Threat of new virus variant brings back travel restrictions from 8 African countries

The United States just recently started allowing international visitors into the countries, but a new COVID-19 variant already has travel restrictions back in place.

Omnicron, believed to have originated in South Africa, has prompted President Joe Biden to place travel restrictions for eight countries in southern Africa.

Dr. John Zaso, a pediatrician at NYU Langone Health, says it is a highly evolved mutation that could be much more contagious.

It’s not clear how the current vaccines work against the new strain, but Zaso says their effectiveness could go down.

“If you think of the spike protest as a key–what happens is you have many teeth on a key,” Zaso says. “Sometimes one tooth can be a little off or flat and it can still work. When you a 30-mutation spike protein, it’s a whole new key.”

Robert and Melissa Silverstein were planning a trip to Aruba, but changed their minds because of the new variant.

“It’s scary,” Robert Silverstein says. “But it’s just something we need to find out more about.”

News of the new variant also sent stocks tumbling after the holiday as scientists look to learn more about it.

Zaso says it’s not yet known if there is any increase in how sick the Omnicron makes someone, but he says it’s “probably” very contagious compared to other strains.

Travel restrictions begin on Monday. They do not apply to United States citizens or permanent residents, but traveling to that part of the world is not advised.

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Travel Bubble With Singapore Brings International Students Back to Australia | World News

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A group of international university students arrived in Australia from Singapore on Sunday after nearly a two-year pandemic absence, as a travel bubble between the two countries came into effect.

Fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore are now allowed into Melbourne or Sydney without the need to quarantine – part of Australia’s gradual reopening of its borders that began this month. Australia closed its international borders in March 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia, which represents 39 universities, said the flights from Singapore saw the first international students enter Australia since small numbers returned in November last year.

“We understand these initial numbers are small, but they are a clear signal of the intent to allow many more students to return to classes and our communities soon,” Jackson said.

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There are about 130,000 international students remaining outside Australia, she added.

Before the pandemic, international students made up 21% of Australia’s tertiary education students, compared to 6% on average across countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Australia’s closed borders have also intensified a skills shortage across sectors, forcing firms to start offering sign-on bonuses for the first time in years.

The closed borders, however, together with quick lockdowns, strict health measures and public compliances with the rules, have made Australia one of the most successful countries in managing the pandemic.

Despite the Delta outbreaks that led to months of lockdown in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia has had only about 760 confirmed cases and 7.5 deaths per 100,000 people, according to data from the World Health Organisation, far lower than many other developed nations.

On Sunday, there were 1,460 new infections across Australia, most of them in the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital. Six more people have died. A cluster in Northern Territories grew to 31 cases after nine infections were reported in some of the Territory’s remote communities.

As of Saturday, 85% of eligible Australians over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated, health data showed.

There were 149 new community cases reported in nneighbouring New Zealand, which is also learning to live with the coronavirus through high vaccination rates. Some 83% of the Pacific nation’s eligible population have been fully vaccinated.

($1 = 1.3824 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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Deaf Football Team Brings Pride to Riverside Community

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Every once in a while a story comes along that prompts a reporter to drop everything, cancel appointments, forget the notion of a weekend, hug family members goodbye — and dash.

For me that story was about a high school football team. Last week, I drove seven hours from my home in the East Bay to the California School for the Deaf, Riverside. I was not disappointed.

After a long string of losing seasons, the football team was undefeated and, for the first time in the school’s history, vying for the division championship. The article I wrote about the team, which is known as the Cubs, was published this week.

When I arrived at the campus, the school’s ebullient superintendent, Nancy Hlibok Amann, graciously gave me a tour. Through a sign language interpreter she told me about the team’s coach.

“His blood runs pigskin,” she said of Coach Keith Adams.

That evening Coach Adams and his players pummeled their opponents in the second round of the playoffs. The lopsided result was not a surprise. The Cubs had outscored their opponents, 642-156, during the regular season, lifting the spirits of a community hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday I accompanied the players and coaches to the N.F.L. game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Minnesota Vikings, where stadium announcers celebrated the Cubs’ victories. Dressed in their red jerseys, they watched as their faces showed up on the enormous videoboard. Friends texted to say they had seen them on television.

There are many explanations for why the team is doing so well this year — the particular cohort of players is very talented, swift and disciplined. And the athletes play hard.

“I love being physical, the hard hits and the tackles,” said Tevin Adams, the team’s quarterback. He is also the coach’s son.

But what struck me most was how comfortable and confident the players seemed to be together as a deaf team with deaf coaches. It was their world on their terms.

When they were younger and played in hearing leagues, they were often put at nose tackle because the position required less communication. Now they played whatever position suited them best.

“They have a very special bond, a chemistry,” Amann told me. “They’re able to read each other.”

I asked Laura Edwards, the athletics supervisor at the school, about the longstanding debate over whether deaf children should attend mainstream institutions or all-deaf schools.

Edwards is deaf and was born into a hearing family. She told me that she recently brought an interpreter to a family gathering because she wanted to capture as many conversations as she could.

“Growing up as a deaf person I never went to a deaf school,” Edwards told me. “It was a struggle to make friends. It was very lonely.”

At the Riverside campus, Edwards says she watches deaf students who transferred from mainstream institutions blossom. “The communication barrier is eliminated and there is inclusion and social interaction.”

“Our student athletes are the same as any other hearing students in terms of physical and mental skills and athletic talents,” she texted me later. “The only difference is they are Deaf.”

Edwards noted that she had capitalized the word “Deaf.”

“It’s not a typo,” she said. “We have a culture of our own.”

Thomas Fuller is the San Francisco bureau chief for The New York Times.

Doing 300 minutes a week of moderate exercise may help ward off cancer.

Today’s travel tip comes from June Oberdorfer, who recommends the newly restored covered bridge at the South Yuba River State Park in Nevada County:

The bridge, built in 1862 for transport from northern mines, was closed in 2011 for safety reasons. Due to a very active local citizens’ group (SOB: Save Our Bridge) that raised money and lobbied the Legislature for funding to restore the bridge, it was reopened on Nov. 4, 2021, to pedestrian traffic. The bridge is the longest-surviving single-span, wooden-covered bridge in the world. Its preservation is a wonderful legacy for many future generations.

In summer, small children play in the water along the sandy beach just downstream. Any time of year is a good time to hike the Buttermilk Bend Trail (which follows the path of an old water supply ditch) upstream or the Point Defiance Trail loop downstream, with views of the river around each curve.

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

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Emirates brings Airbus A380 to Thailand as country reopens | News

Emirates will bring the Airbus A380 back to Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok from November 28th.

The aircraft upgrade will help the carrier to meet strong passenger demand for inbound travel into the popular holiday destination.

The decision comes on the heels of Thailand’s re-opening to international tourists who are vaccinated against Covid-19.

The daily A380 flights will operate as EK372/373, adding capacity and frequency to its flights to Bangkok, in response to the uptick in travel demand that the airline is witnessing.

The deployment of the double-decker aircraft will complement the existing services, EK384/385, also operating on a daily basis with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a three-class configuration, in addition to its five weekly flights to Bangkok via Phuket, operating as EK378/379, which is set to increase its frequency to daily from December 1st.

The daily A380 service to Bangkok, flight EK372, will depart Dubai daily at 09:30, arriving in Bangkok at 18:40.

Flight EK373 is scheduled to depart Bangkok at 20:35 to arrive in Dubai at 00:50 the next day.

When the A380 service launches later this month, Emirates will offer three daily services to passengers travelling to and from Bangkok, in its support for the country it has been serving for over three decades.

Earlier this month, Thailand lifted restrictions for non-Thai nationals, facilitating tourism for vaccinated travellers from over 60 countries to enjoy quarantine-free entry to the country.

Passengers from non-exempted countries can also enjoy travelling to Thailand without quarantine, subject to a negative result on a PCR test to be conducted on arrival in Bangkok and a mandatory test to be taken on day six or seven.

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VAYK – Vaycaychella Brings P2P Finance and Cryptocurrency to Travel Industry | News

DALLAS, Nov. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Vaycaychella, Inc. (USOTC: VAYK) formerly known as World Series of Golf, Inc. (WSGF) today announced the CEO, William “Bill” Justice will publish a comprehensive overview of the company’s expanded travel industry technology plans on Wednesday, next week, November 17th, 2021.

The company earlier this week announced a name change to Vaycaychella effective in Wyoming where the company is incorporated.  Today, the name change, and a new ticker symbol go into effect everywhere the shares of the company are traded. The ticker symbol changed from WSGF to VAYK.

The corporate name change to Vaycaychella reflects the company’s new business direction as a technology company operating in the travel industry.

Last year, the company acquired a business in the short-term property rental market named Vaycaychella and proceeded to build a software application based on the business model of the acquired business.  The company operates upstream from technology companies to include Airbnb, VRBO, and by supporting entrepreneurs in financing the acquisition and renovation of short-term vacation rental properties through a P2P software application. 

Last week, Bill Justice published an update on the company’s progress and plans for its core short-term property rental market alternative property finance operation to include an upcoming Version 2.0 of their Vaycaychella App and the launch of a cryptocurrency exchange for vacation property back cryptocurrencies:

See a recent management update from the Company’s CEO, William “Bill” Justice, to learn more.

The CEO update next week will address Vaycaychella’s broader plans for the overall travel industry.

To learn more and keep up with the latest updates at Vaycaychella, and to access the Vaycaychella App, visit

Disclaimer/Safe Harbor: This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act. The statements reflect the Company’s current views with respect to future events that involve risks and uncertainties. Among others, these risks include the expectation that any of the companies mentioned herein will achieve significant sales, the failure to meet schedule or performance requirements of the companies’ contracts, the companies’ liquidity position, the companies’ ability to obtain new contracts, the emergence of competitors with greater financial resources and the impact of competitive pricing. In the light of these uncertainties, the forward-looking events referred to in this release might not occur.

WSGF Contact:

William “Bill” Justice

[email protected]

(800) 871-0376

Cision View original content:–vaycaychella-brings-p2p-finance-and-cryptocurrency-to-travel-industry-301423240.html

SOURCE Vaycaychella, Inc.

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the emergence of a new business travel trend brings Vacayz on board

NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As it slowly becomes safer for people to travel, businesses are encouraging their employees to have actual in person interactions with one another. Some companies such as Goldman Sachs have pushed 40,000 of their employees to return to their physical offices, while Microsoft sells out in-person conferences in locations like Chicago or Orlando. However, many companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, have adopted the hybrid working mode as the most successful one, which brings on new HR demands, and Vacayz – a travel fintech company – into play, particularly when it comes to traveling for work.

Since the world is once more changing into a post-pandemic lifestyle, HR departments are having to adapt to the new need for business travel.

Many companies have been hiring all across the nation yet fly their employees seasonally to the HQ in order for them to work together, attend events, etc. This requires HR personnel to handle large bookings of hotels and other travel expenses all while dealing with the other pressing needs of the company, bringing a new HR need to life and the emergence of new business travel solutions.

Vacayz, a B2B travel fintech company, has been tackling just that: “We’ve been working with these HR departments and office managers and taking the lengthy and tedious booking process off their plate, so they can return their focus to HR matters,” says Vacayz CEO, Ally Wolodarsky, who aims to revolutionize business travel by developing a unique, multi-layered product that helps companies secure low rates in advance through a cost-efficient, risk-free, and flexible financial model for SMBs.

“Small businesses aren’t aware that they’re paying consumer prices when traveling for work, therefore we created a way for these small businesses to receive large corporate discounts and enjoy other benefits and perks,” says Ally.

Other HR-Solution companies for international payments catering to remote hiring, such as Payapa Global and Deel, have raised millions of dollars just in the past month alone, proving that this new HR trend is here to stay.

If you’re in need of business travel, click here, or contact [email protected] for more info.


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Travel Leaders Network Brings Back EDGE Conference Live

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Travel Leaders Network (TLN), one of the largest networks of travel agencies in North America, today kicked off its international conference, EDGE (Educate, Discover, Gather, Evolve) being held live and in-person for the first time since 2019. The network is welcoming travel advisors and partners to Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando from Monday, Oct. 18 through Thursday, Oct. 21.

“It feels surreal but wonderful to gather again,” said Roger Block, President of Travel Leaders Network. “EDGE is a treasured tradition to Travel Leaders Network and our members, and the energy is like no other. Travel advisors will find a tremendous number of great, actionable business ideas and inspiration, but they are also incredibly eager to see each other in person to renew and build connections.”

EDGE will welcome 1,400 registered attendees to the conference, making it the largest live conference the company has had since the spring of 2019. To keep EDGE participants healthy, TLN has instituted a number of safety measures.

The conference will consist of daily General Sessions with company and supplier updates from the mainstage and over 100 workshops. New this year is the concept of a tiered learning system, with TLN members placed in a training track which allows them to get the education they need, whether they are a new travel advisor or the owner of a large, established agency.

EDGE’s host, Universal Orlando Resort, will also welcome the attendees to a private party at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park on Monday night. Travel advisors will get to experience the unique and fun Universal product for themselves.

Travel Leaders Network will welcome Simon T. Bailey to the mainstage as EDGE’s keynote speaker. Bailey has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry including serving as sales director for Disney Institute based at Walt Disney World Resort. He is known for his passion and purpose of unlocking people’s brilliance in a way that ignites sustainable transformation.

“As we celebrate the recovery of travel at EDGE, we also celebrate the resilience of the travel advisor, and the way they have fought through the incredible challenges our industry has faced,” commented Block. “The pandemic has taught us the incredible importance of travel and human connections. Being together with our fabulous partners, including our host, Universal Orlando, and each other, is something that has been sorely missed. EDGE will be a joyful reunion.”

About Travel Leaders Network
Travel Leaders Network ( assists millions of leisure and business travelers annually and is one of the largest sellers of luxury travel, cruises and tours in the travel agency industry, with approximately 5,700 travel agency locations across the United States and Canada. Travel Leaders Network is part of Travel Leaders Group, a division of Internova Travel Group.

About Internova Travel Group
Internova Travel Group is one of the largest travel services companies in the world with a collection of leading brands delivering high-touch, personal travel expertise to leisure and corporate clients. Internova manages leisure, business and franchise firms through a portfolio of distinctive divisions. Internova represents more than 62,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations predominantly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a presence in more than 80 countries.

Berit Griffin
[email protected]

SOURCE Travel Leaders Network

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Suzhou brings Kunqu Opera showcase to London | News

Suzhou has showcased one of its premier art forms at a special Kunqu Opera event at the Garden Museum.

Named an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2001, the opera is more than 600 years old and is known as the mother of Chinese operas.

It is famous for its refined flute music and exquisite movements timed to every word.

Kathy Hall, founder of the London Chinese Opera Studio, performed ‘In Pursuit of the Dream,’ a scene from the Peony Pavilion – a romantic tragedy/comedy play written by dramatist Tang Xianzu in 1598 during the Ming dynasty.

The piece is considered one of the most popular in traditional Chinese theatre.

It depicts a love story between Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei that overcomes all difficulties, transcending time and space, life and death; until the pair unite at the end.

“Kunqu Opera is one of Suzhou’s most unique cultural treasures that all visitors must experience,” said Rudong Wang, head of the international communication and cooperation department at the Suzhou bureau of culture, radio, television and tourism.

“Visitors to Suzhou can immerse themselves in the art form at the Suzhou Museum of Opera & Theatre where ancient artifacts are on view and performances are held on its teahouse stage.”

The Kunqu Opera showcase is part of ‘Suzhou, the City of Culture & Arts,’ a year-long integrated marketing campaign designed to bring the fascinating cultural heritage of the destination to life for English-speaking travellers in Europe and North America.

Exclusive campaign content exploring some of the most fascinating aspects of Suzhou including silk making, classical Chinese gardens, Pingtan storytelling, and more can be accessed using the hashtag #SecretsOfSuzhou.

Travellers who have visited the destination are encouraged to share their Suzhou travel tips using the same hashtag for the chance to be featured.

For more than 2,500 years, Suzhou has been known as a centre of arts and culture.

Intellectuals, artists, and high-profile public figures have long been drawn to the romantic canals and stunning classical gardens of the city, nine of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Performing arts including the Kunqu Opera and Pingtan storytelling originated in Suzhou, and the city is also important to the design and fashion worlds as a centre for silk making and embroidery.

For more information visit the official website.

Images: Maria Korelina

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