Australia COVID-19 cases trend lower, Qantas pushes back international flights
According to Reuters, Australia on Thursday continued its downward trend of COVID-19 cases, stoking hopes of a faster return to normal, while Qantas Airways pushed back international travel plans by four months as it waits on the country finishing its vaccination drive.
Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state, recorded no cases for nearly a week, suggesting the most recent outbreak in Melbourne has been contained, prompting authorities to flag easing of more restrictions soon.
Queensland state said it would open its borders to residents of Melbourne from Saturday, following South Australia which plans to lift its border restrictions from Friday.
New South Wales state reported no new local cases for the 39th day in a row as it looks to relax curbs on dancing at weddings, singing at indoor venues and gatherings at home from Friday.
Australia closed its international borders in last March except for citizens and permanent residents, forcing Qantas to ground its international fleet except for repatriation charters and cargo flights. For further details, please click here and continue reading on Reuters.
Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery
Reuters reported today several news related to travel. According to them Lufthansa is adding more holiday destinations to its summer flight schedule from Germany in anticipation of a strong rebound in bookings, it said on Thursday, betting COVID-19 vaccines and testing will soon make vacation travel possible.
Germany’s largest airline said it was planning to add around 20 new destinations from Frankfurt and 13 from Munich to locations such as the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and Greece.
COVID-19 vaccines and testing, along with strict hygiene rules at airports and on planes, will be prerequisites for travel this summer, it said.
“We expect many countries to relax travel restrictions towards the summer as more and more people have been vaccinated,” Lufthansa board member Harry Hohmeister said in a statement.
Hohmeister said the airline, which secured a 9 billion euro ($11 billion) state bailout last year, expects a sharp increase in demand once restrictions are lifted. For the rest of the article, please click here and continue reading on Reuters.
Iberia Joins oneworld Partners With VeriFLY Health Passport
According to Tom Boon from Simple Flying, Iberia has become the latest airline to launch the VeriFLY health passport app, adding it to a growing list of airlines. Coincidentally, only oneworld airlines have so far begun to use the app. Sister airline British Airways has already been using the app since earlier this month.
Many borders have been restricted, with travel made unavailable to some in a bid to halt the international spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there comes a time when travel needs to resume, and as such, airlines are looking into how to facilitate this with health passports.
Iberia is the fourth airline to activate VeriFLY’s document checking abilities. So far, the app is also being used by three other airlines. American Airlines, also a oneworld member, was the first to launch the app. Initially, it was limited to a handful of routes, but it has since been expanded significantly.
For the rest of the article, please click here and continue reading on Simple Flying.
Boeing admits: Wanted To Change 777 Engine Covers Before United Failure
According to Joanna Bailey from Simple Flying, new information has surfaced in the wake of the United Airlines 777 engine failure at the weekend. An internal document from the FAA indicates that Boeing was aware of a problem with the engine covers on certain aircraft and had been planning to redesign them in the future.
With the industry still reeling from the dramatic engine failure of a United Airlines Boeing 777 over Denver at the weekend, new details have begun to emerge on the situation. While the NTSB is still investigating the cause of the incident, today’s Wall Street Journal shares that Boeing may have been aware of an issue with this particular model of engine long before the incident occurred.
The publication states that Boeing was planning to strengthen the protective engine covers on its 777 aircraft some months before the United incident. An internal Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) document, reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, indicated that potential fixes were under discussion for as long ago as two years.
For further details with the statement from the company please continue reading here.
Czech government bans travel to South Africa, Brazil due to virus variants
According to the Reuters Stuff, Sme.sk and czech official press release,
The Czech Republic will ban travel by its citizens to several African and South American countries where there is high risk from new South African or Brazilian coronavirus variants, the government said on Wednesday.
The government is seeking to slow a fast-rising COVID-19 infection rate that has put stress on the central European country’s hospitals. Lawmakers have debated tighter measures to combat the spread.
The health ministry said the travel ban would be in effect from Feb. 26 to April 11, with some exceptions. It includes countries such as Botswana, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and others.
The ministry has reported some new COVID-19 infections suspected to be from the South African variant but has not confirmed those cases. For the rest of the news, please continue reading on Reuters here.
What countries can US travelers visit right now?
According to Sasha Brady from Lonely Planet, back in August, the US Department of State returned to its previous system of “country-specific levels of travel advice”, which means it’s once again rating individual countries from levels 1-4 based on their current health and security situations. The decision was made in line with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and advisories are updated regularly as situations evolve quickly. But despite the removal of the sweeping travel ban and the gradual roll-out of the vaccine, the department warns: “we continue to recommend US citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.”
Canada and much of Europe, Asia and Oceania are pretty much off-limits to US travelers. But some countries have begun to relax their border restrictions and are now allowing US citizens to enter provided they follow local public health guidelines. However, it’s important to note that anyone arriving into the US on an international flight must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure. “If a passenger chooses not to present a test result or documentation of recovery, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger,” the CDC says. All travelers must also undergo a seven-day quarantine period, regardless of their test result.
If you do plan to travel, below is a list of where you can go now. But it’s important to note this is not a complete list and rules are quickly changing. Travelers are encouraged to download the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) from the Department of State to receive travel and emergency alerts.
US travelers can visit Albania without the need to quarantine or prevent a negative COVID-19 test result, but they will be required to submit to health screening at the airport. A nationwide curfew between 8pm and 6am is in place and “travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice,” the state department warns. See more here.
Travelers must pre-register their visit on the country’s tourism board website and present proof of a negative COVID-19 test, taken no more than five days before travel. US arrivals must also complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine. However, if they’d like to extend their stay, the British Overseas Territory is currently accepting online applications for visitors who would like to work remotely with new visa programs. See more here.
For the further details by country and restrictions for US travelers are available here on Lonely Planet.