Thailand to restart quarantine-free travel from February 1

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Bangkok (AFP) – Thailand will resume its quarantine-free travel scheme from February 1, officials said Thursday, after the programme was suspended due to the fast-spreading Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Pandemic travel curbs have hammered the kingdom’s tourism-dominated economy, sending visitor numbers dwindling to a trickle.

Fully vaccinated travellers will now be able to enter under the “test and go” scheme as long as they take Covid tests on the first and fifth days after arriving, spokesman for the country’s Covid-19 taskforce Taweesin Visanuyothin told reporters.

Visitors will have to isolate at a hotel while waiting for their test results and will be required to download a tracking app to ensure they comply with the rules.

Seeking to bounce back from its worst economic performance since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Thailand launched the “test and go” scheme in November as an alternative to two weeks’ hotel quarantine.

The programme was suspended late last month over fears about Omicron, but with deaths and hospitalisations not spiking, Taweesin said it could resume, though the authorities will keep it under review.

“In case there are more infections or the situation changes, there will be a re-assessment for inbound travellers and adjust toward the sandbox scheme,” Taweesin said.

Under the sandbox programme launched last year as a first step towards resuming tourism, fully jabbed visitors spend seven nights in certain designated locations, such as the resort island of Phuket, before being allowed to travel on to the rest of Thailand.

In a further relaxation of Covid restrictions, restaurants will be allowed to serve alcohol until 11:00 pm — easing the current 9:00 pm cut-off.

The tourism ministry estimates that some five million foreign visitors will come to Thailand in 2022 — down from nearly 40 million in the year before the pandemic.

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No. 1 is tee height

As we mentioned on Christmas Eve, we’ve been looking through the numbers and tallying up which stories drew your attention during the year.

We decided to share the findings with you, our loyal and wonderful readers, so we can reminisce together.

For the final 10 days of 2021, we’re offering up a snapshot of the top 10 stories from each of Golfweek’s most popular sections, including travel, the PGA and LPGA tours, instruction and amateur golf.

Today it’s instruction, which is led by Steve Scott, who has worn many hats, including professional at the Outpost Club, founder of the Silver Club Golfing Society and PGA Tour Live analyst.

It was a big year for Steve, who celebrated the 25th anniversary of one of golf’s historic moments recently passed when Tiger Woods attempted to claim an unprecedented third straight U.S. Amateur Championship conducted at Pumpkin Ridge GC.

His opponent was none other than our Steve, who, in a gracious move that follows golf etiquette, told Woods he had to move his mark back during a key putt. If Scott would have stayed silent, Tiger’s run would have certainly been derailed, but an act of sportsmanship still rings true a quarter-century later.

“Hey, Tiger – you need to move your mark back,” was released earlier this year (Skyhorse Publishing, $19.99), and is available at

Here are the top 10 instruction posts of the year, as clicked on by you, our readers:

(Gabe Gudgel/Golfweek)

Steve explains that a great way to stay on plane is by staying in your lane.

Steve uses an alignment stick drill that helps you easily keep everything aligned, thus giving you a great swing plane.

Here’s a link to the tip.

Golf Instruction Steve Scott

(Emmanuel Lozano/Golfweek)

Want a setup fit for a queen or king, you’ve got to let gravity do its thing.

In this episode, our director of instruction gives you a great tip that will allow proper spacing between the hands and the body.

Here’s a look at the video from Steve, all shot at the gorgeous practice facility at Arizona State University.

(Gabe Gudgel/Golfweek)

Using the lead hand is such a key component of a good golf swing.

Steve walks you through a simple drill that will help you make sure to handle this properly, ensuring you’ll get the most out of each swing you take.

Here’s a look at the video, which was shot at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club, just outside New York City.

(Gabe Gudgel/Golfweek)

Most amateur golfers, in an effort to add more distance off the tee, swing primarily with the upper body. Now, what does this cause in the golf swing? Most of the time, this move will result in an over-the-top action, producing huge pulls or a ball flight that closely resembles that delicious yellow fruit.

How do you fix it? Steve explains his “hips and hands together” swing thought, and how the feeling of your hips firing, then your hands, can get your swing back on plane.

Here’s the video.

(Emmanuel Lozano/Golfweek)

Distance is such a big part of the game and Steve has a simple rhyme to help you hit it long:

If you really want your drives to jump, you’ve got to hit it on the up.

Watch as Steve walks you through this tip.

(Emmanuel Lozano/Golfweek)

If you don’t want to chili dip your chip, pay attention to this tip.

Avoid the clunkers you can’t stand when you’re just off the green by using this simple tip.

Here’s a look at the entire video.

(Gabe Gudgel/Golfweek)

Looking to drop putts like Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, or Steve Stricker?

Steve says to try an arched putting grip, one that’s used by numerous pros to help on the greens.

It’s easy, as you can see in this short video.

(Gabe Gudgel/Golfweek)

Many amateur golfers rely too much on timing, and flipping their hands at impact. This move leads to inconsistent strikes, which in turn, leads to inconsistent shots.

Steve Stricker, famous for his outstanding wedge play, minimizes hand action as much as possible when hitting a wedge shot, and our Steve believes you should do the same.

“Make sure your hands are very, very still, and passive almost like they’re frozen, on ice. That way you get your arms and your body more involved, and you get your hand action really out of it.”

Here’s the entire clip.

Steve Scott


What many amateur players don’t understand is changing the height of your tee can change the shape of your shot. Teeing it low will help you hit a piercing cut. Teeing it high allows you to attack the ball on the way up and hit a towering draw.

“If I have trouble on the left side of the fairway, and I want to avoid that trouble, I’m going to tee it low and that’s going to ensure I hit a very straight, to slight fade with the driver.”

Click here to see our top instructional video of the year.

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How to Plan the Perfect Solo Road Trip on California’s Famed Highway 1

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KDHE approves travel to more countries, adds 1 country to quarantine list

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has amended its travel quarantine list to remove 10 countries, but it added one more to the quarantine list.

Countries removed from the list are Austria, Belgium, Cayman Islands, Czechia, Gibraltar, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The country of Andorra has been added to the travel quarantine list. An unvaccinated individual should quarantine if they meet the following criteria: 

  • Traveled between Nov. 4 and Dec. 17 to Slovenia
  • Traveled between Nov. 18 and Dec. 17 to Austria, Cayman Islands and Gibraltar
  • Traveled between Dec. 2 and Dec. 17 to Belgium, Czechia, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Netherlands and Slovakia
  • Traveled on or after Dec. 17 to Andorra
  • Attendance at any out-of-state or in-state mass gatherings of 500 or more where individuals do not socially distance (6 feet) and wear a mask
  • Been on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March 15, 2020

The KDHE says the next travel quarantine update will be sent out during the first week of January. 

The quarantine period is seven days with a negative test result or 10 days without testing, with release from quarantine on Day 8 and Day 11, respectively. Further information on quarantine periods can be found on KDHE’s website.

For those traveling internationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requiring testing within three days of flights into the U.S. For further information on this and other requirements, visit their website.

For those who are fully vaccinated (meaning it has been greater than two weeks since they completed their vaccinations) they are not required to quarantine regarding travel or mass gatherings if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2- dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the travel

People who do not meet the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance for travel or mass gatherings.

Additionally, people with previous COVID-19 disease are not required to quarantine following travel if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have evidence of a previous infection supported by a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or antigen test
  • Are within 6 months following infection. If an investigation was done documenting the date that symptoms resolved, or the date isolation measures were discontinued for asymptomatic patients, then the 6-month period can start from that end date. If those dates are not available, then the period will start from the date of the positive laboratory test. A serology or antibody test may not be substituted for a laboratory report of a viral diagnostic test.
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the travel

People who do not meet all three of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance for travel.

The travel quarantine list is determined using a formula to evaluate new cases over a two-week period, then adjusted for population size to provide a case rate per 100,000 population. This provides a number that can then be compared to the rate in Kansas. Locations with significantly higher rates — approximately 3x higher — are added to the list.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the KDHE website at

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Laos to reopen for tourists from January 1 | Travel News

Vientiane: The Laos government announced on Thursday a plan to reopen for visitors starting from January 1, 2022, according to a notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The notice, which was signed by the Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Khamchen Vongphosy, was released on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the notice, the government has approved the Lao Travel Green Zone Plan that would allow tourists to visit provinces and cities designated as “green zones” once the country reopens.

The notice states that an official announcement will be made on December 17 outlining the official reopening plan, and has set January 1 as the date when the country reopens for tourism.

The decision came after a number of lengthy meetings between tourism stakeholders and a government task force set up specifically to assist with reopening.

As of Thursday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Laos reached 94,554 with 262 deaths.

Laos reported its first two confirmed Covid-19 cases on March 23 last year.

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Traffic nightmare on J. Turner Butler Boulevard involves multiple cars; 1 dead

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Traffic responders are on the scene of two crashes on J. Turner Butler Boulevard.

The first crash occurred on the eastbound side near Kernan Boulevard before 6:40 p.m. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed at least one person was killed in the wreck.

All eastbound lanes are blocked.

A News4JAX viewer who did not want to give their name said he and his wife called 911 about a parked car in the exact location of the crash 14 minutes before.

It’s not clear if the parked car was involved in the crash that left at least one person dead. Information is limited, but News4JAX expects to learn more when FHP releases its crash report later tonight.

A second, unrelated crash happened on J. Turner Butler Boulevard about an hour later – sometime before 7:50. Police have blocked off the westbound exit ramp to Southside Boulevard.

Drivers should expect delays and seek an alternate route where available.

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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Devil’s Reign #1 reveals Kingpin’s true plan to change the Marvel Universe

Wilson Fisk’s rise from Kingpin of crime to duly elected mayor of New York City hits its climax in December 8’s Devil’s Reign #1 from writer Chip Zdarsky and artists Marco Checchetto and Marcio Menyz in which Fisk enacts the plan at the heart of the Devil’s Reign event, to ban superheroes from New York City – and hopefully, beyond.

However, Devil’s Reign #1 reveals that outlawing superheroes is just the tip of the iceberg for what Fisk seems to be planning, not just for the five boroughs, but for the entire Marvel Universe – and if his plans come to fruition, they could represent a totally unprecedented threat to the world of Marvel Comics.

Spoilers ahead for Devil’s Reign #1

Devil’s Reign #1 excerpt (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Following New York City Mayor Wilson Fisk’s realization that, though he once had files containing the secret identity of Daredevil, they’ve suddenly turned blank and he can no longer remember who Daredevil is, he announces his policy that all superheroes are banned from New York City.

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2 States, 1 Territory Removed From Chicago Travel Advisory After Thanksgiving Holiday – NBC Chicago

Two states and one territory were removed from Chicago’s travel advisory Tuesday, bringing the number of states on the city’s warning list to 38 states following the Thanksgiving holiday.

California, Guam, and North Carolina were all removed from the advisory this week, the city’s health department announced, but no new states were added back on.

As of Tuesday, every state or territory except for Alabama, California, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and the Virgin Islands are on the advisory.  

Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington could be removed from the travel advisory next week if their COVID rates remain below the city’s threshold.

States are added to the advisory’s “orange list” when COVID metrics rise above the threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 people. Any below that mark are on the “yellow” list, with public health officials still warning against non-essential travel.

“The best protection you can have against COVID, no matter where you travel or what new variants emerge, is full vaccination, and booster shots for those who are fully vaccinated,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “The Midwest is the current COVID hot spot as temperatures drop and people spend more time inside, so please protect yourself and get vaccinated.” 

Just before the Labor Day, the city updated its guidance for what unvaccinated travelers visiting or returning from such locations should do, adding new testing and quarantining recommendations before and after travel.

According to the city, before travel, unvaccinated individuals should:

  • Get tested 3-5 days prior to departure.

While traveling:

  • ALL individuals regardless of vaccination status should wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • In Chicago, wear a mask in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Avoid crowds, try to stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you, and wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).

 After travel, unvaccinated individuals should:

  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days.
  • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
  • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

The city advised all travelers to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate and get tested if they develop any after travel.

“We have seen and know that travel is a significant risk factor for acquiring COVID,” Arwady said. “If you decide not to get tested, the recommendation is actually to stay home and self quarantine for 10 days after travel, and you should avoid being around anybody who has an increased risk for severe COVID outcomes for 14 days after travel regardless of whether you get tested or not. Obviously we want anybody who’s traveling to self monitor for COVID symptoms and get tested if you develop symptoms.”

This week’s update to the travel advisory comes at a time when the average daily number of new cases in Chicago dropped to 493 per day – down 18% from the 599 seen the previous week.

That figure is much higher than the low of 34 the city saw in late June but remains lower than the more than 700 cases per day the city was seeing during the most recent surge earlier this year.

Hospitalizations in Chicago are down 37% from the previous week, and deaths dropped by 84% since last week, per the city’s data. The positivity rate in testing rose to 3.5% this week, up from 3% the week prior.

The travel advisory is updated every Tuesday, with any changes taking effect the following Friday.

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