A widespread vaccine for COVID-19 hasn’t reached the public yet, but already, airlines are planning for how to handle travelers with and without immunity. On Monday, Alan Joyce, the CEO of Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways, shared that his airline would eventually only allow for vaccinated travelers to board its flights. The move would essentially lock down the spread of the virus through air travel and allow for travelers to move around the globe unhindered by quarantines, though it would only open up the carrier to the select population that had received the vaccine.
Joyce’s marks come as part of the early discussion around how airlines will plan for and accommodate travelers once the vaccine becomes more widespread across the traveling population. Already, some air carriers have enforced strict safety measures in-flight to stem the spread of COVID-19 while in transit; by late October, Alaska, Delta and United had banned over 900 passengers for not complying with mask mandates while some carriers are still blocking middle seats.
Restricting travelers based on level of vaccination may yield a new level of contention between airlines and passengers as carriers look to balance safety with sentiment. In some regions, the virus and the safety precautions taken around the virus have turned into polarizing topics. Beyond the airline-level bans, passengers have turned to social media and public shaming to argue their respective viewpoints.
To help enforce policies, the BBC reports that Qantas is already considering modifying its terms and conditions to ensure that it has grounds to restrict travel from unvaccinated travelers. Other air carriers will need to look into sketching out the same legal boundaries if restrictions are built around vaccinated travelers.
One other consideration for how airlines will allow for vaccinated travelers is in how the public is able to provide credentials. Right now, many routes around the world require travelers to present a recent, negative COVID-19 test in order to fly. On a similar tack, airlines will need to come up with a way to check and verify passenger immunity before the traveler boards the flight — or even reaches the airport.
Those restrictions will also need to adapt based on which countries and populations receive the vaccines first.
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will lift more internal border restrictions in a boost for tourism as new coronavirus infections slow to a trickle, while first vaccines could be available in March, a government minister said on Tuesday.
Queensland state, a popular holiday destination, will allow visitors next week from the country’s two most populous states, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, after closing its borders in August.
NSW has since notched a month without any COVID-19 cases where the source is unknown and restrictions on arrivals from Sydney will be eased on Dec. 1, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
Residents of Victoria, previously the country’s coronavirus hotspot, will also be welcomed if the state has no new cases on Wednesday, which would mark 26 days without community transmission.
“Queensland is good to go,” Palaszczuk told reporters in Brisbane.
NSW and Victoria opened their border on Monday, while the South Australia-Victorian border opens fully next week, in welcome news for local airline companies, Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia.
Qantas said it will run more than 1,200 return flights from Victoria and NSW into Queensland in the run-up to Christmas.
The moves will please Prime Minister Scott Morrison who has pushed state leaders to relax some curbs to help revive the economy, which shrank 7% in the three months to end-June, the most since records began in 1959.
Looking further out, Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia – which has agreed to buy nearly 34 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine – is increasingly confident it can complete a vaccination programme after the release of preliminary trial results.
“Our vaccine timeline is beginning to strengthen. The news from overseas is that we are on track for first vaccines in March,” Hunt told reporters in Sydney.
AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine, cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than its rivals, could be as much as 90% effective.
Australia has reported more than 27,800 cases of COVID-19 and 907 deaths since the pandemic began, but estimates there are fewer than 100 active COVID-19 cases remaining, mostly people in hotel quarantine.
Victoria said on Tuesday it had zero active cases for the first time in over eight months following a strict lockdown after daily infections peaked at more than 700 in early August.
Qantas, meanwhile, said it will insist in future that international travelers have a COVID-19 vaccination before they fly, describing the move as “a necessity”.
“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say, for international travelers, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft,” Chief Executive Alan Joyce told broadcaster Channel Nine.
Australia closed its international borders in March and currently requires returning travelers from overseas to quarantine for two weeks.
(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Richard Pullin)
When the news of potential coronavirus vaccines broke, some people immediately started planning their next vacation.
Skyscanner saw spikes in both searches and bookings on the days that news of a potential coronavirus vaccine hit.
While the pandemic had travelers avoiding big cities, when news of the Pfizer vaccine broke, people started searching for big cities once more.
When news of Moderna’s vaccine hit, travelers started dreaming bigger and began searching for more international destinations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that “travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”
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When the news of potential coronavirus vaccines broke, the world uttered a collective sigh of relief.
And, despite the fact that the vaccines likely won’t be available to everyone in the US until May 2021, some people have immediately started planning their next vacation.
Travel search engine Skyscanner told Insider that on November 9, 2020, when news of Pfizer’s promising vaccine broke, searches for economy class round-trips from the US increased by 39% compared to the previous day. Bookings jumped 25%.
Similarly, on November 16, 2020, when news of the promising Moderna vaccine hit, searches for economy class round-trips from the US rose by 63% compared to the previous day. Bookings spiked 17%.
On November 9, tentative travelers kept their potential trips pretty local, with US destinations making up most of the top 10.
However, what US cities Americans were searching for came as a surprise, as most of the list consisted of large cities, with New York, Los Angeles, and Miami rounding out the top three.
Whereas the pandemic had travelers avoiding big cities in lieu of small towns, camping, and road trips, the vaccine news had big cities shoot up to the top of people’s bucket lists once more.
Even more interesting is that, once news of a second potentially viable vaccine broke, travelers began dreaming even bigger, with international destinations from London to Munich making up the top 10 most-searched destinations.
Most experts predicted travel rebounding
Mark Crossey, the US Traveler Expert for Skyscanner, said that US travelers are emboldened by most airlines’ scrapped change fees.
“The emergence of truly flexible travel fares has not gone unnoticed, and US travelers are taking advantage,” he said, adding that low fares and flexibility will likely be around for a while to encourage bookings.
He added that the post-vaccine news spike just shows how unwavering Americans’ appetite for travel is.
Insider reported in April that many experts predicted this, agreeing that while the question of when and how long it will take to get there was unclear, travel would rebound swiftly.
“People’s desire to travel is resilient,” a TripAdvisor spokesperson previously said in a statement to Insider. “What we’ve seen through SARS, Ebola, terrorist attacks, and numerous natural disasters is that the travel industry has always rebounded.”
Leaders from Japan and New Zealand on Friday warned countries against the temptation of retreating into trade protectionism, saying that keeping markets open is the way to restore a global economy battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking by video link from Tokyo to a meeting of Asia-Pacific CEOs, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said a “free and open Indo-Pacific will be the cornerstone for the prosperity of this region.”
Japan and 14 other Asian neighbours on Sunday signed the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Suga, who took office in September, said Japan will next push for a wider free trade pact among the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
“Amidst a risk of inward-looking temptations in the face of the slump of the global economy, making rules for a free and fair global economy is critically important,” he said. “While continuing to promote WTO reform, Japan will aspire for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.”
The event came ahead of a meeting late Friday of APEC leaders hosted by Malaysia that will be conducted via video conference due to the pandemic. Malaysian officials said US President Donald Trump, who is busy challenging the outcome of the recent presidential election, will participate.
Trump last participated in the APEC forum in 2017 and last weekend skipped the East Asia Summits, also held online. Trump, or his representative, was initially due to speak to the CEOs Friday morning but that was canceled, with no reasons given.
Churches in the Philippine capital Manila have been told not to hold any Christmas carol activities this season as part of measures to limit the transmission of Covid-19.
The Philippines, a catholic majority country, has one of the longest Christmas periods in the world, with celebrations beginning at the start of September and, for some, lasting as late as Valentine’s Day.
It’s the country’s most important holiday, but this year’s festivities will be different: as well as a ban on carols in church, there are also limits on church attendance,
California enacts coronavirus curfew for majority of state’s 40m residents
California will impose a temporary overnight curfew affecting nearly the entire population beginning this weekend, as the state battles to get a surge in coronavirus cases under control.
The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, announced the limited stay-at-home order on Thursday, saying that all non-essential work and gathering must stop from 10pm to 5am. The order will apply to the 41 counties currently in the most restrictive tier of reopening rules, which accounts for nearly the entire state population of 40 million people:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised Americans not to travel for next week’s Thanksgiving holiday, due to the nationwide surge in new coronavirus cases.
“CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” Dr Henry Walke, the CDC’s coronavirus incident manager, said during a briefing today.
“For Americans who decide to travel, CDC recommends doing so as safely as possible by following the same recommendations for everyday living,” Walke added.
Walke particularly expressed fear about the possibility of Americans unknowingly spreading coronavirus to family members, saying, “One of our concerns is that as people over the holiday season get together, they may actually be bringing infections with them to that small gathering and not even know it.”
In a set of updated guidelines, the CDC recommended celebrating Thanksgiving virtually or only with members of one’s own household.
The guidance says, “In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.”
The news comes a day after the US coronavirus death toll surpassed 250,000, which is far higher than any other country in the world:
Chinese President Xi Jinping is calling for closer international cooperation on making a vaccine for the coronavirus available, as his government announces that the vaccine developed by state-owned pharmaceutical company SinoPharm has been administered to 1m people.
Xi spoke Thursday in an address delivered via video at an event at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Xi said: “To beat the virus and promote the global recovery, the international community must close ranks and jointly respond to the crisis and meet the tests.” He said cooperation would include closer coordination on policies for development and distribution of a vaccine.
Chinese companies Sinovac and Sinopharm are in the late stages of testing vaccines, putting them among nearly a dozen companies at or near that level of development. That has introduced both commercial and political competition among countries and companies to be the first to offer a solution to the pandemic.
“To justify its authorisation of an unproven vaccine, Beijing said the products’ use had been restricted to high-risk individuals, though that included not only obvious groups like frontline health professionals, but also school, supermarket and public transport workers.”
The South China Morning Post reports that SinoPharm’s CEO has said there
(Reuters) – British stocks jumped on Monday as positive vaccine data from drugmaker Moderna bolstered hopes of a swift economic recovery to pre-pandemic levels, offsetting concerns over a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE closed 1.7% higher, after Moderna Inc MRNA.O reported its experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial.
Pfizer Inc PFE.N and German drugmker BioNTech SE BNTX.O made a similar announcement on Nov. 9. British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L, which is yet to release results from its late-stage vaccine trials, fell 1%.
The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index .FTMC ended 1.8% higher, with cinema operator Cineworld Group Plc CINE.L jumping 13.5% to the top of the index. The wider travel and leisure sub-index .FTNMX5750 gained 3.2%.
“This (vaccine news) is more evidence that an end to the pandemic is on the horizon and that the economy can eventually reopen without fears of further lockdowns,” said David Trainer, CEO of New Constructs, an investment research firm based in Nashville, Tennessee.
Energy .FTNMX0530, bank .FTNMX8350 and mining .FTNMX1770 stocks provided the biggest boost to the FTSE 100, which has already gained more than 15% this month, helped by a slew of local stimulus measures and hopes of a sooner-than-expected economic recovery.
Bank stocks also gained following news that PNC Financial Services Group Inc PNC.N would buy the U.S. business of Spanish lender BBVA BBVA.MC for $11.6 billion in cash.
Vodafone Group Plc VOD.L surged 6.9%, after saying it was increasingly confident about its full-year performance, while tech firm Smiths Group SMIN.L rose 4.8%, after highlighting a 30 million-pound cost-saving target for FY21.
Companies that have benefited from people staying home during the pandemic, such as Rentokil Initial RTO.L, Just Eat Takeaway.com JETJ.L and Ocado Group Plc OCDO.L, tumbled between 3.3% and 4.1%.
Meanwhile on the Brexit front, EU warned Britain on Monday that time was fast running out for a trade deal, as negotiators in Brussels began a last-ditch attempt to avoid a tumultuous exit at the end of December.
Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Matthew Lewis
The warning came in vaccine transport guidelines issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is pushing governments to replace travel curbs and quarantines with testing.
“If borders remain closed, travel curtailed, fleets grounded and employees furloughed, the capacity to deliver life-saving vaccines will be very much compromised,” the IATA document said.
Moderna Inc said on Monday its experimental COVID-19 vaccine had proved 94.5% effective in a clinical trial, a week after rival drugmaker Pfizer reported 90% efficacy findings for its vaccine. Once approved, both vaccines are likely to require transport and storage well below freezing, posing logistical hurdles.
Widespread grounding of passenger flights that normally carry 45% of global cargo in their holds has taken out capacity, thinning the air freight network and driving up prices.
Existing immunisation campaigns have struggled with the partial shutdown. The World Health Organisation and UNICEF “have already reported severe difficulties in maintaining their planned vaccine programmes during the COVID-19 crisis due, in part, to limited air connectivity,” IATA said.
Vaccines will need to be shipped to developing countries reliant on passenger services for cargo, IATA’s head of cargo Glyn Hughes told Reuters. Even in industrialised states, vaccine dispersal may be a tighter bottleneck than production, requiring shipments to secondary airports on passenger jets.
In preparation for the challenge of mass vaccine distribution, governments should move to reopen key passenger routes backed by robust testing, the airline body argues.
“There are several more months for governments to go through the planning cycle,” Hughes said, leaving enough time to “get passenger networks safely resumed, looking at safe travel corridors (and) mutual acceptance of testing procedures.”
(Reporting by Laurence Frost; editing by David Evans)
(Bloomberg) — News of a second highly effective vaccine against Covid-19 triggered a sharp rally in reopening beneficiaries as the promising results from Moderna Inc. built on momentum for an answer to the deadly disease.
Investors piled back into industries like cruiseliners, airlines and casinos after Moderna’s data sparked optimism that more vaccine options can help to quickly reopen the global economy. The second positive update in as many weeks fueled stocks that have been among the market’s worst performers — the trio of big cruise stocks had shed between 47% and 69% of their value this year before Monday’s session.
Moderna jumped 12% to an intraday record as the so-called reopen trade helped lead U.S. stocks higher. Cruise companies including Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. all jumped in early trading Monday. The S&P 500 rose as much as 0.9%.
Moderna said its Covid-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in a preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial. The progress report comes after vaccine results from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE a week ago showed 90% efficacy in stopping SARS-CoV-2 infections. Shares in Pfizer fell 4.1%, while BioNTech ADRs slumped 14%, the most since July.
“The initial market impact might be more cautious than after the Pfizer news given that it’s just ‘more of the same,’” said Stephen Innes, a strategist at Axicorp Ltd. “But the medium-term economic outlook should once again look better now, which in my view should support a sustained macro reassessment.”
Read more: Moderna Vaccine Found Highly Effective at Preventing Covid
Cruise, travel, tourism and entertainment shares were hit hard this year and face further losses as Covid-19’s resurgence in parts of the globe forces governments to impose further lockdown measures and travel restrictions. The prospect of effective vaccines is helping offset some of the potential declines, analysts said.
Carnival shares jumped as much as 10%, while Royal Caribbean advanced 8% and Norwegian rallied 9.8%. Airline stocks gained as well, with American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. jumping at least 5.8%, while Southwest Airlines Co. and Delta Air Lines Inc. eyed similar gains.
Casino operators also rallied, with Wynn Resorts Ltd. jumping 6.7% and MGM Resorts International climbing 5.3%. The benefits also spread to theme-park operators and ride-sharing stocks like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.
McKesson Corp., the central distributor for most Covid-19 vaccines in the U.S., rallied as much as 2.6%. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and CVS Health Inc., which are partnered with the federal government to administer vaccines, climbed as well.
Industrial manufacturers like Carrier Global Corp. and Emerson Electric Co. — which offer refrigeration solutions and temperature management systems — can play a key role in any vaccine distribution effort. Carrier shares were up as much as 2.6% and Emerson rose 2.4%.
Adding to the risk-on momentum was news that two of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus
Airline, hotel, and cruise stocks surged in early Monday trading as Moderna’s encouraging vaccine trial results spurred fresh optimism for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
The biotech company announced Monday morning that its experimental coronavirus vaccine was 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19 in a preliminary analysis. The update comes one week after Pfizer and BioNTech revealed similarly positive results from early trials of their own vaccine. While both candidates still need to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, their supposed effectiveness suggests a nationwide rollout could come in 2021.
The news boosted shares of companies hit hardest by the virus and stay-at-home restrictions. United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta jumped more than 5% shortly after the vaccine news.
Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 20 deeply underpriced stocks now before the recovery helps them rebound and crush Wall Street’s low expectations in 2021
Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings gained more than 7%.
Hotels also rallied on the news. Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, and Marriott International all posted gained exceeding 5% in early trading.
The moves mimic the dislocations seen after previous encouraging vaccine updates. Stocks that would benefit the most from a full economic recovery bounce higher, while those that thrived through the pandemic slide. Monday was no different, as stay-at-home stocks such as Zoom, Netflix, and Peloton all traded lower.
Both Moderna and Pfizer aim to apply for emergency use authorization later this month. Approval would allow the companies to quickly begin distributing their vaccines to the most vulnerable populations. Even if both candidates are approved by regulators, vaccine supply is set to be very limited.
Read more: Peter Lynch disciple William Danoff manages over $124 billion and has beaten the market for 30 years. He shares the 10 investment rules that ensured his success.
Still, new hopes for a near-term breakthrough lifted the broader stock market. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 rose more than 1% on the news. Nasdaq 100 futures erased early gains posted minor losses as major tech names fell.
Oil futures extended gains as traders hoped for a vaccine to revive travel-based consumption. West Texas Intermediate crude contracts gained as much as 4.7%, to $42.02 per barrel.
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