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US asks citizens not to travel to India due to Covid-19

The US Department of State has raised Level 4 travel advisory asking citizens to cancel any travel to India due to COVID-19, crime, and terrorism.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for India due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in India.

Do not travel to:

  • The state of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest.
  • Within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict.

Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to these areas.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to India:

 

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Latest News USA

CDC says fully vaccinated people can travel

Atlanta: The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention on Friday updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, saying they can resume travel both in the U.S. and abroad at a low risk.

Fully vaccinated individuals who have waited two weeks after their final dose should still wear a mask and practice social distancing while traveling. They do not need to quarantine after their trips if they follow the standard mitigation measures, according to the updated guidance.

“With millions of Americans getting vaccinated every day, it is important to update the public on the latest science about what fully vaccinated people can do safely, now including guidance on safe travel,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

While vaccinated individuals do not need to be tested for the coronavirus before they leave the U.S. – unless it is mandated by their destination – they should “still have a negative COVID-19 test result before they board a flight to the United States and get a COVID-19 test 3 to 5 days after returning from international travel,” according to the agency.

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Latest News Travel

Celebratory ‘vaxications’ are giving the travel industry a lifeline

Pent-up demand and a surplus of spending money have itchy travelers eager to check off their bucket lists.

Josephine Darwin, 65, marked March 3 on her calendar with the importance of a golden anniversary and planned to celebrate it with similar gusto. On that date, she and her husband, John, 67, would officially be immune—or as near as can be—from Covid-19. Newly vaccinated with the Pfizer shot, the Nashville retirees are wasting no time getting back to travel: They plan to fly to Charleston, S.C. for a post-vaccine vacation. Call it a “vaxication.”

“I can’t begin to describe our excitement to get out and meet people again,” says Josephine, who hasn’t left her home since March 17, 2020, except for brief walks around the neighborhood and to get jabbed. As soon as she and her husband had their vaccination appointments, they started trip planning. A two-week vacation in Newfoundland is now on the books for September, assuming borders open by then. (They very well may not be; Canada’s eastern provinces have been so strict about pandemic travel bans, they have even denied entry to fellow Canadians.)

As the US vaccination rollout has sped up, so, too, have requests for vaxications. “We have seen a 25% increase in travel inquiries since the first round of vaccinations became available,” says Leah Smith, president of Denver-based Tafari Travel. “Pretty much weekly, I am getting emails from clients saying they just got their first vaccination and are ready to plan the next two years of travel.”

“It’s not uncommon to get up to four trip requests in one email,” Smith continues. “Many clients aren’t even waiting for the second vaccine to book a trip.”

And they aren’t going to visit their grandkids, says Brooke Lavery, a partner at the high-end travel consultancy Local Foreigner. “People who normally take five to seven trips a year and for whom travel has been a lifestyle for decades are doing celebration trips,” she says.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has publicly expressed caution around post-vaccination travels, given the possibility of spreading the virus along the way.

-Bloomberg

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Business Latest News

5 businesses that bore the maximum brunt in 2020

Intro: The Covid-19 pandemic rattles industries after industries as it surged across the world. Here’s a look at the biggest losers in 2020 and a preview of what 2021 may bring

1. Travel and hospitality

Going on vacation wasn’t an option for most during the pandemic. The cruise industry was battered as Carnival (CCL), Royal Caribbean (RCL) and Norwegian (NCLH) were forced to suspend voyages for much of 2020 and into 2021. The news wasn’t much better for hotel chains, which were hammered by a decline in demand for both leisure and business travel.

What’s next: The industry is hoping for a rebound as would-be travelers look to hit the road in 2021 once vaccines are widely available, but it’s not clear whether business travel will approach pre-pandemic levels at a time when video conference calls are the way.

Adding insult to injury for the big hotels, Airbnb soared when it went public in December. 

2. The oil industry

The oil industry had a miserable 2020. Plenty of industries grappled with plunging prices in 2020, but oil is the only major commodity that went negative. The unprecedented trip below zero in the spring was caused by an epic collapse in demand during the pandemic and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The S&P 500’s energy sector is down by more than 30% this year, making it easily the worst performer in the stock market.

What’s next: The oil industry certainly will benefit as the US economy reopens in 2021 and people start flying and driving more. But coronavirus vaccines won’t fix oil’s bigger threat: a climate crisis that is causing investors to dump fossil fuels.

3. Banks

This was easily the worst year for America’s banks since the Great Recession. Lenders suffered tens of billions of dollars in losses as they braced for loan defaults and share prices spiraled lower. Even big banks such Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) are finishing the year sharply lower, and Wells Fargo (CBEAX) remains a hot mess

What’s next: The silver lining is that the US banking system just endured a real-world stress test — and it passed. If Wall Street’s V-shaped recovery spreads to Main Street, banks stand to be winners in 2021. 

4. Airlines and Automakers

The airline industry had awful years in the past, but none were as devastatingly horrendous as 2020. US air travel came to a virtual halt in April. Traffic rebounded modestly late in the year, despite climbing Covid-19 cases, but the number of passengers screened by TSA at US airports was still down 63% compared to a year ago during the holiday travel season.

Similarly, the auto industry suffered a body blow from the pandemic in its early months, as factories shut down and demand for cars fell sharply.

Job losses soared and car companies reduced shifts for millions of autoworkers.

What’s next: More losses are expected in the fourth quarter and into 2021. Air travel isn’t expected to recover for several years, even as the vaccine raises hopes for the end of the pandemic. 

Many commuters are concerned about using public transit or ride-hailing services such as Uber. That could boost the auto industry recovery in 2021. 

5. Movie industry

The coronavirus pandemic forced theaters shut around the world, leading US box office sales to plummet nearly 80%, according to Comscore, It also pushed more people stuck at home to streaming. Netflix and Disney+ thrived while the $43 billion global theater global business was ravaged.

What’s next: With traditional studios including Disney and Warner Bros. going all-in on their streaming ventures, theaters find themselves in a perilous position. But the biggest question in Hollywood is will consumers return to the cineplex once vaccines hit critical mass?

(File photos)
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Latest News Travel

POST-PANDEMIC TRAVEL REIMAGINED

No-gloom, top travel trends for 2021 predicted by Globetrender

The world is changing on a daily basis and the travel industry is suffering enormously – the World Travel & Tourism Council fears that 174 million jobs in the sector could be lost by the end of 2020. It’s important to be optimistic, though, and to focus on the opportunities and innovation springing up. Be spontaneous, not to be too fearful unless you have a good reason to be, and to make the most of remote working.

 

ALWAYS OOO (OUT OF OFFICE)

 

A wholesale shift to remote working means that from now on, many of us will be always OOO (out of office). Outside of lockdown, this opens up all sorts of possibilities for remote working, something digital nomads have been advocating for years. In 2021, we will see a rise in people swapping home offices for ocean offices (in the case of the upmarket Vakkaru Maldives, for example, which recently launched a long-stay Work Well package for remote working). At the lower end of the scale, more communal co-working retreats from the likes of Ethos Remote HabitatRemote Year and Roam will bring laptop-centric professionals together for productivity bootcamps in exotic locations such as Tulum in Mexico. For those looking for a more dramatic lifestyle shift, countries such as MauritiusBermuda and Barbados are offering year-long digital nomad visas.

 

 

(Photo: Instagram)

PRIVATE-ISLAND TAKEOVERS

 

Not everyone approved of Kim Kardashian having her 40th birthday party at The Brando private island resort in French Polynesia but plenty of people who can afford it will want to do the same (albeit more discreetly, perhaps) – especially while Covid remains a threat when mixing with strangers. It’s easy to book your own tropical bubble in places such as the Maldives and the Seychelles, where resort enclaves await surrounded by nothing but the sea. Florida Keys is also stepping up.

 

 

GLAMPERVAN ROAD TRIPS

 

According to peer-to-peer RV rental company RVshare, there has been a 166 per-cent year-on-year increase in bookings between September and November 2020. Why is this? With travel restrictions forcing people to take domestic holidays, travelling by road (rather than rail or air) is the obvious choice in the viral age, as being in your own vehicle provides the most security. Plus it gives a wonderful sense of freedom after a prolonged period of being at home. Being able to cook, sleep and shower in your own mobile home is the ultimate in self-sufficiency, and there are some seriously pimped-out vehicles coming on to the market for those who can afford them.

 

 

(Photo courtesy CNN)

FLIGHT to nowhere

 

For aerophiles, simply being on a plane, relaxing with a G&T while contemplating the clouds, is something to miss during the pandemic. However, some airlines are realizing that instead of leaving their aircraft on the ground (at the peak of lockdown, 16,000 planes were sitting unused on the Tarmac), they can operate ‘flights to nowhere’.

 

The trend for ‘pleasure flights’ started in the Asia-Pacific region in the summer, where carriers such as Qantas, ANA and EVA Air began welcoming passengers aboard sightseeing flights. EVA Air flew a Hello Kitty-themed flight from Taipei with food crafted by three-Michelin-star chef Motokazu Nakamura, while Australia’s Qantas invited passengers on a seven-hour journey from Sydney that encompassed low-level fly-bys of the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and Byron Bay. In years to come, airships offering scenic aerial cruises will be offered by companies such as Flying Whales and Hybrid Air Vehicles.

 

HEDONISTIC HIDEOUTS

 

 

Just like the Blitz parties that took place during World War II, travelers of tomorrow will be seeking to escape the worries and stresses of the pandemic by booking hedonistic hideaways with friends and family. Although Airbnb has banned people under the age of 25 from renting entire homes for parties in the UKFrance and Spain, this won’t stop millennials and boomers scouring the listings for plush country piles and spacious seaside cottages.

 

 

NO-FEE TRIP CHANGES

 

With rules and regulations for travel forever changing, the only way to provide wannabe jet setters with the confidence to book is by giving them the flexibility to change their hotel or flight booking at no extra cost. Before the pandemic, you would have had to buy a fully flexible airfare to have the ability to change your dates, which would have been far more expensive than a standard ticket.

 

Now, for example, airlines such as United, American Airlines and Delta have scrapped change fees for domestic flights – in United’s case, permanently. Hotel groups are taking a similar approach to woo guests – in the case of Four Seasons, full changes or cancellations are permitted at no charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival.

 

TRAVEL TESTING

 

 

As we saw over the summer in Europe, air corridors that rely on low infection rates for entry into countries don’t work. Holidaymakers book and then discover they have to quarantine on arrival or on their return, in many cases meaning they have to rush home or cancel their getaway altogether. Chaos. The solution will be pre-departure PCR Covid-19 testing for all passengers, and possibly testing on arrival as well for added thoroughness.

 

Early innovators include Rocco Forte Hotels in Italy, which have been couriering guests ‘Fit to Travel’ home test kits in partnership with Blue Horizon. Airlines and airports are embracing rapid testing: United has been leading the way with 15-minute results for passengers flying from San Francisco to Hawaii, while London Heathrow has started selling £80 tests with results available within an hour.

 

 

(Photo courtesy The Bucket List Family)

SCHOOLCATIONS

 

As parents are increasingly able to work from anywhere, we can anticipate a gradual rise in home-schooling – and, therefore, remote learning. There is a niche, glamorous subset of nomadic families on Instagram (such as @thebucketlistfamily) who provide a constant source of inspiration for people keen to educate their kids in the school of life – who wouldn’t prefer to spend their days swimming with turtles and learning to surf?

 

Source: Conde Nast Traveller

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Latest News USA

CDC plea to postpone holiday travel as Covid surges

Washington: The Centers for Disease Control on Wednesday urged Americans to postpone holiday travel after a busy Thanksgiving weekend that likely led to a further surge in coronavirus cases.

“Cases are rising, hospitalizations are increasing and deaths are increasing,” said Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager during a press briefing. “We’re asking Americans to help prevent these increases and avoid travel.”

People who do travel should be tested one to three days before and three to five days after their trips, while avoiding public activities for seven days, the agency said.The CDC has also shortened the recommended quarantine times for people who have been exposed to the virus from 14 days to 10 days if the individual is not exhibiting any symptoms.

The U.S. has reported 13.7 million cases and more than 270,000 deaths so far.

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coronavirus India

Domestic flights to start in India from May 25

New Delhi: After nearly two months of suspension, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced on Wednesday that domestic civil aviation operations will resume from May 25.

In a tweet, the minister said: “Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday, 25th May 2020.”

“All airports & air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May,” he said.

According to the minister, special operating procedures (SOPs) for passenger movement are being separately issued.

The development comes a day after Puri had said that it is not only up to the Central government to decide on the resumption of domestic flights, as states will also have to be ready to allow civil aviation operations.

Eever since the imposition of the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the country on March 25, passenger air services were suspended for both scheduled domestic and international flights.

“It is not up to @MoCA_GoI or centre alone to decide on resuming domestic flights. In the spirit of cooperative federalism, the govt of states where these flights will take off & land should be ready to allow civil aviation operations,” Puri had tweeted.

After the Ministry of Home Affairs’ decision to extend the lockdown till May 31, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had said that it will suitably inform the airlines about flights resumption in due course.

In its guidelines for lockdown 4.0, the MHA had said that all domestic and international air travel of passengers will be prohibited, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes.

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