“Freedom Day” in the UK; Ireland opens up – but changing travel rules and new variations make industry takeover a roller coaster – The Moodie Davitt Report


INTERNATIONAL. Today marks a critical milestone in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK and Ireland with significant travel liberalization underway in both countries.

As of today, July 19, adults in the UK who have received a double vaccination no longer have to self-isolate for ten days upon their return from ‘Amber List’ countries.

In Ireland (see below for more details), national restrictions on international travel for non-essential reasons are lifted today.

Back on the move: Irish airports ready to welcome passengers again as national restrictions on non-essential international travel are lifted today. Image: daa

While these measures are welcomed by the travel retail community, the rapid spread of the Delta variant, combined with the sudden and continuous changes in travel restrictions in several countries, continue to make the global recovery of travel retail a mountain ride. Russian.

In terms of freedom to travel, it depends a lot on the rules of each country regarding external travel and how different nations perceive the state of health of other countries.

For example, according to travel service provider Kayak, 137 countries are currently open to travel from the United States, but with restrictions, 75 are closed and eight are fully open. However, for those traveling from the UK, only six countries are fully open, 120 are open with restrictions and 94 are closed.

For anyone coming from Japan, 9 countries are open, 132 are open with restrictions and 79 are closed.

For those flying from New Zealand, which has remained largely COVID-free, ten countries are open, 135 are open with restrictions, and only 75 are closed.

Traveling from the United States is relatively easier than for anyone wishing to leave the United Kingdom. Source: https://www.kayak.com/travel-restrictions; @Mapbox; @Open the street map. Click to enlarge

Here we take a look at some of the latest developments.

UK

From today, July 19, adults who have received double vaccinations no longer have to isolate themselves for ten days on their return from the countries of the “orange list”.

Controversially, however, almost all restrictions on coronaviruses, including the mask mandate and social distancing rules, will also be lifted in England (as opposed to the whole of the UK) today, a point landmark that has been dubbed “Freedom Day” in government and media circles.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes the very successful rollout of the vaccine in the country – around 68% of the adult population has received two injections – broke the link between new infections and serious illnesses and deaths. Yet new COVID-19 infections are skyrocketing, reaching 48,161 on Sunday. Between July 12 and July 18, 316,691 people returned a confirmed positive test result, an increase of + 43.3% from the previous seven days.

The BBC reported that some scientists predict the UK could reach 200,000 new cases a day later in the summer.

Headlines in various British media capture the mixed feelings and controversy surrounding both the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ and the decision to impose ten-day quarantines on those returning from France. Source: BBC.com

In a curious and extremely controversial twist, Boris Johnson’s government has announced that fully vaccinated travelers returning from France to England and Wales will be required to self-quarantine for ten days from today. The government said this was due to “persistent” cases of the beta variant in France.

However, according to Gisaïd, a COVID variant tracking website, the beta variant accounts for just 3.4% of cases in France with the majority on Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean. The Guardian quoted the French consul general in London, noting with humor that “scientific justifications do not always immediately come to mind”.

French officials seemed baffled by the move, suspecting British ministers of having based it on the increase in cases on the French island of Reunion – far from France, reports The Guardian. Click on the image to read the full article.

FRANCE

In another controversial measure, which took effect on July 18, France tightened its rules for non-doubly vaccinated travelers from the UK, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Greece. They must now present a COVID-19 test dating less than 24 hours before travel to enter France, compared to 72 hours previously.

However, people fully vaccinated with any of the Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson treatments will be exempt from providing a negative test.

France recorded just under 11,000 new cases yesterday, a return to levels not seen since May. The seven-day moving average of new cases rose to 5,795 on Friday, after crossing the key 5,000 threshold on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

IRELAND

Irish airports are ready to welcome passengers again as national restrictions on international travel for non-essential reasons are lifted today.

“Today is an extremely exciting and long-awaited day as Ireland fully reopens for international travel,” said Dalton Philips, managing director of daa, which manages Dublin and Cork airports. “Our operational readiness team, encompassing all departments at both airports, have planned this day extensively so that all of our customers have such a safe and enjoyable experience when traveling through our airports,”

“The beginning of Ireland’s reconnection with the world. “Image: daa

“The global pandemic has taken a huge toll and people are eager to reconnect with their family and friends abroad whom they have not seen for almost a year and a half. We are patiently awaiting the resumption of international travel and it is wonderful to see customers once again coming through the doors of our terminals on both leisure and business travel.

“There is a big buzz and an air of excited anticipation in our airports. We missed our passengers; our airlines have missed them, and our trading partners have missed them. Today marks the start of Ireland’s reconnection with the world and we will play our part in rebuilding our business better and stronger, ”said Philips.

COVID-19 has had a crippling effect on all aspects of the travel and tourism industry, daa said.

“Dublin and Cork airports have suffered a loss of more than 43 million passengers in the past 16 months,” commented Philips. “We are working tirelessly to restore the vital connectivity Ireland lost during this time. Ireland’s economy, which is one of the most open in the world, relies heavily on international air connectivity for trade, tourism and foreign direct investment.

SOUTH KOREA

The country’s international borders remain tightly controlled. However, in a significant concession introduced on July 1, fully vaccinated visitors can avoid a mandatory two-week quarantine if they are visiting family or traveling for business, academic, or public interest reasons – as long as they are not. have not crossed any of the 21 high-risk countries.

Anyone fully vaccinated in South Korea has been exempt from self-isolation requirements for returning travelers since early May.

The unrest in the so-called Morning Calm Land as the number of Korean cases remains high and is now spreading outside Greater Seoul. Click on the image to read the full article.

However, the health crisis shows no sign of abating. Yesterday (July 18), the government announced tightened restrictions on private gatherings nationwide, in accordance with the Greater Seoul Area, as the fourth wave of COVID-19 developed.

Starting today, the maximum number of people allowed to attend indoor rallies will unified at four people for two weeks across the country. However, those who have completed the vaccination will not be included in the four person ban.

As of Saturday 1,454 new cases were reported, the highest figure for the weekend since the start of the pandemic, with 1,402 of them transmitted locally. Cases outside the capital, Seoul, accounted for more than 30% of the total for the first time since February 2020. The trend is due to an increase in domestic travel from Seoul during the summer holiday season.

SINGAPORE

As of noon as of Sunday, Singapore reported 88 new locally transmitted cases, including 25 linked to an assembly group involving KTV outlets and nightclubs.

Travel hub turned COVID-19 clearinghouse: Changi Airport Group has done a great job keeping Singaporeans and potential visitors informed throughout the pandemic, but the airport remains hit by the crisis

Singapore’s travel industry remains tightly constrained, with entry mostly limited to Singaporean citizens and permanent residents. Short-term sightseeing tours from Brunei, Mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam are now permitted, subject to obtaining an air travel pass and PCR testing on arrival, some additional trade visitors are allowed.

AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND

The much-vaunted bubble of air travel between trans-Tasman neighbors was punctured in two places with the quarantine-free journey from Victoria to New Zealand suspended at 1:59 am New Zealand time on Friday, July 16.

Australian travelers from New South Wales (NSW) have been banned from traveling to New Zealand during the current outbreak in the state, although the Kiwis can return home on managed flights if they are prepared to spend two weeks in quarantine.

The trans-Tasman bubble remains operational between New Zealand and the following states: Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and the Northern Territory.