• Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, thinks passengers should also be subject to a vaccine mandate in order to fly.
  • Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian called it a “logistical dilemma” trying to figure out who among the millions of passengers the airline carries every week has been vaccinated.
  • “U.S. Travel has long maintained that there should be no mandatory vaccination requirement for domestic travel,” Tori Emerson Barnes, the U.S. Travel Association’s executive president said.

President Joe Biden recently announced sweeping federal vaccine mandates in a bid to get COVID-19 cases under control, a move that will likely require airline employees to be vaccinated or take weekly tests.

But what about airline passengers?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, thinks passengers should also be subject to a vaccine mandate in order to fly.

“I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated,” Fauci said in a weekend interview with The Skimm.

Biden hasn’t publicly mentioned a vaccine mandate for flights but when asked about travel restrictions in a COVID-19 briefing Friday, Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response team coordinator, said nothing is off the table. He pointed to the government’s Thursday announcement that fines will be doubling for passengers refusing to follow the federal mask mandate on planes and other public transportation.

►Doubling fines:Biden directs TSA to double the fines on travelers who refuse to wear a mask while flying

►’Sit down now’:Video shows unruly passenger growling, snarling on American Airlines flight

“Overall, I think we have a … very strong track record that shows we’re pulling available levers to acquire vaccinations and we’re not taking any measures off the table,” Zients said.

When asked about a possible vaccine mandate for domestic flights at a different briefing Friday, Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said: “We are always looking at more we can do to protect and save lives. Obviously, he made a significant and bold announcement yesterday, so I don’t have anything to preview – predict or preview for you, but we’ll continue to look for ways to save more lives.”

Would airlines go for a vaccine requirement for passengers?

The idea of vaccine mandates for flights would not be groundbreaking. Canada already requires air travelers to be vaccinated. 

U.S. airlines have generally been against a vaccination requirement for domestic travel, and repeatedly note that it’s already a de facto requirement for a lot of international flights because of countries’ ever-changing entry requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with “CBS This Morning” in late August, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said he doesn’t see a vaccine requirement for U.S. flights happening.

Bastian called it a “logistical dilemma” trying to figure out who among the millions of passengers the airline carries every week has been vaccinated, not vaccinated or is exempt from vaccination rules.

“It would actually bottleneck the

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department raised their travel alert levels Monday for the Caribbean travel spots of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Belize due to the “risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”

The CDC raised both dual-island nation Saint Kitts and Nevis and Belize to a level 4, which signifies “very high” COVID levels and means tourists should avoid travel to the popular Caribbean vacation destinations.

Those who must travel to either destination, the CDC travel health notice says, should be fully vaccinated. Aside from following each country’s specific guidance, CDC recommends travelers wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart from others.

►Visiting Maui this fall? Forget about indoor dining at restaurants, bars unless you’re vaccinated.

►Which EU countries are open to US tourists?:A breakdown of EU travel restrictions by country

The CDC also raised several countries’ travel alert to a levels 4, including: 

  • Slovenia
  • Serbia
  • Mauritius
  • Lithuania
  • Israel
  • Grenada
  • Albania
  • Afghanistan

The agency raised the alert levels last week for Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Brunei to level 4.

The CDC assesses COVID-19 risk based on each destination’s new cases and new case trajectory. The Travel Health Notice level can be raised if a large increase in COVID-19 cases is reported or a destination’s case count meets or exceeds the threshold for a higher level for 14 straight days. Level 4 destinations have more than 500 new cases per 100,000 people over the past 28 days or more than 500 cases period if their population is smaller than 100,000.

Contributing: Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY

Companies included on the government’s approved Covid-19 travel test provider list appear to be flouting consumer law by refusing to refund customers for unfulfilled orders, according to dozens of travellers who have contacted the Guardian.

Boots is among the firms whose terms and conditions state that orders for tests are non-refundable even if they fail to materialise despite the Consumer Rights Act allowing customers to claim money back if an order or service is not as described or fit for purpose.

Another test provider has threatened legal action against customers who complain about missing tests.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said on Sunday that he wanted to scrap the costly PCR test requirement for double-jabbed people returning to the UK from some countries as soon as possible.

“The PCR test that is required upon your return to the UK from certain countries, look, I want to try to get rid of that as soon as I possibly can,” Javid told Sky News.

“I am not going to make that decision right now but I have already asked officials that at the moment we can, let’s get rid of these kind of intrusions, the costs that generates for families, particularly families just trying to go out and holiday.”

People arriving into the Uk from countries on the government’s green and amber list are required to pay for PCR tests on or before day two after they return. Those who have not received both vaccines also have to take a test on day eight from amber list countries and failure to comply can result in a fine of up to £2,000.

The government website directs travellers to an official list of test providers who have self-declared that they meet minimum standards.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, companies have been removed from the list for misleading price claims, but complaints from customers suggest that no action has been taken against firms that fail to fulfil orders and rely on unfair terms and conditions to evade refunds.

Richard Claughton and his wife, both NHS workers, paid Boots £150 for two day two tests after a trip to Spain to visit family in July. Only one test kit arrived, damaged beyond use, six days late.

Boots refused to refund them, claiming that, according to its terms and conditions: “The service is deemed to have been provided in full by Boots and ReCoVa-19 by providing the customer with their booking reference number.”

The company told the Guardian that, instead of a refund, missing or faulty kit would be replaced free of charge. A replacement in Claughton’s case would have meant his test results arriving after his official quarantine period had ended.

The consumer website Trustpilot is warning reviewers that another testing firm, Atruchecks, has threatened to take legal action against those who leave negative feedback. All reviews since June have rated it “bad”, citing the non-delivery of testing kits, misleading pricing and unresponsive customer service.

The company, which is owned by the

The UK’s traffic light travel system could be simplified to just two lists – a ‘go’ and a ‘no go’, similar to the current green and red lists, say sources.

In the wake of reports by the BBC and The Telegraph last week, The Telegraphis now reporting that double-jabbed travellers will be able to take cheaper lateral flow tests before and after travel to the UK from abroad.

Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency, has told the paper that up to 24 countries could move straight from the former red list to a new green list, with the red list expected to be “significantly shrunk”.

The government last week declined to comment on any big changes, saying: “Our international travel policy is guided by one overwhelming priority – protecting public health.

“The next formal checkpoint review will take place by 1 October 2021.”

In other news, more than 300,000 people are estimated to have broken quarantine rules between March and May.

Follow the latest travel news below:

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Dominican Republic, Indonesia and the Maldives ‘should come off red list’, says expert

A dozen high-profile countries – all with either a big population or very popular with British travellers, or both – should be removed from the UK’s red list, a data analyst and travel expert has said.

Tim White, who tweets as @TWMCLtd, has given his expertise to The Independent.

These are: Argentina, Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Kenya, Maldives, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

He notes, though: “If cautious, Mexico may need to stay a while longer, and Dominican Republic needs help to conduct genomic sequencing.

“Some scientists will say it’s a risk taking South American countries [including Argentina and Peru] off the red list with Gamma, Lambda and the latest “Mu” variant all in circulation to some degree.

“But most scientists believe most of the variants circulating in South America are not more likely to evade vaccines so there is an argument to allow them all off red.”

Simon Calder13 September 2021 16:23

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Argentina, Egypt, Oman and South Africa could come off red list, says expert

South Africa, Argentina and Pakistan are among the countries that should be removed from the UK’s red list, travel industry expert Paul Charles has said.

“There have been no new Covid variants of concern since 11th May,” he tweeted this morning.

“Our analysis shows 24 countries should come off the UK red list immediately, including Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, SouthAfrica, Uruguay, Zambia.”

Charles’s company The PC Agency has researched the red list countries with low enough cases and no variants of concern, to determine possible candidates for a move from the current 62-strong red list to a new “safe” list, that would

A 22-year-old woman who was on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend has disappeared, her parents said. It was unclear if her boyfriend was also missing.

Gabrielle Petito was last known to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in late August when she stopped communicating with her family, police said. She was reported missing Saturday.

Petito had been traveling in a van with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, and documenting their travels on YouTube under the moniker “Nomadic Statik.”

The vehicle, a white 2012 Ford Transit van with a Florida license plate, was recovered in the city of North Port, south of Tampa, the police department there said.

“We currently have no definitive information that a crime took place here in North Port,” police said in a statement. “With that said, the circumstances are odd. The vehicle she was traveling in was located here in North Port. So, we are actively gathering local details and any evidence to assist in finding needed answers.”

Police have not identified Laundrie as a suspect, nor have they associated him with Petito’s disappearance. He could not be reached for this story.

Petito is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 110 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. She also has several tattoos, including one on her forearm that reads, “let it be.”

Her mother, Nichole Schmidt, told NBC affiliate KSL that her daughter left with her boyfriend of two years from Blue Point, New York, on July 2.

“She wanted to cross the country in the camper van and live the van life and live free. This was her dream,” Schmidt said.

Gabrielle Petito went missing while traveling in Wyoming. (Suffolk County Police Department)

Gabrielle Petito went missing while traveling in Wyoming. (Suffolk County Police Department)

According to her mother, Petito extensively documented her journey across the states with her boyfriend on social media, but those posts slowed down toward the end of August.

Schmidt said the couple left Salt Lake City for Grand Teton National Park around Aug. 24, which was when she said she last spoke to her daughter on a FaceTime call. She added she received texts sent from her daughter’s phone until Aug. 30, but wasn’t sure whether her daughter sent them.

Suffolk County police did not immediately respond to questions Monday about her boyfriend’s whereabouts or where her vehicle was found. Efforts to reach her parents were unsuccessful Monday.

She last posted a photo to her Instagram account Aug. 25. In the video, Petito and Laundrie can be seen driving, hiking and camping at different roads, parks and beaches across the country.

Police are asking anyone with information about her whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

President Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has come out in support of banning people from flying on airplanes if they are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Fauci was asked during an interview with theSkimm on Monday if he would support a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for Americans in order to fly.

RAND PAUL SAYS NEW WUHAN DOCUMENTS SHOW FAUCI LIED

“I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated,” Fauci said.

The White House has not explicitly taken a federal vaccination requirement for air travel off the table.

Although, with Fauci’s influence as the president’s top doctor, the administration could sway in that direction if Biden chooses to follow suit, as he often has.

When asked if the White House was considering a vaccine mandate for air travel, an administration official pointed Fox News to White House coronavirus response director Jeff Zients’ comments from Friday when he was asked about the subject and remarking that is where the administration stood on the issue at the moment.

Zients did not take an air travel ban for unvaccinated Americans “off the table.”

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“As to travel, we’re taking further action, as you know, to double the fines for noncompliance of masking on airlines,” Zients said. “So that’s a TSA action that was announced yesterday.

“And overall, I think we have a – you know, a very strong track record that shows we’re pulling available levers to acquire vaccinations and we’re not taking any measures off the table,” he added.

Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene.

A worker sanitises a barrier at the International arrivals area of Terminal 5 in London’s Heathrow Airport, Britain, August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest airport Heathrow said on Monday passenger numbers were still 71% lower in August compared to the same month before the COVID-19 pandemic, as it demanded that the government change its travel rules to help the sector recover.

Heathrow blamed the complicated, changing and expensive rules for those arriving in the United Kingdom for Britain’s much slower travel recovery versus competitors, pushing it down to 10th busiest European airport, from its top spot in 2019.

Expectations are growing that there will be a simplification of those travel rules, after Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Sunday that he wanted to “get rid of” expensive PCR tests for travellers as soon as possible. read more

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will this week set out his plans to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in the winter months.

Heathrow said in its statement that it would favour a two-tier system with destination countries rated either low risk or high risk, with the latter still requiring hotel quarantine.

Fully vaccinated travellers would be able to travel freely, the system being used by many European countries, while those not vaccinated would take pre-departure or arrival tests using lateral flow tests, which are cheaper than PCR tests.

Currently there are three tiers, with expensive tests always required even for those who are fully vaccinated.

The airport said major airlines supported the idea, as it warned of the consequences of not improving the current system.

“If ministers fail to take this opportunity to streamline the travel rules then the UK will fall further behind as trade and tourists will increasingly by-pass the UK,” Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said.

The airport also called on the government to ensure it had adequate staff at the border after reports of hours-long queues in recent weeks.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Michael Holden

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Can I travel to Italy? What are the travel restrictions in Italy? Here are the answers to all your questions. 

On Tuesday, 7 September, Italy’s coronavirus emergency commissioner General Francesco Figliuolo announced that more than 80 percent of the population over the age of 12 has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. As a result, Italy is well on pace to meet its goal set earlier this year of having 80 percent completely vaccinated by the end of September. Figliuolo also announced that Italy would start giving third doses to members of the population deemed to be in the high-risk category. All of this is good news for a country that has seen life largely return to normal over the summer, including in the tourism sector. 

However, the highly contagious Delta variant has seen infection and hospitalization rates in countries such as the US, India, and Brazil sky-rocket. As vaccination rates in the US remain relatively low, and because they make up a large portion of foreign travelers in Europe, EU authorities decided that tougher restrictions were necessary for countries with high infection rates. 

Countries are listed in a tier system (A-E) based on their location, and epidemiological risk. Each list has different levels of restrictions associated with it. 

Italy has also recently announced its new “green” travel pass for all foreigners looking to travel to the country as of May 16th. This includes travelers from the US and UK that makeup over 30 percent of travelers to Italy. To qualify for a green pass you must prove that you have been vaccinated for Covid, have tested negative and taken a Covid free flight, or have recently recovered from Covid-19. Italy has also announced that it is expanding its list of routes for Covid-free flights to Canada, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.  

List A

Category A contains Vatican City and the Republic of San Marino. There are no restrictions for either of these two States. 

List B and C

Category B and C both pertain to Continental Europe and any other territories on the European Mainland as well as Iceland and Israel, but not the UK. List B is used for many countries in Continental Europe that have a low epidemiological rate, though currently, no countries qualify for this list. Anyone with EU/Schengen Citizenship can travel to Italy for any reason, including tourism. Restrictions will apply if someone has passed through or stayed in a country on list D and/or E within 14 days before entering Italy. Before entering Italy, it is mandatory to fill out the Digital Passenger Locator Form (see the link below) which replaces the self-declaration form. It is also mandatory to provide the EU Digital Covid Certificate (see link below) in one of the following languages: Italian, English, French, or Spanish, showing one of the following conditions:

Having completed the anti-SARS-CoV 2-vaccination cycle with one of the following accepted vaccines:

  • Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca 
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • That you have recovered from Covid-19

(CNN) — Fall is almost here, we’re approaching our seventh season of living with a pandemic, and yes, it still sucks.

Never mind, though, as CNN Travel is here as always to sharpen your pencils, straighten your rucksack and get you schooled in our weekly roundup of the latest developments in pandemic travel news.

1. France has banned unvaccinated American travelers

If American tourists want the chance to play beach volleyball in Saint-Malo, France, they'll need to have their jabs.

If American tourists want the chance to play beach volleyball in Saint-Malo, France, they’ll need to have their jabs.

Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/Getty Images

However, the caution is reciprocated. France was added to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s highest-category risk list — “Level 4: Covid-19 very high” — back on August 9, meaning US citizens are already advised to avoid nonessential travel there.

2. And Spain has done the same

Tourists on Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in June 2021.

Tourists on Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in June 2021.

Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty Images

In a change from policy earlier this summer, Spain is allowing tourists from the United States only if they are fully vaccinated, the health ministry told CNN on Tuesday.

The new rule, which took effect this week, states that visitors from the United States on “nonessential travel,” such as tourism, must show “a vaccination certificate that the (Spanish) Ministry of Health recognizes as valid.”

Like France, Spain is on CDC’s highest-risk Level 4.

3. Cuba will start to reopen its borders in November

Cuba is changing faster than ever. See the vintage cars, the musicians and the stunning architecture as soon as you can.

Cuba’s state-run media has announced that the island will begin to reopen borders in November, despite a recent surge in Covid cases.

Cuba has been closed for much of the pandemic, which has hit the local tourism industry hard.

According to Cuba’s Ministry of Health, more than four million people on the island have been fully vaccinated with the island’s home-grown vaccines.

A statement from the Ministry of Tourism that was published on Monday in the Communist-party newspaper Granma said that Cuba will gradually reopen borders starting November 15 and will no longer require travelers to take a PCR test upon arrival.

4. Israel will reopen to small groups of tourists this month

Arrivals at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in May 2021.

Arrivals at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport in May 2021.

Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

An Israeli pilot program to kick-start tourism will allow small foreign tour groups from selected countries, reports Reuters.

Fully vaccinated tour groups of between 5 and 30 people from countries on Israel’s green, yellow and orange lists will be allowed to enter the country, the tourism ministry said on September 5.

Individual tourists will still not be allowed to enter outside of a tour group, with exceptions being made for people visiting family members.

5. The Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc will reopen next month

Vietnam has taken a tough line with its Covid restrictions — this week a man was jailed for five years for spreading the virus — but there are still plans to revive its tourism industry.

A new season is here and, with it, seedlings of holiday escape plans to some sun-drenched beach or snowy mountain ski slope. In view of passenger data from the US and the UK, air travel is on its way toward recovering from the slump of a pre-vaccine Covid-19 pandemic – despite the rise of the Delta variant.

But does that mean it’s a good idea to buy that plane ticket, even if you’re vaccinated? And if you’re comfortable assuming some degree of personal risk, is it unethical to do so?

Kelly Hills: The short answer is that it depends on where you live. Are we talking about a country with a relatively successful public health response where 80% or more of the eligible population are fully vaccinated, and there is low overall incidence of Covid-19 both where you live and where you are traveling to? Then no, it isn’t unethical. But that doesn’t describe most of the world.

[As well as] following whatever public health guidance is in place, I think that people need to think in terms of best avoiding “moral injury”, which is what we call the psychological damage that happens when you violate your own moral or ethical beliefs. So, is there a risk of physical or moral injury to taking, or not taking, this non-essential travel? I think this more accurately catches the diversity of situations that people can find themselves in.

Thomas Tsai: I view it as less of an ethical question – a right or wrong – and more of a public health question of how best to minimize risk to yourself and to others. As a vaccinated traveler, it’s still important to follow airline and local jurisdiction guidelines around masking, screening and testing (in locations that require it).

To travel unvaccinated puts yourself and others at risk. We’re at a stage of the pandemic where the focus is collectively taking the actions that can reduce transmission to ensure that schools, workplaces and public venues can remain open and minimize the risk of infections from the Delta variant.

Saskia Popescu: I would encourage people to consider where they’re traveling to/from, and the community transmission levels [in both places]. Ensure that you’re prepared to continue practicing infection prevention efforts, like wearing a mask and reducing time unmasked indoors. Moreover, if you’re traveling after an exposure or not feeling well, I would discourage that – we need to be good stewards of public health.

Even though I’m vaccinated, is it wrong for me to travel somewhere that has low rates of vaccination?

Tsai: Again, I would think of it as maximizing the actions that are known to reduce risk of Covid transmission. With over a year and a half of deferred travel due to Covid, there are very real reasons why individuals may want or need to travel even to areas with low rates of vaccination – to see family, for example. As a public health researcher, I view the tradeoffs as one