Dr Anthony Fauci has backed the idea of banning unvaccinated people from air travel in the US.

“I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people, you should be vaccinated,” Dr Fauci, the director of the US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Skimm This podcast, according to The Hill. The podcast was taped last week and is set to be released on Thursday.

The support from Dr Fauci, who earlier led the Covid-19 task force, comes days after Democrat representative Don Beyer introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to make a proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours from travel a requirement to board an airline or a train.

Mr Beyer, the representative from Virginia, introduced The Safe Travel Act in the House on Thursday.

“Requiring airport and Amtrak travellers and employees to provide a proof of Covid vaccine or negative test is just common sense,” Mr Beyer said on his bill. “These are easy steps we can take to make travel safer, as companies like United have already demonstrated with responsible policy changes.”

Earlier in August another Democrat, New York representative Ritchie Torres, also pushed a bill to require Americans to get immunised or tested before travelling. In his letter to the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, Mr Torres said such a requirement was “common sense”.

On Friday, the White House refused to rule out the introduction of such a policy. “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,” White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said.

So far, 54 per cent of Americans have been fully vaccinated, while 63 per cent have received at least one dose, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Over 35 per cent, or nearly 80 million, Americans are unvaccinated.

President Joe Biden said last week that vaccine hesitancy, which remains a major hurdle for the US, has cost the country a great deal. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Mr Biden said. “And your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing.”

(CNN) — France has become the latest European country — and the most significant tourism destination — to remove the United States from its safe travel list, following EU recommendations in the wake of a US Covid spike.

A French government decree issued on Thursday bumped the United States and Israel from the country’s “green” list, down to “orange,” effectively prohibiting nonessential travel to France for unvaccinated visitors.

Under France’s rules, unvaccinated travelers from either country will still be allowed in provided they have an essential reason for travel, however they’ll need a negative Covid-19 test before travel and must quarantine for seven days on arrival.

France’s move follow restrictions imposed on US travelers from several other European destinations. Earlier this week, Spain changed its entry policy for arrivals from the US, requiring them to have a certificate proving double vaccination.

Covid-battered economies

Italy last week began requiring all visitors, including those from the United States, to show proof of a PCR or antigen Covid test taken within 72 hours of travel, regardless of whether they are vaccinated.

Many European travel destinations reopened their borders to Americans earlier in the summer in the hope of attracting much needed tourism dollars to boost Covid-battered economies.

With Covid’s Delta variant spreading throughout the US, some countries, including Germany, had already begun restricting access to Americans prior to the EU recommendation. Others, such as Greece, insist they will remain open regardless of traveler vaccination status.

France is joining the list of European travel destinations tightening restrictions on U.S. tourists as COVID-19 cases surge due to the delta variant.

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 12, only vaccinated visitors will be allowed to visit for vacation, the French embassy confirmed Friday. Non-vaccinated travelers can only visit for essential reasons and need a negative COVID-19 test. They also must isolate for seven days upon arrival. Currently, unvaccinated tourists just need to show a negative COVID test to enter France.

The moves come after the European Union’s decision on Aug. 30 to remove the United States from its list of safe countries due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, essentially recommending a ban of nonessential travel such as vacations. It is only a recommendation, with individual countries setting their own travel policies.

France already requires vaccination proof or a COVID test to visit restaurants and ride on trains as well as to visit popular tourist destinations including museums and the Eiffel Tower.

►International travel:European Union countries tightening COVID-19 restrictions for US tourists

►Travel testing:Here’s what travelers should know about at-home COVID-19 tests

The NetherlandsSpain and Denmark are also banning unvaccinated U.S. tourists and Italy has added entry requirements, even for those who are vaccinated.

The new restrictions add up to another confusing maze of entry requirements for travelers planning fall visits to Europe.

It’s been less than a week since the European Union removed the U.S. from its ‘safe list’ of countries for nonessential travel, and already some of the most-visited of the bloc’s 27 member states have reacted by clamping down with additional Covid-19 travel restrictions for Americans.

The E.U. recommendation is non-binding, so it’s up to each individual country in the bloc whether to impose additional restrictions. Already, it’s clear that travelers will not find one universal policy throughout the E.U., as a messy patchwork of different rules and regulations is emerging across the continent.

Here are the European countries where it has become more difficult for Americans to travel.

E.U. Countries Where Americans Are Virtually Banned Outright

Sweden: As of September 6, the U.S. is now off Sweden’s list of “safe countries.” This means American tourists are not permitted to enter Sweden for non-essential reasons, regardless of vaccination status. The U.S. had previously been exempted from Sweden’s entry ban for non-E.U. residents. 

Norway: U.S. travelers are not allowed to enter Norway, with the exception of those visiting close family members. Travelers must show a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken 24 hours prior to departure and must also take a test upon entry. (More: U.S. Embassy)

Bulgaria: Two days after the E.U. removed the United States from its “safe travel list,” Bulgaria put the U.S. on its “red zone” list. Individuals arriving from the United States, regardless of their citizenship, are prohibited from entering Bulgaria. American tourists may visit Bulgaria, however, if they arrive from a country on the “green list” or “orange list,” and present either proof of vaccination against Covid-19, a recent negative Covid test result, or proof of recovery from Covid-19. (More: U.S. Embassy)

E.U. Countries Where Americans Now Face Tighter Restrictions

The Netherlands: The Dutch have imposed some of the toughest new restrictions on American travelers. As of September 4, the Netherlands considers the U.S. to be a very high-risk area. Only fully vaccinated Americans may enter the country AND they must comply with a mandatory quarantine requirement. In addition, travelers also must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test or a negative antigen test performed within 24 hours prior to departure for the Netherlands. (More: U.S. EmbassyNetherlands Entry Checklist)

Demark: Unvaccinated Americans are now banned from entering Denmark. Previously, all U.S. travelers could enter the country with only a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery. The entry requirements for vaccinated tourists remains the same.

Italy: All travelers from the U.S., regardless of vaccination status, must now present a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of their arrival in Italy. Unvaccinated travelers must also quarantine for five days after arrival and then get tested again. (More: Italian Health Ministry)

Spain: Since September 6, Spain requires U.S. to show proof of full vaccination and submit health information to the Spain Travel Health portal, which generates

During the mid-1990s I traveled between Dayton, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., twice a month during the school year as half of a commuting couple. I could leave Dayton by 5:15 p.m., drive nearly 80 miles to the Columbus airport during rush hour, park my car in the economy lot, and still get to my gate in plenty of time for a 7:30 p.m. departure.

The terrorist attacks brought swift and lasting changes to the air travel experience in the United States. And after 20 years of ever-more-elaborate airport security protocols, many air travelers have no knowledge of – or only vague memories of – what air travel was like before 9/11.

On the other hand, it’s been jarring to watch how abruptly the sprawling Transportation Security Agency system was created – and how quickly American air travelers came to accept those security measures as both normal and seemingly permanent features of all U.S. airports.

Security Kabuki

In the early decades of air travel, airport security – beyond basic policing – was essentially nonexistent. Getting on a plane was no different from getting on a bus or train.

But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a wave of hijackings, terrorist attacks and extortion attempts – the most infamous being that of the man known as D.B. Cooper, who commandeered a Boeing 727, demanded US$200,000 and, upon securing the case, dramatically parachuted from the plane, never to be found. Attacks on U.S. flights usually prompted another new security measure, whether it was the formation of the air marshal program, which placed armed federal agents on U.S. commercial aircraft; the development of a hijacker profile, aimed at identifying people deemed likely to threaten an aircraft; or the screening of all passengers.

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By 1973, under the new protocols, air travelers had to pass through a metal detector and have any bags X-rayed to check for weapons or suspicious objects.

Above all, airlines didn’t want to inconvenience passengers, and airports were reluctant to lose the extra revenue from family and friends who might frequent airport restaurants, bars and shops when dropping off or picking up those passengers.

In addition, these security measures, though called for by the Federal Aviation Administration, were the responsibility of not the federal government, but the airlines. And to keep costs down, the airlines tended to contract private companies to conduct security screenings that used minimally trained low-paid employees.

The clampdown

All that changed with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Once the airlines returned to the skies on Sept. 14, 2001, it was immediately apparent that flying was going to be different. Passengers arriving at airports were greeted by armed military personnel, as governors throughout the country had mobilized the National Guard to protect the nation’s airports. They remained on patrol for several months.

Security measures only increased in December 2001, when Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber,” attempted to set off explosives in his shoes on an international flight from Paris

The rest of the world, though, might be wishing that travel could return to the way it was before the pandemic took hold.

Until it does, here’s what you need to know about tourism industry news, international reopenings and more.

1. Broadway is back

The cast of "Hadestown" celebrated their first post-shutdown performance on September 2.

The cast of “Hadestown” celebrated their first post-shutdown performance on September 2.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

New York City has continued its road to reopening, but the big news was tempered when Hurricane Ida hit, flooding subways, streets and homes across the city.

The Great White Way is back in business, but things may not look the same as they did before: Audience members at Broadway shows like “Hadestown” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” must provide proof of full vaccination and wear masks for the duration of the performance.

Many shows are opting to condense or shorten their run times to avoid having intermissions as well.

Another sign that the city is waking up? The iconic red-and-white TKTS line, where theatergoers can stand in Times Square to score last-minute Broadway and off-Broadway tickets, will reopen on September 14 at 3 p.m.

2. … and that goes for the waterways, too


Manhattan’s cruise ship terminal, which is on the Hudson River, will reopen in late September.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises are reportedly vying to have the honor of being the first line to return to the New York City terminal.

3. Universal has landed in China

Universal Studios Beijing Resort doesn’t open until September 20, but anticipation is already through the roof. A CNN source reports that some preview passes for the first Chinese Universal park were being scalped for hundreds of dollars.

Some of Universal’s most popular attractions, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Minion Land and Transformers Metrobase are here, and there’s also a Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness that’s exclusive to the Beijing park. In addition to rides, there’s a Mr. Ping’s Noodle House that looks just like the one from the movies.

While China’s borders are almost entirely closed to travelers, within the country tourism is mostly open.

4. CDC advises against going to Saint Lucia and Switzerland

Oman shares land borders with Saudi Arabia. Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Oman shares land borders with Saudi Arabia. Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Haitham Al-Shukairi/AFP/Getty Images

In its latest round of travel advisories, the CDC has updated its Covid risk lists once again. Seven new destinations, including Saint Lucia, Puerto Rico and Switzerland, were added to the level four “very high risk” category.

While the designation is not a ban, the CDC advises that anyone traveling to a level four spot be fully vaccinated first.

And speaking of Oman…

5. Oman is now welcoming travelers

The Gulf nation has reopened its land, air and sea borders to vaccinated travelers as of September 1. Visitors must be at least 14 days past their second dose of an approved vaccine (or the sole dose, if they got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and be from a country that allows Omani

The director of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention this week asked Americans who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 to stay home during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a news briefing on Tuesday.

Walensky said people who are fully vaccinated should still take precautions. The CDC says of those eligible for vaccines, 38.5% are not fully vaccinated. It recommends travelers get tested 1-3 days before traveling, and another 3-5 days after traveling.

For those who are traveling, gas prices have been on the rise ahead of the Labor Day Weekend, according to AAA. Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast, which were hit by the massive hurricane, play a major role in oil production.

“Drivers will almost assuredly see gas prices rise this week, because of Hurricane Ida’s effects on the Gulf Coast,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a statement Monday. “Based on overnight movement in the futures market, a 10- to 20-cent jump at the pump is not out of the question. Where gas prices go from here will depend on the extent of the damage and how long it will take for fuel production and transportation lines to return to normal.”

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Florida’s average gas prices have declined during the past three weeks and were at $2.95 a gallon Sunday for regular unleaded. That was down 3 cents a gallon from the previous week.

April Smith was visiting from Michigan.

“We came here because it’s my husband’s birthday the day after Labor Day, and he’s never seen the ocean,” Smith said.

She said they made a 16-hour drive to Jacksonville Beach and that she and her husband have both been vaccinated.

Mark Harris is local to the Jacksonville Beach area and said he’s welcoming the visitors.

“I’m a big believe in live your life, do it the way you wanna do it,” Harris said. “If people come here and have a good time and travel, so be it.”

Another group of people flew in from Indianapolis for a bachelor party. All said they were vaccinated and are taking precautions.

Traffic at Florida’s busiest airport — Orlando — is forecast to exceed pre-pandemic crowds. Officials at Orlando International Airport said Wednesday that this Labor Day weekend they are expecting more than 303,000 departures, a 7% increase above Labor Day weekend in 2019.

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The official holiday travel period started Thursday and ends next Tuesday.

The busiest travel day of the holiday weekend is expected to be on Saturday when Orlando International Airport is forecast to have more than 53,000 departures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Americans have been advised to not travel to two more countries in the Schengen Area – Switzerland and Estonia – after a spike up in the number of Coronavirus cases detected in both.

Updating the Travel Advisory, which is reviewed every week, the US Department of State has changed the level of advice against travel Switzerland and Estonia from “Reconsider Travel” to “Do Not Travel”, which is the highest advisory level due to the greater likelihood of life-threatening risks, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Estonia due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country,” reads the advisory updated on August 30.

The same also notes for US citizens wishing to travel to these countries in spite of the advisory that being vaccinated with a vaccine authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration lowers the risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms. So far, the FDA has approved only Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines against COVID-19.

The Department of State has issued the same Travel Advisory for Switzerland as well.

Data by the World Health Organization show that since the beginning of the pandemic, Switzerland -which is home to a population of 8.545 million – has recorded a total of 773,583 COVID-19 cases, only six of which in the last 24 hours.

Estonia, which counts 1.325 million residents, has registered 357 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the number of COVID-19 infections detected since the beginning of the pandemic to 141,956.

Only within the month of August, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that the US first advised its citizens to not travel to Greece, Ireland and Malta on August 2, and then on August 9, it advised against travel to France and Iceland. The advice on travel to these countries has, however, changed since then.

The list of EU and Schengen Area countries, for which there is currently a Do Not Travel advisory goes as follows:

  • Cyprus, since July 26
  • Estonia, since August 30
  • France, since August 9
  • Greece, since August 2
  • Iceland, since August 23
  • Ireland, since August 2
  • Malta, since August 2
  • The Netherlands, since June 17
  • Portugal, since July 26
  • Spain, since July 26
  • Switzerland, since August 30

On Monday, August 30, the EU Council recommended to the Member States to reimpose an entry ban on non-essential restriction-free travel from the United States, after the same move was warned for more than a week, due to the increase in the number of COVID cases in the US.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased travel advisories to Canada on Monday, advising Americans to “reconsider” travel plans into the country amid a spike in COVID-19.

The State Department said Monday that on the advice of the CDC, it had re-categorized travel advisories from Level 2 — “exercise increased caution” — to Level 3 — “reconsider travel” — due to “a high level of COVID-19 in the country.”

Canada has seen an increase in cases as the more contagious delta variant spreads throughout the country. According to Johns Hopkins, case rates have increased from a low of about 2,500 a day at the end of July to a current total of about 21,000.

By comparison, the U.S. currently has a seven-day average of about 42,000 cases a day, a number that appears to be falling.

Canada reports that it has fully vaccinated 65% of its total population, while the U.S. has fully vaccinated 52% of its population.

The move comes less than three weeks after the U.S. lowered travel advisories to Level 2. That came a day after Canada opened its border with the U.S. for non-essential travel for some vaccinated Americans. It marked the first time since the start of the pandemic that Canada had allowed non-essential travel from Americans.

The U.S. has kept its restrictions on non-essential travel through its borders in place since the start of the pandemic. Those restrictions will remain in place until at least Sept. 21.

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The US is surpassing an average of 160,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. With the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant and many students returning to the classroom for a new academic year, the rise is concerning officials and health experts.

“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing on Tuesday.

Walensky said that while people who are fully vaccinated can travel with precautions, current transmission rates mean they too need to take Covid-19 risk into consideration when deciding whether or not to travel.

Health experts have said that vaccination is the best way to protect against the virus’ spread, and many have attributed the spike in cases to the large portion of Americans who are unvaccinated.

Of those eligible for vaccinations, which includes Americans 12-years-old and older, 38.6% are not yet fully vaccinated, according to data from the CDC.

This week, data presented by a CDC vaccine adviser showed a hospitalization rate 16 times greater in the unvaccinated population than in those vaccinated. And the surge in hospitalizations, particularly among unvaccinated people, has stretched hospitals thin.

In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little said the state has reached a point in the pandemic “we have not seen before” with more Idahoans in the ICUs than ever before. He stressed multiple times that the “vast majority” are unvaccinated.

“Yesterday evening I toured a nearly full ICU wing in Boise. What I saw was heartbreaking,” he said Tuesday. “Some were young, two were middle-aged, two patients were pregnant… All of them were struggling to breathe and most were only breathing with help from a machine.”

He said medical staff are “exhausted,” so the state is adding up to 370 additional personnel to help.

A new case study published Tuesday illustrated the impact of gatherings of large groups of unvaccinated people.

In June, attendees met for a five-day overnight church camp and a two-day men’s conference in Illinois, neither of which required vaccination, testing or masks. By August, 180 Covid-19 cases were connected to the events, including five hospitalizations, according to the investigation, conducted by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

A healthcare worker at a 24-hour drive-thru site set up by Miami-Dade and Nomi Health in Tropical Park administers a Covid-19 test on Monday in Miami, Florida.

More than 200,000 kids test positive in a week

Concern is growing over infections in children, many of whom don’t have access to the vaccine yet.

And those who are eligible are not reaping the full benefits. Children ages 12 to 15 are eligible but less then half of that group is vaccinated with at least one dose, according to data published Monday by the CDC.

The result has been cases in children increasing “exponentially,” the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Tuesday.

More than 200,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 in the last week, a five-fold increase from a month ago, the AAP said. And rates of hospitalizations have risen with the cases.

Between August 20 and 26, an average of 330 children