Travel Vaccine Breaking News

Travel vaccine breaking news brought to you by Vax Before Travel.

Jan 15, 2021 • 9:28 am CST

The US Department of State stated on January 14, 2021, 'All of our agencies and centers are processing passport applications. You can now apply for routine service and expect to receive a passport in 10-12 weeks. You also have the option of paying an additional $60 for expedited service to receive your passport in 4-6 weeks.'

'Because of increases in COVID-19 cases and changing local health conditions, agencies, and centers are offering minimal in-person services if you need to travel internationally in the next 72 hours.'

'If you applied for routine service more than 12 weeks ago and have not received your passport yet, we may also have sent you a letter requesting additional information to continue processing your application.'

The State Department published an updated FAQ on this webpage.

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Jan 15, 2021 • 9:19 am CST

Beginning January 26, 2021, the U.S. government will require all passengers two years of age and older traveling to the USA from any international location to test negative for COVID-19 within three calendar days of departure, stated American Airlines in a press statement issued on January 13, 2021.

'We support the implementation of a global program to require COVID-19 testing for travelers to the USA.'

'American is working closely with U.S. authorities as it implements this new order and, at the same time, taking care of any affected customers by assisting them with rebooking options. Our team is proactively reaching out to customers who may be affected by this order to ensure they know what to expect.'

Jan 7, 2021 • 4:04 pm CST

American Airlines has temporarily suspended all alcohol service on flights to and from Washington D.C. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, American had not been serving alcohol in their main cabin. Still, the airline decided to stop all alcohol service for a limited time, according to local news in Dallas, Texas.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International President Sara Nelson, representing nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines, released the following statement:

"Air travel is safe because everyone follows a strict set of rules, based on the spirit that ‘we’re all in this together.’ There’s a reason that there are strict penalties and fines for failing to comply with crewmember instructions. Enforcement keeps everyone safe. We in aviation have a serious role to play in national security. In coordination with TSA, DHS, FAA, DOT, and law enforcement, airlines must take all steps to ensure the safety and security of passengers and crew by keeping all problems on the ground.”

Jan 7, 2021 • 3:34 am CST

The Governments of Canada and Ontario announced on January 6, 2021, COVID-19 testing will be offered on-site at Toronto Pearson International Airport for international travelers who wish to take a test before leaving the airport.

The Government of Canada has implemented robust measures at Canada's borders to prevent and mitigate the importation of new SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 cases associated with international travel. This includes a mandatory 14-day quarantine for most arriving travelers and a new requirement for a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test result at least three days before boarding a flight to Canada.

"Our response to COVID-19 will continue to be guided by science, and this pilot program will allow us to further Canadian research on the most effective measures in a combination of quarantining and testing," stated The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, Government of Canada, in a press release.

However, this new testing service does not change a traveler's mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement upon entry into Canada.

Jan 6, 2021 • 11:02 am CST

'As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce the risk of our crew members contracting COVID-19, while still maintaining vital connections into North America, our passenger services to and from Los Angeles will change to operate via Honolulu from February 2, 2021, stated Air New Zealand on January 5, 2021.

'This change is to allow our crew members to overnight in Honolulu rather than Los Angeles. Crew members will then remain airside and operate the return flight to Honolulu, where there will be a further crew change to operate back to New Zealand.'

Additionally, on January 15, 2021, Air New Zealand's customers traveling from the United Kingdom and the USA to New Zealand will be required to show a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing. This new PCR test requirement will require travelers from the United Kingdom and the USA to have a written form, certified by a laboratory or another form of approved evidence, showing a negative result within 72 hours of departure.

Jan 5, 2021 • 9:06 am CST

According to the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), nine out of the past ten days have recorded over 1 million air passengers being screen at an airport located in the USA. On January 3, 2021, about 1,300,000 million people were screened by the TSA.

This data reflects an approximate 25% increase in activity since October 2020.

Even though the recent upward trend indicates travelers are returning to the sky, this data reflects an overall 50% decrease from last year.

In the USA, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, located in Georgia, is the busiest airport. It handles 53.4 million passengers per year. That's almost 1,000 flights per day.

Jan 5, 2021 • 5:15 am CST

All travelers from Malaysia and Indonesia will now have the option to use verified digital copies of a COVID-19 health pass instead of actual papers when entering Singapore, reported Singapore Business.

Before departure to Singapore, travelers are advised to check the Singapore SafeTravel website for travel requirements, then book a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test at healthcare providers that issue digital health credentials through a secure mobile app, including the recently launched ICC AOKpass.

These travelers will receive their test results with a unique QR code, which authenticates and securely stores their negative COVID-19 test results. Upon arrival at Changi Airport, they can use the dedicated immigration counters to swiftly verify their health credentials by scanning the given QR code in their ICC AOKpass app.

The company stated they plan to add more countries that will use the digital health pass that is already underway.

The ICC AOKpass is a health records authentication and presentation technology launched by the International Chamber of Commerce, International SOS, and SGS Group, and co-developed with Singapore-based start-up AOKpass Pte Ltd.

Dec 31, 2020 • 10:50 am CST

Local media reported foreign tourists who arrive in Quintana Roo will be charged $10 beginning April 2021, according to reforms to the Quintana Roo Finance Law. Quintana Roo is a Mexican state on the Yucatán Peninsula.

The State Secretary for Tourism, Marisol Vanegas, has endorsed this determination by ensuring that “a payment of 10 dollars to the international profile ... will not make a dent” in the arrival of tourists.

Data sources indicate international routes accounted for about 8 million air passenger arrivals into Cancun during 2019.

Dec 31, 2020 • 10:35 am CST

Due to the new variant of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom (UK), the U.S. CDC issued an Order effective December 28, 2020, requiring all air passengers arriving in the USA from the UK to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result to the airline before boarding the flight.

This Level 4 Travel Alert issued by the CDC says 'travelers should avoid all travel to the UK, as your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19 may increase.'

However, the UK's Public Health England published Technical Briefing #2 on December 28, 2020, which concluded: 'We currently have no evidence that the variant is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality, but we are continuing investigations to understand this better.'

Dec 29, 2020 • 4:19 pm CST

The country of Israel reported highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) outbreaks in poultry and wild birds during December 2020, according to the latest World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) report.

The OIE stated last time that the virus was diagnosed in Israel was in January 2020 in a Bonelli's eagle in the desert. And the last time that it was diagnosed in a commercial farm was in April 2019, in a northern turkey farm.

Due to the ongoing circulation of various strains (H5N1, H5N2, H5N8, H7N8, etc), outbreaks of AI continue to be a global public health concern. There are many AI virus strains, which are usually classified into two categories according to the severity of the disease in poultry: low pathogenic strains, which typically cause few or no clinical signs in poultry, and highly pathogenic strains, which can cause severe clinical signs and potentially high mortality rates among poultry, says the OIE.

The OIE avian influenza Vaccine Bank has been closed, but it paved the way for the creation of foot-and-mouth disease, rabies (dogs), and Peste des petits ruminants Vaccine Banks.

Avian influenza is not related to the annual flu virus.

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Dec 29, 2020 • 3:58 pm CST

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative's (GPEI) reported on December 23, 2020, five countries confirmed new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases last week.

These countries include Afghanistan: two WPV1 and 23 cVDPV2 positive environmental samples; Pakistan: one WPV1 and 11 cVDPV2 cases; Benin: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample; Burkina Faso: six cVDPV2 cases; Chad: two cVDPV2 cases; and South Sudan: 10 cVDPV2 cases and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample.

Additionally, the GPEI has published a global cVDPV resource document aimed at providing a high-level overview of cVDPVs, their importance to the program, and their strategy for responding to them, including nOPV2.

In the USA, the CDC recommends that before traveling to the identified countries, adults who completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of polio vaccine. Since 2000, the inactivated polio vaccine is the only polio vaccine that has been given in the USA, while the oral polio vaccine is offered in other countries.

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Dec 28, 2020 • 2:12 pm CST

The U.S. Transportation Services Administration (TSA) reported 1,284,599 people traveled through US-based airports on December 27, 2020. This is the greatest number of screened air travelers since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

However, this new data indicates air travel in the USA remains about 50% below the volume compared with last year. There were 2,575,985 passengers screened by the TSA on the same of 2019.

Unfortunately, travel with the United Kingdom may see a significant decrease this week. 

On December 25, 2020, the U.S. CDC issued an Order requiring proof of a negative https://www.coronavirustoday.com/coronavirus-testsCOVID-19 test for all air passengers arriving from the UK to the USA. With specific exceptions, foreign nationals who have been in the UK during the past 14 days may not enter the US, even with a negative test result.

This new CDC Order went into effect late on December 27, 2020.

Dec 25, 2020 • 10:04 am CST

Air passengers arriving from the United Kingdom (U.K.) are required to test negative, via PCR or Antigen test, no more than 72 hours before departure from the U.K. to the United States, effective December 28, 2020.

The U.S. CDC issued this press statement on December 24th, in response to public health authorities in the UK's recent discovery of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2. The UK's preliminary analysis suggests this new variant may be up to 70% more transmissible than previously circulating coronavirus variants.

Dec 24, 2020 • 1:54 pm CST

The US Department of State issued a Do Not Travel Advisory for the French West Indies, which includes Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Saint Martin, and Saint Barthélemy, due to health and safety measures and COVID-related conditions.

The State Department's Travel Advisory issued on December 21, 2020, states 'the French West Indies has lifted stay at home orders and resumed some transportation options and business operations. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive Alerts and make it easier to be located during an emergency.

Additionally, the U.S. CDC had issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the French West Indies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To see the CDC's worldwide COVID-19 alerts, visit this webpage.

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Dec 24, 2020 • 1:37 pm CST

The City of Austin and Travis County, Texas, released orders on December 23, 2020, related to the move to Stage 5 of the COVID-19 risk-based guidelines. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this is the first time that Austin-Travis County has moved to the highest risk stage. The “Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe” orders will be in effect until January 11, 2021.

"This change was made based on a rapid increase in hospital admissions, cases, and test positivity rates across the community. Other key indicators for stage changes include the number of patients in the ICU, ventilator usage, and the 7-day moving average of cases trending upward."

According to data sources, Travis County's population of about 1.3 million residents has experienced 528 fatalities related to COVID-19.

"We are entering a dangerous time,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown, in a media statement. “If our community does its part and follows the Stage 5 recommendations being presented today, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and the necessity for more restrictive measures."