Vaccinated visitors from third countries planning to travel to the Netherlands may soon be subject to milder travel restrictions, as the country’s government is discussing such a possibility.

Besides, the country may soon lift its advice not to travel to many countries due to the current COVID-19 situation, unless for essential reasons, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working on such a plan, a spokesperson told De Telegraaf, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“The virus is not going away. You cannot keep the world locked up, and we recognize the importance of travel,” the Ministry spokesperson pointed out, as reported by De Telegraaf.

“We understand the unrest in the travel world and are looking for a solution – the world can’t stay locked, but passenger safety and Dutch public health must be guaranteed,” the spokespersons told the Dutch newspaper.

However, it is still unclear how the new system would work, as the policy will not be implemented any time soon.

On September 4, the Dutch government started to abolish some of its policies applied until that date as a preventive measure imposed to halt the further spread of the virus. Since the exact date, the country’s government lifted the “variant countries” terms for territories considered as a variant of concern, using instead only the terms as orange or red for countries highly affected by the virus.

Such a decision means that vaccinated travellers from territories that have reported a large number of COVID-19 infections are no longer urged to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to the Dutch territory.

According to the figures published by the World Health Organization, a total of 1,961,585 people have tested positive for the Coronavirus up to this point, while 18,055 have died.

Previously, the Dutch government said that some of the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus and its new strains could be lifted on September 20; however, the planned date is likely to be postponed.

In this regard, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that as long as the infection rate and the number of COVID-19 patients in the country’s hospitals remain under control, some of the current restrictions could be lifted.

At present, the Netherlands is among European countries that keep in place the toughest restrictions imposed as a response to the recent surge in the number of infections recorded in other countries.

Recently, authorities in the Netherlands imposed stricter entry restrictions for arrivals from the US, following the EU Council recommendation.

In this regard, the Dutch government stressed that vaccinated travellers from the US must undergo a ten-day compulsory quarantine upon their arrival in the Netherlands. However, authorities clarified that the period of quarantine could be shortened if travellers test negative for the virus on the fifth day.

SYDNEY, Sept 6 (Reuters) – The Australian and New Zealand dollars eased on Monday after data on Friday showed the world’s largest economy created the fewest job in seven months in August, but trade was expected to be subdued ahead of a Reserve Bank of Australia policy decision.

The Australian dollar was 0.15% lower at $0.7437 but remained near a two-month high of $0.74775 touched in the previous trading session.

Data on Friday showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 235,000 jobs last month, the smallest gain since January, as hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector stalled amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, though other details of the report were fairly strong.

“AUD will remain largely driven by U.S. dollar direction this week and the outlook for FOMC tapering,” analysts at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a client note.

Trading volumes would remain low with U.S. markets closed for the Labor Day holiday, traders said, while investors were also looking ahead to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy decision on Tuesday.

Most analysts polled by Reuters expect the RBA to leave the cash rate at 0.1%, but are split on whether the central bank will delay tapering plans as the economy struggles with the fallout of lockdowns in various states.

If the RBA sticks to its plans to taper bond purchases, the Aussie could temporarily jump higher, analysts said.

The risk-sensitive currency has support at $0.7400 and $0.7350, and could also benefit from record dividend payments from mining companies in the short-term.

Across the Tasman sea, the kiwi fell 0.29% to $0.7141, but remained close to its highest level in nearly three months hit on Friday at $0.7170.

New Zealand reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 for a third day in a row on Monday, ahead of a government decision on whether to lift restrictions enforced in most of the country.

New Zealand government bonds traded lower, pushing yields 3 to 4 basis points higher across the curve.

Yields on Australia’s 10-year paper also rose 3 basis points to 1.264%.

Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

As a new surge in the COVID-19 pandemic races across the country, travel stakeholders, lawmakers and mayors of border towns are nonetheless pleading with the Biden Administration to relax restrictions on non-essential travel.

While many European countries have opened travel to Americans, the U.S. has been slow – some might say non-existent – to reciprocate, according to CNN.

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“I would say the pleasantries for taking the time to meet with us have gone out the window and we go right to the meat of the question,” said Peter Vlitas, executive vice president of global supplier relations at Internova Travel Group. “After one and a half years, we get right to it. We want an explanation why.”

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President Joe Biden.

Administration officials are still weighing next steps and whether nonessential restrictions, as well as other limits on travel, can be eased at all amid concerns about the Delta variant, though the White House has indicated it’s not likely anytime soon.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said agency working groups are looking at how to reopen the borders.

“The interagency working groups are currently developing a policy process, and we will be ready when it is the right time to consider reopening travel. And that’ll be guided, as always, by the science and the public health,” Zients said earlier this month.

American officials have also partnered with representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico to discuss reopening.

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents currently residing in the U.S. are allowed into Canada as of last week but vaccinated Canadians can’t cross the land border with the US if not for an essential purpose until August 21.

Only time will tell when COVID-19 related travel restrictions will be completely lifted. It might be longer than some hope for, as the federal transportation mask mandate was just extended into 2022.

For the latest travel news and updates, be sure to subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter here.

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A tangled web of Covid-19 border restrictions has limited who can travel to the US. One of the rules bars migrants from seeking asylum. Others have effectively halted tourism from abroad. And restrictions on cross-border travel have been renewed monthly, with the next deadline fast approaching on Saturday.

“I would say the pleasantries for taking the time to meet with us have gone out the window and we go right to the meat of the question. After one and a half years, we get right to it. We want an explanation why,” said Peter Vlitas, executive vice president of global supplier relations at Internova Travel Group.

Administration officials are still weighing next steps and whether nonessential restrictions, as well as other limits on travel, can be eased at all amid concerns about the Delta variant, though the White House has indicated it’s not likely anytime soon.

White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said agency working groups are looking at how to reopen the borders. “The interagency working groups are currently developing a policy process, and we will be ready when it is the right time to consider reopening travel. And that’ll be guided, as always, by the science and the public health,” Zients said earlier this month. American officials have also partnered with representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico to discuss reopening.
CNN previously reported that the administration was developing a plan to mandate vaccinations for almost all foreign visitors to the US, though a final plan had not been determined.

Canada, meanwhile, did just that. Fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents currently residing in the US are allowed into Canada as of last week, but vaccinated Canadians can’t cross the land border with the US if not for an essential purpose.

Marco Mendicino, Canada’s minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, told CNN the country is respecting the US decision-making process and timing of its decisions. “In the meantime, what we’ll do is keep the line of communication open,” he said.

But Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins, who represents New York communities along the northern border like Niagara and Buffalo, argued that the public health guidance and limits on the US land borders are inconsistent.

Canada announces vaccine mandate for air travel

“There’s not only inconsistencies but there’s direct conflict with what we’re told to do by government and public health officials and the policy on the Canadian border,” Higgins, said.

Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States have been growing, though vaccination rates in the US have increased over recent weeks, a trend that experts say needs to continue to curb the current surge of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has called it “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Still, more of Europe opened up this summer to US leisure travelers, especially the fully vaccinated, adding to the frustration of those in the travel industry, who argue the US needs to reciprocate or at least adjust to the current landscape.

“We’ve been frozen in

(Adds Powell’s prepared testimony)

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) – U.S. monetary policy will offer “powerful support” to the economy “until the recovery is complete,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday in remarks that portrayed a recent jump in inflation as temporary and focused on the need for continued job gains.

Any move to pull back support for the economy, by first slowing the U.S. central bank’s $120 billion in monthly bond purchases, is “still a ways off,” Powell said in comments prepared for delivery to the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT).

Despite recent job gains “there is still a long way to go” in pulling millions of people from the sidelines, many of them lower-wage, Black or Hispanic workers hit hardest by the recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, Powell said.

Addressing concerns that inflation posed new risks of its own, Powell said the pace of price increases “will likely remain elevated in coming months before moderating,” language that indicated he saw no need to rush the shift towards post-pandemic policy. Long-term inflation expectations, he said, remained consistent with the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

U.S. Treasury yields fell after the release of Powell’s prepared testimony even though prices of factory inputs rose at a higher-than-expected pace, an indication markets construed his comments as keeping the monetary taps open.

The remarks were notable as well for excluding any mention of the Delta variant of the coronavirus as a risk to the recovery, with Powell saying the Fed expects strong upcoming job gains “as public health conditions continue to improve.”

Powell is likely to be questioned about that issue as well as the Fed’s outlook on inflation, the labor market and the economic recovery during two days of testimony in Congress.

Powell appears before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Faster-than-anticipated inflation and a new rise in coronavirus infections due to the Delta variant pose a potential dilemma for Powell, pulling the outlook for policy in opposite directions.

The Fed’s June meeting saw officials begin a move towards post-pandemic policy, with some of them poised to tighten financial conditions sooner to ensure inflation remains contained. Renewed coronavirus-related risks, if they materialize, could push the Fed in the other direction of keeping support for the recovery in place longer in case household and business spending wanes amid a rise in new infections.

Falling Treasury bond yields have indicated concern among investors about slowing U.S. economic growth, even as new data on prices this week showed consumers paying appreciably more for an array of goods and services, including appliances, fabric, beef and rent.

In a report to Congress last week, the Fed said that as the “extraordinary circumstances” of the reopening subside, “supply and demand should become better aligned, and inflation is widely expected to move down.”

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While each month of high inflation makes it harder to stick to that conviction, Powell for now is keeping to the

Despite remaining concerns from health officials, United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo revealed she continues to press for the government to ease coronavirus-related travel restrictions on people entering the country.

According to Reuters.com, business groups, lawmakers and officials from foreign governments have been advocating for the relaxation of tough restrictions previously put in place during the height of the pandemic.

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Raimondo revealed that she met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Friday about the possible expanded reopening of international travel, saying, “We’re working it, I’m pushing really hard.”

“The CDC is nervous, and it’s hard to know if people are vaccinated,” Raimondo told Reuters. “There’s no vaccine passport that’s reliable, and that’s kind of a big hurdle.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came out in support of Raimondo and the reopening plans, but others in U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration “remain worried that opening the door to more travelers from abroad could lead to increases in COVID-19 infection rates.”

While airlines and other travel-related industries are urging the administration to quickly lift restrictions covering most non-U.S. citizens from approved countries, the White House says it is continuing discussions with the European Union, Britain, Canada and Mexico on how to safely reopen the borders.

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Travelers from the UK to Germany will face softer quarantine restrictions, after altered recommendations from the German public health agency the Robert Koch Institute published on Monday. Portugal, Russia, India and Nepal have also been downgraded.

The change will means simpler requirements for people visiting those countries. People who have had either both vaccination doses, or who can demonstrate they have recovered from COVID, will not need to isolate on their return or arrival.

People who have not been vaccinated will be required to self-isolate, but only for up to 10 days. They will also have the option to leave quarantine early with a negative coronavirus test on the fifth day.

Under the countries’ previous classification, all people reaching Germany were required to self-isolate for 14 days, no matter what their personal COVID status. And only German citizens or residents were permitted to travel from the affected countries, not visitors from places like the UK.

The plan, which kicks in on Wednesday, comes after talks on Friday between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Health Minister Jens Spahn had already hinted last week that a possible change of policy would be forthcoming.

A Lufthansa plane taking off from Frankfurt Airport

Flights between Germany and the UK were restricted to essential travel only

Fears over delta variant

Officials in Berlin had feared that British nationals could spread the more contagious variant known as delta, which was first discovered in India.

But now that new variant is also present in continental Europe, Germany has downgraded the UK to a “high-incidence area”for coronavirus infections.

It is the second highest designation under the German government’s COVID-19 travel rules. Britain had been branded a “virus variant area” since May 23.

Changes to German travel rules

Eleven countries remain on Germany’s “virus variant area” list.

They include Botswana, Brazil, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Uruguay.

A PCR test center at the Sao Paulo International Airport.

Brazil stays on the German blacklist owing to high infection rates

German COVID caseloads have stabilized at very low levels in recent weeks, despite concerns about variants making up a larger share of the cases that remain. The RKI on Monday reported 212 new cases and an incidence rate of 5 new infections per 100,000 people over the last seven days.

jf/msh (AFP, Reuters)

The Government has today carefully considered health advice and will further ease Australia travel bubble restrictions at 11.59 pm (NZT) Friday, 9 July, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“Officials have assessed that the spread of COVID-19 cases appears to have been contained in Western Australia and Northern Territory, that there is robust surveillance, testing and contact tracing to detect and manage cases, and adequate border controls are in place to prevent the spread of new cases,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Based on this advice, Cabinet has today agreed that passengers can resume travel between New Zealand and Western Australia and Northern Territory from Saturday morning, 10 July, subject to strict conditions that will minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading to New Zealand.

“Conditions include a negative pre-departure test result from a test taken within three days before departure – this is already a requirement for all travel from Australia to New Zealand.

“Travellers must not also have previously been in New South Wales or Queensland on or after 10:30 pm (NZT) on 26 June. If they have been at a location of interest before then, they will not be able to travel to New Zealand for 14 days since they were last at that location.

“Travellers must also:

follow the current public health measures in place

wear face coverings on the aircraft and at the airport

make a health declaration

self-isolate and be tested immediately if they have any symptoms of illness.

“They should download the COVID tracer app and may be subject to random temperature checks.”

The pause with South Australia, ACT, Tasmania and Victoria lifted this morning.

Travel from NSW and Queensland

“QFT with Australia is important for both countries but only when it is safe. That’s why decisions are made for each state or territory,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Officials’ current assessment is that it’s too soon to make a call to lift the pause between New Zealand and Queensland, and as an extra precaution they want to see two or three more days’ worth of data. The pause between New Zealand and NSW will continue until further notice.

“The Government is, however, extremely mindful there will be people currently in NSW and Queensland that are ordinarily resident in New Zealand who are desperate to know when they can return and what steps they need to take.

“Managed return flights from NSW and Queensland for those eligible will start from 11.59 pm (NZT), Friday 9 July, subject to conditions.

“The introduction of these managed return flights will be similar to how we managed the return of travellers following the Victorian lockdown. Further details of the conditions will be issued tomorrow morning.”

(With Inputs from New Zealand Government Press Release)

People walk past a colonnade on Museum Island during warm temperatures, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Berlin, Germany May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN, July 1 (Reuters) – Germany expects the Delta variant of COVID-19 to account for up to 80% of infections this month and could ease travel restrictions from countries like Portugal and Britain where it already dominates, its health minister said on Thursday.

Jens Spahn told a news conference that Germany could reduce the current 14-day quarantine requirement that it imposes on travellers from countries with high levels of the Delta variant once it is sure that vaccinated people are protected.

Spahn said the move could happen soon, without specifying.

Germany’s STIKO vaccination commission said later on Thursday that UK studies show that two vaccines doses seem to provide as much protection against the Delta variant as against other COVID-19 variants. read more

Spahn reiterated the importance of speeding up vaccinations, noting that 37% of Germany’s population has now received two shots, while 55% has had a first dose.

About half of German coronavirus cases are currently Delta variant and Spahn said it will dominate later this month.

Germany last week declared Portugal and Russia to be “virus-variant zones”, meaning only German residents can enter the country from those countries and still face a mandatory two-week quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated or test negative.

That had prompted German tourists there to rush home and airlines to cancel flights.

Germany also classifies Britain as such a “virus variant” zone. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to discuss travel restrictions when she meets British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday.

Spahn suggested these countries could be shifted to a designation as risk areas, meaning people can travel if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, or be released from quarantine after five days if they test negative.

The European Commission said on Tuesday that Germany should not impose a travel ban on Portugal but limit itself to imposing testing and quarantine requirements to be in line with the European Union approach meant to ease summer travel.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson and Thomas Escritt; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Catherine Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

LONDON — Airlines and holiday providers on Friday expressed frustration with the U.K.’s plans to ease travel restrictions, saying uncertainty about how and when the new rules will be implemented make it difficult for people to book summer vacations.

The government on Thursday expanded its “green list” of safe travel destinations, allowing people to visit without having to self-isolate for 10 days after returning to Britain. However, all but one of the new additions were also placed on a watchlist, meaning the quarantine requirement may be re-imposed at short notice.

Transportation authorities also said they intend to relax travel restrictions by allowing fully vaccinated travelers to visit higher-risk destinations, including the U.S. and most of the European Union, without having to self-isolate. They expect to implement this change “later in the summer.”

“The U.K. has already fallen behind the EU’s reopening, and a continued overly cautious approach will further impact economic recovery and the 500,000 U.K. jobs that are at stake,” said Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, which offers mainly long-haul flights to destinations such as New York, Los Angeles and Barbados.

Airlines and hospitality companies have pressured the government to ease travel restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 following the U.K.’s successful vaccination program. The pandemic has devastated Britain’s travel industry, with the number of people flying through London’s Heathrow Airport, the nation’s busiest, plunging 73% last year.

The government has created a traffic light system to manage the reopening of air travel. Destinations with low levels of COVID-19 and high levels of vaccination are placed on the “green list,” which allows pleasure trips and doesn’t require self-isolation on return to Britain. Only essential travel is permitted to “amber list” countries, but travelers must self-isolate for 10 days when they return home. The government has banned most travel to destinations on the “red list,” and anyone arriving from one of these countries faces a 10-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel at their own expense.

The lists are updated every three weeks.

‘Absolutely critical to both countries’:US, UK airlines urge lifting of travel restrictions

When will UK travel open?:American, British leaders set to relaunch travel ‘as soon as possible’

The Department for Transport said Thursday night that the expansion of the green list and plans to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated travelers were the result of the successful vaccination program. Almost 61% of U.K. adults are fully vaccinated, and 83% have received at least one dose.

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said caution was still required.

“It won’t be quite like it was in 2019 and the old days, but we are moving in a positive direction,” Shapps told Sky News.

Public health authorities are concerned about the possibility that travelers may spread potentially more dangerous variants of COVID-19 to the U.K. from countries with low vaccination rates. The delta variant, first identified in India, has already become the dominant version of the virus in Britain.

Regardless of U.K. policy, officials in