Australia to lift outbound travel ban for vaccinated residents from next week


SYDNEY, Oct 27 (Reuters) – All fully-vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave the country without a special exemption from Nov. 1, authorities said on Wednesday, as Australia eases coronavirus restrictions amid a rise in vaccination rates.

Australians have been unable to travel abroad for more than 18 months without a government waiver, while thousands of fully-vaccinated residents living abroad have been unable to return due to a cap on arrivals to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Many of these are now expected to return after Sydney and Melbourne ended quarantine rules for inoculated travelers from Nov. 1. Other cities, mostly virus-free, are expected to ease their border rules once they reach higher vaccination rates.

“The national plan is working … (it) is about opening Australia up and that is because the vaccination rates are climbing so high,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Seven News on Wednesday.

Australia’s drug regulator, meanwhile, provisionally approved a booster dose of Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine for people aged over 18, as first-dose vaccination levels in people over 16 neared 90%.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the rollout is expected to begin by Nov. 8 once the government receives advice from the country’s vaccination technical advisory group.

The decision to lift the travel ban from next week comes after Singapore on Tuesday said it would allow quarantine-free entry to travellers vaccinated against COVID-19 from Australia from Nov. 8.

A third wave of infections fuelled by the Delta variant forced lockdowns in Australia’s biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and both have been gradually easing restrictions after racing through their vaccination targets.

Even with the Delta outbreaks, Australia has fared better than many comparable countries, with around 164,000 cases and 1,669 deaths. Victoria state reported 1,534 new cases on Wednesday, up from 1,510 a day earlier, while those in New South Wales rose to 304 from 282.

Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Richard Pullin

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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U.S. to lift international travel restrictions for those fully vaccinated


(WWLP) – The United States’ COVID-19 international travel restrictions are set to be lifted.

Starting Monday, November 8 travelers from dozens of countries including the UK will be allowed into the U.S., but they’ll need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In addition to providing proof of being fully vaccinated before boarding a flight, non-U.S. travelers will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure to the U.S.

As these restrictions begin to lessen, some people in western Massachusetts say they are still unsure about traveling internationally.

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“I don’t have any plans to travel outside of the country right now but I am open to it,” said Victor Decaro of Southwick. He told 22News, “I would just do my research beforehand to make sure it looks safe and make my decision from there.”

And this is what US travelers need to know if they are traveling back to the US after going to another country:

  • Fully vaccinated Americans will only need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure to the US.
  • When it comes to unvaccinated Americans, they will need to be tested within 24 hours of boarding a flight to the US. and get tested again when they arrive to the country.

The CDC will accept vaccines approved by the FDA and World Health Organization, and more guidance is expected from the agency before the November 8 date.



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Bay Area Residents, Families Rejoice as U.S. Says It Will Lift Travel Ban – NBC Bay Area


The White House said Friday it would allow international travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 into the U.S. starting Nov. 8. It’s a date thousands of binational families have been eagerly waiting to hear.

Over the last several months, they even launched a social media hashtag, “love is not tourism,” to bring attention to their situation.

San Francisco resident Abbie Gould will be picking up her parents on Nov. 8 at San Francisco International Airport. It will be their first time coming to San Francisco.

It also will be the first time Gould will see them in more than a year. She even created a countdown for when they arrive at the airport.

“Yeah, I’m super excited,” she said. “We’ve got 36 days to go, so I’m definitely going to be checking it every day.”

Gould’s parents have not been allowed to visit because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Due to Gould’s type of visa to be in the country, she said she wouldn’t be able to return to the United States if she flew there to visit.

“Anybody who’s on a temporary visa can’t go in this situation. I’ve heard so many horror stories of people leaving the country, not being aware that they’re not going to be let back in,” she added.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden’s administration announced that beginning Nov. 8, fully vaccinated travelers from the United Kingdom, most of the European Union, China, Brazil and India will be able to enter the U.S. without any quarantines.

The borders with Mexico and Canada will also be reopening to fully vaccinated visitors from those countries.

The nearly 21-month-long ban has been a painful one for many binational families, including Connecticut resident Rebecca Lyons. She said the recent announcement meant her new husband will finally be able to see his family for Thanksgiving. His parents missed their wedding this summer.

“We hoped that they would be able to come if we postponed it for a year. But unfortunately they couldn’t,” Lyons said.

The FDA confirmed that visitors, who have had full doses of the six approved vaccines from the World Health Organization will be allowed to enter the U.S.

That includes visitors who may have mixed and matched doses of different manufacturers.

The exact details of how airlines and border agents will verify proof of vaccination for visitors are still being worked out. Travelers also will need to show a negative COVID-19 test before flying.

The return of international visitors to the U.S. will no doubt be a boost for tourism, but it will also be a big relief for many families who have been separated for a long time.



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FDA Backs Boosters, Travel Restrictions Lift, and More Coronavirus News


The FDA backs additional doses, international travel restrictions end, and vaccine mandate rules progress. Here’s what you should know:

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The FDA signs off on additional Moderna and Johnson & Johnson doses

Today, an FDA advisory committee signed off on a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot. Many fewer Americans received this vaccine than either of the mRNA shots, so there’s less data overall, but the group has recommended that a second dose be available to recipients over 18 two months after their initial vaccine. On Thursday, the same committee unanimously recommended booster shots for recipients of Moderna’s vaccine who are over 65 or are part of several other vulnerable populations. The next step in the process will be for a CDC advisory panel to discuss additional doses in meetings scheduled for next week. If they approve, distribution could start shortly thereafter.

The first boosters, third doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, were approved in the US in August, and in the time since, Biden has touted additional shots as an effective way for vulnerable Americans to protect themselves. But boosters have not been without controversy, especially because so many countries around the world are still struggling to procure initial doses.

Pandemic travel constraints lift around the world

The Biden Administration announced today that starting November 8, it will lift travel restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors from 33 different countries outside the US, including a number of European nations, China, and Iran. There will be stricter requirements for travelers coming from places other than these approved countries. Next month, the US will also lift restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers entering the country from Canada or Mexico by land. A different border policy will still apply to migrants.

Outside the US, many other countries are also lifting stringent travel requirements that have been in place for much of the pandemic. Australian officials have said that vaccinated travelers coming to Sydney will no longer need to quarantine starting next month. After 19 months, India is about to start allowing foreign tourists again. And Bali and Malaysia will also be opening to vaccinated visitors soon.

Government vaccine mandate rules are in final review despite pushback

Last month, President Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to write rules regarding company vaccine mandates, and earlier this week the agency showed its proposal to the Office of Management and Budget for final review. A number of state attorneys general have said they’ll oppose the measures, but many businesses have already implemented their own protocols in accordance with the President’s executive order. Southwest and American Airlines, for instance, recently upheld their employee mandates even though both are based in Texas, where the governor has banned such policies. And another aerospace company, Boeing, recently joined the ranks of organizations requiring workers to get their shots.



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Covid: US to lift travel ban for fully jabbed on 8 November


The announcement was swiftly celebrated by would-be travellers across the globe. Among them was Kent resident Dan Johnson, who told the BBC he had been unable to visit his father in the US before he died of cancer in March. “I never got to say goodbye and hadn’t seen him since 2019 due to the travel restrictions,” he said. “It’s been the hardest thing in the world. Lifting the ban feels much too late, but does mean that I can finally visit my step-mum and help her sort dad’s belongings.” Another UK resident, Kate Urquhart, said she would be travel to Los Angeles to see the final concert of American rock band The Monkees’ farewell tour in November. “I was almost resigned to not going,” she said. “Today’s announcement is great news.”



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Border residents rejoice as US says it will lift travel ban


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 restrictions rejoiced Wednesday after the U.S. said it will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze.

Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set for air travel. By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., such as truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.

Shopping malls and big box retailers in U.S. border towns whose parking spaces had been filled by cars with Mexican license plates were hit hard by travel restrictions.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the economic impact was hard to quantify but can be seen in the sparse presence of shoppers at a high-end outlet mall on the city’s border with Tijuana, Mexico. The decision comes at a critical time ahead of the holiday shopping season.

In Nogales, Arizona, travel restrictions forced about 40 retail businesses to close on the main strip in the city of 20,000 people, said Jessy Fontes, board member of the Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce and owner of Mariposa Liquidation Store, which sells household appliances. His sales fell 60%, and he considered closing but instead cut his staff from seven to two.

In Del Rio, Texas, Mexican visitors account for about 65% of retail sales, said Blanca Larson, executive director of the chamber of commerce and visitors bureau in the city of 35,000 people.

“Along the border, we’re like more of one community than two different communities,” she said.

The ban has also had enormous social and cultural impact, preventing family gatherings when relatives live on different sides of the border. Community events have stalled even as cities away from U.S. borders have inched toward normalcy.

In Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, where hockey and ice skating are ingrained, the Soo Eagles haven’t had a home game against a Canadian opponent in 20 months. The players, 17 to 20 years old, have been traveling to Canada since border restrictions were lifted there two months ago. Now the U.S. team can host.

“I almost fell over when I read it,” said Ron Lavin, co-owner of the Eagles. “It’s been a long frustrating journey for people on a lot of fronts far more serious than hockey, but we’re just really pleased. It’s great for the city.”

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been allowed into Canada since August, provided they have waited at least two weeks since getting their second vaccine dose and can show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Mexico has not enforced COVID-19 entry procedures for land travelers.

The latest move follows last month’s announcement that the U.S. will end country-based travel bans for air travel and instead require vaccination for foreign nationals seeking to enter by plane.

The new rules only apply to legal entry. Those who enter illegally will still be subject to expulsion under a public health authority that allows for the swift removal of migrants before they can seek asylum.

Travelers entering the U.S. by vehicle, rail and ferry will be asked about their vaccination status as part of the standard U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection. At officers’ discretion, travelers will have their proof of vaccination verified in a secondary screening process.

Unlike air travel, for which proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required before boarding a flight to enter the U.S., no testing will be required to enter the U.S. by land or sea, provided the travelers meet the vaccination requirement.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. will accept travelers who have been fully vaccinated with any of the vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, not just those in use in the U.S. That means that the AstraZeneca vaccine, widely used in Canada, will be accepted.

Officials said the CDC was still working to formalize procedures for admitting those who received doses of two different vaccines, as was fairly common in Canada.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was “pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner” and lauded the economic benefits of it.

Mexico, Canada and elected officials from U.S. border regions have pressured the Biden administration for months to ease restrictions.

“This is a win for families who’ve been separated and businesses and tourism industries whose operations have been blocked since the start of the pandemic,” said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, echoing reactions of other federal, state and local officials.

Mexico President Andres Manuel López Obrador said it took “many meetings to achieve the opening of the border.” Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of public safety, called the announcement “one more step toward returning to normal.”

Cross-border traffic has plummeted since the pandemic, according to U.S. Department of Transportation figures.

The number of vehicle passengers entering the U.S. in Niagara Falls, New York — the busiest land crossing on the Canadian border — fell 83% to 1.7 million in 2020 and has remained low this year.

“Losing those customers over the last 18 months has been one of the primary reasons our hotels, restaurants and attractions have been suffering,” said Patrick Kaler, president and chief executive of Visit Buffalo Niagara, the area’s tourism agency.

At San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, the nation’s busiest, crossings dropped 30% last year to 18 million. Taxi drivers were largely idled Wednesday on a nearby bridge, including one who did exercises.

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have dropped to about 85,000 per day, the lowest level since July. Per capita case rates in Canada and Mexico have been been markedly lower than the U.S. for the duration of the pandemic, which amplified frustrations about the U.S. travel restrictions.

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Miller reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Rob Gillies in Toronto; Juan A. Lozano in Houston; Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vermont; Ed White in Detroit, Anita Snow in Phoenix, Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York, Alexis Triboulard in Mexico City and Julie Watson in San Diego contributed.



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Australia to lift 18-month COVID-19 travel ban next month


Scott Morrison

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison discusses travel restrictions during a press conference in Canberra, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Australia has outlined plans to lift its pandemic ban on its vaccinated citizens traveling overseas from November, but no date has yet been set for welcoming international tourists back. (Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has outlined plans to lift a pandemic ban on its vaccinated citizens traveling overseas from November. But no date has yet been set for welcoming international tourists back.

Travel restrictions that have trapped most Australians and permanent residents at home over the past 18 months would be removed when 80% of the population aged 16 and older were fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.

Australia introduced some of the toughest travel restrictions of any democracy in the world on people entering and leaving the island nation on March 20 last year.

Most Australians have had to argue for rare exemptions from the travel ban to leave the country. There are a few exceptions from the ban including government employees and essential workers. Tourism is never accepted as a reason to cross the border.

Hundreds of thousands have failed to reach relatives’ death beads, missed funerals or weddings and have yet to be introduced to grandchildren because of restrictions aimed at keeping COVID-19 out of Australia.

New South Wales would likely become the first state to reach the 80% vaccination benchmark and Sydney’s airport the first to open to international travel, Morrison said.

“We’ve saved lives. We’ve saved livelihoods, but we must work together to ensure that Australians can reclaim the lives that they once had in this country,” Morrison said.

Sydney-based Qantas Airways announced international flights would resume from Nov. 14 to London and Los Angeles.

Morrison offered no clue to when other nationalities would be welcome to visit Australia.

“We’ll be working towards complete quarantine-free travel for certain countries, such as New Zealand, when it is safe to do so,” he said.

Australia has its closest relationship with New Zealand, whose citizens are considered Australian permanent residents. The neighbors allowed quarantine-free travel across the Tasman Sea before the delta variant outbreak began in Sydney in June.

A cap on the number of Australian citizens and permanent residents allowed to return each week has left 45,000 people stranded overseas. It’s aimed at reducing pressure on hotel quarantine, which the more contagious delta variant had made more difficult to manage.

The cap would only apply to the unvaccinated under the new regime. Fully vaccinated Australians would be able to quarantine at home and for only a week instead of the current two weeks in a hotel.

Australia on Friday added China’s Sinovac and Indian-made AstraZeneca shots known as Covishield to a list of vaccines that Australians can take and be recognized as fully vaccinated.

Travel restrictions would not be lifted for Australians who chose not to be vaccinated. People who could not be vaccinated for medical reasons or children too young to get the jab would have the same privileges as those inoculated.

While Australia’s international borders will soon open, several state borders remain closed indefinitely.

The parts of the country worst effected by COVID-19 — including Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra — have some of the nation’s highest levels of vaccination. Western Australia and Queensland states have few cases and the slowest rollouts. Those state leaders are reluctant to open their borders even after the 80% benchmark is achieved.



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Tourism experts say international travelers will flock to Las Vegas post-travel ban lift – News3LV



Tourism experts say international travelers will flock to Las Vegas post-travel ban lift  News3LV



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Industry Welcomes Lift On U.S. Travel Bans – Nonwovens Industry Magazine


Since March 2020, travel restrictions have put a considerable burden on trade associations which depend on events like international conferences and trade shows for a significant part of their annual revenues. President Joe Biden’s announcement earlier this week that the U.S. would lift travel bans on fully vaccinated travelers entering the country in early November has been met with praise, as well as some questions, from U.S.-based trade associations.
 
“We at INDA have been lobbying through different channels to get this lifted for months,” says INDA president Dave Rousse. “A lot of pain has been felt by trade associations who rely on events for income.”
 
INDA, based in Cary, NC serves the North American nonwovens industry. After hosting several of its events virtually since March 2020, the association was able to return to an in-person format in July 2021 with the annual World of Wipes (WOW) conference in Atlanta, GA. While the event was considered a success with the highest in-person attendance the conference has seen in six years, it attracted few international visitors.
 
Rousse says he expects the November timeframe will likely help boost international attendance at its next in-person conference, the Hygienix Absorbent Products conference, which will be held in Scottsdale, AZ in mid November as well as its marquee event, IDEA 22, North America’s largest trade exposition dedicated to nonwovens and engineered fabrics, which is held every three years in Miami, FL with next edition set for March 2022.
 
The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) does not consider the timing of the announcement quite so fortuitous. “We are delighted but it comes a little late for us,” says Steve Schiffman, president of CEO. “And, we are wondering what exactly the Biden Administration means by early November.”

The IFAI’s main event IFAI Expo is scheduled fir the first week of November in Nashville, TN.

 

“The travel ban’s impact will be two-fold,” Schiffman adds. “About 15% of our attendees tend to come from the U.S., and about 8% of our exhibitor revenue comes from China—and that has evaporated. It’s a big number and I understand all the reason why the ban has been in place but it comes at a cost.”

 

The next step in lifting the travel ban will be the Center for Disease Control’s determination over which vaccines are considered acceptable for open travel to the U.S. This could continue to limit visitation from certain countries. Additionally, Asian visitors are expected to be continue impacted by challenges with getting travel visas due to staffing shortages in state department offices.

Since Covid-19-related travel bans began cancelling trade shows and conferences in March 2020, the trade show industry quickly pivoted to virtual events and this format continues to exist. For INDA, it will hold its RISE conference virtually next week. Its European counterpart is planning to hold its Circular Nonwovens Forum (CNF), scheduled for late September, and its INDEX Trade Exposition in October in a hybrid format in an effort to influence global attendance.

 

Rousse says he expects virtual and hybrid events to continue into 2022 as travel bans lift and attendees comfort levels with travel return to normal.

 

“Hybrid events will be here for a while because there are some speakers, presenters who won’t want to travel,” he says. “We expect some restrictions to extend into the early part of 2022. It seems the larger the company the more conservative they are.”

 

However, the opportunities for in-person networking cannot be replicated by virtual events.

“We think hybrid events will have a place,” Schiffman says. “We just don’t know how much of a place. There is a hunger for people to get back to face to face but ultimately at the end of the day it’s how many leads can be converted. If we can keep that number strong, we will be successful.”

 

According to Ricardo Fisalo, regional managing director, U.S. and Canada at Fitesa, in-person networking is crucial to the nonwovens business because it is a relationship type business, not a price lead business. “The success of this business can be credited to the way we do business. We form relationships, we communicate. WE need to develop not only relationships but physical presence in these markets is very important.

 

Fisalo adds that trade show and conference attendance is not the only piece of business being impacted by travel bans. Companies with global manufacturing footprints have face challenges transferring their technologies and transporting workers between sites.

 

“For us, we are present in many countries but we don’t do the same thing or have the same people everywhere,” he says. “The travel ban has meant facing a lot of hurdles because we rely on certain technologies and expertise from different sites. It has also been impossible for our people to travel between sites to share knowledge.”

 



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