired, people are cranky. They want to get back to our normal life. And I’m hoping with the double vaccination, that will be the ticket to do so.”
Meanwhile, elected officials in the United States reacted harshly to the news on Friday of the extended border measures.
“I wish there was a more artful way to say this — but this is bullshit,” said Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democratic congressman whose Buffalo, N.Y., district touches the border.
There’s no other way to say it: another month’s delay is bullshit. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LetUsReunite?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LetUsReunite</a> <a href=”https://t.co/xL2vUQol8e”>pic.twitter.com/xL2vUQol8e</a>
Blair said the government was “working cautiously but steadily toward a phased reopening.”
But the public safety minister warned that Canada wouldn’t reach “the finish line” until about 75 per cent of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated.
That’s the number the Public Health Agency of Canada has cited as the point at which major restrictions, such as those on indoor gatherings outside of households, could be safely lifted and at which Blair said more “changes are possible” at the border. He did not specify what those changes would be.
Blair also reiterated that the government was remaining cautious and monitoring the situation around variants of concern when considering changes to border policy. Government officials have said border measures will respond to changing epidemiological circumstances.
“We’re moving toward those targets and we’re making changes, I think, appropriate to the level of vaccination that’s currently in place,” he said.
“We’ve hit an important benchmark, but we haven’t reached the finish line.”
More travellers expected after rule change
Blair told Barton that he expects the changes in rules for fully vaccinated travellers would impact the number of people coming to Canada and that he has been working with PHAC and border services to ensure there was appropriate capacity.
“I’m absolutely certain it’s going to have an impact on traveller volumes,” Blair said, adding that there were likely many Canadians thinking of travelling to the United States to take care of property.
To determine whether travellers returning to Canada are fully vaccinated, Blair reiterated the government was co-ordinating with international partners, including the U.S. and European countries, on a vaccine verification system for international travel.
“We’re working with our global partners, particularly with the United States, in the development of the vaccine certification system that will be very efficient and be able to gain access and utilize appropriately — and with appropriate personal privacy concerns accommodated within it.”
But as an “interim” measure, Blair said the ArriveCAN app — currently in use at the border — would be modified to enable it to accept vaccine verification documents.
“We believe this app is going to help us accommodate the inevitable increase in traveller volumes,” he said.
You can watch full episodes of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.
Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.
(Bloomberg) — British officials are considering plans to open up international travel for passengers who have been fully vaccinated, enabling tourism to resume to more than 150 countries and territories including the U.S.
The World Health Organization sounded the alarm over Africa, warning urgent action is needed to curb a third wave of coronavirus infections sweeping across the continent. Hong Kong is planning to shorten quarantine periods for fully vaccinated travelers from most places to seven days from as much as 21 days, as long as they pass an antibody test.
CureVac NV lost about half its value in German trading after a preliminary analysis of a large study found its vaccine fell short of the efficacy of other messenger RNA shots.
Global Tracker: Cases exceed 177 million; deaths pass 3.8 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 2.47 billion doses administeredJapan’s ‘Dr. Fauci’ damps Olympic mood with call to ban fansPockets of unvaccinated Americans threaten to prolong pandemicDouble-lung transplants rise after covid ‘honeycombs’ organsSubscribe to a daily update from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here.
Third Virus Wave Sweeps Africa, WHO Says (8:45 a.m. NY)
African Cases rose by more than a fifth week-on-week, pushing cases to more than 5 million, WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said on Thursday. The spike in infections should push countries and governments into “urgent action” to expand vaccinations and inoculate priority groups, she said.
U.K. Mulls Plan to Open Foreign Travel (8:30 a.m. NY)
British officials are considering plans to open up international travel for passengers who have been fully vaccinated. Under the policy, which is still being discussed inside government, people who have received both doses of Covid vaccines would not need to quarantine on returning from medium-risk countries on the so-called amber list.
Airline shares surged on the possible adjustment. Under current rules, destinations are coded red for the highest infection risk, amber for medium risk and green for the lowest risk. Travelers are advised against going to amber or red-list countries.
Indonesia’s Cases Hit Five-Month High (8:10 a.m. NY)
Indonesia added the highest number of new cases since January, reporting 12,624 more infections on Thursday. The government has tightened restrictions on capacity limits in areas deemed most at risk, while seeking to speed up its mass vaccination program to administer 1 million doses a day in July.
The country remains Southeast Asia’s virus hot spot, with the number of total infections nearing 2 million and deaths exceeding 50,000.
Tanzania Asks For Vaccines (7:00 a.m. NY)
Tanzania made a formal request to Covax to receive virus vaccines, after downplaying the disease for months. The government said it now expects doses to arrive in the country in the next couple of weeks. Previously, it had been one of the few African nations with no plans to inoculate its people.
Hong Kong to Ease Strict Travel Quarantine (5:33 p.m. HK)
Hong Kong will shorten hotel quarantine for many travelers, people familiar with the matter said, easing a border policy which has been criticized by residents and the city’s powerful finance industry for being among the strictest in the world.
Authorities are now trialling various antibody tests — which are meant to confirm that a person has been vaccinated or has recovered from Covid-19 — like those that require a prick of the finger, said the people, who asked not to be identified as they’re not authorized to speak publicly.
Japan to End Tokyo Emergency Before Olympics (4:55 p.m HK)
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that Japan would act quickly to tackle any new infection surges as the country prepares for the July 23 start of the games. Apart from Tokyo and Osaka, Suga said the emergency will end the same day for seven other regions. The government will retain focused restrictions on seven regions including the capital through July 11, he said.
CureVac Shot Falls Short (4:30 p.m. H.K. )
CureVac’s shares plunged more than 52% in German trading, wiping out almost $9.6 billion in market value, after the company said the vaccine was only 47% effective in an early trial analysis. The interim analysis of data from about 40,000 volunteers included 134 Covid cases, the German company said.
The findings throw the future of the vaccine into question as wealthy nations around the world move swiftly to inoculate their populations with shots already available.
France May Be Ready to Disco (3:07 p.m. HK)
As cases drop and vaccinations maintain a steady pace, French authorities could allow discos to reopen over the summer, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.
President Emmanuel Macron recently pledged to consider the rules for France’s discos, which have been closed since March last year. Gyms have reopened and indoor dining at restaurants is allowed again. A national curfew of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. is to be lifted Sunday, 10 days earlier than previously planned.
Austria to Ease Lockdown Measures (2:57 p.m. HK)
Austria will end a daily curfew from July as its infections continue to drop. Sport and cultural events will be allowed at full capacity and the requirement to wear more protective FFP-2 masks in most public places will no longer stand, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told reporters.
The nation of about 9 million people registered an average 188 new cases a day in the week through Wednesday, the least since August. Further lockdown easing steps may be announced later in July.
South Africa Positivity Highest Since January (2:42 p.m. HK)
South Africa recorded 13,246 confirmed coronavirus cases over 24 hours and a positivity rate of 21.7% on tests, the highest since January, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases said..
Malaysia Considers Vaccine Mixing (1:38 p.m. HK)
Malaysia is looking into heterologous vaccinations, a method in which two different vaccines are administered to a person to boost its efficacy against Covid-19 variants, according to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
“It’s possible that we will end up doing this because a lot of countries are doing this to boost the neutralizing antibodies,” Khairy said during an online forum. “We are watching this very closely. We don’t want to make a quick decision on this before getting more data.”
Australia Narrows AstraZeneca Range (11:44 a.m. HK)
Australia narrowed the range of people who will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concern about blood clots, in a move that could further slow the nation’s rollout.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to those aged 60 and above, up from the previous range of 50 and above. Australia has confirmed at least 35 cases of thrombocytopenia syndrome following administration of the shot, including two deaths.
Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine will be the preferred option for those under 60, Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a press conference.
New Zealand Vaccine Rollout (9:48 a.m. HK)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a vaccine rollout to the general population will begin next month, starting with people who are 60 or older from July 28, then 55 or older from Aug. 11.
Separately, New Zealand extended a pause on quarantine-free travel from Australia’s Victoria for another five days to 11:59 p.m. on June 22, but expects to lift it after then.
Texas Virus Hospitalizations Plummet (6:30 a.m. HK)
Virus hospitalizations in Texas have fallen to levels not seen since April 2020, when the pandemic was only beginning to spread in the second-largest U.S. state.
The hospital tally of virus patients has dropped to 1,560 in a state of 29 million people, down 90% from the peak of about 14,200 on Jan. 11, according to state health department data. Virus patients occupied less than 4% of intensive-care beds almost everywhere in the state and in some regions stood at less than 1%.
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