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Travel

Coronavirus: All cruise ships to Guernsey cancelled – but are they on lockdown?

All cruise ships to Guernsey have been cancelled until the end of April at the earliest due to the latest coronavirus travel measures. The first cruise ship of the season was the Fridtjof Nansen which was meant to have arrived on March 20. However, it was cancelled earlier in the month following the advice from Guernsey’s Public Health.

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Now, nine other cruise liners that would have docked in Guernsey in April have been cancelled.

Three others have also cancelled their visits in May, with many more expected to follow suit.

The largest marina facility in the British Isles, Guernsey Harbours said in a statement: “Due to the global outbreak of Covid-19, travel restrictions imposed by the States of Guernsey require all persons arriving in the Bailiwick from anywhere else in the world to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

“These restrictions mean that all cruise ship calls are currently cancelled until 30 April at the earliest.

“Some cruise operators have suspended operations past 30 April.”

P&O Britannia, which was the largest of all the cruises set to visit on April 18 with 4,000 people, has temporarily suspended all new cruise operations.

They said in a statement: “We shall be bringing our ships and all guests who are currently sailing back to Southampton and will constantly monitor the situation over the coming weeks.

“As ever, our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our guests and crew.

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“We wholeheartedly wish you well in the coming months and hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you on board with us again as soon as the situation has improved.”

The Channel Islands include Jersey and Guernsey and are in the English Channel of the French coast of Normandy.

Although not a part of the UK, the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands.

Jersey’s Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham said that the small island nation could follow the UK and go into lockdown but hasn’t as of yet.

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In a tweet he said: “It is time for Jersey to follow UK.”

The most recent government advice in Jersey is to keep a distance of at last two metres between people.

People arriving from the UK have also been told they must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they are ill or not.

The borders on the Isle of Man closed to non-residents yesterday at 9am.

The Manx government confirmed on Twitter that all schools on the island would be closed by the end of March 23.

The small island between The United Kingdom and Ireland has had 13 confirmed cases so far.

However, the Isle of Man has not confirmed a full lockdown like that of the United Kingdom.

Guernsey has seen a rapid increase in coronavirus cases after 20 positive tests were recorded.

Guernsey’s most senior politician Gavin St Pier, president of the Policy and Resources Committee said yesterday that an island-wide lockdown is not the answer to covid-19.

According to Guernsey Press he said: “We have already understandably seen an increase in mental health issues in the last few weeks.

“Perversely, social distancing risks substantial social isolation and all that follows in terms of increased alcohol and drug dependency, depression and anxiety resulting in more suicide, self-harming, domestic violence and divorce.

“Social isolation will damage us all and potentially create a longer term social problem to add to our more immediate public health and economic problems.”

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Travel

Flights: Why can I fly to the USA from the UK?

Flights have been seriously disrupted and most countries have issued travel advisories and outright bans to restrict the spread of coronavirus. Due to the measures implemented around the world, the airline industry has lost roughly £755bn ($880bn). So why can you still fly to the USA from the UK?

Donald Trump banned all travel from the UK to the US earlier this month.

Previously the US President had issued a travel ban from the Schengen area of the European Union, but later extended it to include the UK.

This move prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to advise against all but essential travel to the US.

The travel restrictions came into effect at 3.59pm GMT on March 17.

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Currently, the USA has the third-highest number of cases around the globe, with 26,892 confirmed cases.

Of these cases, 348 people have died, while 178 people have recovered, leaving 26,366 active cases, 1,612 of which are in a serious or critical condition.

The UK meanwhile has the 10th highest number of cases.

In total, there are 5,018 reported cases in the UK, of which 233 have died and 93 have recovered.

This means there are 4,692 active cases of which 20 are in a serious or critical condition.

The travel ban saw thousands of flights across the Atlantic cancelled, with several airlines affected.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice reads: “The US authorities announced on 14 March that travel restrictions imposed previously on Schengen zone countries would now be extended to the UK (and Ireland).

“From 23:59 Eastern Daylight Time on 16 March (03:59 GMT 17 March) it will not be possible for many British nationals to enter the USA.

“We therefore advise against all but essential travel to the US, due to the travel restrictions.”

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However, some travellers are still permitted access to the USA from the UK.

President Trump has suspended most flights from Europe to the USA for the next 30 days.

No one who has been in the UK in the last 14 days will be permitted into the USA.

But this ban does not apply to US citizens.

US citizens who have been in the UK in the last two weeks will still be allowed to travel to the USA.

However, they must use one of 13 airports, including:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia.

What will happen once you arrive?

When travellers arrive they will proceed to standard customs processing.

They will then continue to enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities.

Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.

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Travel

Benidorm closes all beaches as woman arrested for sunbathing near Majorca seafront

The Costa Blanca resort is following the examples of thousands of local councils throughout the mainland of Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearics following Spain’s declaration of a State of Emergency. The police and council staff have been out and about over the last few days putting up barriers and no entry signs to the beach fronts, preventing thousands of tourists from going on the sand or into the sea.

Benidorm had originally vetoed swimming but has now extended the ban to going on the entire beach areas.

The Mayor of Benidorm, Toni Pérez says ordering the beach closure is one of the hardest decisions a mayor could take but they had no choice given the seriousness of the situation.

“We are sure we have everyone’s understanding from those of us who are currently in Benidorm, ” he said.

In the south of Tenerife, the popular beaches in Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos are deserted this morning after the local council put up barriers to comply with the new coronavirus restrictions.

Meanwhile, a woman has become the first person in the Balearics and possibly in Spain to be arrested for flouting the new State of Emergency ruling after sunbathing on the grass near the seafront!

She was taken into police custody following complaints from local residents in Palma, the capital of Majorca which, like the Spanish mainland, is under strict curfew conditions.

The Spanish Government has BANNED the use of all outdoor spaces and parks, as well as many beaches, as part of the containment measures to stop the flow of coronavirus.

The furious woman was arrested by Spanish police and put into a police van after she refused to pack up and go home peacefully. Local people and residents are only supposed to be on the streets with good reason, including to visit a supermarket, chemist or bank, to look after an elderly resident or to go or return from work.

The woman now faces a fine for civil disobedience and not complying with the State of Emergency.

Police said she and friends were sunbathing on the lawns near the seafront. When officers arrived, they were lying on towels and having a drink.

“The officers spoke to those present and communicated verbally and informatively that they should leave the area and remain at home,” says island newspaper Ultimahora.es. “A woman, far from complying with the instructions of the authorities, confronted them and told them that she wanted to get a tan.

“After several verbal attacks on the police officers and because of her attitude, she was asked to identify herself but refused.”

Civilians who refuse to comply with the orders of the State Security Corps and Forces in relation to the measures adopted in the framework of the State of Emergency may incur a crime of disobedience or resistance to authority.

“Fines of between 600 and 30,000 euros can be imposed and a public address system is being used to warn people in Spanish, Catalan, English and German.

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Travel

Coronavirus safe countries: The SAFEST countries right now as coronavirus spreads

Coronavirus is spreading quickly in Europe and the World Health Organisation recognised this by declaring the continent the epicentre of the pandemic. Some countries are unreachable as they have closed their borders, while others have a very low number of infected or none at all.

The safest countries in the world right now

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the public health institute in the United States.

It has a risk assessment map on its website that shows which countries travellers should avoid.

There are four levels of risk. The least severe is ‘no reported risk level’, then ‘limited community spread’, followed by ‘sustained community spread’ and ‘widespread sustained spread’.

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The most severe ‘widespread sustained spread and restrictions on travel to the United States’ and countries in this category include all the ones President Donald Trump has banned US flights to and from.

Those countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.

The ban also includes Iran and China, which is no longer the epicentre of coronavirus according to the World Health Organisation as it has moved to Europe.

The CDC recommends that travellers avoid all nonessential travel to these destinations and entry of foreign nationals from these countries has been suspended.

South Korea is in the ‘widespread sustained (ongoing) spread’ category and while there are no restrictions on entry to the United States, nonessential travel is not recommended.

But no country on its map carries no risk as coronavirus is considered as being easily spreadable.

Any country not mentioned above is to an extent safe, however, as we have seen in recent weeks, COVID-19 can cross borders quickly.

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Once it does, it can infect people at a rapid rate so more countries could yet be added to the list.

The US is not the only country to impose travel bans, and flight routes have been cut while nations like Denmark have moved to temporarily close its borders to tourists.

For potential holidaymakers, this could mean a change of plan and a focus instead on staycations and travel within their own country in the form of a road trip.

Mark Wong, an executive at Small Luxury Hotels of the World, told CNBC: “Right now, Europe and the US are practically in lockdown.

“Cross-border travel will be minimised. We are currently focusing on staycations, within-country travel, domestic travel will recover from this crisis first.”

Oil prices have decreased due to a lack of demand, which means a drop in petrol prices could be on the horizon.

Mr Wong said: “Road trips – the drive market – will be this summer’s trend.

“Travellers will be more comfortable hopping into their own cars or rental vehicles than commuting in mass transportation.”

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Travel

Coronavirus in Germany: Is it safe to travel to Germany? Are there still flights?

As of March 11, 122,399 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded across the globe, with almost 2,000 confirmed in Germany. Here is the latest advice on travelling to Germany.

Since the virus was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 4,552 people have died.

Italy has suffered the worst outbreak in Europe, with 12,426 confirmed cases and 827 deaths.

Following Italy is Spain, with 2,227 cases and 54 deaths.

Germany is the third-worst hit country in Europe, with 1,908 confirmed cases and three deaths.

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Is it safe to travel to Germany?

The Foreign Office has not issued any travel restrictions on visiting Germany at present.

The FCO website reads: “There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus.

“The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, but cases have been confirmed in other parts of China and in some other countries, including Germany.

“You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities.”

There are some travel restrictions for those who are looking to travel to Germany from Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea or China.

Those arriving from any of these listed countries to Germany will have to provide personal details on their arrival.

These details will be recorded on a disembarkation card, and people will need to be contactable for 30 days afterwards.

As well as flights, these protocols also apply for anyone arriving from one of these regions via ship, train or bus.

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Are there still flights?

A number of UK flights are continuing to fly to Germany as scheduled.

However, British Airways and Ryanair have cancelled hundreds of their flights due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Ryanair has reduced the frequency of its flights to many regions, including Italy, due to a decrease in the number of flight bookings.

British Airways have cancelled some flights from the UK to Italy, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, France, Switzerland and Germany.

BA said the timetable changes will mean many flights will be “merged between 16 March and 28 March”.

A spokesperson for BA told Sky News: “We will be contacting customers on cancelled flights so we can discuss their travel options, including re-booking on to other carriers where possible, full refunds or booking with BA for a later date of travel.

“Customers can also find the latest information and options on BA.com.”

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Travel

Coronavirus travel: How at risk are YOU when using public transport and flights?

As coronavirus spreads from country to country, transport operators have come to be at the frontline of an international public health crisis. Efforts to combat the spread are ongoing and the UK is still in the containment phase despite confirmed cases growing by roughly 50 per day.

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Coronavirus is spread through droplet transmission. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they expel tiny droplets containing the virus into the air, ranging to approximately 6ft around them.

The droplets are dense enough that they can’t stay in the air for longer than a couple of minutes, so they will naturally fall to the floor or on surfaces.

There, the virus can live for up to 12 hours – so if you touch a hand rail or press the button infected with the bacteria and then touch your face, you could be at risk.

This risk is exacerbated on tightly packed commuter lines.

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Buses and Trains

Research published by the Institute of Global Health showed that individuals who used more than one tube line frequently were more likely to suffer from flu-like symptoms.

This was echoed by Environmental Health journal. The underground serves roughly 1.2 billion passengers annually, and is a particular hotspot for infectious diseases.

Those most at risk were found to be commuters who take long journeys or use busy stations, as they come into contact with more shared surfaces and people.

Travelling at off peak times may be a way to mitigate having to use busy public transport, however this is not an option for a lot of people.

It is best to wash your hands before and after using the bus or the train to stop the spread of all infections, not just COVID-19.

Flights

Flights across the world are being cancelled in the wake of COVID-19.

Virgin Atlantic reported yesterday that it has been running near empty flights, and British Airways flights between Italy and the UK have been cancelled until April.

The confined space of a flight cabin seems a natural place for germs to be transmitted from one person to another.

Studies suggest it is not the recirculated cabin air that creates risk as the air is frequently filtered. The spread of infection is largely caused by movement within the cabin.

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Moving around is more common on a long haul flight as people get up to stretch their legs and use the toilet, so you’re more likely to be infected on a long haul flight than a short one.

During the 2003 Sars epidemic, 25 passengers were infected by a single ‘superspreader’.

Some were seated as far as seven rows in front of and five rows behind the infected passenger.

How can we protect ourselves?

Official government advice is to wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds, or the length it takes to sing happy birthday twice.

Always cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow in public places.

The use of face masks has been widely discussed since the outbreak.

Wearing one on public transport is certainly not a guarantee you won’t be infected, however they are effective at catching droplets, which is how coronavirus is transmitted.

If you can walk or cycle to your destination, do so. Not only will it reduce your time spent in cramped spaces with potentially infected people, but keeping fit will improve your body’s immune system and improve your chances of fighting off an infection.

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Coronavirus Disneyland: Is Disneyland closed amid coronavirus outbreak?

COVID-19 has bloomed in Europe over the last two months, with more than 10,000 cases in the continent. Some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations lie within the infected countries, amongst them Disneyland.

Is Disneyland closed?

France is amongst some of the most COVID-19 affected countries in Europe.

There, cases number 1,209, giving it the second-highest case count on the continent, and the fifth worldwide.

Health officials recently confirmed one of the thousands of cases came from within Disneyland Paris.

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According to Reuters, a Disneyland Paris maintenance worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

A spokesman told the publication officials confirmed the case over the weekend, but they had not come into contact with visitors.

They added they had quarantined anyone in contact with the worker, who was on sick leave before he tested positive.

Disneyland Paris said it was making supplies of hand sanitiser available to its guests and was ensuring they stand apart in long queues.

So far, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not advised against travel to France.

They have advised people travelling to France to stay up-to-date with local warnings and alerts.

The FCO said: “There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in China and elsewhere, including France.

“The French authorities are dealing with confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Oise, Haute Savoie and Britanny.”

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“If you’re in these areas you should follow the advice of the local authorities (town hall or prefecture).”

France is currently in the second stage of its government coronavirus response plan, which aims to contain COVID-19, according to the country’s Health Minister Olivier Véran.

The country has seen a total of 19 deaths as the virus rages on, with the government focused on responding with “proportionate” actions.

Amongst the new measures is a ban on gatherings of up to 1,000 people, which doesn’t affect protests, exams and public transportation.

The French government also said it plans to requisition all stocks of face masks now coming into production.

In a Tweet, President Emmanuel Macron said: “We will distribute them to health professionals and to French people infected with the coronavirus.”

Officials have also closed 120 schools in areas where the virus has impacted the most and cancelled school trips.

Both primary and secondary schools have closed in Oise, to the north of Paris.

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