We’ve added a Vaccination Dashboard feature to provide country-level vaccination information, including total vaccinated, vaccinated percentage and approved vaccines.
Airports are notorious for being germ incubators and during a pandemic, this risk rises. As people become vaccinated, widespread travel will become feasible again. But medical experts say there are ways to mitigate the risks while traveling while waiting for the country to reach herd immunity through widespread vaccination.
Although the availability of direct flights is improving, many travelers – especially those who live outside of major cities – have needed to book connecting flights to reach their final destinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Flight layovers are a particularly vulnerable time but it is also a time when you can enact a lot personal safety measures to reduce your risk of contracting disease,” says Dr. Alaina Brinley Rajagopal, a Southern California-based emergency medicine physician, virologist and host of the "Emergency Docs" podcast.
To support travelers getting back on the road, BCD Travel India has partnered with Metropolis Healthcare Limited for pre-departure real-time RT-PCR testing.
Simply call a BCD travel agent to make an appointment for either a lab or home visit. Test results will be emailed within 48 hours, excluding weekends and public holidays. A service fee of INR 350 plus GST applies for each test.
Tests are available in the following cities: Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Cochin, Guwahati and Bangalore, with more cities being added progressively.
A pilot project using sniffer dogs to provide instant and pain-free coronavirus testing at Helsinki airport has shown promising early results and proven popular with travellers.
Preliminary experiments in the first major wave of infections earlier in the year suggested the dogs can detect the virus with close to 100 percent accuracy, up to five days earlier than a PCR test.
Feedback from arriving passengers, who take the free-of-charge test voluntarily, "has been exceptionally positive," project manager Soile Turunen said.
Around 100 travellers a day have been queuing up for the test, which involves wiping a swab onto the skin which is then put in front of the dog, who will quickly pass over a negative sample but will be attracted to a positive one.
Although sniffer dog trials have been undertaken elsewhere, such as in the UAE, France, Russia and Chile, use of canine scent-detectors to bolster coronavirus testing has not yet been widely adopted by authorities, in part because of a lack of peer-reviewed literature, some researchers believe.
Dog handling charities have previously worked with dogs to detect cancers, Parkinson's disease and bacterial infections using samples taken from humans.
Check out our blog for the information you need on governmental travel restrictions, health certifications and vaccine updates along with airline, hotel and airport requirements.
Each report is updated regularly with new information to help you be in the know and how best to prepare for your upcoming travel.
Delta Air Lines announced it has joined Lyft’s nationwide program to provide rides to vaccination sites for those in need.
The carrier revealed it would award a one-time bonus of 250 miles to the first 15,000 Delta SkyMiles Members who make a ride donation of $5 or more via their linked Lyft profile, through May 31.
Two digital health pass platforms are getting new trials this week, as JetBlue has begun using the CommonPass platform on flights to Aruba and Singapore Airlines kicks off a trial program with Travel Pass.
For travelers departing Singapore, BCD Travel has partnered with Parkway Shenton Medical Group to offer a corporate rate of S$161.50 should you need a COVID-19 PCR test for your upcoming trip.
Book an appointment at any of these clinics, present your BCD Travel travel receipt and receive test results within 24 hours.
British Airways will begin using mobile health passport tool VeriFly on flights from London to the United States starting Feb 3rd.
Travelers on British Airways flights from London can provide digital health documents, including negative Covid-19 test results, to the app and verify that they meet all entry requirements to the United States. Currently, the carrier is operating service to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Houston, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
The TSA has sped up technology deployments since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic as it moves to reduce literal touch points at airport screening stations. The technology deployments have centered around 3-D screening systems and automated ID authentication. The former diminishes the likelihood that passenger carry-on bags will have to be manually checked, the agency said, which in turn reduces interactions between agents and flyers. The latter can reduce touch points between flyers and agents at the document check stand.
The 3-D screening systems, known formally as computerized axial tomography (CT) scanners, were first tested by TSA in summer 2017. Between then and the beginning of the pandemic in March, the agency had deployed 98 CT systems at 29 airports, TSA spokesman Carter Langston said. As of Dec. 7, deployments had surged to 267 systems in 130 airports.
Delta customers with essential travel needs can now fly from Atlanta to Amsterdam without having to quarantine after arrival, and with the knowledge that their fellow passengers and crew are COVID-19 negative after undergoing pre-flight testing protocols.
Beginning this month, American will offer customers a mobile app trial to streamline travel requirements due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The trial will launch for flights from American’s hub in Miami (MIA) to Jamaica.
American Airlines will begin offering customers a mobile app to make travel to international destinations easier. The mobile wellness wallet solution called VeriFLY, from the identity assurance leader Daon, will help travelers easily understand coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and documentation requirements for their destination and streamline airport check-in through a digital verification to ensure that customers have completed the requirements.
“Piloting this new solution is a direct response to our customers’ increasing desire to explore more international travel opportunities,” said Robert Isom, President of American Airlines. “The app will help us deliver a more seamless travel experience as we support demand return and put customers’ minds at ease that they are fully prepared for their trip.”
American is partnering with Daon to launch the VeriFLY mobile wellness wallet solution to help make testing verification more convenient. Customers traveling to Montego Bay (MBJ) and Kingston (KIN), Jamaica, from or connecting through Miami (MIA) will have the opportunity to test the new solution at no cost by creating a secure profile and confirming details for their trip beginning Nov. 18.
Hotels, and even some cruise ships, are installing state-of-the-art filtration systems that claim to tackle the coronavirus where it is believed to be the most dangerous: in the air.
When the coronavirus first hit, hotels quickly adopted enhanced cleaning polices, including germ-killing electrostatic spraying and ultraviolet light exposure in guest rooms and public areas.
But as research on virus spread has shifted focus from surface contact to airborne transmission, some hotels and cruise ships are scrubbing the very air travelers breathe with a variety of air filtration and treatment systems.
During 2018 and 2019, we published a series of reports and updates on the potential impact on business travel of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (EU), an event commonly referred to as Brexit.
This document provides a round-up of the latest situation, drawing largely on the most recent information and advice from the Government of the United Kingdom (U.K.).
Viking Star will offer daily PCR testing to all passengers and crew via the first floating laboratory of its kind at sea. Once considered the petri-dish of the pre-pandemic era, cruise ships, and the cruise industry in general, have been making serious strides towards a better, cleaner future. This week, those strides come to us from luxury cruise line Viking, who says they have just completed the first of its kind PCR laboratory at sea.
Capable of testing all guests and crew aboard their 930-passenger vessel Viking Star, the lab, and subsequent PCR testing, will consist of a non-invasive saliva sample, according to a statement released by Viking.
“We have been working on this for a number of months, and today is important as it moves us one step closer to operating cruises again, without compromising the safety of our guests and crew,” Matt Grimes, Vice President of Maritime Operations for Viking said in a statement this week.
The newly built lab aboard Viking Star has enough capacity for daily testing of every crew member and guest in the hopes of providing the “flexibility needed to respond to COVID-19 prevalence levels around the world.” The ship, which calls on ports all over the world, is slated for a 136-day Viking World Cruise in 2021.
News of Viking’s floating lab directly follows Friday’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who lifted its “no sail” order on U.S. cruise ships along with a slew of new health and safety protocols and quarantine measures once cruising resumes in the indeterminate future.
“The recently announced CDC guidelines are clearly aligned with our public health research, and we welcome the agency’s push toward testing, as we believe this is the only way to safely operate,” Grimes said. “In our view, continuous PCR testing, along with our extensive onboard hygiene protocols, will lead to making Viking ships a safe place to get away to and explore the world.”
Concurrent with the news of the PCR lab, Viking said their ships will also be undergoing a series of “extensive tests to ensure the procedures and protocols that have been designed are fully effective.” A demonstration of the new PCR lab, as well as the new design and operating procedures, will be made available once the Viking Star arrives in Oslo, Norway in mid-November, Viking said.
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the protocols and cleaning standards aboard cruise ships will and must be better in a post-COVID world. Viking is the first to take this step towards ensuring a safer passage. It’s only a matter of time before other’s start to do the same.
Singapore and Hong Kong have reached an in-principle agreement to set up a two-way air travel bubble, which will allow for travel between the two destinations without the need for quarantine or a controlled itinerary.
Under the travel bubble, there will be no restrictions on travel purpose. However, travelers will be subject to mutually recognized Covid-19 tests and will need to have negative test results, said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) in a press release on Thursday. Those travelling under the bubble will also be required to travel on dedicated flights, it added.
The air travel bubble can be scaled by adjusting the number of dedicated flights upwards or downwards, or even suspended, in line with the latest developments and Covid-19 situation in the two cities, said MOT.
Transport minister Ong Ye Kung said in the release: “Both our cities have low incidence of Covid-19 cases and have put in place robust mechanisms to manage and control Covid-19. This has given us the confidence to mutually and progressively open our borders to each other. It is significant that our two regional aviation hubs have decided to collaborate to establish an air travel bubble.
“It is a safe, careful but significant step forward to revive air travel, and provide a model for future collaboration with other parts of the world.”
According to the MOT, Singapore and Hong Kong will flesh out the full details of the air travel bubble “in the coming weeks”, with its launch date and other implementation details to be announced in due course.
Conrad Clifford, IATA’s regional vice president for Asia Pacific, welcomed the announcement of the Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble.
“Replacing quarantine measures with Covid-19 testing will help in reopening borders, restoring the connectivity that jobs and economic activity depends on, and gives passengers greater confidence to travel. In a recent 11-market survey of travelers commissioned by IATA, 83 per cent of respondents indicated that they will not travel if there is a chance of being quarantined at their destination,” he said.
Clifford also urged other governments in Asia to take a similar approach to replace quarantine with Covid-19 testing as part of their efforts to reopen their borders and start restoring their economies.
If your Thanksgiving trip includes a flight, you might be conflicted: Is sitting elbow-to-elbow with strangers in an aircraft safe during the pandemic?
It's hard not to feel conflicted about holiday flights. Airlines are offering travel deals this season, and many of us have not seen extended family members much, if at all, this year. The latest scientific evidence offers both the reassurance that flying is relatively safe as well as warnings about what can still go wrong.
First, the reassurance
A Harvard University study released Tuesday used computer models to review airflow in airliner cabins, and it says the specialized onboard ventilation systems filter out 99% of airborne viruses. It was funded by airlines, airplane manufacturers and airports, but the Harvard researchers insist this did not impact their findings.
Researchers at the university's T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that even though air is recirculated back into the cabin, it goes through high-quality filters first. And virus droplets from one passenger are unlikely to infect another because of a "downward direction" of airflow, they said.
"This ventilation effectively counters the proximity travelers are subject to during flights," their report says.
The ventilation system, however, is not effective alone. Harvard's researchers described masks as a critical part of keeping travelers healthy and credited the role of disinfection and passengers' self-screening for Covid-19 symptoms. The "layered approach, with ventilation gate-to-gate, reduces the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission onboard aircraft below that of other routine activities during the pandemic, such as grocery shopping or eating out," the study said.
The Harvard computer modeling was in line with another recent study by the Defense Department that used mannequins outfitted with surgical masks and particle detection equipment on Boeing 767 and 777 jets. It found little risk of transmission thanks to the masks and efficient air ventilation.
What can go wrong
On the other hand, a study released by Irish researchers shows what can go wrong onboard, even when precautions are taken.
Through contract tracing, public health officials in Dublin and other cities linked 13 cases to a single passenger on a seven-hour international flight this summer. Fewer than one in five seats were filled. None of the travelers were known to not wear a mask on the flight.
So how did that spread?
"Exposure possibilities for flight cases include inflight, during overnight transfer/pre-flight or unknown acquisition before the flight," the researchers wrote. One traveler could have picked up the virus from a family member. Two others spent multi-hour layovers in airport lounges.
But for others, "in-flight transmission was the only common exposure," they concluded, noting that "four of the flight cases were not seated next to any other positive case, had no contact in the transit lounge, wore face masks in-flight and would not be deemed close contacts."
Laboratories linked the cases as being from the same strain.
The Irish researchers recommended authorities improve contact tracing, and Harvard's scientists encouraged people to minimize mask removal -- such as when eating or drinking -- in flight.
Harvard's researchers are already turning their attention to other parts of the travel experience when people congregate without the aircraft ventilation system, such as in airport lounges and security lines.
On October 13, 2020, the EU Council approved proposals for coordinating measures restricting free movement in the EU relating to COVID-19. This will result in common criteria governing travel across the EU during the pandemic, ensuring freedom of movement for EU citizens, increase transparency and avoiding fragmentation and disruption of travel services. Rather than unilaterally closing borders, member states will now work together in a coordinated approach.
The Common Approach will include:
A single set of criteria to assess the COVID-19 infection risk in each country and region.
Notification rate - number of tests per 100,000 population over 14 days.
Test positivity rate - percentage of positive tests over past 7 days.
Testing rate - number of new cases per 100,000 population in the last 14 days
Member states must provide data to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Common color mapping of risk areas in the EU territory (including Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway):
Green (safe to travel to) – notification rate less than 25, test positivity rate less than 4%
Orange – notification rate less than 50 but test positivity rate 4% or more, or, if notification rate is in the 25-150 range but test positivity rate is less than 4%
Red (high risk) – notification rate is 50 or more and test positivity rate is 4% or more, or if the notification rate is above 150
Grey – countries with insufficient information or if the testing rate is 300 or less
All 27 EU member states are obliged to comply with the new approach and permit entry for all travelers from other EU countries without discrimination. Travelers from green areas will face no restrictions; those from orange and red areas could be required to undergo quarantine/self-isolation, or COVID-19 testing prior to or on arrival. It is up to individual member states to decide on the restrictions applied to travelers arriving from orange, red or grey countries.
Information on which member states apply which measures can be found in the Re-open EU website.
As travel begins to resume it’s clear preparing for a trip will be much more complicated than checking if you packed your phone charger and updated your out of office message. Health screening measures are becoming more and more important as travelers get back on the road. In some cases you can't fly without presenting negative COVID-19 test documentation.
Whether or not you need a coronavirus test to fly will depend largely on your origin and destination. But one thing is clear - verify the name on your COVID-19 test or lab results matches exactly to the name used on your travel documents. Some airlines may deny boarding if the names are not identical.
Requirements are constantly changing. Make sure all your documentation is in order so you can get to where you're going.
It’s more important than ever to make sure you understand the requirements and regulations for your destination. Both for entry and exit. And any stops in between. Be prepared. There are many reliable resources for you to gather information for your upcoming trip. This information changes frequently. Stay informed of any new restrictions that may impact your trip.
Several protective face masks as most carriers and local municipalities require both the nose and mouth to be covered in public locations. Local laws differ so be prepared with extra masks to cover your entire stay.
Verify the name used on your COVID-19 test/lab results matches exactly to the name used on your travel documents.
Your company’s emergency and medical assistance information easily available.
Confirm any COVID-19 related protocol with the onsite management of any office or location you will visit to ensure your safety and that you are prepared for any local requirements.
Consider bringing your health insurance information, vaccination records and blood type.
A pair of slippers or disposable shoes for your hotel stay.
A small packet of laundry powder.
Non perishable food items.
Time for some good news. High-tech filtration and low-tech masks are making flying safer. On many passenger planes, about 40 percent of a cabin’s air gets filtered through a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) system; the remaining 60 percent is fresh and piped in from outside the plane. “Cabin air is completely changed every three minutes, on average, while the aircraft is cruising,” says Dr. Bjoern Becker of Lufthansa. And of course wearing masks may also help mitigate the chance that passengers will get infected (or infect other travelers) along with the use of highly effective HEPA air filters in place on most commercial planes.
(This article is shared as information only and should not be considered as medical or legal advice.)
Hong Kong International Airport is providing a glimpse into what international airport procedures might look like once travel resumes. The airport claims it's the first in the world to trial a live operation of CLeanTech, a full-body disinfection booth. The process requires the individual complete a temperature check before entering a small booth for a 40-second disinfection and sanitizing procedure. According to the airport authority, the inside of the facility contains an antimicrobial coating that can remotely kill any viruses and/or bacteria found on clothing, as well as the body, by using photocatalyst advances along with "nano needles." The individual is also sprinkled with sanitizing spray for "instant disinfection" inside the booth, which is kept under negative pressure, an isolation technique used in hospitals and medical centers, to prevent cross-contamination. This system aims to disinfect a person's clothes and skin externally and may not be effective when it comes to detecting those already infected with COVID-19 who may not be displaying symptoms.
Today CLeanTech is only being used on staff who undertake public health and quarantine duties for passenger arrivals.
Along with CLeanTech, the airport authority is testing an antimicrobial coating designed to destroy all germs, bacteria and viruses. It is being applied at all passenger facilities at the airport including handles and seats, smart check-in kiosks and check-in counters, baggage trolleys and elevator buttons.
It's unlikely to catch the coronavirus from a discarded mask, but unfortunately disposable PPE does pose a risk to the environment. As more people wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, more tons of improperly discarded masks and PPE become litter around the world.
Regrettably single-use masks are not easily recycled due to health implications and because they're made up of multiple materials. But there may be recyclable options in the not so distant future. A few companies are looking at new technologies to find ways of reuse.
Since mid-July a firm in France, has been recycling thousands of masks and turning the waste into plastics. Masks are collected and “quarantined”, then ground into small pieces and subjected to ultraviolet light to ensure they are completely decontaminated before the recycling process begins. After the decontamination process they are again ground and mixed with a binding agent and turned into a material which can be molded like normal plastic. Interestingly, the new plastic is turned into products used in the fight against Covid, like plastic visors.
Another innovative approach is happening in Las Vegas. The Venetian hotel has partnered with a company that specializes in recycling materials not accepted in traditional curbside recycling programs. Single use masks are provided to all guests and workers resulting in hundreds of pounds of new trash destined for the landfill. Now special collection boxes are placed throughout the resort for easy and safe dispose of used masks. Once collected, the company shreds the masks and PPE into a crumb-like material which is used to form products such as shipping pallets, composite decking and composite lumber.
It's important to keep our current public health crisis from adding to the plastic pollution crisis. Make sure to dispose of your mask properly and securely in a trash bin and look for recyclable options as you travel and when you return home. #staysafe #stayhealthy
The travel industry is looking to harness ultraviolet C (UV-C) light, known to damage a virus’s DNA and RNA, to fight the spread of coronavirus.
Pittsburgh International Airport was already working with local startup Carnegie Robotics to test out autonomous cleaning robots that use water pressure and chemical disinfectant before the pandemic. After the virus hit, the company offered to install a UV-C component.
The four robots look like miniature Zambonis and are named for flying heroes— Amelia Orville, Wilbur, and Rose. The bots roam for eight to 10 hours a day before needing to recharge. The light, which is bright enough to damage eyes, is carefully encased to only hit the floor. The trial may be expanded to additional robots focused on cleaning the air train that moves between terminals and handrails.
Cleaning bots that use more traditional, Roomba-like techniques are on the job at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The Neo is made by Canada’s AvidBots and uses 3D technology and lasers to map its routes and divert around kiosks, food carts, or stray children.
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people may have had a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe illness. Be aware of any changes in your health and call your medical provider for symptoms that are concerning to you.
You may also choose to self-quarantine yourself away from your family or anyone you share your home with for their protection.
Check your company regarding any return to work policies that may be in effect.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
Inability to wake or stay awake
Bluish lips or face
Practice social distancing. Adjustments leading up to the security checkpoint include, increasing the distance between individuals as they enter the security checkpoint, placing visual reminders of appropriate spacing on checkpoint floors and staggering the use of lanes where feasible. No two airports are alike, so this could look a little different at each airport.
Keep possession of boarding passes. Instead of handing your boarding pass to security officers, expect to place your boarding pass (paper or electronic) on the boarding pass reader yourself.
Separate food for X-ray screening. You will likely need to place carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin.
Put items in your own bag. When removing belts, wallets, keys and phones, put them directly into your carry-on bag instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.
Use facial protection. Security officers at checkpoints are now using facial protection and wearing gloves. You should too. Requirements will vary, but it can’t hurt to be prepared.
New procedures. Routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area. Plastic shielding has also been installed at many travel document checking podiums, bag search and drop off locations.
It’s important to share your experience with others. You can help others navigate the new travel landscape based on your experience. Common understanding of expectations will help everyone feel safer and more informed when traveling.
Get in touch with your travel team and let them know about your experience. What was helpful and what is needed. The more information they have the better.
Evaluate your suppliers so others can benefit from your experiences. If someone is doing something more innovative or better let them know. Take those quick surveys. It’s only a few minutes of your time and can really make a difference. Feedback has never been more important.
Let your colleagues know how things went as well. Everyone is curious. If you have a company blog or social media site, use it. Your insights are probably more helpful than you know. Something simple may be a big deal. Is there a particularly good place that delivers food? Where’s the easiest place to get a mask in the airport? How do you eat on the plane? Crowd sourced information is one of the best ways to get to real time info from people you trust.