Travel news latest: Australia extends travel ban to put Christmas reopening in doubt


Australia has extended its ban on overseas travel until December, dampening remaining hopes that the country could reopen to foreign visitors this year.

The “human biosecurity emergency period” was due to end on September 17 but will now stay in place until December 17. The country’s health minister, Greg Hunt, said the decision was taken “in line with medical advice”.

The rule applies to those living in Australia, who have been unable to travel abroad since early 2020 unless given a rare exemption, but the move makes it less likely that those desperate to visit family and friends will be allowed to make the journey before 2022.

Inbound and outbound travel restrictions are set to be lifted when 80 per cent of those eligible are fully vaccinated, however Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan and his Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk have refused to commit to opening their borders when the target is met

Qantas had hoped to resume flights to the UK in December using the A380 superjumbo to meet “pent-up demand” for travel to and from Australia. The airline is now selling tickets to Los Angeles, Singapore and Vancouver from December 18, the day after the travel ban is now due to expire.

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Three-quarters of amber arrivals have had at least one jab, says Government

More on the Government’s latest statistics. Around three in five respondents (59 per cent) said they fully understood the rules in place during quarantine, while the remaining 41 per cent either misunderstood or were unsure of them.

Around three-quarters (76 per cent) of those arriving in the UK from an amber list country or territory had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Of those who had received at least one dose of the vaccine, a minority (9 per cent) reported that being vaccinated made them less likely to adhere to quarantine requirements.

More than 80 per cent of arrivals ‘fully adhered to coronavirus quarantine’

Data from the Government show that between July 12–17, 83 per cent of adults arriving in England from an amber list destination fully adhered to coronavirus quarantine requirements. 

The same data shows 91% per cent also took both of the required day two and day eight coronavirus tests.

Overall, 77% of respondents were fully adherent to both quarantine and coronavirus testing requirements, which was slightly lower than the previous month (82% between June 14–19), though the Government said this was “not a statistically significant decrease”.

Restrictions to slightly ease in Australian state

Gladys Berejiklian, the state premier of Australia’s New South Wales, has announced that from 5am local time tomorrow the one-hour limit on outdoor exercise for residents in ‘local government areas of concern’ in Sydney would be scrapped.

The curfews would remain, however.

NSW reported 1,288 new locally acquired cases and seven deaths on Thursday.

The percentage of the adult population in the state to have received their first dose has now reached 70 per cent, with authorities pushing to double vaccinate that proportion and introduce some freedoms.

‘Forget the glamour of air travel, the post-Covid future is no-frills flying’

Budget airlines are ramping up aircraft orders in a battle to dominate the post-pandemic skies, writes Ben Marlow.

Cancelled flights, vaccine passports, the baffling traffic light system, and then to top it off, a stint in quarantine with the very same relatives that you’ve just spent a fortnight arguing with.

No wonder this was the summer of the staycation – travelling abroad felt like a hassle most of us didn’t need this time around.

And as it happens, a week in a caravan on the Devon coast isn’t as bad as it sounds – ours even had Wi-Fi, albeit intermittently, but who needs social media and video streaming when you can cram onto the beach with hundreds of other pasty-looking holidaymakers?

Read more here.

Covid cases fall in New Zealand

New Zealand has reported 49 new cases of Covid-19 in the community – continuing an overall downward trend in cases.

That downward slope is an early but promising indication that the country’s strict lockdown measures are working – not only arresting an exponential growth in cases, but also gradually pushing case numbers down and toward elimination.

Read more:  When New Zealand could reopen its borders

Ryanair sees rise in passenger during August

The latest figures from low-cost airline Ryanair show that 3.1 million more passengers flew with them in August 2021 compared to the same month in 2020.

The Irish firm operator 71,000 flights last month, carrying 11.1 million customers.

It’s a rise from the 9.3 million passenger that flew with them in July.

Ryanair has cited the European Union’s Covid certificate as a reason for its recovery.

Spain hits vaccine target

Spainhas said that 66 million doses of the coronavirus vaccines have now been administered, meaning  70.3 per cent of the population was fully immunised by the end of August–- meeting a goal set by the government.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted: “We have achieved it thanks to the strength of the national public service, the effort by health professionals, the work from public agencies and the great awareness from citizens.”

‘Maderna’ error leads to criminal charges

A woman has been charged with using a fake vaccination card to visit Hawaii – after she spelt Moderna as “Maderna”.

The 24-year-old uploaded a vaccination card to the state’s Safe Travels programme in order to avoid 10 days of quarantine after her arrival in Honolulu on August 23.

Wilson Lau, a special agent with the Hawaii attorney general’s investigation division, said: “Airport screeners found suspicious errors… such as Moderna was spelled wrong and that her home was in Illinois but her shot was taken at Delaware.”

A Delaware official confirmed there was no vaccination record for the woman under her name and birth date. The woman was charged with two misdemeanour counts of violating Hawaii’s emergency rules to control the spread of Covid-19, and a court hearing is expected in September.

Mainland Portugal lifts 14-day quarantine rule for unvaccinated Britons 

Unvaccinated British travellers to mainland Portugal will only have to provide a negative Covid test and will no longer have to quarantine under a change to its travel rules, reports Charles Hymas.

Instead, unvaccinated UK visitors must present a negative Covid test result – either a cheap and swift lateral flow, taken within 48 hours of departure, or a slower and more expensive PCR test within 72 hours.

Portugal, however, is not ditching its requirement for fully-jabbed travellers from the UK to also show a negative test result on arrival – a move the travel industry had been expecting.

The country remains on the UK amber list, which means unvaccinated Britons have to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return to the UK but double-jabbed people only have to have a PCR test on day two.

Read more here.

Cascais in Portugal, which is easing its rules for British visitors

Cascais in Portugal, which is easing its rules for British visitors

Horacio Villalobos/Corbis News

Good morning

Welcome to Thursday’s travel news coverage. Here’s a reminder of yesterday’s top stories:

  • Ryanair boss slams ‘monstrously stupid’ travel restrictions

  • Benidorm safer than Blackpool, with amber list holidaymakers less likely to catch Covid

  • Phuket Sandbox in jeopardy as red-list Thailand cases surge 

  • Antigua bans unvaccinated travellers from hotels

  • UK’s largest travel agency returns to profit

  • Portugal loosens entry restrictions for UK travellers

 Follow us here for the latest travel news.

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