Covid travel news live: Latest updates as UK reintroduces PCR testing and self-isolation

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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 received 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:

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Spain reports first case of omicron variant

Spain has reported its first case of the omicron variant.

The traveler was a 51-year-old man who had returned to Madrid from South Africa via Amsterdam, a statement from the Madrid regional government said.

“The patient is showing mild symptoms and is in quarantine,” the statement added.

The microbiology unit at Gregorio Maranon Hospital in Madrid, which detected and sequenced the case, tweeted: “This was confirmed today by sequencing. We have managed to set up an ultra-fast procedure that allows us to have the result in the same day. The patient is fine.

The country has imposed a surprise travel ban on all unvaccinated UK travelers aged 12 and over from Sunday after several cases of omicron were detected in the country.

Previously, Spain had allowed any tourist with either a negative PCR result or proof of vaccination.

Read the full story here:

Lucy thackrayNovember 29, 2021 5:50 PM

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All ‘omicron restrictions’ to be reviewed in three weeks, says Javid

The health secretary said all new travel restrictions related to the omicron variant will be reviewed in three weeks.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier today, Sajid Javid confirmed that the current restrictions will be reviewed in three weeks, saying: “If this variant is not more dangerous than Delta, then we will not maintain the measures. in place for one more day than necessary. “

Mr Javid confirmed that there will be a three-week review despite Parliament being on recess the week of December 17.

The Health Secretary said that at this point we will have more information from monitoring and traceability and from foreign authorities on the effectiveness of existing vaccines against the new variant.

Lucy thackrayNovember 29, 2021 5:26 PM

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South African President calls on UK to lift travel ban

“We are deeply disappointed with the decision of several countries to ban travel,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation earlier today.

In a press release on the omicron variant, Ramaphosa said the bans were “not based on science” and called for the measures to be lifted – from the UK, EU and US, among others.

The president’s calls echo comments from World Health Organization Africa director Matshidiso Moeti on Sunday who said: “With the Omicron variant now detected in several parts of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity.

The UK added South Africa, along with five other African countries, to its red list on November 28 following an increase in cases caused by the omicron variant.

Read the full story here:

Lucy thackrayNovember 29, 2021 4:58 PM

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“This is the world we live in now” – industry figures react to travel turmoil

Speaking during a webinar filmed for Weekly trip earlier today, Jet2 trade chief Alan Cross and other bosses in the travel industry seemed resigned to the round-trip nature of destinations opening and closing to British travelers.

“Customer confidence is going to be shaken, there are going to be additional costs, but this is the world we live in,” Cross said.

“Things will change and things will change, and we have to understand that this is the world we live in now,” he continued.

“Communication is ridiculous and stupid and ill-thought out, as always – but guess what, that’s how it goes,” agreed Paul Cleary, CEO of Caribtours.

Cleary called the switch to PCR testing “unwelcome,” but reminded viewers that many countries not on the red list are still open, saying, “Our priority is to get people to travel, to communicate and to help them navigate that extra layer of hassle. “

Lucy thackrayNovember 29, 2021 4:23 PM

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Ryanair plane fire hits heron heron

Flames were fired from a Ryanair plane last week as it collided with a heron of herons on its descent to Bologna, Italy, damaging one of its engines.

Flight FR1194 was arriving in the Italian city around 11:30 p.m. when the dramatic bird strike occurred, with some of the herons being sucked into the plane’s right engine and others hitting the cockpit windshield.

The landing pilots’ view was obscured by splashing debris from the collision, but they managed to land the aircraft safely, with no injuries on board.

Lucy thackrayNovember 29, 2021 4:20 PM

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Omicron variant could be in Northern Ireland

The new Omicron variant of Covid-19 may already be in Northern Ireland, Stormont Health Minister said.

Cases of the new strain have been confirmed in England and Scotland, while Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said it was “likely” to be already in Ireland.

Robin Swann told the Northern Ireland Assembly that while there are currently no confirmed cases of Omicron in the region, this is “highly likely” to change in the coming days.

“The Public Health Agency (PHA) is undertaking detailed risk assessments of certain returning travelers from Red List countries and advising on any immediate public health action needed to slow the introduction of this variant and limit its spread in Northern Ireland, “he said.

“In light of the cases identified in England and Scotland, it is to be expected that there will already be cases of the variant in Northern Ireland. “

Mr Swann said all new international arrivals to Northern Ireland will need to undergo a PCR test.

“All arriving to Northern Ireland from countries not on the Red List, including those who are fully vaccinated, will now have to self-isolate for 10 days unless they receive a negative test result,” with a PCR test to be done the day or two before, ”he said.

“We will keep all of these arrangements under review and consider any additional measures that may be required in the coming days.”

Helene coffeyNovember 29, 2021 3:48 PM

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No 10 rejects Scotland and Wales call for tougher rules against omicron

Downing Street has rejected calls by Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford for the period of travelers’ self-isolation to be extended until the result of a test on the eighth day after arriving in the UK.

The extension of the requirements would have a “detrimental effect” on the travel industry, official spokesperson for Boris Johnson said.

“We believe that the approach we have taken is commensurate with the evidence we currently have on this variant,” he said.

“The introduction of new isolation and testing requirements would have a detrimental effect on the individual travel industry and even on those who plan to travel.”

Andy GregoryNovember 29, 2021 3:20 PM

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Travel expert Simon Calder to answer your questions live

Wondering what the future of travel holds in a world ravaged by a brand new variant, alongside the stumbling blocks of boosters, Covid testing and post-Brexit passport paperwork?

To rejoin The independent for a free live event with acclaimed travel correspondent Simon Calder, as he dives deep into what 2022 could look like for the holidays.

At this live virtual event, Simon will be on hand to examine the most pressing travel issues for Britons and answer your burning questions about the holidays. Unrolling on Zoom on Wednesday December 1 from 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m., participation is completely free – just click to register in advance below:

Helene coffeyNovember 29, 2021 3:09 PM

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Australia delays reopening of border in response to omicron threat

Australia has announced that it will delay by at least two weeks the scheduled reopening of its borders to international travelers, set for December 1.

The move was made by the government after the country identified its first cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is forcing countries around the world to tighten entry restrictions.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously announced that the country would open up to foreign visitors with eligible visas – including refugees, students and those on the popular working holiday visa – from December 1.

However, after an emergency meeting between Mr Morrison and his National Security Committee, the decision was made to postpone the lifting of the travel ban, based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Helene coffeyNovember 29, 2021 2:57 PM

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Can the British still ski in France if they arrive in Switzerland?

From November 27, 2021, Switzerland has changed its entry rules for visitors from the UK.

While the British had previously been allowed to enter the country with full proof of vaccination, from 27 November all UK visitors will be required to present both a negative PCR test result, carried out within 72 hours of the trip. arrival, and self-isolate for 10 days.

Indeed, the United Kingdom is on the list of countries in the country with a “worrying variant”, following the detection of several cases of the omicron variant of Covid-19, and this means that the winter holidays in the resorts ski slopes in the Swiss Alps will be wiped out by the mandatory quarantine.

But the rules are even more delicate for those who can travel to Switzerland but travel to other countries – for example, arriving in Geneva to take a transfer to ski resorts in the French Alps.

Read our full explainer for all the latest rules for transit travelers:

Lucy thackrayNovember 29, 2021 2:16 PM

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