Category: travel

The Trump travel ban on Muslim-majority countries may be associated with preterm births among women, study says

The 2017 travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on seven Muslim-majority countries may be associated with an increase in preterm births among women from those countries residing in the United States, according to a new study.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.


© Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.

The study, published last week in the journal Social Science and Medicine, analyzed preterm birth rates among women from countries impacted by the travel ban: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Researchers found an increase after the ban, with a preterm birth rate of 8.6% between February and September 2017. That percentage rose from 8.5% before the ban, between January 2009 and December 2016.

By comparison, US-born, non-Hispanic White women held a steady 8.6% preterm birth rate throughout the time frames.

The 0.1 percentage point increase may not seem dramatic, but it means that the odds of women from these countries having preterm births increased by 6.8%, according to lead author Goleen Samari, an assistant professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

“It’s a massive change when you think about a 6.8% increase,” Samurai told CNN. And because these women typically have better birth outcomes than non-Hispanic White women, Samari says, going from better to worse is significant.

Stress could be reason behind preterm births

To calculate the change, the team used a time series model to estimate the expected preterm birth numbers had the ban not been issued. They used data beginning in 2009 to see what the expected number of preterm births among women from the banned countries would be in 2017 and 2018, after the ban went into place. The team then compared the expected amount of preterm births to the actual amount, showing the elevated trend.

The researchers could not say why the policy led to a rise in preterm births. However, Samurai says that the researchers hypothesized that it was due to stress — either the initial acute stressful shock of the first order or chronic stress exposure as the ban continued to change and make headlines for its court filings or protests.

Another reason could be a decline of quality care, as some women may have avoided prenatal care because they may have felt like they were in a discriminatory environment, Samari says.

Researchers also noted some limitations in their analysis, notably that they did not use individual-level information in their analysis, like maternal facts, political ideology or gestational risk factors that may have contributed to preterm births.

The study stands out for its focus on women from the Middle East and North Africa, who tend to be overlooked as they are classified as non-Hispanic White in data, the researchers say. They add that no study had focused on the impact of a policy that is considered xenophobic and Islamophobic.

Preterm births and poor birth outcomes are “sensitive markers of temporally acute stressors from social and economic threats to

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California’s stay-at-home order allows essential travel only. What does that mean?



a body of water next to the rock: Big Sur is among the California tourism destinations that may be affected by Gov. Gavin Newsom's tightening of travel restrictions. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)


© (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Big Sur is among the California tourism destinations that may be affected by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s tightening of travel restrictions. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Stop traveling, the governor says.

With the “regional stay-at-home” order issued Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom is imploring Californians to stay home for the next three weeks and cinching already tight restrictions in areas where the COVID-19 pandemic has hospitals under the heaviest pressure.

Outlining the new restrictions, which include new capacity limits for retailers and other changes, state officials said hotels and other lodgings will be allowedto open for critical infrastructure support only.” But in the immediate aftermath of the governor’s announcement Thursday afternoon, details of the new travel restrictions remained unclear.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Service, said the state is effectively telling, not asking, Californians to stop all nonessential travel. That includes canceling holiday travel plans, he added.

“The message of the day is, as much as you can, be at home,” Ghaly said.

However, he and Newsom also stressed that parks and beaches would remain open and that Californians could boost their mental health by hiking, running, fishing, practicing yoga, skiing, snowboarding and otherwise savoring outdoor activities.

The new regional stay-at-home order, which officials said goes into effect within 48 hours of the announcement, applies in California regions where ICU availability is less than 15%. Among other things, the new order “prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and requires 100% masking and physical distancing in all others.” It is to remain in effect for at least three weeks.

The order’s regional grouping categorizes Los Angeles County within an 11-county area that also includes Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The 11 Southern California counties and 12 counties in the Central Valley could be required to implement the new restrictions on Friday, based on current projections of the rising number of patients who have been admitted to intensive care units.

VisitCalifornia.com, the state’s tourism website, puts the new rules in blunt terms: The state, it says, has “banned non-essential travel in most of the state beginning Dec. 4.”

In a widely circulated letter to industry professionals, Visit California President and Chief Executive Caroline Beteta wrote that in the 23 counties immediately affected, “hotels can remain open, although the order announced today bans non-essential travel statewide.”

She also noted that ski resorts can stay open (but must close their food and beverage services) and that campgrounds must close, along with wineries, breweries, museums, zoos, family entertainment centers and aquariums.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area spokesman Tim LeRoy confirmed the information about ski operations. California State Parks did not respond to questions about how the governor’s order would affect its campgrounds. As of Wednesday, 83 state campgrounds were at least partly open.

Other details of the state’s plan for enforcing the

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The 2017 travel ban may be associated with preterm births among women from the targeted countries, study says

The study, published last week in the journal Social Science and Medicine, analyzed preterm birth rates among women from countries impacted by the travel ban: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Researchers found an increase after the ban, with a preterm birth rate of 8.6% between February and September 2017. That percentage rose from 8.5% before the ban, between January 2009 and December 2016.

By comparison, US-born, non-Hispanic White women held a steady 8.6% preterm birth rate throughout the time frames.

The 0.1 percentage point increase may not seem dramatic, but it means that the odds of women from these countries having preterm births increased by 6.8%, according to lead author Goleen Samari, an assistant professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

“It’s a massive change when you think about a 6.8% increase,” Samurai told CNN. And because these women typically have better birth outcomes than non-Hispanic White women, Samari says, going from better to worse is significant.

Stress could be reason behind preterm births

To calculate the change, the team used a time series model to estimate the expected preterm birth numbers had the ban not been issued. They used data beginning in 2009 to see what the expected number of preterm births among women from the banned countries would be in 2017 and 2018, after the ban went into place. The team then compared the expected amount of preterm births to the actual amount, showing the elevated trend.

The researchers could not say why the policy led to a rise in preterm births. However, Samurai says that the researchers hypothesized that it was due to stress — either the initial acute stressful shock of the first order or chronic stress exposure as the ban continued to change and make headlines for its court filings or protests.

States are calling racism a public health crisis. Here's what that means

Another reason could be a decline of quality care, as some women may have avoided prenatal care because they may have felt like they were in a discriminatory environment, Samari says.

Researchers also noted some limitations in their analysis, notably that they did not use individual-level information in their analysis, like maternal facts, political ideology or gestational risk factors that may have contributed to preterm births.

The study stands out for its focus on women from the Middle East and North Africa, who tend to be overlooked as they are classified as non-Hispanic White in data, the researchers say. They add that no study had focused on the impact of a policy that is considered xenophobic and Islamophobic.

Preterm births and poor birth outcomes are “sensitive markers of temporally acute stressors from social and economic threats to war, hate crimes, and socioplitical threats,” the researchers wrote in their analysis.

Other studies have pointed to similar findings. After September 11, women with Arabic names were 34% more likely to have a low birthweight infant than before the attacks, according to a 2006 study. Another study, published in 2018, found the passage of a restrictive immigration law in Arizona
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California’s new COVID order: Leisure travelers must stay home

Stop traveling, the governor says.

With the “regional stay-at-home” order issued Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom is imploring Californians to stay home for the next three weeks and cinching already tight restrictions in areas where the COVID-19 pandemic has hospitals under the heaviest pressure.

Outlining the new restrictions, which include new capacity limits for retailers and other changes, state officials said hotels and other lodgings will be allowedto open for critical infrastructure support only.” But in the immediate aftermath of the governor’s announcement Thursday afternoon, details of the new travel restrictions remained unclear.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Service, said the state is effectively telling, not asking, Californians to stop all nonessential travel. That includes canceling holiday travel plans, he added.

“The message of the day is, as much as you can, be at home,” Ghaly said.

However, he and Newsom also stressed that parks and beaches would remain open and that Californians could boost their mental health by hiking, running, fishing, practicing yoga, skiing, snowboarding and otherwise savoring outdoor activities.

The new regional stay-at-home order, which officials said goes into effect within 48 hours of the announcement, applies in California regions where ICU availability is less than 15%. Among other things, the new order “prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and requires 100% masking and physical distancing in all others.” It is to remain in effect for at least three weeks.

The order’s regional grouping categorizes Los Angeles County within an 11-county area that also includes Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The 11 Southern California counties and 12 counties in the Central Valley could be required to implement the new restrictions on Friday, based on current projections of the rising number of patients who have been admitted to intensive care units.

VisitCalifornia.com, the state’s tourism website, puts the new rules in blunt terms: The state, it says, has “banned non-essential travel in most of the state beginning Dec. 4.”

In a widely circulated letter to industry professionals, Visit California President and Chief Executive Caroline Beteta wrote that in the 23 counties immediately affected, “hotels can remain open, although the order announced today bans non-essential travel statewide.”

She also noted that ski resorts can stay open (but must close their food and beverage services) and that campgrounds must close, along with wineries, breweries, museums, zoos, family entertainment centers and aquariums.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area spokesman Tim LeRoy confirmed the information about ski operations. California State Parks did not respond to questions about how the governor’s order would affect its campgrounds. As of Wednesday, 83 state campgrounds were at least partly open.

Other details of the state’s plan for enforcing the tighter limits remained unclear Thursday afternoon.

In a web Q&A explaining the new travel guidelines, state officials said: “Stay in your county if you can. Don’t drive more than 2-3 hours.”

“You can

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Need to cancel your holiday travel plans amid COVID? Here’s the latest on changes and refunds

With California’s pandemic policies tightening, COVID-19 cases escalating and vaccines unlikely to reach most people until spring or later, many families are rethinking their holiday travel plans. “It’s time to cancel everything,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a news conference Wednesday night.



a group of people standing next to a sign: A flight crew member at LAX on Nov. 23, just ahead of the Thanksgiving travel period. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


© (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A flight crew member at LAX on Nov. 23, just ahead of the Thanksgiving travel period. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of health and human services, said Thursday the state is, in effect, telling, not asking, Californians to stop all nonessential travel. That includes canceling holiday travel plans, Ghaly said. The new requirements, to take effect Friday, were in response to stress on critical care services and hospital intensive care units. Details on how the state would enforce such a broad restriction remained unclear Thursday afternoon.

Here’s a quick look at how airlines, lodgings and other travel suppliers are handling reservation changes and cancellations.

Airlines

In late August and early September, several airlines dropped their ticket change fees at least through the end of this year. Among them: Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian and United.

Southwest Airlines, which has had the most flexible major airline ticket policy for years, continues to allow passengers to rebook their flights for travel up to one year from the original purchase date.

It’s easier to get a credit or vouchers for future travel than it is to get your money back. As millions of travelers learned in the first months of the pandemic, many airlines refused to issue refunds unless they had canceled or significantly delayed a flight themselves. And even then, many did their best to nudge customers toward accepting travel credit rather than cash.

But as the Federal Trade Commission noted, airlines are required to offer refunds for canceled or significantly delayed flights, even if the cause is beyond their control. If your airline resists, report it to the U.S. Department of Transportation — but be warned that the DOT can take months to process complaints and the process is far from a sure thing.

Trains

Amtrak has waived change fees for tickets bought by Dec. 31. You may be eligible for a credit voucher or a refund, depending on the type of ticket you bought.

The cheapest Saver Fares give refunds only within 24 hours of booking; these tickets can’t be changed, either. Value Fares offer a refund or voucher if you cancel within 15 days of your departure. Canceling closer to your departure date may cost you 25% of the ticket price.

Flexible, Business and Premium fares will give you a full refund or voucher with no fees as long as you cancel in advance. If you don’t show up without canceling, you forfeit your ticket.

Buses

Greyhound is allowing bus riders to postpone their travel plans through Jan. 31. Requests for a credit voucher must be made at least a day before you are scheduled to leave. (This doesn’t apply to cash or

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Away Mini Gift Set Gift Pick

If you’re anything like us, you’re obsessive about finding the perfect gift. A Scouted Gift Pick is our stamp of approval for certified winners in the gifting department. You may not even need to get a gift receipt.

WHAT IT IS:

Away Mini Gift Sets: Away, purveyor of the high-tech luggage you’ve seen at airports and on trains for the last few years, has the perfect miniature holiday gift. The limited-edition Away Mini Gift Sets feature a travel case full of different goodies, depending on your giftee. Choose the Bliss Set for someone that needs some calm in their life, packed with hand sanitizer, a foot soak, and fancy creams. The Adventure Set comes with all the items you need to keep your skin safe while outdoors. Finally, the Boost Set comes with energizing facial sprays, sheet masks, and biodegradable glitter for some festive fun. There’s also the Travel Wellness Kit, which includes face masks, hand sanitizer, and more.

WHO TO GIFT IT TO:

Your travel-hungry friend that cannot wait to get back to satiating their wanderlust. Your best friend that needs some skin care in their life, but just doesn’t know it yet. Yourself, because these travel-sized cases are perfect for storing your goods on the go.

Scouted selects products independently and prices reflect what was available at the time of publish. Sign up for our newsletter for more recommendations and check out our coupon site for more deals. If you buy something from our posts, we may earn a small commission.

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How ‘The World’s Best Travel Jeans’ Brand Pivoted After The World Stopped Traveling

My favorite travel apparel is made by a local Los Angeles company called Aviator. Don’t tell anyone I said this but I essentially live in two pairs of Aviator’s comfort-stretch travel jeans — officially called The World’s Best Travel Jeans — made from 49% Lyocell, 42% cotton, 6% elasterell, and 3% spandex. You know travel jeans are extraordinary when you wear them in a year like 2020 when everyone is stuck at home all the time.

Colby Kane is the designer and former Macy’s art director behind the brand, and he and I kindred spirits. We both live to travel and make travel part of our work. But since March, he’s had to adjust to the radical new realities of running a small fashion brand in the most challenging business climate in recent history.

Aviator recently introduced a new air-dry polo shirt made from the same sweat-proof, odor-resistant, take-it-anywhere fabric that’s the brand’s signature. Aviator makes hoodies, t-shirts and, now, face masks with merino wool, and the stuff is practically bombproof. The new polo is cut like a classic with a crisp collar, a tailored fit at the shoulders and a nifty Aviator airplane logo at the chest that signals: you haven’t given up on going places.

I asked Kane how he’s managing in the face of pandemic shutdowns, and what keeps him sane as he pivots and re-prioritizes, all while staying in style.

Being a small clothing company among the giants of retail was already challenging. How did the pandemic impact on Aviator? 

Colby Kane: The pandemic had a huge impact on Aviator. Since we make clothing for the travel lifestyle our sales completely stopped from March 13th to the beginning of April. I remember seeing a couple sales come in for jeans and thinking “who’s buying jeans right now for their next trip?” It was over those first couple of weeks of the pandemic that I think being small and scrappy was an advantage. Most of those ‘giants’ don’t make products here in the USA, making it much harder for them to pivot to masks. Without pivoting to masks I believe we would have closed down the business. We are self-funded with zero investment and never would have survived. 

Wow. How big a part of the business did masks become?

It was a huge part of our business from April through July. I never envisioned making masks before but here we are. On April 1st, I spoke with some of my LA factories to see if we could work together on becoming an essential business and stay open by making masks. We have since donated thousands of masks to the frontline workers and other essential businesses. We started selling the masks through our website which helped keep our factories

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Italy announces Christmas travel ban



a person walking in the rain with an umbrella: A travel ban between different regions will be in place from 21 December to 6 January


© Getty Images
A travel ban between different regions will be in place from 21 December to 6 January

Italy has outlined strict coronavirus curbs for Christmas, including a ban on travel between different regions from 21 December to 6 January.

A curfew from 22:00 to 05:00 will also be in place.

Restaurants can open in some regions until 18:00 but only takeaways are allowed in other parts of the country. Ski slopes must close until 7 January.

It comes as Italy announced its highest daily Covid death toll since the pandemic started, with 993 fatalities.

“We cannot let down our guard,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told a news conference.

“We must eliminate the risk of a third wave which could arrive in January – and not less serious than the first and the second,” he added.

There will be travel exceptions for work, medical reasons or emergencies.

On top of the regional travel bans, people will not be allowed to leave their home towns on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The new curbs have been criticised in a joint statement by regional authorities, who say they were not consulted by the central government.

“The lack of discussion has made it impossible to balance the curbs with the needs of families,” the statement said.

Attilio Fontana, governor of the northern Lombardy region, which has reported the most cases and deaths, called the new rules “crazy”.

More than 58,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 in Italy.

Before Thursday, the country’s previous record daily death toll was 969 on 27 March.

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Italy bans travel between towns over Christmas

The Italian government has approved a controversial ban on inter-regional travel during the Christmas period as the country registered the highest daily coronavirus death toll since the beginning of the pandemic.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Photograph: Italys' Prime Minister Press Off/AFP/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Italys’ Prime Minister Press Off/AFP/Getty Images

Under a new decree due to be signed by prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, on Thursday night, people will be barred from travelling beyond their regions between 20 December and 6 January except for work, health or emergency reasons.

On top of that, they won’t be allowed to leave their towns on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The tough rules, which will run alongside a national curfew and other restrictions already in place, are intended to avert a third coronavirus wave.

Italy recorded a record 993 Covid-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing the total since February to 58,038. Thursday’s tally eclipsed the 969 peak reached on 27 March, when the country was in complete lockdown.

There were 23,255 new confirmed infections, up from 20,709 on Wednesday. The infection curve has been showing signs of flattening over the last week, while the number of hospital admissions, including into intensive care, has been declining.

The government is trying to avoid the mistakes made after the spring lockdown was lifted and returning holidaymakers were partly blamed for reviving infections.

“If we drop our guard now, the third wave is just around the corner,” health minister Roberto Speranza told parliament on Wednesday.

The government also resisted pressure from leaders of Alpine regions and opted to keep ski resorts closed until 7 January, while midnight mass on Christmas Eve will have to be brought forward so that worshippers can make it home before the 10pm curfew.

The debate in parliament over the measures was heated, with Italia Viva, the centrist party led by former prime minister Matteo Renzi which is part of the ruling majority, calling for softer restrictions.

The measures also infuriated regional governors, who said in a joint statement earlier on Thursday that they had not been consulted and that “the lack of discussion has made it impossible to balance the curbs with the needs of families”.

“Reading an unexpected decree that bans movements between towns in the same region on 25 and 26 December and 1 January … is crazy,” said Attilio Fontana, president of the northern Lombardy region. Lombardy is the region worst hit by the pandemic, recording 22,626 of the total deaths.



a man wearing a suit and tie: The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said people will be barred from travelling between towns between 20 December and 6 January.


© Photograph: Italys’ Prime Minister Press Off/AFP/Getty Images
The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said people will be barred from travelling between towns between 20 December and 6 January.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, the far-right opposition party, said: “These families must remain divided even at Christmas. This is yet more proof that the government does not know Italy.”

Conte is due to address the nation at 8.15pm CET and outline the measures, which will be in force from Friday. Other measures are expected to include the obligation, between 10 and 21 December,

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Welsh Covid travel rule changes unfair on pubs, say critics | UK news

The Welsh government is under fire over changes to its Covid travel rules that critics say will lead to people from Wales crossing the border for nights out in England.

From Friday, a rule that bans people from leaving Wales except for reasons such as work or education will be replaced with one that allows Welsh residents to go to tier 1 and 2 areas in England. At the same time a law comes into force that stops pubs and other licensed premises in Wales selling alcohol and forces them to close at 6pm.

Welsh pub owners said people from Wales were bound to travel into England for a drink and meal. Mark Jones, who runs the Stanton House Inn in Chirk, north Wales, said: “I’m just half a mile from the border. We’re going to close and I know some people from here will go to pubs in England. It isn’t fair.”

Ashley Rogers, the commercial director of a business council that covers north Wales, said: “It will put pubs in Wales at a competitive disadvantage. On the back of an awful year it could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”


Conservatives in the Welsh parliament called for the government to think again. Darren Millar, the shadow Covid recovery minister, said: “While any lifting of travel restrictions between Wales and England is to be welcomed, there can be no doubt that this news will rub salt in the wounds of the Welsh hospitality industry.

“With Welsh pubs, cafes and restaurants being banned from selling alcohol on their premises, many of their customers will be taking their custom and cash across the border to enjoy a tipple with a meal in England instead.

“The Welsh Labour-led government must rethink its new rules, engage with leaders the hospitality industry and adopt a more targeted approach to intervention that keeps the Welsh pound in Wales, and attracts the English pound into Welsh businesses too, especially in the run-up to Christmas.”

Asked if the rule change meant Welsh residents would be able to go to pubs in tiers 1 and 2 in England, a Welsh government spokesperson said there would be no legal restrictions, but added: “We strongly advise people in Wales not to travel into those parts of England and Scotland where the infection rate is lower, to help prevent them taking coronavirus with them.”


The changes mean people from tiers 1 and 2 in England can go on holiday to Wales. The spokesman said: “People in England living in tier 1 and 2 areas can enter Wales. However we are asking people to think carefully about their actions and the risk of spreading the virus. We continue to ask people to do what they should do, rather than what they can do under the law, in order to play their part in preventing the spread of coronavirus.”

Under the new rules for Wales travel to and from tier 3 areas in England, level 3 and 4 areas in Scotland

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