‘Welcome home’: First VTL travellers arriving in Johor by bus look forward to family reunions, long-awaited time off


TEETHING ISSUES

As we crossed the empty Causeway, the skyline of Johor Bahru came into view along with a large “welcome home” sign and familiar sights such as City Square shopping mall.

We then disembarked at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar for our final immigration checks – this was when teething issues surfaced.

After grabbing our luggage, we were clustered around the foot of two escalators which had yet to be turned on, while cleaners swept the bus platform. Amid the confusion, several travellers started taking the stairs and making a detour for the lift, only for all of us to be eventually shepherded back into a group.

After some waiting, the Malaysian immigration officers performed a headcount by reading out our names from the passenger manifest, before allowing us to take the now functional escalator to the arrival hall.

The immigration hall was clearly split into VTL and non-VTL zones. Passport checks were relatively uneventful, although Malaysian citizens who are also Singapore permanent residents were asked to show their Singapore identification cards. I thankfully had mine on hand but another person had to double back to collect it from his travel partner.

The immigration officer asked for my passport and also looked at hard copies of my bus ticket, ART results and vaccination certificate. I also flashed my MySejahtera app for good measure.

Although soft copies of documents are permitted, the journey seems to be smoother if you have hardcopies on hand. Another plus – it minimises having to hand your mobile phone to others.

After this was baggage check, where those with “large bags” were stopped. I unzipped my oversized duffel and was let through quickly after I explained what I had packed. To my right, a man was held up after the Customs officer unearthed a few boxes of what looked like children’s toys. The officer then informed the man that he may have to pay a tax on the items. Another tip – keep receipts for any gifts handy.

The escalator leading back down to the bus bay was not working, leaving us to slowly descend with our heavy bags. One more tip – wear good shoes.



Source link

Canada approves Covaxin for travellers


Canada approves Covaxin for travellers entering the nation

Canada has become the latest country to approve India-made Covaxin, which means that it those jabbed with Covaxin will now be allowed entry, provided they follow the guidelines laid. Firstly, those intending to travel to Canada should be fully-vaccinated as well. The permission to allow travellers jabbed with Covaxin will come into effect from November 30.

An important fact to remember is that the second dose of vaccine must be taken by travellers at least 14 days before their arrival in Canada.

The decision was announced by
the Public Health Agency of Canada, stating that, “Beginning Nov 30, the #GOC will expand its list of #Covid19 vaccines accepted for entry to Canada to include Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN. Travellers must have received a full vaccine series at least 14 days before entry to Canada.”

Last week, Canada announced an expansion of its list of approved COVID-19 vaccines, bringing in respite for a large number of travellers who have been wanting to visit the nation. India, of course, is home to a high number of people who have ties with Canada, who have been eagerly awaiting such a decision.





Source link

These are the best compact cameras for travellers in 2022


A stalwart of this article is the Olympus E-M1 series. This camera series has always impressed me with the sheer number of features it provides. Yes, you have a smaller size 4/3 inch sensor, but this allows for ultra-compact long lenses. The E-M1 Mark III brings various superlatives to the list: best ergonomics, best weather sealing, smallest super-telephoto lenses, and the best stabilisation system in the still camera industry.

These highlights are coupled with outstanding new special features such as hand-held high-res shooting (you can take 50 MP images out of a burst of 16 frames) and the Live-ND filter, which simulates a neutral-density filter. In addition, computational photography for handheld shooting emulates some tripod-based long exposure shooting (for example, blurred water of a waterfall). The slightly updated 20 MP sensor from the previous generation E-M1 camera leads to a small increase in sharpness and clarity. The pro line lenses have a high-quality build and sport features such as integrated lens hoods, smooth zoom and focus rings, and round bokeh visualisation (background blur). 

The fantastic ergonomics, excellent image stabilisation, all-weather durability, high-speed performance, and easy-to-use small lenses add up to a potent wildlife photography kit that won’t weigh you down. Note: The firm that bought the Olympus imaging division seems to be keeping its promises of continuing lens and camera development, so I can confidently recommend the brand. For more: Olympus  

Tip: The best lenses include the Olympus 12-100mm F/4 IS PRO (24-200mm kit lens), 40-150mm F/2.8 PRO (80-300mm pro zoom), 7-14mm PRO (wide-angle zoom), and 300mm F/4 IS PRO (600mm F4 equivalent). 



Source link

Safety First – Safeguarding the mental wellbeing of travellers


As mental health and wellbeing professionals report dramatic increases in the number of people reaching out to support services, the long term effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health has not yet been fully realised.

While the topic of mental health has shifted front of mind and conversations and awareness in this area have increased, there remains a stigma and lack of support within some industries. Those travelling for business have found the increased complexity and uncertainty surrounding their trips have made the situation even more difficult.

There are simple steps that any business can take, alongside their travel management company (TMC), to reduce feelings of anxiety amongst travellers.



Source link

India issues travel advisory for international travellers under the age of 5 years


India issues travel advisory for international travellers under the age of 5 years

India has now issued fresh guidelines for international travellers. As per the latest travel update, children under 5 years of age will be exempted from both pre-and-post-arrival testing.

However, as per the reports, if anyone found symptomatic for COVID-19 during home quarantine period or on arrival, they will have to undergo treatment and testing as per the protocol.

As per the COVID-19 protocols that are laid out by the Indian Government, all passengers will have to wear masks properly, and cover their mouth and nose, throughout the travel. And if anybody found violating the protocols inside the aircraft, will be deboarded and will not be allowed to travel.

Referring to this, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar stated that the government is working towards the resumption of scheduled flights.

While addressing the media, India’s External Affairs Minister added that they are moving towards resumption of scheduled flights. Reports have it that earlier this week, India also sent out a request to the UAE to end mandatory rapid PCR testing requirements for entry.

The India’s Ministry of Home Affairs further held a meeting recently to discuss the removal of mandatory rapid PCR test for fully vaccinated travellers going to countries in the Middle East, especially the UAE. As per the travel rules in place, travellers are required to take a rapid PCR test six hours before their departure from any Indian airport.

The UAE has put this rule in place for passengers from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Nigeria.





Source link

Little Beach in Albany WA is hailed ‘paradise’ for travellers after Covid lockdown


Travellers are raving about this ‘hidden gem’ beach that has been hailed ‘paradise on Earth’ for its pristine sand and sparkling turquoise water

  • Travel-starved Australians are flocking to a little-known beach on the tip of WA
  • Little Beach, 35km from Albany, is famed for its white sand and turquoise water
  • At one end a waterfall gushes down from the rocks and into the ocean
  • Awestruck visitors have hailed the spot a kind of ‘paradise on Earth’










Travel-starved Australians are flocking to a ‘hidden gem’ beach on the southern tip of WA.

Tucked in the heart of Two Peoples Bay National Park, 35km east of Albany, Little Beach is famed for its pristine white sand and sparkling turquoise waves. 

At the far southern end a path leads to the headland where a waterfall gushes down from the rocks and into the ocean.

Flanked by rolling hills and rows of rugged boulders, the beach has been hailed ‘paradise on Earth’ by awestruck visitors.

Scroll down for video

Travel-starved Australians are flocking to this 'hidden gem' beach on the southern tip of WA

Travel-starved Australians are flocking to this ‘hidden gem’ beach on the southern tip of WA

Tucked in the heart of Two Peoples Bay National Park, 35km east of Albany, Little Beach (pictured) is famed for its pristine white sand and sparkling turquoise waves

Tucked in the heart of Two Peoples Bay National Park, 35km east of Albany, Little Beach (pictured) is famed for its pristine white sand and sparkling turquoise waves

Little Beach near Albany, 443km south of Perth, WA

Little Beach near Albany, 443km south of Perth, WA

Photos posted to Instagram by WA travel photographer MKZ Imagery sparked stunned responses, with many saying the beach is the first place they will travel to once the state opens its borders to the rest of the country.

‘Wow, this is incredible. The white sand. Crystal clear water. What a paradise,’ one person wrote.

Another added: ‘This looks like absolute perfection.’

On the other side of Australia, tourists are heading to a shipwreck that dates back to the darkest days of World War Two which is now a spectacular diving site off Queensland’s Capricorn Coast. 

Flanked by rolling hills and rows of rugged boulders, the beach has been hailed 'paradise on Earth' by awestruck visitors

Many say the beach is the first place they will travel to once WA opens its borders to the rest of the country

Flanked by rolling hills and rows of rugged boulders, the beach has been hailed ‘paradise on Earth’ by awestruck visitors

Tourists have called the beach (pictured) 'absolute perfection'

Tourists have called the beach (pictured) ‘absolute perfection’

After being requisitioned for service the US military in July 1943, the HMS Protector was on its way to a naval base in Papua New Guinea when it was damaged in a collision with a tug boat and abandoned off the coast of Heron Island.

Almost 70 years later, the rusted wreck is one of the state’s most breathtaking underwater attractions, inspiring visitors with its formidable size and incredible history.

Travel photographer Mark Fitz described it as one of his favourite snorkelling spots on Earth.

At low tide, the ship’s hull be reached by wading through the ocean and walking along the sparkling white sand bar. 

This shipwreck was once the HMS Protector which collided with a tug boat on its way to active service in Papua New Guinea at the height of World War Two in July 1943

This shipwreck was once the HMS Protector which collided with a tug boat on its way to active service in Papua New Guinea at the height of World War Two in July 1943

Almost 70 years later, the rusted wreck (background) is one of the state's most breathtaking underwater attractions, inspiring visitors with its formidable size and incredible history

The ship was abandoned off the coast of Heron Island, Queensland (pictured)

Almost 70 years later, the rusted wreck (left) is one of the state’s most breathtaking underwater attractions, inspiring visitors with its formidable size and incredible history

Sitting 80 kilometres north-east of Gladstone, Heron Island is a natural coral cay surrounded by 24 hectares of coral reef at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.

Famed for its spectacular coral reef, the island is home to an array of extraordinary animals including migrating whales and nesting turtles who glide between gaps in the wreck.

Photos of the ship have sparked stunned responses on Instagram, with many shocked that such a massive piece of WWII history can be found in Australia.

‘It looks like a dream! Going next time I’m in Australia,’ one woman wrote.

Another added: ‘Mate this is way up near the top of my bucket list.’

Advertisement



Source link

Travel exemptions to leave Australia officially scrapped for fully vaccinated travellers from November 1


The federal government has removed the need for fully vaccinated Australians to ask for permission to leave the country from Monday, but those who are unvaccinated will still have to ask for an exemption if they want to leave.

When the government closed the international border in March last year it also barred Australians from leaving the country unless they had an exemption.

It was able to make the rules under the Human Biosecurity Determination — a law created to protect the population from people bringing COVID to Australia from overseas.

Last night, Health Minister Greg Hunt changed the Determination so that from November 1, anyone who was fully vaccinated could leave as they pleased.

“Australian citizens and permanent residents who want to travel overseas will need to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated with a [Therapeutic Goods Administration]-approved or recognised vaccine, with the second dose occurring at least seven days prior to travel,” he said.

“These changes will also facilitate travel by children under 12 years of age.”

The TGA has approved four vaccines for use in Australia — Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (now known as Vaxevria) and Johnson and Johnson.

But it has also listed several from other countries including China, India and Russia that it has recommended be recognised as vaccines that provide protection against COVID-19.

Mr Hunt said the change was the first stage in Australia’s international reopening, with the second stage focused on allowing international students and critical workers back into the country.

As for those who have not been vaccinated, they will still have to apply to leave the country and say why they want to travel.

They will also be subject to passenger caps when they return to Australia and undertake 14 days in hotel quarantine.

The November 1 date coincides with the changes to quarantine arrangements in New South Wales, with fully vaccinated travellers no longer required to undertake any quarantine.

As well as the changes to exemptions, the government has also clarified the rules around pre-flight testing for people wanting to come back to Australia, from 72 hours to a general three-day rule. 

Loading form…



Source link

Travel industry, health experts applaud U.S. decision to allow travellers with mixed doses


By Tom Yun

Click here for updates on this story

    TORONTO (CTV Network) — The organization representing Canada’s tourism industry is applauding the U.S. government’s decision to allow Canadian travellers with mixed vaccine doses once the border opens in November. On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that travellers with “any combination” of two doses of vaccines approved by the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “are considered fully vaccinated.” Beth Potter, who is president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, says the announcement is “really good news.” “What it does is it provides a little bit more clarity, and this is something that we’ve talked about a lot. We know now that if you’ve got that mixed dose, as of November you’re going to be able to enter into the United States,” she told CTV News Channel on Saturday. Infectious disease expert Isaac Bogoch of the University Health Network in Toronto says allowing mixed dosed travellers is “a smart and data driven approach.” “This will be a huge relief to many Canadians who did the right thing and got vaccinated and even took those mixed and matched vaccine approaches. It’s safe, it’s effective, and now there’s a recognition of this,” Bogoch said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Saturday. “I’m really happy to hear this. It’s about time.” This announcement came after the White House confirmed that the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico would be open to fully vaccinated tourists by Nov. 8. On the American side, the U.S. Travel Association also applauded the Biden Administration’s plans to reopen the border. “Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions,” said association president and CEO Roger Dow in a statement on Friday. “We applaud the administration for recognizing the value of international travel to our economy and our country, and for working to safely reopen our borders and reconnect America to the world.” But while the U.S. won’t require Canadians to show proof of vaccination to cross, returning to Canada requires a negative PCR test conducted at most 72 hours before crossing the border. PCR tests can cost upwards of $200. The Canadian government does not accept rapid antigen tests, which can be had for only $40. Brian Higgins, a New York congressman whose district includes the border cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, wants to see Canada drop the COVID-19 PCR test requirement. “I think that the U.S. decision to allow Canadians coming into the United States without a test again underscores the potency of the vaccine,” Higgins told The Canadian Press on Friday. “I would like to see that reciprocated by our Canadian neighbours.” However, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that Canada will continue to require PCR tests so long as the Public Health Agency of Canada advocates for it. “We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that advice has evolved as new evidence and new data is available. We’ll continue to follow the advice in the Public Health Agency Canada​,” he said in an ​interview with CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

Matthew Talbotmatthew.talbot@bellmedia.ca



Source link

Experts applaud U.S. decision to allow travellers with mixed doses


The organization representing Canada’s tourism industry is applauding the U.S. government’s decision to allow Canadian travellers with mixed vaccine doses once the border opens in November.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that travellers with “any combination” of two doses of vaccines approved by the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “are considered fully vaccinated.”

Beth Potter, who is president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, says the announcement is “really good news.”

“What it does is it provides a little bit more clarity, and this is something that we’ve talked about a lot. We know now that if you’ve got that mixed dose, as of November you’re going to be able to enter into the United States,” she told CTV News Channel on Saturday.

Infectious disease expert Isaac Bogoch of the University Health Network in Toronto says allowing mixed dosed travellers is “a smart and data driven approach.”

“This will be a huge relief to many Canadians who did the right thing and got vaccinated and even took those mixed and matched vaccine approaches. It’s safe, it’s effective, and now there’s a recognition of this,” Bogoch said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Saturday.

“I’m really happy to hear this. It’s about time.”

This announcement came after the White House confirmed that the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico would be open to fully vaccinated tourists by Nov. 8.

On the American side, the U.S. Travel Association also applauded the Biden Administration’s plans to reopen the border.

“Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions,” said association president and CEO Roger Dow in a statement on Friday.

“We applaud the administration for recognizing the value of international travel to our economy and our country, and for working to safely reopen our borders and reconnect America to the world.”

But while the U.S. won’t require Canadians to show proof of vaccination to cross, returning to Canada requires a negative PCR test conducted at most 72 hours before crossing the border.

PCR tests can cost upwards of $200. The Canadian government does not accept rapid antigen tests, which can be had for only $40.

Brian Higgins, a New York congressman whose district includes the border cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, wants to see Canada drop the COVID-19 PCR test requirement.

“I think that the U.S. decision to allow Canadians coming into the United States without a test again underscores the potency of the vaccine,” Higgins told The Canadian Press on Friday. “I would like to see that reciprocated by our Canadian neighbours.”

However, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that Canada will continue to require PCR tests so long as the Public Health Agency of Canada advocates for it.

“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that advice has evolved as new evidence and new data is available. We’ll continue to follow the advice in the Public Health Agency Canada​,” he said in an ​interview with CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.





Source link

Fully vaccinated Irish travellers can visit the US from November 8


The White House said it will lift Covid-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors starting November 8, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the United States for as long as 21 months.

he unprecedented travel restrictions kept millions of visitors out of the United States from Ireland, the UK, China, Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil, much of Europe and elsewhere.

They have also shrunk US tourism; and hurt border community economies. They prevented many loved ones and foreign workers from reuniting with families.

The new policy was announced last month, but it was not previously known when in November it would be implemented.

White House spokesman Kevin Munoz confirmed the November 8 date on Twitter, adding the policy “is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.”

Non-US air travellers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight, and will need to show proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test, under the new rules.

Restrictions on non-US citizens were first imposed on air travellers from China in January 2020 by then-President Donald Trump and then extended to dozens of other countries, without any clear metrics for how and when to lift them.

Curbs on non-essential travellers at land borders with Mexico and Canada have been in place since March 2020 to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

Airlines have seen an increase in international ticket sales in recent weeks after the White House announced plans to lift the restrictions, Nick Calio, chief executive of the Airlines for America industry trade group, said in a statement.

“The lifting of travel restrictions into the US from November 8 means that we can once again connect families, friends and businesses with the US,” said Susanne Carberry, Chief Customer Officer at Aer Lingus.

The airline used the occasion to announce the re-launch of its Dublin to San Francisco route from December 12.

Aer Lingus had flown over a dozen transatlantic routes before the pandemic. It is now back to seven, having welcomed back Newark, Orlando, Washington and Toronto Canada over the past weeks.

The United States had lagged many other countries in lifting such restrictions.

In January, Trump issued an order to lift travel restrictions on people in Europe and Brazil. But the order was reversed by President Joe Biden before it took effect.

The Biden administration, which repeatedly has said it does endorse so-called “vaccine passports,” grappled for months over whether to mandate vaccinations as a condition of lifting country-specific restrictions, officials told Reuters.

On Tuesday, the White House announced it would lift restrictions at its land borders and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November. They are similar but not identical to requirements announced last month for international air travellers.

Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative test.

Unvaccinated visitors will still be barred from entering the United States from Canada or Mexico at land borders.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Reuters last week the United States will accept the use by international visitors of Covid-19 vaccines authorised by US regulators or the World Health Organisation.

The White House, which held a meeting late Thursday to finalise the November 8 date, faces some remaining questions, including how and what exemptions the Biden administration will grant to the vaccine requirements.

Children under 18, for example, are largely expected to be exempt from the requirements, an official said.

The new rules do not require foreign visitors or Americans entering the country to go into quarantine.

US Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow said declines in international visits since the pandemic started resulted in more than $250 billion in lost income.

Dow said in a statement that the November 8 date “is critically important for planning – for airlines, for travel-supported businesses, and for millions of travellers worldwide who will now advance plans to visit the United States once again.”

Starting Nov. 8, the United States will admit fully vaccinated foreign air travellers from the 26 so-called Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

The unprecedented US restrictions have barred non-US citizens who were in those countries within the past 14 days.

The United States has allowed foreign air travellers from more than 150 countries throughout the pandemic, a policy that critics said made little sense because some countries with high infection rates were not on the restricted list, while some on the list had the pandemic more under control.

The White House said last month it would apply vaccine requirements to foreign nationals traveling from all other countries.

Americans traveling overseas must still show proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test, and unvaccinated Americans will face stricter testing requirements. They will also be subject to restrictions in countries they plan to visit, which may include quarantines.

The CDC plans to issue new rules soon on contact tracing for international air travellers.

– Additional lines by Pól Ó Conghaile



Source link