Japan has closed its borders to all international travelers over fears that the newly identified omicron variant of Covid-19 will no longer be transmissible and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.
Stricter border controls and travel restrictions are being introduced across the world in response to the latest variant of concern.
The UK has reintroduced second-day PCR testing for all inbound travelers, including those who are fully vaccinated, as well as a mandatory quarantine while arrivals await their results.
In addition to the six southern African countries unexpectedly added to the UK’s red list last week – South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia – four other countries have been awarded red status.
At 4 a.m. on Sunday, British and Irish residents returning to England from Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola must also pay to self-isolate in an approved quarantine hotel for 10 days.
Follow all the latest travel news below:
The Omicron variant “coup for the tourism industry”
Travel bans triggered by the new variant of the omicron virus could have a “substantial” economic impact, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Ana Nicholls, director of industrial operations at EIU, said of the variant: âScientists have yet to determine how transmissible it is, how severe the symptoms are and whether the vaccines are still working. If the news turns out bad, the economic impact could be substantial.
âAs for the travel industry, the EIU expected global international arrivals to return to 2019 levels by the end of 2023 or early 2024. We do not expect that the Omicron variant significantly delays this forecast, but it will delay the pace of recovery over the next few months. Travel bans aren’t the only problem; even where travel is still permitted, there will always be stricter rules on tests, vaccine passports and quarantines, with even more confusion over how and when they come into force in different countries.
âGiven the number of travelers who were already deterred by the paperwork required to travel, changing these rules again will discourage more people. Further restrictions would have an even greater impact. “
She added that, for South Africa in particular, it is “a blow to its tourism industry as it begins to recover”.
Helene coffeyNovember 29, 2021 1:51 PM
Industry must “stay positive and not overreact”, says Kuoni boss
The travel industry is expected to remain positive over the omicron variant of Covid-19, said the CEO of Der Touristik, parent company of Kuoni.
Derek Jones tweeted: âI think it’s important that the travel industry stays positive and doesn’t overreact to the Omicron variant.
âWe all knew there was a good chance that new variations would create obstacles on the road to recovery. Traveling in a world with Covid is going to be trickier than before. “
Jones’ comments come as the travel industry scrambles to reimburse or revamp vacations to a number of destinations that have tightened their entry rules for UK visitors this week.
Switzerland has reimposed a 10-day quarantine on all Britons entering the country, while Spain has banned unvaccinated British travelers from December 1.
Lucy thackrayNovember 29, 2021 1:20 PM
Morocco suspends all incoming international flights
Morocco has said it will suspend all incoming international flights from today (November 29).
The strict measure will initially be in place for two weeks and was introduced in response to fears over the newly identified variant of the omicron coronavirus.
Countries around the world are tightening border controls over fears the variant may be potentially more transmissible than those that came before it and, more worryingly, could reduce the effectiveness of current vaccines.
Morocco’s foreign ministry tweeted that the decision to halt inbound flights was aimed at “preserving the achievements made by Morocco in the fight against the pandemic and protecting the health of citizens.”
Helene coffeyNovember 29, 2021 12:38
What are the new rules for traveling to Spain?
Widely open to British travelers in the summer of 2021, Spain is once again tightening its travel restrictions in the face of the new omicron variant of the Covid-19.
Spain and its islands have long been a favorite destination for Britons, with over 18 million vacationers visiting this Mediterranean hotspot in a typical year. However, the coronavirus pandemic has decimated the travel industry.
So, can you book a Spanish getaway this winter – and what are the current travel rules?
Read our full explanation for everything you need to know:
Lucy thackrayNovember 29, 2021 11:51 AM
BREAKING: Scottish and Welsh Governments demand Boris Johnson to increase self-isolation days for travelers
The Scottish and Welsh governments have urged Downing Street to introduce ‘stricter’ travel rules to combat the spread of the omicron variant of Covid-19 across the UK.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she and her Welsh counterpart Mark Drakeford wrote to Boris Johnson demanding a ‘tightening’ of the rules so that those arriving in the UK must self-isolate for eight days.
The SNP leader and the Welsh Labor Party leader also asked the arrivals to take a PCR test on the eighth day as well as the second day.
Adam forrestNovember 29, 2021 11:17 AM
EasyJet passengers have until midnight tomorrow to cancel their vacation
EasyJet customers who need to travel through December 17 have until midnight Tuesday November 30 to cancel their vacation online in exchange for a credit.
The holiday company introduced the policy in response to the UK government’s announcement that it is reintroducing measures such as PCR testing for all UK arrivals.
All easyJet Holidays customers can make changes to their booking up to 28 days before departure; all customers who have booked easyJet vacations through a travel agent or third party should contact their agent to discuss their options.
Matt Callaghan, Director of Customer and Operations at easyJet Holidays, said: âWe know this news may have affected some of our customers with looming travel plans, so as always we want to be by their side and give even more flexibility right now. .
âThis is why we are allowing the cancellation of the easyJet vacation credit or free modification of travel agent bookings for anyone traveling by mid-December, allowing them to rebook when the time is convenient for them.
âWe are contacting our customers and sales agents with details on how to proceed. Customers can of course keep their vacation reservation, this is just to further reassure anyone wishing to change their plans.
Helene coffeyNovember 29, 2021 11:07 AM
Couple who escaped from Covid quarantine hotel arrested by Dutch police
A couple were arrested and taken from a plane to the Netherlands after fleeing a quarantine hotel and trying to leave the country.
The couple – a 30-year-old Spaniard and a 28-year-old Portuguese woman – were arrested on a plane to Spain, police said.
Public health spokesperson Stefanie van Waardenburg said one of the couple tested positive for Covid-19 and was in isolation while the other person tested negative but in quarantine.
âThe arrests took place on a plane that was about to take off. They were on a plane that was about to leave for Spain, âofficials said.
Sravasti Dasgupta November 29, 2021 10:53 AM
Switzerland imposes 10-day quarantine on British travelers
Switzerland has announced that it will impose a 10-day quarantine on all arrivals from the UK in response to fears over the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The country’s Federal Office of Public Health announced on Saturday that arrivals from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi, as well as Britain, should test negative for Covid and self-test. isolate on arrival.
âUPDATE – UK has been added to Switzerland’s list of at-risk countries,â the Swiss Embassy tweeted.
âWhen they board a plane and enter Switzerland, all people from the UK must test negative for Covid-19 and self-quarantine for 10 days. “
Helene coffeyNovember 29, 2021 10:26 AM
Four more African countries added to UK red list
The UK has added four more African countries to its red list, after the six added last Thursday.
Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia were all moved to the high-risk list as of 4 a.m. on Sunday November 28, meaning UK arrivals from those countries must pay to self-quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
The changes were announced in a statement from the Department of Health, which said two cases of the omicron coronavirus variant had been detected in the UK in Chelmsford and Nottingham.
Anyone who has returned from the four new Red List countries in the past four days – even if they arrived before Sunday’s deadline – must self-isolate at home and take a PCR test, said the department.
Lucy thackrayNovember 29, 2021 9:53 AM
Japan closes borders to all foreign visitors in response to new variant of Covid
Japan will close its borders to all foreigners, including business travelers and foreign students, from Tuesday in response to the spread of the omicron Covid variant, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
The announcement makes Japan the second country after Israel to close its borders, fearing that Omicron may be more transmissible than previous variants of the coronavirus.
“We are taking action with a strong sense of urgency,” Kishida said, adding that his government was tightening border controls due to the “rapid spread” of omicron around the world.
Mr Kishida said Japan will continue to provide booster shots to its vulnerable population, three quarters of whom are already fully immunized.
Stuti MishraNovember 29, 2021 09:11