A general view of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both issued on Monday their highest warnings against travel to the United Kingdom because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in that country.

Each raised the UKto “Level Four,” telling Americans they should avoid travel there.

“If you must travel to the United Kingdom, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel,” the CDC said in an advisory, while the State Department said: “Do not travel to the United Kingdom due to COVID-19.”

In May, the U.S. government had lowered the UK to a “Level 3” advisory rating.

COVID-19 cases are rising by more than 50,000 a day in the UK and hundreds of thousands of Britons are being asked to self-isolate for 10 days. read more

The United States since March 2020 has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in the UK from the United States.

Britain allows American visits but requires a 10-day quarantine on arrival and two COVID-19 tests.

In June, the Biden administration said it was forming expert working groups with Britain, Canada, Mexico and the European Union to determine how best to restart travel safely after more than a year of restrictions.

U.S. and airline officials do not expect the restrictions on UK travelers to be lifted until August at the earliest – and warn it could be pushed back further.

Airlines and others have pressed the administration to lift the restrictions that bar most non-U.S. citizens who have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen nations in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil within the past 14 days from the United States.

Reporting by David Shepardson, Lisa Lambert and Jan Wolfe; Editing by Peter Cooney

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Dutch Soccer School summer camps are going to look quite a bit different this summer.

Namely, they’re going to be a lot less Dutch.

The organization, which operates high-level soccer camps in six states, is known for its Dutch-style training program taught by professional Dutch soccer players who travel to the U.S. each year to coach at the camps and experience American culture.

But not a single Dutch coach has been able to obtain the necessary visa – called a J-1 – to be able to come and work this summer, says Bernard Hartog, the founder and managing director of Dutch Soccer School. Instead, Hartog has had to scramble in recent weeks to find qualified coaches in the U.S. and has needed to limit the number of players allowed at the camps – which also means less revenue.

It’s far from a unique situation. The J-1 program, otherwise known as the Exchange Visitor Program, is a broad visa category that allows foreign workers to come to the U.S. for a short period of time to experience American life and participate in either work or study-based programs.

But applicants and the American businesses that employ them report extreme difficulties, with few foreigners granted the visas this year. And that’s affecting a range of positions, including au pairs, camp counselors, researchers, teachers, doctors and interns. It also includes the Summer Work and Travel Program, which allows international college students to come to the country to work seasonal jobs at resorts, parks, pools, restaurants and summer camps.

The absence of exchange visitors this summer is threatening summer fun and the businesses that provide it – many of which are already struggling to recover from last year, when the pandemic forced them to either dramatically reduce operations or shut down entirely. Summer camps are rushing to try to fill open staff positions as camp dates inch closer, and the situation is straining the operations of resorts and restaurants.

The problem, they say, largely lies in an inability to secure a necessary interview at U.S. consulates around the world. Travel restrictions also remain in effect for people from 33 countries, and only certain J-1 visa holders can apply for exemptions to those bans.

The State Department has been reluctant to relax travel restrictions and visa requirements in order to make the process easier, despite sustained pressure and proffered solutions from alliance groups and some lawmakers.

Frustration over issues with the program has grown in recent months as vaccines become more widely available in some countries around the world and as the U.S. vaccination rates go up and case rates plummet.

American businesses rely each summer on the influx of J-1 visa holders to augment their workforces and, in many cases, add a wanted cultural exchange component to their organizations. Some 300,000 foreign nationals, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 30, come to the U.S. through the program each year.

And though the focus right now is on summer work, sponsor

The Health Ministry on Wednesday issued a “severe” warning against travel to the United Arab Emirates, adding the Gulf state to a list of countries which Israelis are advised not to visit due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

It also removed Peru from the list, which now includes the UAE, Uganda, Uruguay, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Maldives, Namibia, Nepal, Paraguay, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica and Tunisia.

A ministry statement said if there is not a “significant improvement” in morbidity figures in those countries, they could be added to another list of countries deemed “maximum risk” to which Israelis are barred from traveling. That list includes Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Russia.

The ministry noted quarantine requirements for travelers coming from those nations — including those vaccinated or who recovered from coronavirus — are in force until June 27 “and will be extended in accordance with the need in light of the morbidity levels in the various countries.” It also reiterated its recommendation against any non-essential travel abroad.

The statement did not further explain the decision to add the UAE, Israel’s 2020 Gulf peace partner and one of Israelis’ most popular destinations in recent months, to the list.

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Health officials have previously complained that lax treatment of UAE arrivals contributed to new infections, but politicians reportedly feared angering Emirati officials by applying new restrictions so soon after the two countries normalized their ties last year.

An airplane of budget airline Flydubai lands at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on November 26, 2020, on the first scheduled commercial service between the two cities, following the normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel. (Jack Guez/AFP)

The issuing of the travel warning came a day Israel lifted the mandate to wear a mask indoors, ending one of the last major remaining coronavirus restrictions in place. The pandemic has largely receded in Israel, with daily caseloads plummeting from the thousands seen at the start of the year to just single and low double digits.

According to the latest Health Ministry figures, 28 new COVID cases were confirmed Tuesday, with 0.1 percent of the 28,056 tests performed coming back positive, after an outbreak in which 11 students were infected at a school in Modiin. Police were reportedly probing if the outbreak was caused by a man who violated quarantine after returning from abroad.

The ministry said there were 231 active infections in the country, with 25 people in serious condition. There have been 839,720 confirmed cases and 6,428 deaths from coronavirus in Israel since the start of the pandemic.


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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its international travel guidance on Monday to give specific advice for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

The update includes moving 33 countries, including Iceland, Israel and Singapore, into the lowest risk category.

The CDC’s Covid-19 revised Travel Health Notice guidelines seek to “better differentiate countries with severe outbreak situations” from countries in which Covid-19 is “sustained, but controlled.”

The CDC’s threat levels are determined by the number of Covid-19 cases in a given country. At each level, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated, but its guidance for unvaccinated people varies by how severe the pandemic is in each country.

The CDC recommends avoiding travel to countries at level 4, the highest threat level, which have more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 28 days. Level 4 countries include nations such as Brazil, India and Iraq.

For countries at level 3, like Mexico, Russia, and Iran, the CDC recommends against nonessential travel for that those who are unvaccinated. These countries are currently reporting 100 to 500 cases per 100,000 residents.

At level 2, the agency recommends that unvaccinated travelers who are at severe risk for severe illness from Covid-19 should avoid visiting. These nations, like Finland, Cambodia and Kenya, are currently reporting 50-99 cases per 100,000.

Finally, level 1 countries like Australia and New Zealand are considered the lowest risk destinations, and have reported less than 50 Covid-19 cases in the last 28 days. The CDC still recommends getting vaccinated before traveling to a low-risk location.

See the CDC’s Travel Health Notice here, and the CDC’s interactive travel map here.

The Centre on Monday said state governments have to designate a competent authority for according permission to administer the second dose of Covishield before completion of the currently mandated minimum interval of 84 days from the date of the first dose for people undertaking international travel for education or employment.

The Union Health Ministry issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for vaccination of people undertaking international travel for educational or employment, or as part of the national contingent for Tokyo Olympics.

“States/UT governments shall designate a competent authority in each district for according permission for such administration of the second dose of Covishield…This facility shall be available to those who need to undertake international travel for these specified purposes in the period up to 31st August 2021,” the ministry stated.

The health ministry said that the competent authority shall ensure specific guidelines before according permission for administration of the second dose before the period of 84 days after the first dose.

As part of the SOP, states have to ensure whether a period of 28 days has elapsed after the date of the first dose.

Second, states should check genuineness of the purpose of travel based on documents related to admission offers, or associated formal communications for education; whether a person is already studying at a foreign educational institution and has to return to that institution for continuing education; interview calls for a job or offer letters for taking up employment; and nomination to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The SOP states: “It is advised that vaccination may be availed in cases through Passport which is one of the permissible ID documents as per the current guidelines so that the passport number is printed in the Certificate. If Passport was not used at the time of administration of first dose, the details of the photo ID Card used for vaccination will printed in the vaccination certificate and mention of the Passport in the vaccination certificate is not to be insisted upon. Wherever necessary, the competent authority may issue another certificate linking the vaccination certificate with the passport number of the beneficiary.”

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The U.S. Department of State updated its travel advisory for Japan on Monday, marking the country as a major COVID-19 risk.

There are four levels to the U.S. travel advisories, and the CDC set Japan for the worst – Level 4: Do Not Travel.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Japan, the country is under a state of emergency.

“The Government of Japan expanded the national state of emergency declaration, which now covers Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Fukuoka, Hokkaido, Okayama, and Hiroshima prefectures. In addition, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gifu, Mie, Ehime, Okinawa, Gunma, Ishikawa, and Kumamoto are now designated as under modified states of emergency to curb increasing infection rates and diminishing health care capacity. These declarations remain effective through May 31, with the exception of those in Gunma, Ishikawa, and Kumamoto which remain in place until June 13, and may be extended again.

U.S. Mission Japan (May 18, 2021)

The travel advisory does not mean that travel between the U.S. and Japan is completely banned. People can still fly to Japan and back, but there are some pandemic rules in place.

Anyone 2 years and older flying from Japan to the U.S. must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. 

People flying from the U.S. to Japan may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.

Japan is not allowing travelers for short-term, tourism purposes. Visa-free travel to Japan is also suspended.

Passengers setting sail again out of the U.S. is on the horizon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday issued new guidance for cruise operators to move toward resuming operations with guidelines for test voyages where travelers could volunteer before operators reopen for business. 

“With the issuance of these next two phases, cruise ship operators now have all the necessary requirements and recommendations they need to start simulated voyages before resuming restricted passenger voyages and apply for a COVID-19 conditional sailing certificate to begin sailing with restricted passenger voyages,” the CDC said on its website. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday issued new guidance for cruise operators to move toward resuming operations with guidelines for test voyages where travelers could volunteer before operators reopen for business. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday issued new guidance for cruise operators to move toward resuming operations with guidelines for test voyages where travelers could volunteer before operators reopen for business. 
(iStock)

The announcement follows the agency targeting mid-July for when the cruise industry will be able to get up and running again following an industry-wide closure amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The CDC, in October, put out a Conditional Sailing Order for cruise ships detailing a phased plan for bringing back passengers on board ships safely. And after major revenue losses, last week the CDC said if operators can show proof that 98% of crew members and 95% of travelers are fully vaccinated they could resume by mid-summer.

HOLLAND CRUISE LINE ANNOUNCES RETURN TO SEA

Volunteers for the trial cruises must adhere to a COVID-19 health screening before the trip and agree to be tested three to five days after the cruise. Passengers for the test voyages must be 18 years old or older. Passengers must wear face masks on board and practice social distancing. 

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The guidance does note, however, that if  98% of crew members are fully vaccinated, and 95% of passengers are vaccinated, cruise companies do not need to conduct a test sail. 

Port Canaveral in Florida became the first port to start distributing COVID-19 vaccines, officials announced earlier this week. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

Crowds flock to a night market in Xi’an, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, on Tuesday. Photo: VCG

The May Day holiday in China has seen the biggest travel rush since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as hundreds of millions of travelers hit the road and tried to enjoy beautiful sceneries across the country, many also faced headaches. 

In Central China’s Hubei Province, some visitors demanded refund after waiting hours to just enter a theme park. In Central China’s Henan Province, a hailstorm also caused serious disruptions for visitors. Across the nation, widespread flight cancellations and delays on train services were also reported.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has been curtailed in China, allowing for the free movement of people, the domestic tourism sector is seeing a booming period, with international travel still restricted due to the pandemic. However, the tourism boom also highlighted a series of management issues in the domestic industry – from tourist spots to transportation systems, analysts noted. 

According to media reports, at a theme park in Jingzhou, Hubei, many visitors had to wait four hours to enter the park on Sunday due to the crowds, and many of them requested refunds. The management team confirmed the situation and has since issued refunds.

On the same day, many visitors at the Yuntaishan scenic spot in Jiaozuo, Henan, also asked for refunds as the spot was suddenly hit by a hailstorm that led to heavy traffic jams. The spot’s official account on social media Sina Weibo later offered an apology, saying that they were not well-prepared for the emergency.

“These incidents unveil the poor management of many scenic spots in China in many aspects, such as emergency response planning,” Yang Jinsong, a senior researcher at the China Tourism Academy, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Vast market potential

As the pandemic situation in China has been contained, demand in the tourism sector that had previously been restrained over the winter due to epidemic prevention rules is being largely released, data from Chinese tourism agencies showed.

According to online travel agency Fliggy, the booking of tickets to scenic spots on its platform has seen a 420 percent increase during the May Day holiday compared with the same period last year, while the booking of hotels increased 200 percent year-on-year.

According to qunar.com, another online travel agency in China, booking data from many sectors has reached record highs due to the strong demand. The booking of air tickets, for example, increased 30 percent compared to the same period in 2019 before the pandemic.

The surging demand, along with the international travel ban that has forced tourists who want to travel overseas to find alternatives in domestic spots, has provided vast opportunities for domestic tourism service providers, including scenic spots and hotels, Yang said.

“However, they must improve management systems if they want to seize the opportunities.” Yang noted.

Improvements needed

From improving booking systems, to introducing smart visitor guidance, to diversifying services, Yang believes that there are many areas that

The U.S. told American citizens in India to leave the country immediately, as the COVID-19 crisis in the country deepens.

The State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory Wednesday after the department approved the voluntary departure of family members of government employees. A Level 4 advisory warns U.S. citizens “do not travel” to the country in question, usually due to “life-threatening risks.”

The advisory indicates a “very high level” of COVID-19 in the country, and the government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in “rural areas,” the department said. 

“U.S. citizens are reportedly being denied admittance to hospitals due to the lack of space and resources,” an alert on the State Department website read.

People wait in queues outside the office of the Chemists Association to demand the necessary supply of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, in Pune, India. As India faces a devastating surge of new coronavirus infections overwhelming the health care system, people are turning to desperate measures to keep loved ones alive. (AP Photo, File)

People wait in queues outside the office of the Chemists Association to demand the necessary supply of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, in Pune, India. As India faces a devastating surge of new coronavirus infections overwhelming the health care system, people are turning to desperate measures to keep loved ones alive. (AP Photo, File)

The advisory also specifically warns against travel to the states of Jammu and Kashmir due to “terrorism and civil unrest.”

Citizens looking to leave should take advantage of one of 14 direct daily flights between India and the U.S., according to Bloomberg.

SKIPPING SECOND COVID-19 VACCINE DOSE COULD ‘PROLONG PANDEMIC,’ RESEARCHERS WARN

India has recently seen a steep rise in COVD-19 cases, recording more than 300,000 new daily cases for almost a week straight, with reports that the death count has been underreported.

New data from the Indian government reported 3,293 deaths on Wednesday, marking the first time the nation surpassed 3,000 deaths in one day, according to Forbes — this more than one year into the pandemic and as some other countries, including the U.S., have successfully gotten their vaccination programs off the ground.

SOME CALIFORNIANS CAN’T GET COVID-19 VACCINE DESPITE SURGE IN SUPPLY

However, the number of deaths in India may be far higher, with locals telling Sky News: “The Delhi government says that 380 peoples are dying every day from coronavirus but it’s actually around 1,000… more than 1,000.”

MARYLAND GOV. HOGAN: OUTDOOR MASK MANDATE HAS BEEN LIFTED

The U.S. announced Wednesday that it would send $100 million in coronavirus supplies to India to provide urgent relief.

The emergency supplies will include oxygen materials, personal protective equipment (PPE), vaccine manufacturing supplies, rapid testing kits and therapeutics.

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The U.S. also pledged public health assistance and said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts will “work hand-in-hand with India’s experts in the following areas: laboratory, surveillance and epidemiology, bioinformatics for genomic sequencing and modeling, infection prevention and control, vaccine rollout, and risk communication.”

Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report. 

Global travel continues to be risky because of the coronavirus. Earlier this year, passengers from Taiwan wear protective gear as they arrive at France’s Charles de Gaulle Airport, and just this week, the U.S. issued over 100 new travel advisories.

Francois Mori/AP


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Francois Mori/AP


Global travel continues to be risky because of the coronavirus. Earlier this year, passengers from Taiwan wear protective gear as they arrive at France’s Charles de Gaulle Airport, and just this week, the U.S. issued over 100 new travel advisories.

Francois Mori/AP

The U.S. State Department has vastly expanded its “Do Not Travel list,” issuing new Level 4 advisories for more than 115 countries and territories this week. The agency cites “ongoing risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The U.S. Do Not Travel list now includes Canada, Mexico, Germany and the U.K. A Level 3 warning is in place for a smaller group of nations, such as China, Australia and Iceland. Japan is also on the Level 3 list, despite a worrying rise in new coronavirus cases there.

Just a week ago, only 33 countries were on the U.S. Do Not Travel list, according to a cached version of the advisory site. But the State Department warned on Monday that the list would soon include roughly 80% of the world’s countries.

More than 150 highest-level travel advisories are in effect — more closely reflecting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Department says.

The CDC’s own travel health notices also use a four-tier warning system. For many countries newly added to the State Department’s Level 4 list, the CDC cites “a very high level of COVID-19.”

As of last week, Brazil and Russia were two of the only large COVID-19 global hotspots on the State Department’s most serious warning list. They’re now joined by India and virtually all of Europe — places that have seen alarming spikes in new cases.

Bhutan is the only international destination designated as Level 1 — “exercise normal precautions” — on the State Department’s travel advisory list.

Sixteen countries are categorized as Level 2 — meaning travelers should exercise increased caution when visiting places such as Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Belize and Grenada.

Many of the new or updated Do Not Travel notices cite high levels of coronavirus transmission in the relevant country. But the State Department says it also takes other factors into account, from the availability of coronavirus testing to any travel restrictions the countries might have against U.S. citizens.

In roughly 35 countries or destinations, the CDC says, details about the level of COVID-19 risk are unknown. The health agency urges Americans to avoid traveling to those spots, which include Afghanistan, Nicaragua and the Solomon Islands.

Regardless of a particular country’s advisory status, the State Department wants all U.S. citizens to reconsider any travel abroad.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose unprecedented risks to travelers,” the agency said.

More than 3 million people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, according