Singapore’s ‘vaccinated journey lanes’ see Expedia flight searches soar

Singapore’s new “vaccinated itineraries” sparked a spate of flight inquiries as city-state residents seek to take advantage of the easing of international travel policies.

The search for cities within the so-called VTLs of Singapore has doubled – and in some cases almost tripled, according to the Expedia Group. It came after government officials announced the opening of new quarantine-free travel routes to countries in Europe, North America and Asia.

Facilitate international travel

Last week, Singapore announces quarantine-free travel with Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain and the USA from October 19th – as well South Korea from November 15th. The requirements include that travelers are vaccinated prior to entry and must take Covid-19 tests to ensure they do not become infected.

With the announcement, the island state’s VTL program, which currently includes Germany and Brunei, has been significantly expanded.

According to the news, the search interest of Singapore residents increased from week to week:

  • Seoul, South Korea – 180%
  • Vancouver, Canada – 160%
  • Frankfurt, Germany – 130%
  • London, United Kingdom – 120%
  • Los Angeles, United States – 80%

Expedia’s managing director for Asia said the searches mark a shift in consumer demand for international travel. In August, the most searched cities in Singapore were regional hotspots such as Japan, Hong Kong, Maldives and Taiwan.

Visitors walk through a terminal at Singapore Changi Airport on December 7, 2020.

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“The VTLs definitely have an impact on how people think about travel, where they want to go and how they plan their trip,” Choo Pin Ang told CNBC “Capital connection” Tuesday.

However, he added that he expects more traditional destinations to gain popularity as further easing is announced. Search queries in Singapore for year-end trips to VTL and non-VTL destinations from June to October have already tripled.

I don’t think we’re going to go back to regressive lockdowns and people who cannot travel

Amit saber whale

Founder and CEO, Reddoorz

This is good news for the ailing travel industry. From Wednesday, Singapore Airlines The stock price rose more than 9% during the week Shares of SATS – which provides ground and in-flight catering services at Singapore Changi Airport – increased by around 5%.

“It’s happy days again,” Amit Saberwal, founder and CEO of the Southeast Asian budget hotel chain RedDoorz, told CNBC on Wednesday. “Though it’s still in its infancy, I don’t think we’ll go back to a regressive lockdown and people won’t be able to travel … I think it’s our moment to shine again.”

Headwind remains

More quarantine-free itineraries are expected in the coming months, including some in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Singapore officials.

Australia, New Zealand and Japan should be there, as well as some “homeland” countries in Southeast Asia, Ang said.

Thailand on Monday announced plans to lift quarantine restrictions on vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries, including Singapore, from November.

“What will really determine whether VTLs can work is the strong economic ties between Singapore and these countries, vaccination rates and the progress that countries have made in containing Covid,” he said.

Nevertheless, headwinds remain. With travel restrictions evolving and the daily VTL arrivals in Singapore currently capped at 3,000, travelers should be “nimble” by making flexible bookings and purchasing travel insurance including Covid before departure.

– Shubhangi Goel contributed to this report.

Workers have to be vaccinated towards Covid

A traveler wearing a protective mask speaks to an attendant in the Southwest Airlines check-in area at Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines said Monday that its 56,000 workforce will need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by December 8 in order to continue working at the airline and joining other airlines that have done so due to new federal regulations similar announcements last week.

The Biden government said last month that employees of federal entrepreneurs must be vaccinated unless given a religious or medical exemption.

Southwest and other major airlines are federal contractors as they fly government employees, cargo, and provide other services such as transportation Flights for evacuees from Afghanistan in August. The new federal guidelines for government contractors are stricter than President’s Joe Bidens plan to increase vaccinations in companies with more than 100 employees by mandating vaccinations or regular Covid tests.

“Southwest Airlines is a federal contractor and we have no choice but to fulfill the US government’s mandate to vaccinate employees and, like other airlines, we are taking steps to comply,” said Gary Kelly, CEO of Dallas based airline said employees on Monday.

Pilot unions at American and Southwest have spoken out strongly against vaccine mandates and stated that Airmen are concerned about the side effects of vaccines

Kelly said the decision that the provisions for medical and religious exemptions are “very limited.”

Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and American Airlines told her employees last week that they need to be vaccinated as these airlines are also government contractors.

United Airlines mandatory vaccines for their 67,000 US employees in August and more than 96% had uploaded proof of vaccination after the deadline a week ago.

Delta Airlines, also a federal contractor, said it has reviewed federal regulations and has not mandated vaccines for its staff of approximately 80,000 people.

The Atlanta-based airline plans to add a $ 200 monthly surcharge to employee health bonuses for unvaccinated workers over the next month.

“Delta’s own approach to promoting high employee vaccination rates continues to work with an 84% workforce vaccination rate and is increasing daily,” the airline said in a statement.

Delta variant infects extremely vaccinated jail inhabitants, however few hospitalized

A sheriff’s deputy measures on Wednesday, April 22.

Sandy Huffaker | AFP | Getty Images

The rapidly spreading Delta variant broke through a federal prison in Texas in the summer and infected both the unvaccinated and fully vaccinated populations, but few were hospitalized, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 233 detainees in the prison that was not named, 185 or 79% were fully vaccinated Covid19according to the new report published in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

From July to August, 172 inmates or 74% of the federal prison population were infected with Covid, according to the CDC. The Delta variant hit the unvaccinated harder, the agency said, and infected 39 of the 42 prisoners who were not given the syringes. That compares to the 129 infections from 185 fully vaccinated people.

According to the CDC, four people were hospitalized, three of whom were unvaccinated, and one person who was unvaccinated died.

The agency said the report shows the potential for Delta variant outbreaks in community facilities, including correctional facilities and detention centers, even in locations and populations with high vaccination rates.

“Although attack rates, hospital admissions and deaths were higher in unvaccinated people than vaccinated people, the duration of positive serial test results was similar for both groups,” the agency wrote in the report.

Vaccinating the majority of the US population remains vital as vaccinations are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths, the agency said.

The new report comes as federal health officials urge all Americans to get vaccinated and continue to wear masks indoors, especially in meeting places, as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads across the country.

The US still has a dangerously high number of cases. The nation reports an average of more than 138,900 cases a day on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The country reports an average of more than 1,900 deaths a day, data from Johns Hopkins shows.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden outlined a broad plan to increase Covid vaccination rates in the US, pressures on private employers to immunize their workforce; and order vaccinations for federal employees, contractors and healthcare workers.

The plan is to offer boosters of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the general population.

An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration on Friday recommended unanimously Pfizer Booster Vaccinations For People 65+ And Other At-Risk Americans. A final decision from the agency is now expected every day.

U.S. to ease journey restrictions for overseas guests who’re vaccinated towards Covid

People arrive at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on March 13, 2020. in New York City.

Pablo Monsalve | Corbis News | Getty Images

The US will ease travel restrictions for international visitors vaccinated against Covid-19 in November, including those from the UK and the EU, the White House said on Monday.

Non-citizens visiting the United States must provide proof of vaccination and a negative Covid test within three days of departure, said Jeff Zients, who leads the nation’s Covid response efforts for the White House.

The changes go into effect in early November, which the aviation industry expects to boost vacation bookings.

“You have to provide proof of vaccination before boarding a plane to the US,” Zients said during a press conference.

Airlines and other tour groups have urged the US to lift restrictions for months. The Trump administration first enacted the rules, which now apply to more than 30 countries, in March 2020. President Joe Biden kept these rules January, shortly after taking office.

The Biden administration is also tightening the rules for unvaccinated US citizens returning to their homes. You must test one day before you leave and test again when you return.

European and UK officials have eased entry requirements to make it easier for US travelers to visit since vaccines became widespread this spring, but the US hadn’t reciprocated.

Allowing more international travelers to visit the United States would have far-reaching implications. A travel ban for non-U.S. Residents has far-reaching implications for industries like airlines, retail and restaurants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also require airlines to collect and provide passenger information to aid in contract tracking.

“In the coming weeks, CDC will issue a contact tracing mandate that will require airlines to collect updated information for every traveler to the US, including their phone number and email address,” said Zients.

American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines Stocks rose after the White House announced an end to travel bans to avoid a wider market sell-off. These airlines offer the most international service of any US carrier and will benefit the most from the policy change.

“We applaud the Biden administration for establishing a pathway to reopen international travel to the US,” Delta said in a statement.

The Atlanta-based airline said it was “optimistic that this important decision will enable continued economic recovery in both the US and abroad and the reunification of families who have been separated for more than 18 months.”

In June, the US, UK, EU, Mexico and Canada announced that they would form a group to investigate how to safely reopen international travel.

Norwegian Cruise can require Florida passengers to be vaccinated, decide guidelines

Norwegian Dawn from Norwegian Cruise Line

Paul Marotta | Getty Images

Norwegian Cruise Line said Sunday that a federal judge ruled to temporarily suspend enforcement of a law in Florida that prohibits companies from requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams issued the injunction that allowed Norwegian to request vaccine documents from customers while the case is on trial. The Norwegian Gem is scheduled to leave Miami on August 15th. It’s the cruise line’s first trip out of the state since the pandemic shut down the cruise industry more than a year ago.

Infection numbers in Florida have increased 51% in the last seven days, according to Johns Hopkins University. The state reported 134,506 new Covid cases from July 30 to August 5, more than any other 7-day period tracked by the JHU, and the positivity of new cases is 18.9%.

“It’s scary what’s happening in Florida,” said Derek Shaffer, an attorney for Norwegian Cruise Line, during a trial Friday to seek the injunction. “All of Florida is a hot spot … All we do is protect our employees and passengers.”

Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio said the company is trying to keep passengers and crew members safe.

“The health and safety of our guests, our crew and the communities we visit is our top priority today, tomorrow and forever,” Del Rio said in a statement on Sunday. “It’s not a tagline or a tagline, we mean business, and our commitment to these principles is demonstrated by the effort our company has put into providing the safest cruise experience possible from Florida.”

On Friday, Florida attorney Pete Patterson said the law protects customers’ civil liberties and prevents companies from discriminating against unvaccinated people.

“You can’t discriminate against customers for refusing to give you information,” Patterson said.

Had the cruise line not received the injunction and continued to request proof of vaccination for the upcoming trip, it could have been prosecuted under Florida law and fined up to $ 5,000 per passenger.

In his argument, Shaffer said that “no cruise line in Norwegian ‘s position can afford” to withstand a fine of this magnitude. Shaffer claimed Florida lawmakers wanted “political points” in the vaccination debate.

If the law stays in place, the cruise operator could be forced to cancel upcoming cruises or “sail in a way that’s worse for our passengers and crew,” Shaffer said.

The company that operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, filed suit against Florida surgeon general challenged the law in July.

Norwegian attorney said the company had waited to file the lawsuit pending a federal appeals court ruling on another Florida case against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The court sided with Florida, which claimed the CDC’s cruise ship regulations were too burdensome and cost millions of dollars in tax revenue.

The cruise operator plans that all guests and crew members on its trips are fully vaccinated and must have Covid-19 tests before embarkation.

On Friday, Norwegian announced that its second quarter loss rose to $ 717.8 million, or $ 1.94 per share, on revenue from $ 4.37 million. The company expects further losses until the shipping company can resume its regular trips.

United Airways would require all U.S. staff to be vaccinated, a primary for nation’s carriers

United Airlines will require its 67,000 US employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19 by October 25th or risk firing, a first for major US airlines that is likely to put pressure on rivals.

Hours after United’s announcement on Friday, discount stores Border airlines said it Employees must be vaccinated by October 1st or get tested regularly for Covid.

Airlines, including United, had opposed vaccine mandates for all workers and instead offered incentives such as extra pay or time off to get vaccinated. Delta Airlines in May, newly hired employees were required to provide proof of vaccination. United followed in June.

United’s requirement is one of the strictest vaccination regulations of any US company and involves employees who regularly interact with customers such as flight attendants and gate agents.

US companies like Facebook Registered employees must provide evidence of a vaccination to return to the office. Others only ask for it for certain employees. Walmart, for example, said last week that it will be required for company employeesbut no warehouse or warehouse workers. above said US Office staff must be vaccinated in order to return to work in person, but they no longer have to be required for drivers.

Meat packers Tyson Foods said its 120,000 US employees this week must be fully vaccinated this year, however, according to the company, there are already 56,000.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart said in an employee note Friday. “But we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”

Kirby said he wanted to in January Make Covid vaccines mandatory and that other companies should do the same.

Ending the Covid-19 pandemic is especially critical for airlines, which are among the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. While summer vacation bookings exceeded the expectations of most executives, the rapidly spreading Delta variant begins weigh on requestFrontier Airlines said earlier this week.

“In the past 16 months, Scott has sent dozens of letters of condolence to the family members of United employees who have died of COVID-19,” executives said. “We are determined to do everything in our power to prevent any other United family from receiving this letter.”

United Airlines employees must upload proof that they have received two cans Pfizer or Modern Vaccines or a dose of Johnson & Johnson‘s single dose five weeks after full approval by federal officials or by October 25, whichever comes first, executives said. Exceptions are made for specific health or religious reasons, United said.

The mandate does not apply to regional airlines flying shorter routes for United.

Many of United’s employees have already reported they have been vaccinated, including more than 90% of pilots and 80% of flight attendants, company officials said. United did not disclose the company’s overall vaccination rate.

This compares with about 60% of the American Airlines‘Pilots are being vaccinated,’ said an Aug. 5 letter to members of their union, the Allied Pilots Association, encouraging Airmen to get vaccinated.

United didn’t say what the company’s overall vaccination rate is.

The decision was driven in part by concerns about a spike in Covid-19 cases over the past fall and winter, company officials said.

The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents United’s more than 12,000 airmen, believes the mandate is legal. It said the “small number of pilots” who disagree with the policy or plan to remain unvaccinated should contact their chief pilot’s office.

The flight attendants’ union, the Association of Flight Attendants, urged cabin crew to get vaccinated following United’s announcement.

“COVID-19 is a threat,” the union told members. “There are proven strategies to mitigate this threat. Vaccinations are necessary to end the pandemic and the health and economic damage it has caused.”

For its part, American Airlines said it has not changed its policy of promoting, but not mandating, vaccines for employees. Delta Airlines said it “strongly” encourages workers to be vaccinated but does not require it for all of its employees, except for new hires. More than 73% of the approximately 75,000 employees are vaccinated, it said.

Southwest Airlines did not say whether it plans to prescribe vaccines but said its policy has not been changed.

Winter Park providing metropolis staff cash, break day for getting vaccinated – WFTV

WINTER PARK, Florida – Winter Park is offering $ 150 and a day off to anyone in the city with a full vaccination certificate, the city said.

The city announced that employees must present proof of full vaccination to the human resources department by September 15.

READ: Doctors in central Florida are concerned about the growing number of children being hospitalized with COVID-19

“We would like to encourage those employees who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated soon,” said a spokesman.

The city is hosting the Florida Department of Health at the Winter Park Farmers Market on Saturday and is offering a $ 10 grocery voucher to the first 50 people vaccinated there.

Click here for more information.

READ: 25,000 fully vaccinated people across the country tested positive for COVID-19, DeSantis says

Disney tells salaried and non-union workers they have to be vaccinated

A performer disguised as Mickey Mouse entertains guests during the reopening of the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, the United States, on Friday, April 30, 2021.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Walt Disney Company said Friday that all employees and non-union workers in the U.S. must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of September.

Employees still working from home must provide proof of vaccination prior to returning to Disney locations, including theme parks and offices.

Disney said it has started talks with the unions representing its other employees, particularly those who work in its theme parks.

“Vaccines are the best tool we all have to control this global pandemic and protect our employees,” the company said in a statement.

The notification comes shortly after Disney announced that theme park guests must wear masks while at indoor locations in his home theme parks, regardless of vaccination status.

This policy was introduced after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course and Recommended that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks again indoors in places with high Covid transmission rates. This Hot spots include states like California and Florida where Disney’s US parks are.

The CDC warned Thursday that the Delta variant, which sweeps the country, is as contagious as chickenpox. It also has a longer transmission window than the original Covid-19 strain and can make the elderly sicker even if they have been fully vaccinated.

Other companies that have introduced new vaccination guidelines include: Google, Facebook and Walmart.

Disney has updated its safety guidelines in line with local health regulations since the pandemic began, both domestically and internationally. Most recently, the company required proof of a Covid vaccination or a negative Covid test before entering its Paris amusement park according to French guidelines.

No quarantine for vaccinated US residents touring to England

People wait for passengers in one of the international arrivals lounges at London Heathrow Airport in west London on February 14, 2021

JUSTIN TALLIS | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – US and EU travelers who have been fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus The British government announced on Wednesday that they will soon be able to travel to England without quarantine.

The move comes after the UK government also lifted quarantine requirements on July 19 for fully vaccinated English residents if they visited countries with the so-called Amber List with less severe Covid-19 situations.

Both announcements bring new relief to airlines and the wider tourism sector, which has been hit hard by Covid restrictions. The European travel and leisure sector traded higher on Wednesday, aided by recent decisions. EasyJet and the parent company of British Airways London afternoon shops increased more than 4%.

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps said via Twitter that the quarantine exemption will be introduced from Monday. There comes a time when the United States is lifting some of its social restrictions.

Shapps said the changes would apply to fully vaccinated individuals with a vaccination approved in the US or Europe. Travelers are required to perform the usual pre-departure test prior to arrival and a PCR test on the second day after returning to England.

The Biden administration said this week it will maintain travel restrictions, including a ban on most non-US citizens from entering the US from the UK, as the Delta variant is rapidly spreading. Last week the CDC and the State Department did have raised their warnings when traveling in the UK to the highest level and encouraging citizens to avoid traveling there.

The trend has frustrated airline executives who hoped the US would relax the travel rules during the main travel season in summer. JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes said Tuesday the airline would offer flights between New York and London on August 11, as planned, but is likely to cut flights in September. “We will continue to do the review from month to month,” said Hayes in a quarterly phone call with analysts.

Meanwhile, the CDC announced on Tuesday that even fully vaccinated Americans should be wearing masks indoors again. This follows renewed concerns about Covid variants, particularly Delta, which is known for its higher infection rates.

– CNBCs Leslie Josephs contributed to this article.

CDC to reverse indoor masks coverage, saying totally vaccinated folks ought to put on them indoors in Covid scorching spots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend Tuesday that fully vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in locations with high Covid-19 transmission rates, according to those familiar with the matter.

According to the sources, federal health officials still believe that fully vaccinated individuals represent a very low level of transmission. Still, some people who were vaccinated could carry higher amounts of the virus than previously thought and potentially pass the virus on to others, they said.

The updated forecast comes before the fall season, when the highly contagious Delta variant is expected cause another increase in new Coronavirus Cases and many large employers are planning to bring workers back into the office.

Continue reading: Americans will need masks indoors as the US is heading for a “dangerous fall” with a surge in Delta Covid cases

Health experts fear that Delta, already the dominant form of the disease in the US, hits states with low vaccination rates and high prevalence of the virus. These states are now being forced to reintroduce mask rules, capacity limits and other public health measures that they have largely withdrawn in recent months.

The Whites’ chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday the CDC was considering revising mask guidelines for vaccinated Americans, saying it was “in active consideration.”

“It’s a dynamic situation. It’s in the works, it’s developing like so many other areas of the pandemic, “Fauci, also director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told CNN. “You need to look at the data.”

The CDC guidelines are just a recommendation, leaving it up to state and local officials to reintroduce their masking rules for specific individuals. But even before the expected guidance from the CDC on Tuesday, some regions were reintroduced Mask mandates and notices.

Several California and Nevada counties are now advising all residents to wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not. In Massachusetts, Provincetown officials advised everyone to return to wearing masks indoors after the July 4 celebrations resulted in an outbreak of new cases.

Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine advocate who served on advisory boards for both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC earlier this month that the US is still “undervaccinated” and about half the population is not fully vaccinated be .

Even people who are fully protected have cause for concern when it comes to variants of Covid, Offit said. While the vaccines protect well against serious illness and death, they may not protect as well against minor illness or the spread of Covid to others, he said. No vaccine is 100% effective, he noted.

“It is not a bold prediction to believe that SARS-CoV-2 will be circulating in two or three years. I mean, there are 195 countries out there, most of which haven’t received a single dose of vaccine. ”“ Offit said. “Will it still be circulating in the United States? I think that would be very, very likely.”

Israel publishes preliminary data Last week showed that the Pfizer vaccine there was only 39% effective against the virus, which officials attributed to the fast-spreading Delta variant. Its effectiveness against serious illness and death remained high, the data showed.

– CNBC’s Meg Tirrell and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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