The Cook Islands will not reopen travel to New Zealand until there has been no community transmission of Covid-19 for 14 days and travellers over 12 have been fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Mark Brown says.

Cook Islands borders have been closed to New Zealand for more than three weeks since the first Delta case was first reported on August 16 in Auckland.

The country’s government closed off travel immediately, only allowing Kiwis in the Cook Islands to return.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown says his government is doing everything possible to protect the health of Cook Islanders and the country’s economy.

Ryan Anderson/Stuff

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown says his government is doing everything possible to protect the health of Cook Islanders and the country’s economy.

Brown said the decision by his Cabinet might be disappointing to many, but those people now had at least some indication of when tourism may resume.

READ MORE:
* Cook Islands tourism focus turns to Australia
* Cook Islands ready to host Kiwi tourists from May 1, says Prime Minister Mark Brown
* Fears Cook Islands will not be able to host as many visitors if two-way bubble doesn’t inflate soon

He said that at some point in the future, all countries would have to live with Covid-19. However, that time wasn’t now for Cook Islanders, as they closely monitor New Zealand’s Delta outbreak and vaccination programme.

Torika Tokalau/Stuff

Cook Islands hotel owner Richard Vinsen says the past 15 months have been difficult but he’s hopeful the New Zealand travel bubble will revive the country’s fortunes.

“As one of the few countries in the world that has managed to keep Covid-19 out, we do not want to do anything to jeopardise the safety of our people,” Brown said.

“While we acknowledge that at some point in the future all countries will need to learn to live with Covid-19, that time has not yet come.

“We do not want an outbreak here. The impact on our health resources as well as our economy would be devastating.”

Brown said his government was doing everything possible to protect the health and wellbeing of Cook Islanders as well as the country’s economy.

The Cook Islands closed its borders to New Zealand as soon as a community case was identified in Auckland in August.

RYAN ANDERSON/Stuff

The Cook Islands closed its borders to New Zealand as soon as a community case was identified in Auckland in August.

More than 300 Cook Islanders stranded in New Zealand would have to wait until at least next Tuesday to find out if they could return home.

Brown said his government was looking at repatriation flights from Christchurch for those outside of Auckland in level 2 areas, but no dates had been set yet.

Those travellers would need to provide a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before departure, complete a Cook Islands managed return application form and undergo a seven-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival into Rarotonga.

Brown said because of the risk of Covid-19, Cook Islanders in Auckland had to wait for a drop to level 2 or below before being allowed to catch a flight home.

His Cabinet would continue to review new information and advice from its health authorities when vaccination numbers increase in

(CNN) — Island destinations from the Caribbean Sea to the Indian Ocean joined a handful of Eastern European countries among the latest places deemed “very high” risk for travel by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius, Albania and Serbia on Monday moved to the “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” category on the CDC’s evolving list of travel notices.

Afghanistan, which has been in turmoil since the Taliban takeover and US withdrawal last month, also moved to Level 4, along with several more destinations.

People should avoid traveling to locations designated with the “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” notice, the CDC recommends. Anyone who must travel should be fully vaccinated first, the agency advises.

• Afghanistan
• Albania
• Belize
• Grenada
• Lithuania
• Mauritius
• Saint Kitts and Nevis
• Serbia
• Slovenia

The CDC’s travel notices range from Level 1 (“low”) to Level 4 (“very high”).

Destinations that fall into the “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, according to CDC criteria.

All of the destinations listed above moved up from “Level 3: Covid-19 High.”

The Level 3 category applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Israel was also listed as a Level 4 update on Monday afternoon. However, Israel was already listed in the Level 4 category before the weekly update. The CDC has not immediately responded to CNN’s request for clarification.

New ‘Level 3’ destinations

Four other destinations moved to the Level 3 category on Monday: Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia and Romania.

Brazil moved down from Level 4, while Australia, Ethiopia and Romania were previously listed in the Level 2 “moderate” category.

Australia has recently struggled to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant, which has spread to the major population centers of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, leading to lengthy lockdowns.

In its broader travel guidance, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

“Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread Covid-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some Covid-19 variants,” the agency said.

Top image: Aerial view of Sandy Island, Carriacou, Grenada (Adobe Stock Photo). CNN’s Ben Westcott contributed to this report.

Two-thirds of travel sector employers with staff still on the furlough scheme are planning redundancies once the wage support is removed at the end of the month, the travel association ABTA has warned.

The body said a survey of its membership showed that 69% of employers planned to let staff go after 30 September.

It blamed “overly-cautious” coronavirus restrictions on travel in the UK, saying they had hammered demand during the peak summer season and inflicted huge damage on the industry’s chances of recovery as a result.

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Travel boss welcomes prospect of UK restrictions easing

ABTA said that it expected almost 100,000 people in the sector, including airlines, to have either lost their jobs or walked away during the COVID pandemic once the Job Retention Scheme was closed.

The figure rose to 226,000 when the employment impact on the supply chain was factored in, its report said.

It warned that 43% of travel agent and tour operator workers, tens of thousands of people, were currently still on furlough though the report could not put a number on the roles set to be lost.

ABTA spoke out as ministers prepare to review the restrictions covering international travel by 1 October – with discussions set to intensify this week as the PM outlines later on Tuesday his plan to deal with coronavirus over the coming months.

ABTA is demanding the traffic light system for destinations is scrapped, along with the widespread use of PCR testing.

It accused the government of wasting the success of the vaccine rollout to date and said it should be up to individuals to determine their own risk status.

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Javid wants to scrap PCR tests for travellers

The body complained that shifting restrictions and confusion meant that 58% of bookings, with departure dates in July or August this year, had to be postponed or cancelled.

It concluded that too much damage had been done to demand for the government to end financial support now, with a letter to Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak urging “a package of tailored financial support – extending the furlough scheme for travel businesses and a dedicated grant fund”.

ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer, said: “The government’s travel requirements have choked off this summer’s travel trade – putting jobs, businesses and the UK’s connectivity at risk.

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Heathrow boss urges change to travel rules

“While our European neighbours have been travelling freely and safely, the British were subject to expensive measures which have stood in the way of people visiting family and friends, taking that much-needed foreign holiday and making important business connections.

“The government needs to wake up to the damage its policies are doing to the UK travel industry and the impact they will have on the wider economic recovery.

“It is the fares from leisure passengers that keep our planes flying

Rawpixel / Shutterstock

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With the holiday season quickly approaching, many people are making their travel plans now. But there’s always a chance you may have to cancel, especially with the threat of the ongoing pandemic. While travel insurance often comes to mind as a solution for protecting your trip plans, not just any policy will do.

Read: How To Budget and Plan for a Vacation in 2021
Get Ready: Travel Prep: 10 Financial To-Dos Before Going on a Trip

“Sometimes, people don’t understand that not all travel insurances are the same,” said Jess C., founder of Easy American Travel. “Just because you bought travel insurance doesn’t mean that it will cover everything related to your trip, including your health. Travel insurance companies don’t offer everything in one product, and they slip this into two to three products.”

Here’s everything you need to know to ensure you get the right kind of travel insurance in case of a COVID-19-related trip cancellation.

Where To Purchase COVID-19 Travel Insurance

When it comes to COVID-19 travel insurance, the best option for purchasing is through a travel insurance company. Avoid buying travel insurance policies or vacation waivers that are offered as an add-on by travel agencies or booking sites because they are likely to have more exclusions and less chance of covering COVID-19 cancellations.

Options for COVID-19 Travel Insurance Cancellation

There are a couple of options that can cover you if you have to cancel your trip for reasons due to COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know.

Learn More: 40 Pandemic Airport Secrets Only Insiders Know

Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance (CFAR)

CFAR coverage is just what it sounds like: With it, you can cancel your trip for any reason, including fear of COVID-19.

“If you’re looking to book a trip for the upcoming holidays, look into buying Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) Travel Insurance,” recommended Amanda Hand, head of marketing and communications at G1G Travel Insurance. “It’s the best way to protect yourself against unexpected cancellations due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, unexpected border closures and a general fear of travel — all things not covered by standard travel insurance plans.”

To get a CFAR insurance plan, you’ll have to purchase a standard travel insurance plan and add the CFAR coverage.

CFAR typically covers 50%-75% of your lost, prepaid travel expenses as long as you purchase it within 14-21 days of your first trip payment and cancel your trip by the specified deadline, which is typically 48 hours before your scheduled departure.

Be advised that the window of time to purchase CFAR may vary by company and not all travel insurance companies offer it. Make sure to read the fine print of the CFAR policy to double-check cancellation deadlines.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

If you are only concerned about contracting the virus and not being able to proceed with your travel plans, trip cancellation insurance may be the way to go.

“Now, if you don’t want to opt

American Airlines flight attendant Julia Simpson was eager to get back on a plane after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks upended air travel 20 years ago and shifted how the world thought about flying on an airplane.

The first plane to strike the World Trade Center buildings was full of flight attendants from Boston, where Simpson was the local union head. Not only was she grieving, but she and thousands of other employees were wondering if this would be the end of American Airlines after two of the Fort Worth-based carrier’s planes were used as weapons in the terror attacks.

“There was really a team mentality where we all came together because we needed to get this airline up and running again,” she said. “When flights were happening again, American was really good about coordinating and letting flight attendants fly where they wanted to fly, with who they wanted to fly with.”

Commercial air travel resumed just two days later with security checkpoints at airports that would become standard after that day.

Passengers banded together, too, she said. They watched out for signs of suspicious behavior, they were more willing to help out flight attendants and didn’t complain about security searches for box cutters, knives, scissors and the types of weapons that were used to hijack the four planes days earlier.

“They watched that safety demonstration like a hawk — like they had never seen it,” Simpson said. “20 years later, there is none of that now.”

Two decades after airplanes united travelers against a common enemy — terrorism —the COVID-19 pandemic has pitted passengers against passengers on planes and once again left flight attendants and pilots as the first responders to threats 35,000 feet in the air.

There have been reports of passengers attacking one another over wearing federally mandated masks. Others have attacked flight attendants, such as a California woman charged last week in federal court for punching a flight attendant and knocking out two teeth during an altercation in May. The woman could face more than 30 years in jail.

While airline executives suggested 18 months ago that the COVID-19 crisis would have the same financial impact on the airline industry as the 2001 terrorist attacks, few could have guessed that it would spark a similar level of anxiety and trepidation in the air.

The 2001 terrorist attacks instigated the biggest changes in air travel since commercial airlines started flying after World War II. Passengers were now asked to show up two hours or more early and wait in security lines while federal agents searched bags and scanned for weapons on bodies.

Erin Bowen, an aviation psychologist and professor at the University of Texas-Arlington, said the massive changes to public life after 9/11 were met with a united message from political leaders, the business world and the general population. People grumbled, but few lashed out at the new measures.

“There wasn’t a single person out there saying we don’t need security,” Bowen said. “And you had

Thu, Sep 9th 2021 09:35 am

42% likely to cancel existing trips without rescheduling 

By the American Hotel & Lodging Association

U.S. leisure travelers plan to significantly pare back travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases, with 69% planning to take fewer trips, 55% planning to postpone existing travel plans, and 42% likely to cancel existing plans without rescheduling, according to a new national survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). Nearly three in four (72%) are likely to only travel to places within driving distance.

While leisure travel historically begins to decline after Labor Day, it remains critical throughout the year. The new survey highlights the ongoing negative effects of the pandemic on travel and underscores the need for targeted federal relief, such as the Save Hotel Jobs Act

More than one in five hotel jobs lost during the pandemic – nearly 500,000 in total – will not have returned by the end of this year. For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, hotels support an additional 26 jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hotel supply companies – meaning an additional nearly 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are also at risk.

The survey of 2,200 adults was conducted Aug. 11-12, 2021. Of these, 1,707 people, or 78% of respondents, are leisure travelers – that is, those who indicated they may travel for leisure in 2021. Key findings among leisure travelers include the following:

√ 69% are likely to take fewer trips and 65% are likely to take shorter trips

√ 42% are likely to cancel existing travel plans with no plans to reschedule

√ 55% are likely to postpone existing travel plans until a later date

√ 72% are likely to only travel to places they can drive to

√ 70% are likely to travel with smaller groups 

“With COVID-19 cases rising and travel concerns mounting as we enter the fall and winter months, the hotel industry is at a pivotal point. Unless Congress acts, pandemic-related travel reductions will continue to threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of hotel workers,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “For over a year, hotel employees and small business owners across the nation have been asking Congress for direct pandemic relief. This data underscores why it’s time for Congress to act.”

Recently released AHLA survey results show that business travelers are also scaling back their travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases. That includes 67% planning to take fewer trips, 52% likely to cancel existing travel plans without rescheduling, and 60% planning to postpone existing travel plans.

Hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry yet to receive direct aid despite being among the hardest hit. That is why AHLA and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers’ union in North America, joined forces to call on Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Charlie

(CNN) — Two tropical islands half a world apart and popular with tourists — Jamaica in the Caribbean and Sri Lanka in South Asia — are now among the highest-risk destinations for travelers.

That’s according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel advisories list, which was updated on Tuesday.

Also joining the bulging highest-risk list during a global swell of Delta variant cases is the isolated nation of Brunei on the island of Borneo.

People should avoid traveling to locations designated with the “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” notice, the CDC recommends. Anyone who must travel should be fully vaccinated first, the agency advises.

How the CDC ranks nations

An aerial view of Kingston, Jamaica. The popular Caribbean island has been hit with a surge of Covid-19 cases recently.

An aerial view of Kingston, Jamaica. The popular Caribbean island has been hit with a surge of Covid-19 cases recently.

Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images

The CDC’s evolving list of travel notices ranges from Level 1 (“low”) to Level 4 (“very high”).

Destinations that fall into the “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, according to CDC criteria. The Level 3 category applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Jamaica’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign has had low numbers so far, with only 19 doses given per 100 people as of Tuesday. It has been in a series of curfews since late August with “no-movement” days in hopes of slowing the virus’ spread.
Sri Lanka has seen a swell in cases recently despite having one of Asia’s stronger vaccination campaigns, with 102 doses administered per 100 people as of Tuesday. By comparison, its much larger neighbor India has only given 49 doses per 100 people.

Other popular destinations on Level 4

A view of the Peloponnese in Greece, which is at the CDC's highest risk level.

A view of the Peloponnese in Greece, which is at the CDC’s highest risk level.

Suzanne Plunkett/CNN

Some of the most visited vacation spots around the world occupy a spot on the CDC’s Level 4 list. That includes Covid-ravaged Brazil, which has occupied a spot there for months. Other popular nations currently considered the highest risk include:

— The Bahamas
— Costa Rica
— France
— Greece
— Iceland
— Ireland
— Malaysia
— Portugal
— South Africa
— Spain
— Thailand
— Turkey
— United Kingdom.

You may click here to see all Level 4 nations, plus the other three levels as well.

Level 3: High risk

Also on Tuesday, 10 nations were newly assigned to the CDC’s “Level 3: Covid-19 High” category. A big mover popular with the luxury travel set was the little Caribbean resort island of Anguilla.

It had been at “Level 1: Low” and had maintained strict protocols on arriving tourists throughout the pandemic. Visitors must be fully vaccinated to enter and still must take a Covid-19 test and quarantine.

The other places moved up to Level 3 on Tuesday were:

— Antigua and Barbuda (up from Level 2)
— Benin (up from Level 1)
— Ghana (up from Level

For now, many countries are allowing U.S. travelers, though some are adding new entry requirements.

Spain, for example, had some of the least restrictive rules but beginning Monday, U.S. travelers will only be allowed to enter the country if they first present a QR code generated through the Spain Travel Health portal. In addition, U.S. tourists must also show one of the following: proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test or a certificate of recovery. Children under 12 are exempt from these requirements.

Italy now requires fully vaccinated Americans to provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. In addition to showing a negative test, unvaccinated travelers must also quarantine for five days upon arrival and then be tested again.

Beginning Sept. 4, unvaccinated Americans can’t travel to the Netherlands for nonessential purposes, such as vacations. Vaccinated travelers will need to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

Unvaccinated Americans are also prohibited from traveling to Denmark unless they have a “worthy purpose” for entry as defined by the Danish government, which might include being a student or au pair, or attending a documented business meeting. Fully vaccinated Americans are allowed to enter for any reason, including tourism.

Other countries have decided to temporarily stop tourism from the U.S. Sweden implemented a ban on nonessential travel from the U.S. that will go into effect Monday, and applies to vaccinated vacationers.

Read the full article.

The European Union removed the U.S. from its safe travel list earlier this week, as the Biden administration took measures to bolster the vaccine supply chain to meet the anticipated rise in demand.

Children Account for One in Five COVID-19 Cases

Last week, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children accounted for 22.4% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases, a substantial increase since the beginning of summer and well above the average seen since the beginning of the pandemic. Experts anticipate these numbers to increase as schools are reopening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends indoor masking in schools for all students, staff, teachers and visitors, irrespective of vaccine status. Children under the age of 12 are unvaccinated, as no vaccine has been approved for use for under the age of 12 — but this week Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, said there is a chance vaccines may be available for these children by the winter holidays. This week, CDC director Rochelle Walensky spoke about new data set to be released Friday that indicates more children are contracting COVID-19 because of increased disease in their communities — but that there is no increased disease severity, and that community-level vaccination is protecting children.

Restrictions on American Travelers Headed to Europe

This week the United States was removed from the European Union’s safe list for travel; however, the travel restrictions are not uniform throughout the continent. Only two countries have entirely blocked U.S. travelers from visiting — Bulgaria and Norway — while two others have only closed their border to unvaccinated Americans. Nine countries have quarantine requirements for unvaccinated travelers, and the remaining countries are open to American travelers but with certain pre-qualifying requirements, includingproof of vaccination, a EU Digital COVID certificate or a negative test results within a certain timeframe prior to arrival.

$3B To Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chain

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients announced the Biden administration will spend $3 billion in expanding the domestic vaccine manufacturing supply chain by supporting the purchase of equipment, inputs, supplies and other necessities. This is intended to increase manufacturers’ capacity and capability to keep up with anticipated increase in demand, as eligible vaccinated Americans in the coming weeks will be heading to get their booster shot. The funds will be available to vaccine manufacturers as well as producers of personal protective equipment. During a news briefing, Zients said the funding will allow manufacturers to add new production lines and facilities and fulfill President Biden’s pledge to be the “arsenal of vaccines for the world.”

FDA Considers Booster Shots

The Biden administration recently announced the United States will begin rolling out booster shots of the mRNA vaccines in September, pending Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC recommendations. Some public health authorities raised concerns that the White House’s announcement will pressure FDA and the CDC to endorse the extra shot, even if the data are insufficient. In a press release Wednesday, Peter Marks,

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – It has been a busy travel weekend for millions of Americans. Whether you are traveling by road or plane, or just celebrating the new college football season, all of us are dealing with the threat of COVID-19.



graphical user interface, website: Labor Day travel concerns


© Provided by Huntsville-Decatur WAFF
Labor Day travel concerns

Health officials are warning Labor Day travel could likely lead to another spike in COVID cases.

After the Fourth of July, ADPH reported COVID-19 patient hospitalizations doubled weeks after holiday celebrations.

The Transportation Security Administration reports this year, more than 10 million people were screened on the Fourth of July weekend.

The number of travelers is way down from just two months ago. TSA reports around 2.1 million people were screened by TSA officers on Friday. On Sunday, just over 1.6 million people were screened.

ADPH spokesperson Dr. Karen Landers says everyone unvaccinated needs to be extra cautious.

“We have been hovering just under 3000 hospitalizations and we have had well over 50 children on any given day hospitalized. The most important aspect that we need to remind people is when you are getting together keep in mind that if you are unvaccinated your COVID risk is really the same in terms of contracting COVID,” said Landers.

Dr. Landers said another spike needs to be avoided at all costs because hospitals are at full capacity. Right now more than 600 people are on ventilators in Alabama.

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