International Travel could Return within Months: New Hopes, New Guidelines For Tourists
International Travel could Return within Months: New Hopes, New Guidelines For Tourists

Experts predict a COVID-19 vaccine will be mandatory for international travel once borders reopen.

UK: Outlines Plan to Resume International Travel, Skyscanner says flight bookings rocketed 69%

International travel from England will be banned until May 17 at the earliest, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday, as he set out a four-stage easing of England's latest Covid-19 restrictions.

Johnson is one of the first world leaders to lay out a framework for when travel can resume, allowing travelers to start planning trips and see the light at the end of the tunnel to ever-growing restrictions.

In its roadmap for easing restrictions, the UK government announced a review of travel which will report on April 12 with recommendations about how international travel should resume, while managing the risks of new variants of coronavirus.

"The government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than 17 May," the government said in its statement.

Britain is looking at a system of allowing vaccinated individuals to travel more freely internationally, the statement added.

The announcement came as Johnson on Monday set out a phased plan on Monday to end England's lockdown, offering a "cautious" approach to try to prevent a return to wholesale restrictions that have hobbled the economy.

Fares comparison site Skyscanner says flight bookings rocketed 69% immediately after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced international travel might resume after 17 May.

Here are the top 10 booked destinations:

  • Spain
  • Pakistan
  • United States
  • Greece
  • India
  • Turkey
  • Italy
  • UK
  • Portugal
  • Thailand

When Will Travel Restrictions in UK Ease?

The government has laid out a four-stage road map that includes the easing of restrictions on international travel and domestic holidays. There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.

Step 1 will start on March 8, 2021, when schools can reopen, and as of March 29, 2021, two households will be able to meet outdoors.

Step 2 will take place at least five weeks after Step 1, no earlier than April 12, 2021. This includes the opening of non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality, gym and swimming pools, and self-catered holidays.

This means that domestic overnight stays and self-contained accommodation may be allowed as early as April 12th, 2021. This includes caravans and holiday lets, as long as it within your own household.

Step 3 will take place at least five weeks after Step 2, no earlier than May 17, 2021. This includes the reopening of hotels and B&Bs in England, some large events, and international travel subject to review.

The British government is launching a new global travel task force to facilitate the return to international travel while still managing the risk from imported cases and new variants. The Global Travel Taskforce will report on April 12, 2021.

The last step of the road map will take place at least five weeks after Step 3, no earlier than June 21, 2021. At this point, virtually all restrictions would be lifted including nightclubs and large events.

U.S: Xxtends non-essential border travel restrictions through March 21

The U.S., Mexico and Canada have extended non-essential land travel restrictions through March 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced.

The restrictions apply to those who travel on foot or vehicles, ferries, rail or to coastal ports of entry, as well as immigrants and non-immigrants traveling for purposes that U.S. authorities do not consider essential. Restrictions don’t apply to commercial air or sea travel. U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (LPR) are allowed to return to the United States during this period.

The restrictions first went into effect in March 2020 to minimize cross-border spread of COVID-19. On the U.S.-Mexico border, merchants in cities like El Paso, Texas have seen a dramatic decrease in customers coming across from Mexico during the restrictions.

Some U.S. citizens and legal residents have also expressed frustration at not being allowed to visit relatives, as many of them have family members — including parents and even spouses — in Mexican border cities and were used to seeing them every weekend.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry said it asked the U.S. to extend the restrictions because several of its states are still on high threat level for COVID-19, Wgntv report.

Australia: Travel will start after the end of June

Australia's coronavirus jab rollout has renewed hopes international travel could return within months as Air New Zealand begins trialling a type of vaccine passport.

Travellers will also carry verified copies of their COVID-19 test results and vaccination records, once the jabs become widely available. The industry-developed app will give passengers up-to-date information about what tests and vaccines they need to enter their destination, The Age reports.

Flight Centre Australia CEO Graham Turner said international travel would likely recommence after the end of June. "Probably, travel will start after the end of June, once people who might die or get quite sick have been vaccinated and the vaccines look like they're really doing their job", Graham Turner said 9news.

India: New Travel Guidelines For Tourists

Meanwhile, India recorded a sum total of 10,584 cases of new coronavirus cases on Monday. The total number of deaths in the country stood at 78 in the last 24 hours. So far, as many as 24 countries including the UK, US and Maldives have signed an agreement with India for international travel. However, the government is still cautious when it comes to international travel amid rising concerns of transmission of the new UK and South African Coronavirus strains.

Due to the surge in the COVID-19 cases in India, the Union Minister has issued new guidelines for international travellers to stop the spread of the deadly virus. The government’s new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) come into effect from February 22 (Monday). The SOP says that international travellers from the UK, Europe and UAE need to show their travel history.

International Travel could Return within Months: New Hopes, New Guidelines For Tourists
New Travel Guidelines For Tourists

The new guidelines for tourists will come into effect from 11.59 pm today and will be in force until further notice:

-International travellers will have to submit self-declaration (SDF) for Covid on the online Air Suvidha portal before their scheduled travel.

-Travellers will also have to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report on the online portal with a declaration form stating the authenticity of the report.

-The test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to the journey and each passenger will also have to submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report.

-At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after the thermal screening.

-All passengers should wear masks throughout the ride, follow social distance standards, and have downloaded the Aarogya Setu app.

– Only asymptomatic patients are allowed to board the flight after the thermal screening.

– Travellers arriving through seaports/land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol, except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently, as per the civil aviation ministry guidelines.

-Airlines should identify the international travellers arriving from/transiting through the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa (during the past 14 days) and segregate them in-flight.

-Tourists arriving from/transiting through flights originating in the United Kingdom, Europe or the Middle East shall be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned (port of entry).

– Travellers from Europe and the Middle East shall give samples at the designated area and exit the airport. If the test report is negative, they will be advised to self-monitor their health for 14 days. If the test report is positive, they will undergo treatment as per standard health protocol.

China: Tightens travel restrictions with pre-departure quarantine

China has announced it will require 14 days of self-quarantine for travellers departing from high risk locations.

The new rule applies to a number of African countries, such as the Republic of Congo, Seychelles, and South Africa, as well as other high risk locations including Egypt, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, according to the respective Chinese embassy websites.

Travellers departing from high risk countries will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to departure. PCR and antibody tests will also need to be taken at designated venues within 48 hours of boarding to qualify for a green health code.

Upon arrival in China, travellers will not be exempt from standard quarantine requirements.

Other Chinese embassies worldwide also issued an advisory this month that travellers must opt for nonstop flights, if available, to qualify for a green health code. Where connecting flights are required, only one transit will be permitted.

The latest announcement comes after the Chinese government tightened its route suspension criteria in December for airlines which transport positive cases into the country.

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