Travel Vaccine Breaking News

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

Nov 28, 2020 • 3:00 pm CST

The UK Launches Flyer-Friendly Coronavirus Testing Strategy

As of December 15, 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) Global Travel Taskforce, which includes officials from the Scottish and Welsh Governments, and Northern Ireland Executive, will implement a revised coronavirus testing strategy for air travelers who arrive in the UK from a 'non-travel corridor country'. 

Travelers will have the option of booking and paying for a test from a list of private sector providers. They can take the test 5-days after they depart a destination, not on the travel corridors list, which for most international arrivals will be after 5-days of self-isolation.

If the test result is negative, they will be free to go about their daily lives. Individuals who opt-in will be required to self-isolate until they receive a negative test result. 

If a traveler tests positive for COVID-19, they will move into the UK’s existing system for positive cases, meaning that they will self-isolate for a further 10 days from the day of the test and their contacts will be traced and notified as normal, stated the UK on November 24, 2020.

Nov 28, 2020 • 10:37 am CST

Travel Advisory Issued For The Bahamas

The US Department of State issued a high-level Travel Advisory for The Bahamas on November 23, 2020. This Level 3 Advisory, says 'Reconsider travel to The Bahamas due to health and safety measures and COVID-related conditions.  And if you do visit The Bahamas, 'exercise caution in some areas due to crime, which occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands' says the State Department.

Americans can find the U.S. Embassy Nassau at  #42 Queen Street, Nassau, The Bahamas.

Nov 28, 2020 • 5:11 am CST

Germany Cancels This Ski Season

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said 'Germany wants European countries in the Alpine region to keep ski resorts closed to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to Reuters reporting on November 26, 2020. Previously, Germany issued travel warnings on October 22, 2020, for ski regions in Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. '

We will be trying to coordinate in Europe whether we could close all ski resorts,' Merkel said.

Nov 26, 2020 • 9:16 am CST

Africa's Polio Outbreaks Continue

There are vaccine-derived polio outbreaks in many countries in Africa, said the U.S. CDC in a Travel Alert issued on November 18, 2020. And, the CDC recommends that all travelers to the impacted countries be vaccinated fully against polio.

Although wild-type polio was eradicated in Africa in 2020, vaccine-derived poliovirus is causing outbreaks in places where vaccination rates are low.

Since 2000, the inactivated polio vaccine is the only polio vaccine offered in the USA, while the oral polio vaccine is offered in other countries.

Nov 26, 2020 • 8:55 am CST

No Flu Found in the Southern Hemisphere

In the temperate zones of the Southern Hemisphere, influenza activity was reported at the inter-seasonal level by the World Health Organization on November 23, 2020.

In the Caribbean and Central American countries, influenza activity of predominately B/Victoria viruses was reported in Haiti in recent weeks. And in tropical South America, there were no influenza detections across reporting countries.

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Nov 23, 2020 • 7:54 pm CST

Extensive Travel Advisory Issued for South Sudan

The US Department of State issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for the African country of South Sudan on November 23, 2020. This new advisory says 'Do not travel to South Sudan due to COVID-19, crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict.'

The U.S. government stated 'it has limited ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in South Sudan. U.S. government personnel in South Sudan are under a strict curfew. They must use armored vehicles for nearly all movements, and official travel outside Juba is limited.' The US Embassy in Juba is located in Juba Na Bari, also know as TongPing, North of the Ministries complex.

From a health perspective, the U.S. CDC included South Sudan in recent alerts focused on COVID-19 and polio outbreaks.

Nov 23, 2020 • 6:30 pm CST

Longer Airport Security Lines Are Actually Good News

According to new data posted by the US Transportation Services Administration (TSA), 1,047,934 passengers were screened at airport security on November 22, 2020. This report sets a record for the COVID-19 pandemic era in the USA.

However, when compared with 2019, when 2,321,546 airline passengers were screen by the TSA, the air travel industry has a long way to go to reach pre-pandemic volume.

The US Department of State says 'As a first step in planning any trip abroad, check the Travel Advisories for your intended destination, as conditions can change rapidly in a country at any time.'

Nov 23, 2020 • 10:45 am CST

Shanghai Pudong International Airport Conducts Mandatory COVID-19 Testing

The Shanghai Pudong Airport in China decided to conduct coronavirus tests on thousands of airport staff on November 22, 2020. Video footage posted on social media shows officials wearing white suits containing crowds of people at the International airport, which is a gateway to East Asia. 

The media reported that two positive COVID-19 cases were recently found in Shanghai Pudong airport.

Nov 22, 2020 • 1:16 pm CST

CDC Recommends Against Traveling on All Cruise Ships

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships worldwide because the risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 is very high. Furthermore, the CDC Travel Alert issued on November 21, 2020, states 'it is especially important that people with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises.'

Previously, on October 30, 2020, the CDC issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for cruise ships operating or seeking to operate in U.S. waters. This Order introduces a phased approach for resuming passenger cruises.

Nov 20, 2020 • 12:50 pm CST

Stay Home For The Holidays Says the CDC

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans on November 19, 2020, 'not to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As cases continue to increase rapidly across the USA, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.'

Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, said there is “no more important time than now for each and every American to redouble our efforts to watch our distance, wash our hands and, most importantly, wear a mask.”

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Nov 20, 2020 • 7:07 am CST

Japan's Go-To-Travel Program Continues

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the government will continue its domestic tourism promotion campaign, despite requests to suspend the subsidy program amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections in Japan. 

On November 20, 2020, Japan reported 2,399 new virus infections, hitting a record high for the 3rd day, according to Kyodonews.

Japan's Go-To-Travel subsidy program, which covers about 50% of a traveler's expenses, was launched on July 10, 2020, to support the tourism industry after it was severely affected by the pandemic. About 40 million trips have been covered by the program, with 176 travelers found infected with the coronavirus, according to the JapanTimes.

Nov 19, 2020 • 12:10 pm CST

Carnival Cancels More Cruises

As it continues to build and implement its plan to meet the requirements of the Framework for Resuming Cruise Ship Operations Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Carnival Cruise Line notified guests and travel agents that it has canceled additional cruises for the first part of 2021.

This Carnival announcement on November 18, 2020, includes All embarkations from U.S. homeports from Jan. 1-31; Baltimore, Charleston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Mobile, New Orleans, and San Diego embarkations through Feb. 28.; and embarkations on Carnival Legend out of Tampa through March 26, 2020.

"We are committed to meeting the CDC requirements and keeping our guests and business partners informed of our progress," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a press release.

Nov 18, 2020 • 8:17 am CST

11th Ebola Outbreak Declared Over

The 11th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in central Africa was declared over by the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 18, 2020. By the end of the current 11th Ebola outbreak in Equateur Province, there were 119 confirmed cases, 11 probable, 55 deaths, and 75 people who had recovered.

This Ebola outbreak in western DRC, announced in June 2020, came as the 10th Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of the country was winding down, and finally declared over on June 25, 2020. The two outbreaks were geographically far apart.

Genetic sequencing analysis of the Ebola virus found that these outbreaks were unrelated.

Nov 17, 2020 • 2:03 am CST

Cancun Has Increased Connections With Canada and the USA

Just in time to avoid the winter snow, Cancun International’s managing company Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) announced several new flights from Canada and the USA into Cancun, reported Rivera Maya News.

Cancun has quickly become a well-connected destination in North America during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancun International Airport is reported to be averaging almost 200 incoming flights per day since the city reopened for tourism on June 8th, 2020.

Nov 14, 2020 • 8:55 am CST

Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Outbreaks Continue

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative weekly update issued as of November 11, 2020, reported Afghanistan, Chad, and Somalia confirmed additional polio cases involving circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2).

And, Pakistan reported WPV1 positive environmental samples and cVDPV2 positive environmental samples.

Nov 13, 2020 • 4:13 pm CST

Airport Screening For COVID-19 Found Very Ineffective

Data published in the U.S. CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on November 13, 2020, shows that resource-intensive, temperature check, and self-reported symptom-based airline passenger entry screening identified few laboratory-diagnosed COVID-19 cases, just 1 case found for every 85,000 travelers screened. 

This data indicates symptom-based screening programs at airports are ineffective because of the nonspecific clinical presentation of COVID-19 and asymptomatic cases.

Nov 13, 2020 • 4:23 am CST

Polio Outbreak Travel Alert Issued For Africa

The U.S. CDC issued a Travel Alert, Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions on November 12, 2020, stating: There are vaccine-derived polio outbreaks in many countries in Africa.  Although wild-type polio was eradicated in Africa in 2020, vaccine-derived poliovirus is causing outbreaks in places where vaccination rates are low.

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.

Nov 12, 2020 • 5:55 pm CST

Caribbean Cruise Confirms COVID-19 Cases

The number of passengers who have tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the first cruise ship to return to sailing in the Caribbean has increased to five, according to reporter Gene Sloan, who is onboard the SeaDream 1, and Tweeting his personal observations.

Nov 12, 2020 • 2:52 pm CST

French Police Arrest Fake COVID-19 Test Certificate Sellers

French police were reported by the BBC on November 6, 2020, to have arrested a group of people accused of offering fake negative COVID-19 test certificates to passengers at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport. The six men and one woman were found to have more than 200 counterfeit certificates on their mobile phones and sold them for up to €300 ($354) each.

In a related announcement, “We estimate that around 80% of yellow fever travel cards in Zimbabwe are counterfeit,” said Dr. Mchechesi, at Vaxiglobal, a travel health consultancy, stated on October 30, 2020.

Nov 11, 2020 • 6:01 am CST

Coronavirus Risk While Flying Remains 'Imprecise'

A recent review presents a comprehensive table summarizing all peer-reviewed or public health publications of flights with likely, possible, or unproven in-flight SARS-CoV-2 transmission from January 2020 to September 21, 2020.

Generally, the quantitation of risk in this review published on September 25, 2020, is imprecise and must account for many variables, including differing incidence rates of SARS-Co-V-2 at origin and destination, the intensity of viral load in index cases, flight duration, masking practices onboard, pre-flight screening, and passenger spacing.

Nov 10, 2020 • 11:51 am CST

Paris, Closed Until Christmas

When French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Twitter a nationwide lockdown on October 30, 2020, he indicated the situation would be reviewed in 2-weeks. But relaxing the lockdown may be extended. France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire is reported by theLocal to have stated on November 9, 2020, that he favored a reopening of shops "before Christmas".

"When health conditions are met, we will reopen all the businesses, also allowing openings Sunday openings so that [they] can catch up as much as possible on the income lost," Le Maire told BFMTV.

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Nov 9, 2020 • 9:31 pm CST

British Virgin Islands Travel Advisory Issued

The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory British Virgin Islands on November 9, 2020. This Reconsider Travel advisory is due to health and safety measures and COVID-related conditions.

'Due to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in the Eastern Caribbean, many countries have strengthened measures to combat the further spread of the virus. We urge American Citizens to adhere to the country’s laws, regulations, and health protocols in effect,' said the US Embassy website.

Previously, on November 5, 2020, the British Virgin Islands COVID-19 Human and Economic Impact Assessment Report (HEAT Report) that presents the overall impact of the coronavirus on the Territory has been launched.

Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie said the report paints a picture of the virus’ impact on the Territory, taking into account its initial spread to the islands and the wider Caribbean region. He gave an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the British Virgin Islands stating that “through targeted action, infections have been kept to a minimum and outbreaks were quickly contained.”

Nov 7, 2020 • 1:32 pm CST

Eight Countries Report New Polio Cases

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative published an update of Wild Poliovirus (WPV) and circulating Vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV) cases around the globe, as of November 4, 2020. This new summary disclosed:

  • Afghanistan: 20 cVDPV2 cases
  • Pakistan: one WPV1 case and one WPV1 positive environmental sample
  • Burkina Faso: three cVDPV2 cases
  • Cameroon: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
  • Central African Republic: one cVDPV2 case
  • Chad: two cVDPV2 cases
  • Congo: one cVDPV2 case
  • Côte d’Ivoire: one cVDPV2 case
  • Somalia: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
  • South Sudan: three cVDPV2 cases

To prevent polio, the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) has been given in the USA since 2000, while the oral polio vaccine (OPV) is used in other countries.

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Nov 7, 2020 • 3:02 am CST

South Florida Confirms Additional Locally-Acquired Dengue Fever Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported that as of October 31, 2020, there have been (71) cases of locally acquired dengue fever reported in Miami-Dade (4) and Monroe (67) counties, with disease onsets in 2020. Dengue fever is an important mosquito-borne disease caused by four related dengue viruses.

In Monroe County, which includes Key West, when persons of interest or suspected cases of Dengue fever are identified, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) is notified, and appropriate mosquito control efforts are conducted immediately, with hand foggers used in certain areas, says country health officials.

FKMCD inspectors go door-to-door to treat every residence and business in a three-block radius from the suspected case location and/or other outdoor areas visited. Any adult and/or larval mosquitoes found are treated on the spot.

“The actions taken by the FKMCD and the local community have proven to be promising. Recent Dengue transmission in the Upper Keys has been limited, with new cases, hopefully, on the decline,” stated Dr. Mark Whiteside, Medical Director for the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, on August 17, 2020. For more information, visit Monroe County Department's Dengue Resource Page.

An updated listing of Dengue vaccines is found on this Vax-Before-Travel webpage

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Nov 5, 2020 • 1:29 pm CST

The UK Reduces Travel Corridor List

According to the UK's Department of Transport, If you arrive in England from either Germany or Sweden after 4 am on November 7, 2020, you will need to self-isolate. Previously, the countries of Cyprus or Lithuania were removed from the UK's travel corridor list on November 1, 2020.

These actions are because it can take up to 14-days for COVID-19 symptoms, such as the loss of taste or smell, to appear.

And, under national restrictions in the UK, traveling abroad is discouraged unless it is for work, education, or other legally permitted reasons, says the UK. If you do travel abroad, you will have to follow the coronavirus rules in the place you travel to. This may include self-isolating, providing your details to local authorities, testing for coronavirus, or even restrictions on entry.

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Nov 5, 2020 • 12:23 pm CST

Key West Limits Cruise Ships

Voters in Key West, Florida, overwhelming voted (60%) on November 3, 2020, to limit the number of passengers disembarking from cruise ships to 1,500 each day, limiting the capacity of ships that can visit Key West to 1,300 people, and to give priority to cruise ships with positive environmental and health safety records, reported WLRN.

In 2019, nearly 1 million people visited Key West via cruise ship. But cruise passengers are only responsible for 7% of the spending by tourists, according to a recent study commissioned by the Cruise Lines International Association.

"We decided Key West needed to take a stand," commented Jolly Benson, vice president of the Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ships.

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Nov 4, 2020 • 9:02 am CST

Ebola Vaccinations Continue in Africa

The World Health Organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo @OMSRDCONGO reported on October 31, 2020, no new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease have been recorded in the province of Equateur over the past 34 days. Within Équateur province, cases of Ebola have been reported in the health zones of Mbandaka and Bikoro.

The cumulative total of Ebola cases during the 11th outbreak is 130 cases (119 confirmed, 11 probable), 55 deaths (lethality: 42.3%) & 75 cured (cure rate: 57.7%).

Also, more than 703 new people received the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine for a cumulative total of 40,065 people vaccinated.

The U.S. CDC issued an Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions, for prospective visitors to this area of Africa on September 30, 2020.

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Nov 2, 2020 • 3:21 pm CST

Tokyo's Summer Olympics Will Be Ready

Tokyo's Governor Yuriko Koike says her city is ready for the rescheduled Summar Olympics Games and sees opportunities to leverage the crisis to improve governance. This interview with Time on October 22, 2020, was translated from Japanese and was edited for length and clarity.

As of November 2, 2020, the city of Tokyo had reported 457 fatalities related to COVID-19 during 2020.

Nov 2, 2020 • 5:50 am CST

Visiting New York Becomes 'COVID-19 Confusing'

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new guidelines on October 31, 2020, allowing out-of-state travelers planning to visit New York to "test out" of the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

For travelers who were in another state for more than 24 hours, the travelers must obtain a COVID-19 test within 3-days of departure from that state, and the traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for 3-days. Furthermore, on day #4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test.

If the COVID-19 tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of a 2nd negative diagnostic test.

As of November 1, 2020, the NY COVID-19 positivity rate was 1.51%, with the positive testing rate in the areas under the state's Micro-Cluster strategy at 3.10%, and outside the focus zone areas at 1.36%.

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Nov 2, 2020 • 4:36 am CST

Flying Can Be Safer Than Grocery Shopping

A new report led by Leonard J. Marcus, Ph.D. Director, Aviation Public Health Initiative, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found the coronavirus transmission risks can be "reduced when flying to very low levels through the combination of layered infection control measures."

"This layered approach, with ventilation gate-to-gate, reduces the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission onboard aircraft below that of other routine activities during the pandemic, such as grocery shopping or eating out."

Nov 1, 2020 • 5:32 am CST

Measles Outbreaks in Africa Continue

For the past 2-years, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been grappling with the world's worst outbreak of measles, which has killed more than 7,000 children. The DRC minister of health recently stated to BBC journalist Sara Assarsson: 'the outbreak is over but experts say that with a relatively low rate of vaccination - just 60% - it is just a matter of time before there is another one.'

Previously, on September 2, 2020, the U.S. CDC reaffirmed infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get 1 dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before departing on a trip. And, this dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.

Furthermore, the CDC has issued various disease Travel Alerts when visiting the DRC, such as for COVID-19, polio, Ebola.

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Oct 31, 2020 • 8:32 am CDT

Venezuela's Travel Advisory Reissued

The US Department of State issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory stating 'Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, kidnapping, arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, and COVID-19,' on October 30, 2020.

Previously, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Venezuela due to COVID-19 and a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Venezuela due to Health Infrastructure Breakdown. Policies are in place to restrict movement throughout Venezuela, in an effort to contain the virus. Consult local policies in the cities and states where you are. These policies are subject to change at any time.

Visit the Venezuela Affairs Unit's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Venezuela.

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Oct 29, 2020 • 1:01 pm CDT

Spain's Catalan Closes Borders to Reduce Coronavirus Cases

Spain's Catalan Region cabinet and the civil protection crisis committee are expected to approve new restrictions to face the second wave of COVID-19 cases. They are planning to close Catalonia's borders for at least 2-weeks and lockdown residents in their towns during the weekend, specifically, from 6 pm on Friday to 6 am on Monday, reported CatalanNews on October 29, 2020.

Oct 29, 2020 • 11:11 am CDT

Russia Has No Plans for Nationwide Lockdown

The Russian Federation 'has no plans to introduce nationwide lockdown measures,' President Vladimir Putin said in a video posted on Twitter on October 29, 2020. However, 'justified, targeted measures would allow the economy to stay open.'

Separately, Russia's virus dashboard confirmed 17,717 coronavirus cases that increase its official number of cases to 1,581,693 during 2020. And, a record 366 COVID-19 fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours.

Oct 29, 2020 • 8:20 am CDT

Hawaii's Lanai Island Ordered to 'Stay-At-Home'

Hawaii's governor David Ige has implemented a stay-at-home order and travel restrictions for the island of Lanai, which is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, located about (9) miles from Maui, because of an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections, which totaled (79) cases, but no related fatalities, as of October 26, 2020.

Governor Ige's order, signed on October 23, 2020, requires Lanai residents and visitors to remain at home or where they're staying, except for essential purposes, such as grocery shopping.

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Oct 27, 2020 • 2:27 pm CDT

Over 480 Dengue Cases Reported in Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Health Department reported on October 6, 2020, there have been (487) confirmed Dengue Fever virus cases reported during 2020. The vast majority of these Dengue cases were confirmed surrounding the capital city of San Juan, as of week #40.

About 5% of people who get sick with dengue have severe dengue, which is a more serious type of disease that can cause shock, internal bleeding, and even death says the local health department.

In May 2019, the Dengvaxia® vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children 9-16 years old living in an area where dengue is common, such as Puerto Rico. As of October 27, 2020, information from the FDA on this vaccine’s availability in the US territories is pending.

An updated list of dengue vaccines is listed on this Vax-Before-Travel webpage.

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Oct 27, 2020 • 5:44 am CDT

South Sudan Launches Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaign

The South Sudan Ministry of Health and other partners launched a reactive yellow fever vaccination campaign in Kajo, Keji, Central Equatoria State on October 23, 2020. The campaign aims to protect over 90,000 individuals aged 9 months to 60 years from yellow fever infection.

'Vaccination is the primary means for prevention and control of yellow fever and a single dose of WHO approved yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection against yellow fever disease,' says the WHO.

All yellow fever vaccines currently manufactured are live attenuated viral vaccines, says the WHO. However, only one YF vaccine (YF-Vax, Sanofi Pasteur) is licensed and available in the USA.

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Oct 26, 2020 • 5:37 pm CDT

Paris France Closed Down By COVID-19 Outbreak

Due to current events, exceptional measures have been introduced to combat the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Paris, France. Bars, cafes, and terraces are closed until further notice, and the wearing of a mask is compulsory for those over 11 years of age on all public transport, and failure to comply is subject to a fine of 135 euros, states France's government.

The French Health Ministry reported 26,771 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, and the COVID-19 related fatality total increase by 257, which increases the cumulative total since the start of the epidemic to 35,018.

As of October 23, 2020, this website publishes updated information and guidance from the French Government regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease COVID-19 in France.

The U.S. CDC's Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel, continues to recommend travelers avoid all nonessential international travel to France. The CDC says 'travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to France.'

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Oct 26, 2020 • 4:50 pm CDT

French Guiana Confirms Mayaro Virus Disease Outbreak

An outbreak of the mosquito-borne Mayaro virus disease in French Guiana has resulted in 13 lab-confirmed cases within 3 months of each other, reported the World Health Organization (WHO) on October 25, 2020.

Mayaro virus (MAYV), an enveloped RNA virus, belongs to the Togaviridae family and Alphavirus genus. This arthropod-borne virus (Arbovirus) is similar to Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika virus. Severe manifestations of the infection have been reported, such as chronic polyarthritis, neurological complications, hemorrhage, myocarditis, and even death. As is the case for other arboviruses, no specific treatment is available for MAYV infection.

MAYV was isolated for the first time in Trinidad and Tobago in 1954. However, a retrospective study showed evidence of infection by MAYV in sera collected during the construction of channels in Panama and Colombia before 1914.

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Oct 26, 2020 • 11:39 am CDT

Tokyo Opens Aquatics Center for Summer Olympics 2021

The grand opening ceremony of the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on October 24, 2020, unveiled the cutting-edge aquatic facility, which will encourage athletes to continue with their preparations and give their best performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Aquatics Centre is one of 8 venues built from scratch for the Games that have been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which are scheduled to begin in late July 2021.

Previously, the AP reported 'Tokyo Olympic officials want the world to know they are working on measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic at next year’s games, even if they don’t know exactly what they will be. Tokyo organizers said they are testing “many scenarios” and are unlikely to explain until early next year exactly how the Olympics can be held safely,' reported the AP on October 21, 2020.

The U.S. CDC currently maintains Warning Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel, for Japan, related to previous COVID-19 and rubella outbreaks.

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Oct 26, 2020 • 8:47 am CDT

UK Government to Facilitate New British Nationals Passports

Andrew Heyn, the British Consul-General to Hong Kong, issued a statement on behalf of the UK government on October 22, 2020: 'We have released more details about the new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa, providing a route to UK citizenship. This new route to the UK is part of our commitment to the people of Hong Kong.'

And, a valid BN(O) passport is not required to apply for the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa as applications can also be made using a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport, stated this notice.

The SCMP previously reported '500,000 people are interested in this new passport during the first year.

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Oct 25, 2020 • 10:33 am CDT

2nd Coronavirus Emergency Declared by Spain

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared a 2nd nationwide state of emergency on October 25, 2020, and ordered an overnight curfew from 11 p.m.-6 a.m. across the country. Spain’s 19 regional leaders have the authority to modify the curfew as long as they are stricter, close regional borders to travel, and limit gatherings to just (6) people who don’t live together, reported EuroNews.

Since August 6, 2020, the U.S. CDC has notified international travelers to avoid all nonessential international travel to Spain. The CDC's Warning, Level 3, says travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Spain.

Oct 25, 2020 • 8:51 am CDT

Polio Outbreaks Confirmed in 10 Countries

Ten countries reported a total of 87 new polio cases during the week of October 21, 2020, according to the latest Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) report. The summary of new AFP cases and ES positives cases include:

  • Afghanistan: one WPV1 case, one WPV1positive environmental sample, 14 cVDPV2 cases, and 2 cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
  • Pakistan: two WPV1 cases and one WPV1 positive environmental sample
  • Benin: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
  • Burkina Faso: 21 cVDPV2 cases
  • Côte d’Ivoire: 15 cVDPV2 cases
  • Ethiopia: four cVDPV2 cases
  • Mali: six cVDPV2 case
  • Nigeria: one cVDPV2 case
  • Somalia: five cVDPV2 cases and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
  • Sudan: 16 cVDPV2 cases
  • Yemen: two cVDPV1 cases

The U.S. CDC has recently issued Alert Level 2 notices and recommends that all travelers to these countries be vaccinated fully against polio.

Oct 25, 2020 • 7:01 am CDT

Flooding in Thua Thien Hue Province of Viet Nam

This United Nations' updated map illustrates satellite-detected surface waters in Thua Thien Hue Province of Viet Nam as observed on October 22, 2020. Within the analyzed area, about 220 km2 of lands appear to be flooded, impacting about 70,000 local residents.

Oct 25, 2020 • 6:50 am CDT

Travel Safety and Personal Security Intro Course

Managing risk is necessary wherever you are traveling, around the block, or across an ocean. Learn how to make informed decisions to help you stay safe while traveling or working in high-risk areas with this free 1-hour online course from disasterReady.org, an online learning platform first launched in 2013.

Throughout this course, you will read through realistic scenarios and answer questions to assess whether you know the best ways to reduce your personal security risk. Each scenario will gauge your security risk using a ‘risk meter’ and then teach you safety tips to reduce your risk at the airport, in a hotel, during an emergency or fire, while traveling by bus, car, taxi, or train, and staying in public.

Oct 24, 2020 • 7:46 am CDT

'Bella Italia' Cruises Launch in Italy

In Civitavecchia, Italy, the command was “cast off!” for AIDAblu to the first AIDA trip since the seven-month break in the cruise season due to the corona pandemic. Under the motto “Bella Italia”, 7-day cruises to popular Italian destinations are on AIDAblu’s program until mid-December 2020.

Prior to the voyage and while checking in as of October 17, 2020, cruise guests must provide information about their state of health and a COVID-19 PCR test with a negative test result, which must not be older than 3-days. Guests have the opportunity to have the test carried out free of charge at the German AIDA partner Helios clinics.

The company provides detailed information about the AIDA health and safety concept at www.aida.de/sichererurlaub.

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Oct 23, 2020 • 3:56 pm CDT

Wearing Face Masks When Flying Appears Protective

'The absence of large numbers of confirmed and published in-flight transmissions of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is encouraging but is not definitive evidence that airplane passengers are safe,' said David O Freedman, M.D. and Annelies Wilder-Smith, M.D., in a recent Journal of Travel Medicine study.

'The circumstances for robust study have been too few among the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic to know with precision the risk and factors needed to quantitate the virus's transmission under widely varying circumstances.'

'At present, based on circumstantial data, strict use of masks appears to be protective,' stated these researchers on September 25, 2020.

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Oct 22, 2020 • 3:48 pm CDT

Do Not Travel Alert Issued for Burkina Faso

The US Department of State issued a Level 4, Do Not Travel, notice for the West African country of Burkina Faso on October 19, 2020. The Government of Burkina Faso has maintained a state of emergency in the entire East and Sahel regions, the provinces of Kossi and Sourou in the Boucle de Mouhoun region, the province of Kenedougou in the Hauts Bassins region, the province of Loroum in the North region, and the province of Koulpelogo in the Center-East region.

The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens throughout most of the country, as U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling to regions outside the capital due to security concerns. Should US citizens need assistance, the U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou is located Secteur 53, Ouaga 2000, Avenue Sembène Ousmane, Rue 15.873, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. American citizens undergoing an emergency and in need of immediate assistance outside working hours can call the Embassy's switchboard at (226) 25 49 53 00 and ask to speak with the duty officer.

The U.S. Embassy encourages citizens to continue to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for preventing COVID-19 and polio.

Oct 22, 2020 • 11:39 am CDT

Africa Reports Decreasing COVID-19 Fatalities

The number of COVID-19 related fatalities in the WHO African Region has recently decreased by 37%, with South Africa reporting 46% of these new fatalities.

In the past seven days, 14 countries recorded a decrease in new cases by 20% or above: Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Sao Tome, and Principe and Seychelles. Twelve countries have recorded an increase in new cases by 20% or above in the past seven days: Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Eritrea, Guinea- Bissau, Kenya, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, South Sudan, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

The weekly incidence in the past 7-days remained stable, increasing or decreasing by less than 20%, in 20 countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Cabo Verde, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia, as of October 21, 2020.

The U.S. CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel to various African countries. The CDC's Travel Alerts continues to state: 'travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Africa.'

Oct 22, 2020 • 7:50 am CDT

New York Discourages Arizona and Maryland Visitors

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Arizona and Maryland have been added to the COVID-19 travel advisory. The advisory requires individuals who have traveled to New York from areas with significant community spread to quarantine for 14-days.

The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a SARS-CoV-2 virus positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

A new study found fewer New Yorkers are dying from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus than health experts had anticipated. This new investigation by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine showed the death rate in those hospitalized in NY with coronavirus-related illness had recently dropped from 27% to about 3% points.