Travel Restrictions

Regional News • World
Biden to not lift international travel restrictions
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020.
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jen Psaki, President-elect Joe Biden’s press secretary, dismissed Donald Trump's order to lift the ban on travellers from Europe and Brazil that has been in place since March 2020, instead announced plans to "strengthen public health measures around international travel."

"With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel," Psaki tweeted. "On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19."

Regional News • Oceania
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021
Credit: Michael Coghlan from Adelaide, Australia, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The Australian government's chief medical adviser, Brendan Murphy, has told ABC TV that lifting substantial border restrictions is not expected in 2021, despite an early start to the vaccination campaign. Australia's borders have been closed to travellers since March 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

"I think that we'll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions – even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don't know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus," Professor Murphy said.

"And it's likely that quarantine will continue for some time. One of the things about this virus is that the rule book has been made up as we go."

Regional News • Middle East
Saudi Arabia: Temporary travel ban ended and international flights resumed

Saudi Arabia lifted its temporary travel ban on 11 o'clock Sunday after closing borders following the UK's new Coronavirus strain detection. The ministry of interior announced lifting the “precautionary measures related to the spread of a new variant of coronavirus” in a statement.

Regional News • Europe • France
Brexit: France announces rules visa requirements for British citizens from January 2021
Brexit: France announces rules visa requirements for British citizens from January 2021
Credit: unsplash.com/Ethan Wilkinson

The French government published detailed rules for visa requirements for British citizens who want to spend lengthy periods in France after January 1st, 2021.

From January on "UK citizens will need a Long Stay visa if staying in France or in a French Oversea territory for more than 90 days whatever the purpose of stay". UK citizens with a second home in France, who are spending between 3-6 months a year in France, are "not considered as a resident in France and cannot apply for a carte de séjour under the withdrawal agreement" and "will have to apply for a temporary visitor visa - visa de long séjour temporaire visiteur."

Regional News • Africa
South Africa: New Coronavirus strain, unrelated to UK strain

Another new variant of the coronavirus was discovered in South Africa that is unrelated to the one found in the UK. The new strain, known as 501.V2, is causing a rise in new infections in the country.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, chairman of the government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee: “It is still very early but at this stage, the preliminary data suggests the virus that is now dominating in the second wave is spreading faster than the first wave.”

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Virgin Atlantic passengers require negative Covid-19 tests to fly from London to US
Virgin Atlantic passengers require negative Covid-19 tests to fly from London to US
Credit: Alan Wilson, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Virgin Atlantic has announced that all passengers travelling from London to the United States will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 vaccine. The new requirement will go in effect on December 24.

“With the health and safety of our customers and people always our number one priority, we will require all travellers to present evidence of a negative LAMP or PCR Covid-19 test, taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, including on-site at the airport,” Virgin said in a statement.

Regional News • World
More than 40 countries ban British flights over new Covid-19 strain, EU members discuss co-ordinate response

More than 40 countries have imposed a ban on UK arrivals, include Belgium, Canada, India, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Russia, and Switzerland. On Monday, European Union member states meet to discuss a co-ordinated response and France is planning to establish a protocol "to ensure movement from the UK can resume.

Regional News • Middle East
Saudi Arabia suspends all international flights for a week
Saudi Arabia suspends all international flights for a week
Credit: Stefan Krasowski from New York, NY, USA, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for travellers, as well as entry through land and seaports for a week following the detection of a faster-spreading Covid-19 variant in the United Kingdom.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK imposes strict lockdown on southeast England, including London
UK imposes strict lockdown on southeast England, including London
Credit: unsplash/Max van den Oetelaar

After a new Covid-19 strain was detected in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson abruptly imposed a Tier 4 lockdown on southeast England, including London, banning Christmas gatherings beyond individual households and support bubbles.

All non-essential shops and businesses have to close at midnight and residents are to stay at home except to travel for work or education. The new restrictions apply in London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London) and the East of England (Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring). The new restrictions will be reviewed on December 30.

Regional News • Oceania
Two-way Travel Bubble between New Zealand and Australia
Two-way Travel Bubble between New Zealand and Australia
Credit: unsplash/Will Waters

New Zealand agreed Monday on a two-way travel bubble with Australia, allowing quarantine-free travel between the two nations in the first quarter of 2021.

“It is our intention to name a date ... in the New Year once remaining details are locked down,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference in Wellington.

Regional News • Europe
Italy bans internal travel over Christmas; keeps ski resorts closed until 7 January
Italy bans internal travel over Christmas; keeps ski resorts closed until 7 January
Credit: unsplash/Gabriella Clare Marino

On Thursday night, Prime MinisterGiuseppe Conte signed a new decree banning travel between regions in Italy from December 20 to January 6 and travel between municipalities between December 25 and December 26 to discourage large private gatherings. The government also resisted pressure from leaders of Alpine regions and will keep ski resorts closed until 7 January.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US considers lifting entry bans for Europeans
Cologne Bonn Airport in April 2020
Cologne Bonn Airport in April 2020 Credit: © Raimond Spekking (via Wikimedia Commons) (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Reuters reports that the White House is considering lifting travel bans for Brazil, UK, Ireland and numerous European countries. Even though President Trump has not made a final decision on the matter, the White House coronavirus task-force, as well as public health and federal agencies, back the plan to reopen the borders for international travel.

Lifestyle • Cruises
First Caribbean cruise in months: Five passengers test positive for Covid-19
First Caribbean cruise in months: Five passengers test positive for Covid-19
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

At least five passengers of the SeaDream 1 have tested positive for Covid-19. It's the first cruise ship taking passengers on a cruise since Covid-19 shut down the cruise industry. The ship left Barbados on Saturday and had traveled to Saint Vincent, Canouan Island, and Tobago Cays, according to Gene Sloan from Points Guy.

Regional News • Americas • United States
State department lifts international travel advisory,
State department lifts international travel advisory,
Credit: unsplash.com/Blake Guidry

The State Department has lifted its international travel advisory urging Americans to not travel overseas due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which was first established in March. The department will go back to issuing recommendations on "country-specific levels", available on Travel.State.gov.

"With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice ... to give travellers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions," so the State Department in a press release.

The department has issued travel warnings for over 50 countries and said it would "continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic."

Regional News • Europe
Austria mandates Covid-19 test for entering the country from risk areas
Austria mandates Covid-19 test for entering the country from risk areas
Credit: Steindy (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

According to the Austrian Ministry of Health a 14-day home quarantine will be mandatory after visiting or coming from a risk area, even if a negative Covid-19 test result can be shown.

The ministry stated that "the possibility of using the 14-day home quarantine instead of a PCR test will no longer exist for entries from countries with entry restrictions". Austrian citizens and people living in Austria can in "justified exceptional cases" undergo a Covid-19 test within 48 hours of arriving in Austria, all others need to present a test result at the border which is less than 72 hours old.

The final official regulation text and the list of areas classified as risk areas is still due to be published by the ministry.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Borders between US, Canada and Mexico to remain closed until late August
Borders between US, Canada and Mexico to remain closed until late August
Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Public domain

The borders between the United States and its two neighbours Canada and Mexico will remain closed for all nonessential travel until at least August 21 due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. The extended border restrictions will not affect essential goods and services.