Tag: quarantinefree

Delta announces quarantine-free flights to Rome, raising hopes for more travel corridors

It would be the first such quarantine-free travel corridor between the United States and Europe, and industry advocates hope that it could become a role model for how air travel can resume safely after a year that has forced many airlines into bankruptcy or mass layoffs.

Transatlantic flights are considered some of the most lucrative routes, and their resumption would offer airlines some relief, even though air travel may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 or 2025 according to some estimates.

“Carefully designed covid-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” Delta executive Steve Sear said in a news release.

Whereas the idea of travel corridors was pondered within weeks of the pandemic grounding planes around the world, arrangements have in practice mostly been limited to nations with similarly low infection rates such as Australia and New Zealand. This appears to slowly be changing, as some of the more recently established travel corridors have for the first time included regions with surging case numbers, signaling a growing willingness among airlines and some governments to experiment with pre- and post-flight testing as a universal solution.

The experimental Atlanta-Rome corridor is expected to launch Dec. 19, after Italian authorities have provided the legal framework for it, and European or American travelers heading to Rome would need to test negative for the novel coronavirus several times to be exempt from the otherwise mandatory 14 days of quarantine in Italy.

Passengers set to embark on the new route will need to take a PCR test up to 72 hours before the flight, followed by rapid tests in Atlanta and at the destination in Rome, according to Delta. Rapid tests provide results within minutes but are not as accurate as PCR tests.

No start date or exact procedure was provided for the connections between New York and Rome.

For now, the corridor won’t allow Americans to travel to the European Union for tourism purposes, since a travel ban remains in place in both directions. So far, most Americans can only enter the European Union for reasons deemed essential such as some types of work or studies. But Reuters reported Wednesday that the Trump administration may be considering to lift its own travel ban on most Europeans — a move that, if confirmed, could encourage the E.U. to eventually relax its entry restrictions, too.

“Quarantines don’t work, they are inefficient and hard to police,” said the chief executive of Rome’s airport network, Marco Troncone, according to the Financial Times. “It’s hard to convey this message to governments and policymakers, but I think we’re close to a breakthrough.”

Rome’s airport network said in a news release on Thursday that additional travel corridors could connect Rome to several German airports.

Some governments have been more open to the airline industry’s insistence on replacing quarantines with coronavirus tests than others.

The Canary Islands — an autonomous Spanish region to the west of Africa — has

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Delta new quarantine-free Italy intiative

The major airline partnered with the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to create the new trans-Atlantic testing initiative.

ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines has joined with two other companies to create a coronavirus testing program that will allow travelers to enter Italy without having to quarantine. 

The major airline partnered with the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to create the new trans-Atlantic testing initiative. 

“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” Steve Sear, Delta President – International and Executive Vice President – Global Sales said in a release on Thanksgiving Day.

The new program is set to be in line with an official order expected to be issued by the Italian government.

“Safety is our core promise – it’s at the center of this pioneering testing effort and it’s the foundation of our standards for cleanliness and hygiene to help customers feel confident when they fly Delta,” Sear stated.

The airline company said they’ve been working with the Mayo Clinic, a global healthcare competitor, to assess and ensure the safety of the newly formed flight initiative. 

“Based on the modeling we have conducted, when testing protocols are combined with multiple layers of protection, including mask requirements, proper social distancing and environmental cleaning, we can predict that the risk of COVID-19 infection – on a flight that is 60 percent full – should be nearly one in a million,” Henry Ting, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Value Officer, of the Mayo Clinic explained. 

Delta mentioned that they are also working with the Georgia Department of Public Health in hopes that they will create a foundation for governments to reopen “important international travel markets.” 

“The State of Georgia and the Italian government have demonstrated leadership in testing protocols and practices that can safely reopen international travel without quarantine requirements,” Sear added.

The trial for this new quarantine-free initiative will begin on Dec. 19. They plan to test passengers and the airline crew on flights headed to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport. 

“The tests will exempt from quarantine on arrival in Italy all U.S. citizens permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as for work, health and education, as well as all European Union and Italian citizens,” the release detailed. 

Anyone interested in being a part of this trial must test negative for the virus through one of the following avenues: 

  • A COVID Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken up to 72 hours before departure
  • A rapid test administered at the airport in Atlanta before boarding
  • A rapid test on arrival in Rome-Fiumicino
  • A rapid test at Rome-Fiumicino before departure to the United States

Passengers will also be asked to provide CDC style contact-tracing information when they enter the U.S. 


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Delta launches the first quarantine-free travel from the US to Europe, thanks to a new testing program that reduces infection chances on a flight to ‘1 in a million’



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  • Delta is trialing a new testing program that will allow passengers to travel to Europe without quarantine.
  • The airline is piloting the scheme on flights between Rome and Atlanta from December alongside Italian airline Alitalia.
  • Passengers will have to take two COVID-19 tests before boarding the plane in the US, and another one upon arrival in Italy.
  • If the Delta flights are 60% full and the tests are combined with other protective measures, the risk of COVID-19 infection “should be nearly one in a million,” the Mayo Clinic said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Delta Air Lines will allow passengers to skip one of the major hurdles associated with travel to Europe during the pandemic – quarantine – because of a new testing program it is launching on flights between Rome and Atlanta, Georgia.

From December 19, US citizens who are permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, including for work, health and education, as well as all EU and Italian citizens flying from the US, won’t have to quarantine when they arrive in the country if they take part in the program, it announced Thursday. 

To board the flights, operated by both Delta and Italian airline Alitalia, passengers must produce a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken up to 72 hours before departure, alongside a rapid test administered at the airport in Atlanta before boarding.

Upon arrival in Rome, they will have to take a second rapid test.

To return to Atlanta, passengers will also need to take a rapid test at the airport in Rome.

They will need to provide details to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s contact-tracing protocols, the airline said.

Video: International travelers may soon be required to get COVID-19 vaccination before flying (USA TODAY)

International travelers may soon be required to get COVID-19 vaccination before flying

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The program is pending an upcoming decree that Delta expects the Italian government to issue.

It applies to flights between Aeroporti di Roma in Rome, Italy and Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Read more: There are 12 coronavirus tests you can use from home. Here’s how they work and where to order one.

Advisors from the Mayo Clinic have reviewed Delta’s testing program. When the testing protocols are combined with other protective measures including mask requirements, proper social distancing, and environmental cleaning, “we can predict that the risk of COVID-19 infection – on a flight that is 60% full – should be nearly one in a million,” Henry Ting, chief value officer at the Mayo Clinic, said.

“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” Steve Sear, president of Delta’s international operations, said.

This week, five other airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and United Airlines, announced that they would roll out shared digital health passes to prove negative COVID-19 tests in December.

The

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Asia Today: Hong Kong, Singapore OK quarantine-free travel

HONG KONG — Hong Kong and Singapore will start an air travel bubble at the end of November, allowing travelers from each city to visit the other without entering quarantine in a first step to stimulate tourism amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Nov. 22, visitors from either city must have a negative virus test result before they leave, when they arrive and before they return. Flights designated to carry passengers in the bubble will carry a maximum of 200 travelers each. It will start with one flight a day to each city and increase to two designated flights Dec. 7.

The bubble will be suspended for two weeks if either Hong Kong or Singapore reports a seven-day moving average of more than five untraceable coronavirus infections, according to the Hong Kong government.

“Hong Kong and Singapore are similar in terms of epidemic control. Both are regional aviation hubs and international cities, enjoying strong trade, investment, finance, tourism and people-to-people ties,” said Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau. “The revival of cross-border air travel between the two places is of utmost importance.”

He said that he hopes the aviation, tourism, hotel and retail businesses will benefit from the bubble, and that it would gradually help Hong Kong’s economy to recover.

Separately, government officials also announced that Hong Kong residents returning to the city from Guangdong province or Macau will be exempted from quarantine from Nov. 23, as long as they register in advance and test negative for the coronavirus.

However, the exemption from quarantine is only one-way, and Hong Kong residents travelling to the mainland must still serve 14 days of quarantine on arrival.

A temporary daily quota of visitors is in place. This is to ensure it can be handled smoothly and without overcrowding, according to Tommy Yuen, director of special duties at the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— Vanuatu has recorded its first case of the coronavirus after a citizen who had been repatriated from the United States tested positive while in quarantine. The Pacific nation had been among the last few countries to have avoided the virus altogether. Health authorities say the 23-year-old man was asymptomatic when he returned on Nov. 4 and his infection was confirmed Tuesday after routine day 5 testing. Authorities say they plan to keep everyone from the same flight in quarantine and to trace the man’s close contacts but don’t need to impose any broader measures in the nation of 300,000 people.

— India’s capital has recorded a new peak of 7,830 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours as festivals and weddings attended by large crowds fuel a resurgence. Authorities targeted testing in shopping areas, workplaces and religious places with New Delhi’s tally continuing to be more than 7,000 daily this week after dropping to nearly 1,000 in September. India’s infections overall have held steady recently with 44,281 new cases reported Wednesday. The Health Ministry also reported 512 deaths,

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Hong Kong, Singapore OK quarantine-free travel

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong and Singapore will start an air travel bubble at the end of November, allowing travelers from each city to visit the other without entering quarantine in a first step to stimulate tourism amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Nov. 22, visitors from either city must have a negative virus test result before they leave, when they arrive and before they return. Flights designated to carry passengers in the bubble will carry a maximum of 200 travelers each. It will start with one flight a day to each city and increase to two designated flights Dec. 7.

The bubble will be suspended for two weeks if either Hong Kong or Singapore reports a seven-day moving average of more than five untraceable coronavirus infections, according to the Hong Kong government.

“Hong Kong and Singapore are similar in terms of epidemic control. Both are regional aviation hubs and international cities, enjoying strong trade, investment, finance, tourism and people-to-people ties,” said Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau. “The revival of cross-border air travel between the two places is of utmost importance.”

He said that he hopes the aviation, tourism, hotel and retail businesses will benefit from the bubble, and that it would gradually help Hong Kong’s economy to recover.

Separately, government officials also announced that Hong Kong residents returning to the city from Guangdong province or Macau will be exempted from quarantine from Nov. 23, as long as they register in advance and test negative for the coronavirus.

However, the exemption from quarantine is only one-way, and Hong Kong residents travelling to the mainland must still serve 14 days of quarantine on arrival.

A temporary daily quota of visitors is in place. This is to ensure it can be handled smoothly and without overcrowding, according to Tommy Yuen, director of special duties at the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— Vanuatu has recorded its first case of the coronavirus after a citizen who had been repatriated from the United States tested positive while in quarantine. The Pacific nation had been among the last few countries to have avoided the virus altogether. Health authorities say the 23-year-old man was asymptomatic when he returned on Nov. 4 and his infection was confirmed Tuesday after routine day 5 testing. Authorities say they plan to keep everyone from the same flight in quarantine and to trace the man’s close contacts but don’t need to impose any broader measures in the nation of 300,000 people.

— India’s capital has recorded a new peak of 7,830 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours as festivals and weddings attended by large crowds fuel a resurgence. Authorities targeted testing in shopping areas, workplaces and religious places with New Delhi’s tally continuing to be more than 7,000 daily this week after dropping to nearly 1,000 in September. India’s infections overall have held steady recently with 44,281 new cases reported Wednesday. The Health Ministry also

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U.K. Quarantine-Free Travel Is Almost A Reality With Rapid Covid-19 Tests

U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Schapps has announced plans to introduce quick Covid-19 tests to eliminate the need to quarantine.

In a speech in London to the Airport Operators Association, Schapps told an audience of aviation industry professionals that the current testing taking place in Liverpool, offered “hope for optimism”, as reported by Sky News.

Schapps was referring to a trial where swabs of the nose or throat are placed on a test device and the results are displayed within 15 to 30 minutes.

The U.K. is currently on lockdown until 2 December, and at present, under strict travel restrictions–foreign holidays are banned, with penalties ranging from £200 ($264) to £6,400 ($8,463).

Britons are currently allowed to travel through a “travel corridor” system, where countries are put on safe lists, meaning that travelers do not need to quarantine upon their return. However, as Covid-19 rates have been spiking across the EU and the U.K., this list of safe countries is getting smaller and smaller. Germany and Sweden were the latest countries to be removed from the safe list on 7 November.

With what Schapps called “perhaps the darkest hour for aviation”, there have been calls by many in the industry, including the Telegraph newspaper, to introduce a system of rapid Covid-19 testing instead, where negative tests allow quarantine-free entry to a country.

There are currently several tests for detecting the virus, useful in different situations, which can be effective when used in conjunction with masks and contact tracing.

Airport testing is different to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which has been the more standard approach around the world. In this case, a nasal swab or saliva sample detects the presence of the Sars-CoV-2 virus and is processed in a lab–results typically take 24 hours to a few days to come back, making rapid testing difficult.

Airport testing is a rapid antigen test, determining whether molecular markers on the outside of the coronavirus are present in a sample. The latter is much less sophisticated but can deliver results in minutes–and it is hoped, could help the airline industry recover.

The scheme could ideally be rolled out for arrivals by train and car too, at Eurostar or ferry terminals.

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Australian PM pushes for quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand by Christmas

Scott Morrison wants quarantine-free international travel to New Zealand by Christmas, as part of a three-stage plan to get the nation to Covid-normal by the end of the year.



a close up of Scott Morrison wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


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The prime minister outlined the plan at the national cabinet meeting on Friday, with a travel bubble potentially including other approved low-risk nations, and a trial, operating from early December, to allow seasonal workers and international students to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine outside of a supervised hotel setting.



a close up of Scott Morrison wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Prime minister Scott Morrison outlined plans to national cabinet to establish a quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand as well as approved low-risk nations


© Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
Prime minister Scott Morrison outlined plans to national cabinet to establish a quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand as well as approved low-risk nations

Morrison also lobbied Victoria to accept international arrivals, as part of a push to increase the weekly cap on returned travellers to 6,000. The federal government has said it aims to have all 26,000 Australians registered to return home back in the country by Christmas.

The first repatriation flight from London landed in Darwin on Friday with 161 passengers who will quarantine at Howard Springs.

He said that, following discussions with Victorian premier Daniel Andrews in national cabinet, he was “hoping they will be able to make a move on being able to receive international arrivals”.

“That day isn’t here yet but I know it’s a priority for the premier because he wants to see Victorians come home,” he said.

Asked ahead of the national cabinet meeting if Victoria would be accepting international flights by Christmas, Andrews said that’s “certainly our aim” but not before the hotel quarantine inquiry had delivered its final report on 6 November.

Speaking at his daily press conference, the Victorian premier said an outbreak at a school in Melbourne’s northern suburbs would not delay a “significant” easing of restrictions from Sunday and he was “confident in where things are at the moment”.

Related: Victoria to conduct covert surveillance of businesses to ensure Covid compliance

As of Friday there were 800 people in Victoria under self-isolation orders as contacts and close contacts of coronavirus cases, including 400 people connected to the 83 families whose children attend East Preston Islamic school.

Authorities announced on Wednesday that a student had tested positive. A parent of another child who attends the school – but who did not have direct contact with the first student or their family – has also since tested positive.

It was the only new case recorded in Victoria on Friday. There are just five active cases in aged care and seven among healthcare workers.

Video: Premier Daniel Andrews treats Victorians as if they’re ‘dim witted’ (Sky News Australia)

Premier Daniel Andrews treats Victorians as if they’re ‘dim witted’

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Meanwhile, New South Wales reported no new locally acquired cases on Friday, but seven new cases in hotel quarantine.

Andrews said the school outbreak did not necessarily mean there was broader transmission in the school community.

“We are very well placed to make some significant announcements on Sunday

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