'Onerous' testing rules continue to hamper Christmas holidays – The Telegraph

Stringent testing rules remain for UK travellers, threatening to hamper Christmas and New Year breaks. 
All 11 countries have been removed from the red list, ending the need for travellers to hotel quarantine on their arrival in the UK.
Ministers accepted the red list was no longer required to protect the UK from the import of the Omicron variant. However, they held off from scrapping the fresh testing rules that were introduced as a result of the new variant at the end of November. 
“The onerous testing requirements are severely hampering business and leisure travel,” said Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association. 
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief of executive of Advantage Travel Partnership said that the “chaotic change in government measures towards international travel are creating an avalanche of cancellations, drop in confidence and risking jobs and livelihoods of millions employed in the sector.”
All arrivals to the UK must take a Covid-19 test in the two days before travel and must have booked and paid for a Day 2 PCR test – adding extra expense to holidays. They must also self-isolate at home until they receive a negative result from the second test. Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said these would be reviewed in January.
Scroll down for the latest travel updates.
That’s all for today, here’s a reminder of Tuesday’s top headlines:
See you tomorrow for more of the latest travel news.
Today’s news has sparked further calls from travel businesses for the Government to develop new plans to allow holidays to resume without ‘knee-jerk’ restrictions. Gary Lewis, CEO of The Travel Network Group, which represents more than 1,200 travel businesses in the UK, said:
Our support for the Government’s travel updates during this pandemic has been limited, but we are backing today’s announcement that will see all countries removed from the red list. After nearly 20 months of this crisis, we’re going to have to learn to live with Covid and forcing tourists returning to the UK from so called ‘red list’ countries to isolate in expensive hotels was in no way helping the travel industry get off its knees.  
We fully support testing measures, and we are fully behind safe overseas travel but we have to be pragmatic, Covid is here for the long run. We need our Government to work with the travel industry to provide clear and timely direction, workable plans and affordable testing solutions. There have been too many poorly-timed, knee-jerk travel impositions, but today we welcome this adjustment to the self-isolation rules.
Austria is likely to soon recommend Covid-19 booster shots for children aged 12 and over once four months have passed since their second vaccine dose, the country’s health minister said today.
“The National Vaccination Board will likely recommend tomorrow that we recommend the booster shot, i.e. the third vaccine dose, from the age of 12,” Wolfgang Mueckstein told a news conference.
“That means that four months after their second shot all those as of the age of 12 should also get their booster shot,” Mueckstein said. That would lower the age at which that recommendation applies from 18 currently.
The move would again put Austria ahead of most European countries in terms of vaccinating children – but could spell further chaos for British families hoping to book a ski holiday to Austria, where, under current rules, unvaccinated over 12s cannot access ski lifts.
Another tour operator, Africa specialist Coral Tree Travel, has asked for lessons to be learned from the red list fiasco. Mike Kelly, co-founder of the Cheltenham-based company, said: 
We welcome the news that hotel quarantine is to be scrapped; it should never have been reintroduced in the first place.
We know from experience with delta that hotel quarantine doesn’t stop the import of new variants that become dominant, it only serves to decimate the travel industry and impact the lives of the people who depend on travel both here and abroad.  
The Government promised earlier in 2021 that any new restrictions would come with 14 days’ warning, however, the latest restrictions were imposed with very little notice, at times with little fanfare on a Saturday evening. All this does is hammer consumer confidence in an industry that has clung on to survival for the last two years.
Since restrictions were announced on November 25, enquiries have dried up overnight. We have had one new enquiry in the last three weeks, and colleagues in the UK travel industry have reported the same drop-off. Colleagues across Africa have reported high levels of cancellations and postponements going into what should be the busiest time of year.
The constantly changing testing landscape has also added huge levels of stress, anxiety and uncertainty to clients who are travelling to countries outside the red list and who have been looking forward to a well-deserved winter holiday.”
There is a growing sense that the changes to the red list have come too late for operators in South Africa, and their customers.
Candice Buchan, head of Africa specialist Rainbow Tours, said:
Obviously we are delighted with the news that the red list is getting emptied again, but it is really too late. This holiday season is not going to see much travel now because of the knock in confidence it has created, with the continuous changes that are being announced at such short notice
I can only hope that there will be a better approach in future that won’t impact imminent travellers so badly. I do still think that testing is important but I worry about how much it is affecting people travelling. Hopefully being double/triple jabbed is going to be the best way for people to travel more freely. 
Holidays to South Africa are able to go ahead once again after the country was removed from the red list. 
“This is welcome news but it’s clear that red-listing Southern Africa for just three weeks caused incalculable damage to jobs and livelihoods in the region, with little discernible benefit to health outcomes in the UK,” said David Frost, chief executive of South Africa Tourism Services (SATSA).
Here’s everything we know about travel to South Africa now hotel quarantine has been scrapped.
The travel industry continues to react to the news that hotel quarantine has been scrapped, with calls for the Government to go one step further and ease testing rules. Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said:
Just so they can look like Santa Claus, the Government have timed the removal of all countries from the red list so that no-one will need to be in hotel quarantine from Christmas Day itself. But, while giving with one hand, they continue to take with the other and deny the travel sector the badly-needed recovery due to onerous testing.
There’s zero logic to keeping pre-departure tests in place when Omicron is so rife. If you don’t need a red list, you don’t need pre-departure tests. Why is there no joined-up thinking to government decision-making?
The testing regime should be re-assessed now, not in early January.
Sonia Davies, chief executive of tour operator Scott Dunn said the removal of the 11 countries from the red list makes sense but that “it could have been actioned earlier as UK cases were known to be circulating in the community”.
She added:
With conflicting reports about the severity of illness from Omicron and the efficacy of the vaccines against this variant, retaining the testing rules until there is clearer scientific evidence is sensible, albeit hugely frustrating for the travel industry as it is dampening demand and adding cost to holidays. If the government review the situation as the data becomes clearer, as they have now done with the red list that would install confidence that change will happen at the right time. The stop-start nature of reactions, ahead of the science, is what causes the chaos.
This rustic luxe lodging follows a well-established farm-to-table trend – but if the recipe works why change the ingredients, asks Mark C. O’Flaherty
The beauty of Coombeshead is how unfussy and relaxed it all is, as well as its low-key cool. But in a way, this underscores the fact that it is, of course, madly cool. They make their own soap from beeswax and the fat from the ­Mangalitza pigs in the nearby field, which makes the likes of Molton Brown look painfully pedestrian.
Everyone seems to be having the time of their life working at Coombeshead, too – and it comes across in the service. That said, check-out is at 10.30am, so I was poised for annoyance. Yes, I know we still have amped-up cleaning procedures as part of Covid theatre, but what was going on before the pandemic? A quick spray of some Febreze and a glide of a feather duster over the bedside table?
Read the full story.
The Government has always been clear that once the Omicron variant is widespread across the UK there would be little rationale for retaining any restrictions on international travel, according to Mark Tanzer Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association. As such, it “must explain why temporary testing requirements have been retained until the first week of January.” 
Mr Tanzer adds:
With the testing measures now extending over the Christmas and New Year period, and the industry quickly approaching peak-booking season for summer 2022, travel businesses are facing a very serious situation […].
We also need the Government to focus on providing the stability that is essential to rebuild consumer confidence in the longer-term. This must include a robust plan to deal with future variants, developed with public health experts and the industry. As part of this there should be transition arrangements for the red list – which would enable people overseas when decisions are taken to place a country on the red list to complete self-isolation at home, along with additional testing measures, to avoid costly quarantine – as well as moving away from pre-departure testing, which is the single greatest barrier to getting people travelling again.
Test rules may be remaining in place until at least January, but you can work your holiday around them to avoid extra costs and hassle.
As William Cook explains, if you’re heading to the Continent you can take the pre-departure test required to return to Britain before you’ve even left home. 
Here are five places to visit using this loophole.
Jarrod Kyte, product and sales director for tour operator Steppes, has poured scorn on the Government’s travel policy. He said: 
More than any other industry it would seem that travel is a hostage to our government’s inability to react in a measured way when confronted with the prospect of a new Covid variant. Ineffective restrictions on international travel are hastily imposed, in full knowledge that they risk ‘killing off the travel sector’, yet no effort is made to provide the industry with support or reassurance for the future. Red lists and hotel quarantines are the epitome of breaking a butterfly on the wheel; heavy-handed and largely futile they do far more damage than good yet our government blindly continues in the same vein, propelled by the need to be seen to be doing something.

The harm done by our government’s crude policies is far reaching. While tourism has created fantastic opportunities for local communities in sub-Saharan Africa, it has also created a dependency which has been cruelly exposed by the pandemic. With little flow of revenue from tourism in the last two years, the win-win model of community based conservation tourism is beginning to show serious fault-lines. If it irrevocably breaks, the implications for wildlife and local economies in Africa will be devastating.
The UK Government has removed all 11 countries from the travel red list.
Arrivals from Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and Lesotho will no longer be subject to hotel quarantine restrictions from 4am on Wednesday (December 15). 
Read the full story.
Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association, said:
We welcome the news that all countries have been removed from the UK’s red list.

However, this does not go nearly far enough to help the beleaguered travel industry. The onerous testing requirements are severely hampering business and leisure travel.

The BTA urges the Government to work with the industry to create effective plans for future variants and a tailored package of support as we remain the only sector operating under restrictions.
Paul Goldstein, an Africa tour guide, has told The Independent’s Simon Calder
I sincerely hope the government is not expecting any thanks for this. Singlehandedly they have destroyed the Christmas/New Year market for much of Africa  as well as butchering confidence in the UK travel industry.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has offered his usual Twitter update on the latest changes to travel restrictions.
✈️🧪 All current TESTING measures remain in place & will be reviewed in the first week of January.
Check the rules here👇 https://t.co/lLZa0DpTVv (2/3)
David Frost, chief executive of South Africa Tourism Services (SATSA), said of the country’s removal from the red list:
This is welcome news but it’s clear that red-listing Southern Africa for just three weeks caused incalculable damage to jobs and livelihoods in the region, with little discernible benefit to health outcomes in the UK.

The UK government must now consign this blunt instrument to history and recognise the devastating impact red lists have to confidence amongst the travelling public.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, said:
Removing these countries from the red list makes complete sense but doesn’t go nearly far enough. If the red list isn’t necessary given that omicron is established here at home, then neither are the costly emergency testing and isolation measures imposed on even fully vaccinated travellers, which again put us completely at odds with the rest of Europe. It is testing that is the deterrent to travel, not the relatively limited red list.

[The] Government has admitted that the measures introduced are disastrous for the travel sector, and the science says they aren’t now required.

The Health Secretary says he wants to act quickly to remove unnecessary restrictions, and we implore him to make good on this by scrapping testing as soon as possible, otherwise the key Christmas and New Year booking period will be undermined. This is make or break for UK aviation and if Government is unable to row back from these restrictions over the New Year, it will need to step in with further economic support for a sector that again has been singled out. 
However, the Health Secretary has said temporary testing requirements for foreign travellers will remain in place. These rules are:
People in Scotland are being asked to limit the number of people they socialise with to just three households, amid rising cases of the Omicron variant.
“I am not asking anyone to cancel Christmas,” said Nicola Sturgeon.
“We are not banning household mixing in law,” she said.  “But we are asking everyone to cut down as far as possible the number of people outside their households they are interacting with as of now.”
The Scottish First Minister clarified that the Government is not asking people to cancel or change their Christmas plans, but that guidance will be issued on how to “make Christmas safer”. This will include advice on keeping gatherings small and keeping rooms ventilated.
Popular Caribbean destination, the Cayman Islands, has been welcoming fully vaccinated holidaymakers since November 20, but from December 17 all arrivals will be required to take a test no more than one day before their departure.
To meet this tough requirement rapid tests, as wel as PCR tests, are accepted. In addition to the pre-arrival test, travelers also must undergo a rapid antigen test on day 2, 5 and 10 of their stay. 
As rules to curb the spread of Omicron are tightened in the UK, travellers continue to face extensive testing. Anyone who enters the UK must take a PCR test by the end of the second day after arrival and self-isolate until they have received a negative result.
Here’s where and how to book a test if you’re going on holiday this Christmas.
Nisha Katona MBE, a former barrister who switched careers to open the Mowgli group of Indian street food restaurants, was born and raised in Liverpool. Last month she opened her first London branch – bringing her collection to 13, with four more in the pipeline for 2022 – and released her fourth cookbook, 30-Minute Mowgli.
“Things have changed dramatically,” says Katona of her home city’s dining scene. “When we first opened, there were queues around the block to eat unfamiliar foods like chat bombs and lentils and chickpeas.”
She shares her favourite spots in town.
Hundreds of holidaymakers have been fined by the Portuguese authorities for breaking the country’s test rules for entry.
Portugal requires a negative Covid-19 test from arrivals from higher risk countries, which including the UK.
It specifies that this should be a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before boarding, or a quicker lateral flow or rapid antigen test in the 48 hours before departure.
They also stipulate it must be administered by a professional.
Portuguese citizens, and foreigners with residence status are allowed to carry out tests on arrival, but this does not extend to holidaymakers.
Boris Johnson has warned his Cabinet that a “huge spike” of the omicron variant is coming, according to his official spokesman.
It comes as the spokesman also confirmed the estimated figure of 200,000 new infections was valid and that omicron was “expected to become the dominant variant in London today given case rates are doubling so fast and inevitably it will become the dominant variant.”
He added that the first virtual Cabinet meeting in months had taken place this morning, in which “the Prime Minister said a huge spike of Omicron was coming and the measures we aim to introduce as part of Plan B were balanced and proportionate, helping to reduce transmission while we ramp up the booster programme.”
Pegasus Airlines has set a target of reducing its fligh-related carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2030, compared to 2019 levels.
This comes after the Turkish budget carrier joined other airlines in the International Air Transport Association;s (IATA) resolution to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  It plans to reach its target by operating a younger fleet, purchasing low-emission aircraft models, reducing aircraft weight and route optimisation.
Mehmet T. Nane, Pegasus Airlines chief executive, said: “We are restructuring all our operations and activities in line with this goal.
“Within the framework of our fleet transformation strategy, we foresee that we will reduce our emissions by increasing the number of our more fuel-efficient Neo model aircraft.
“As we manage all our operations and activities under a ‘sustainable environment’ approach, we will continue to work tirelessly towards our goal to become the greenest airline in Turkey and surrounding region.”
A freshly finished train link in Laos will allow you to travel from Lagos in Portugal to Singapore. The journey could be completed in 21 days.
The missing connection had been a new section of railway in Laos, which was completed on December 2.
From Laos, travellers can join a high-speed train into China to connect with the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine appear to have given 70 per cent protection against hospitalisation in South Africa in recent weeks, according to a major real-world study which suggests weaker efficacy against the new Omicron variant.
The study released on Tuesday by South Africa’s largest private health insurance administrator, Discovery Health, was based on more than 211,000 positive COVID-19 test results. Around 78,000 of those results from Nov. 15 to Dec. 7 were attributed to Omicron.
The 78,000 results are not confirmed Omicron cases, meaning the study cannot offer conclusive findings about the variant labelled “of concern” by the World Health Organization and reported in more than 60 countries.
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, chief executive of Tourism Business Council South Africa (TBCSA), South Africa’s umbrella travel and tourism association, said in reaction to this study:
The scientific evidence is clear, that for most people this variant results in a mild disease which poses a low risk to public health. 

Millions of people across Southern Africa are dependent on tourism for an income, and thousands more families are waiting anxiously to know if their loved ones will be home for the holidays.  The UK needs to act immediately to remove its discriminatory red list and begin rebuilding trust with the Global South where its travel policy is causing anger and resentment.
Norway will ban the serving of alcohol in bars and restaurants, impose stricter rules in schools and speed up vaccination as part of new efforts to curb the outbreak of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the government said on Monday.
“For many this will feel like a lockdown, if not of society then of their lives and of their livelihoods,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told Norwegians they could still celebrate Christmas with family and friends, but that they must reduce their number of close contacts and keep a metre apart.
Being forced to spend 10 nights and £2,450 on a stay in a quarantine hotel is bad enough, but one Telegraph reader has highlighted another cost for those caught out by the Government’s red list: parking. 
Graham Else explains: “My wife and I are caught up in the quarantine hotel debacle and arrived on December 8. I tried to extend my T5 Heathrow Long Term parking on the 9th, but was unable to do so online because my booked period had elapsed. I now have the prospect of paying £33 per day for the excess days which means I will have a bill of more than £350 when my original term was approximately £140 for 21 days.” 
He added: “Contacting Heathrow is virtually impossible and advice from their presence on Twitter was to get someone to move the car! In times when Heathrow has been one of the organisations bleating about their hardships, I find it outrageous that they adopt this attitude and I think fellow travellers should be aware of this trap. Their intransigence needs to be highlighted, especially in the context of quarantined travellers, where they may find they have 10-11 days of extra charges. My wife and I are pensioners and you can probably appreciate the impact of the hotel quarantine charge on our finances, so this extra whammy really hurts.”
A serendipitous meeting at an airport hotel in Heathrow really drove home the injustice of the UK’s red list, writes Greg Dickinson.
Mickey didn’t have to specify where we would meet. In a corner of the car park there was a penned area, no bigger than a seven-a-side football pitch, where people were walking, smoking or jogging. These were the quarantine hotel inmates, whose crime was to have travelled to a sub-Saharan African country when they were perfectly entitled to do so.
And then along came Mickey and his partner, who had received the go-ahead from their warden to step outside. They looked well, and were smiling, probably because today was the final day of their 10-day quarantine, meaning they would be released at midnight. We stood at a metal barrier, three or four metres away from our friends who leaned on a barrier of their own. Behind them, their fellow quarantine occupants circled their concrete leisure zone in an anti-clockwise loop. This, Mickey told us, was not a rule, but something people just seemed to do. It is funny how habitually orderly the British can be.
Read the full story.
Jet2 has launched a sale for summer 2023 holidays with customers now able to book Athens, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, and Pisa. 
Flights and city breaks are going on sale from Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle Airports.
Customers can choose from a flight-only option with Jet2 or a package holiday with Jet2CityBreaks.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said:
Feedback from customers and independent travel agents is telling us that people want something to look forward to more than ever before and the early release of our Summer 23 City Breaks programme allows them to do just that. As the UK’s largest operator of European city breaks, our selection of city breaks for Summer 23 offers lots of choice and flexibility. With more destinations still to go on sale, there will be an even more to pick from, and we look forward to revealing further details of the exciting programme soon.
A volcano that has been spewing lava in Spain’s Canary Islands for almost three months fell quiet Tuesday, though scientists warned the lull didn’t necessarily mean the eruption is over.
Scientists recorded no seismic activity from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma island since late Monday, the Canary Islands’ volcanology institute, Involcan, said in a tweet.
“That does not mean the eruption has finished, because in the past this has been followed by a new surge in activity,” Involcan said.
But it added: “This is the longest length of time with no earthquakes since the eruption began.”
La Palma’s longest eruption on record has destroyed about 3,000 local buildings, entombed large areas of farmland in lava and forced several thousand people to abandon their homes. No injuries or deaths have been directly linked to the eruption on the island of around 80,000 people.
With 10 days to go, Nick Trend details what you need to know should you test positive and your festive travel plans get messy. 
Holidays abroad
The good news is that many travel insurance policies do now cover cancellation costs if you can prove that you have fallen ill with Covid and are unable to travel as a result. But do check this point before you buy one. Some of the most comprehensive policies, which also cover you if you have to isolate abroad because you have failed a pre-departure test, include PJ Hayman (pjhayman.com), AllClear (allcleartravel.co.uk) and Staysure (staysure.co.uk). 
For those who aren’t insured, most airlines and tour operators also now offer a good deal of flexibility. You probably won’t be able to cancel for a refund, but can normally postpone your trip to a later date. It’s worth checking the terms now, just in case.
Read the full story.
Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, has said the country is still on the same level of restrictions amid the surge of Omicron. 
“The cases are predominately mild… we don’t see a need for stricter restrictions,” she said. 
“People are already upset and there is no point in putting restrictions on movement because the virus is everywhere. 
“Maybe in a way we need to learn how to live with this.” 
British Airways has confirmed it will open a short-haul subsidiary at Gatwick.
The airline will operate under the British Airways name but will exist as an “entirely separate entity”, the firm said.
It will start flying in March 2022.
Tickets to 35 short-haul destinations, including Venice, Amsterdam and Athens, go on sale today.
Prices start from £39 each way, based on a return fare.
Tony Danker, director general of the CBI, appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning. He said, on travel rules:
The main issue remains the major restrictions in place for international travel, which may have seemed worth considering a week or two ago, but now that omicron is pervasive throughout our country, [it] doesn’t feel like those measures, those restrictions, seem appropriate now. 

We support the government’s intention to put public health first, but the government needs to recognise what’s really happening in our economy.
A tide of pent-up demand from die-hard fans and interest from new-to-cruisers after a summer of domestic sailings has prompted a sales boom, writes Sara Macefield.
Reports of cruise sales bouncing back faster than expected abound, with some companies reporting record bookings that have spurred them to bring forward their cruise programmes for 2023 and 2024. The luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises released its 2024 world cruise in July, an epic 132-night extravaganza covering more than 34,000 nautical miles, and it sold out in a heart-stopping 2.5 hours. This is a voyage where prices started, yes started, at an eye-popping £54,949 per person – rising to £144,699 for the top suite.
Read the full story
France is considering tightening restrictions for people entering the country from Britain, where the omicron Covid-19 variant is spreading rapidly, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said today.
“Regarding Britain, the current rule is to show a negative test less than 48 hours old in order to enter France,” Attal told France Info Radio this morning.
“But we are always looking at means to tighten the framework, we are currently working on that and we should, I think, come to a conclusion in the coming days”, he added.
Mr Attal said France, currently engulfed in a fifth wave of Covid fuelled mainly by the delta variant, currently has 133 confirmed cases of the omicron variant.
One British couple detail their dismal 11-day sentence at a Holiday Inn after returning from red-listed South Africa. 
Annabel Fenwick Elliott spoke to them about their ordeal: 
“We are not guests, we are inmates,” Mr Jones tells Telegraph Travel. “It’s not a hotel, it’s a guarded compound – and there’s no minibar. It would be entirely unacceptable accommodation for anyone, unless you happened to be on a very tight budget, or lived on the streets.” And all at a cost £3,715 for their stay.
The couple’s daughter has, at least, delivered several emergency cases of Sauvignon blanc, which they chill against the window in lieu of a refrigerator, and some silverware, to replace the supplied plastic knives and forks “that snap off in the congealed food”.
Read the full story.
Here’s a reminder of the 11 destinations: 
Arrivals who have visited the 11 nations in the previous 10 days must stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days, at a cost of up to £2,285, including two Covid tests. The rate for one additional adult, or a child aged 12 or over, is £1,430; while children aged between 5–11 are £325 each. Those in financial hardship have been able to avoid the large fee.
Authorities in California said Monday they were reinstating mask mandates in all indoor public spaces to try to curb the resurgence of Covid-19 in recent weeks.
The mask mandate, which will come into force Wednesday, applies to all individuals, whether vaccinated or not.
Los Angeles, San Francisco and other counties in California reintroduced the mask-wearing rule locally several months ago.
But other counties, such as Orange and San Diego, which are very heavily populated, had stuck with state-wide rules that masks only needed to be worn in certain public spaces such as airports, hospitals or schools but not in shops, restaurants or cinemas.
California’s Health Secretary Mark Ghaly said the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases had prompted the new rule.
The airline is to launch a route to the US West Coast city in summer 2022. 
It will run flights from London Heathrow to Portland from June 22, five times a week. 
The carrier will also restart its service from Heathrow to Pittsburgh on June 3. 
eil Chernoff, BA’s director of networks and alliances, said: “Our new route to Portland opens up a whole variety of connections for our customers. Through Alaska Airlines, our oneworld partner, British Airways will offer codeshare connections to several destinations operated by Alaska Airlines from Portland.”
The Australian state will open up to certain groups of international visitors on February 5, 2022. 
When borders reopen, these groups will be able to visit Western Australia quarantine-free:
All visitors to the state will be required to receive a negative PCR test result within 72 hours before departure, within 48 hours of arrival and on day six.
Amazon is now selling low-cost PCR test kits for international travellers. 
The online retailer’s test kits will be valid for the UK’s day 2 test requirement, as well as the day 8 and ‘test-to-release’ programmes. 
Amazon’s home-testing kits come with a pre-paid return label so that customers can send swabs back to the company’s laboratory in Manchester. 
“Customers will receive test results within 24 hours of their sample arriving at the laboratory,” said Amazon in a blog post.
Children in England aged 12-15 now have access to the NHS Covid Pass for travel, if they’ve had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. 
This will allow children who have received both jabs to travel to countries such as Canada and Spain, which now require travellers of this age to be fully vaccinated to gain entry, avoid isolation or to access venues. 
Proof of vaccination will initially be provided via a letter service including an internationally recognised 2D barcode, with a digital solution via NHS.uk to be rolled out early next year, according to the Government. 
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said:  “From today, I can confirm the NHS COVID Pass is being rolled out to 12-15 year olds for international travel, allowing even more people to be able to prove their vaccine status for travel where it’s needed.”
Here’s a recap:
France launches investigations into fake Covid health passes 
Now onto today’s travel news.
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