Double travel boost with two major Covid rule changes expected next month


TEENAGERS will be able to get Covid passes for holidays abroad and testing for full jabbed Brits will be dropped from next month, it has been claimed.

In a double-boost for half-term holidays expected to be announced tomorrow, 12- to-15-year-olds will be able to download the digital proof of vaccination.

The new rules will hopefully help make life as easy as possible for families travelling abroad

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The new rules will hopefully help make life as easy as possible for families travelling abroadCredit: Getty

It comes after families complained they were being forced to cancel their holidays because of restrictive” Covid-19 passport rules for kids.

As it stands, children aged 12 to 16 who have two doses of the jab cannot use the NHS app – meaning they cannot get the Covid-19 pass for travel digitally.

Parents instead have to call up the NHS 119 helpline or go online to request an under-16 NHS Covid Pass letter for kids to enter countries including Spain, Italy and France without any quarantine or self-testing rules on landing.

But some under 16s are still not eligible for their second jabs due to recent infections – and there is no way to prove the first one was ever administered.

In countries such as France, a person is considered fully jabbed if they have had one vaccine and have previously had Covid-19.

But from tomorrow it is believed teenagers will be able to download their pass either through the NHS app or website.

It will make travelling to countries that require Covid certification easier for youngsters.

There will also no longer be any requirement for a Covid test for passengers flying into Britain, provided they have had their jabs.

While under-18s remain exempt from showing Covid passes in the UK, venues in France, Switzerland, Greece, Germany, Austria and Cyprus require children over 12 to show proof of vaccination, a recent negative Covid-19 test or proof of recovery from the virus.

A Government source told the Daily Mail it will save families an “administrative nightmare”, while dropping the testing requirement will “make holiday admin much more manageable.”

At present, fully jabbed travellers have to book and pay for a Covid latest flow test which they take on arrival.

Unvaccinated travellers will still need to take a test after arriving in Britain.

Boris Johnson said it should be “as simple as possible” for kids under 16 to go abroad.

He this week confirmed Health Secretary Sajid Javid would be making an announcement “in the next few days” on how the under 15s travel pass issue would be resolved.

A digital pass to allow 12 to 15-year-olds to travel was due to be introduced in early 2022.

In December, Savid Javid announced that kids 12 and over would be able to access the NHS Covid pass for international travel.

Under 18s can now book their Covid booster jabs online, with 40,000 initially made available for 16 and 17-year-olds.

It came as PM Boris Johnson announced plans to drop Covid Plan B rules.

Yesterday new data showed UK Covid cases had dropped a fifth in a week after another 76,807 people tested positive for the virus.

Official figures also show that 297 Brits died from the virus.

A week ago on January 15, 81,713 cases were recorded in the UK.

Cases in the last seven days are down a fifth on the seven day period before, according to the NHS website.

Jabbed teens will now be able to get digital Covid passports to help them travel abroad

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Jabbed teens will now be able to get digital Covid passports to help them travel abroadCredit: Darren Fletcher
Covid restrictions set to be ‘substantially reduced’ next week says Sajid Javid – with WFH and jabs passports to be axed





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Burst of snow expected in D.C. area Thursday morning


As a strong cold front pushes south, rain will change to snow, which could be heavy for a time between about 7 and 10 a.m. It will probably too warm for the snow to stick at first. But, as temperatures fall, slick spots could develop, especially in our colder areas north and west of the Beltway.



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South Alabama guard Turbo Jones expected to be available for Louisiana trip


South Alabama point guard Tyrell “Turbo” Jones is expected to be available when the Jaguars travel to Louisiana on Thursday, coach Richie Riley said.

Jones, an Auburn transfer, has been sidelined since Nov. 13 with a foot injury that required surgery. The Jaguars (12-5, 2-2 Sun Belt Conference) have played their last 15 games without their best ball-handler, forcing shooting guards Charles Manning, Jay Jay Chandler and Alex Anderson to rotate at the point.

Jones averaged five points, four rebounds and three assists in the two games in which did play prior to the injury, totaling 35 minutes in games vs. Spring Hill and Wichita State. His status for Thursday will be determined by how he looks in practice Tuesday and Wednesday, Riley said.

“He’s not done anything in two months,” Riley said. “Along with his ability as a handler, I think he’ll make an impact defensively. A lot of it depends on how he is today in practice and (Wednesday), and just a gut feel of ‘is he ready or not?’ Obviously, we don’t want to rush him. But having him cleared and available is a huge bonus for us.”

After dropping its first two Sun Belt games amid a COVID outbreak on the team, South Alabama swept Georgia State and Georgia Southern last week with a nearly full-strength roster. Guard Diante Smith — averaging 8.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season — sat out both of those games, but was set to return to practice on Tuesday.

With Jones, Smith and others out at various times this season due to injury and illness, the Jaguars have relied on contributions from players who were expected to play smaller roles this season. Anderson, a true freshman, has started 12 of 17 games, while big men Lance Thomas and Marshall Kearing has taken on extended minutes.

“It’s improved our depth,” Riley said. “Lance Thomas is playing the best he’s played coming back from injury. Marshall Kearing has strung together some good games and earned a ton of trust; he’s in our starting lineup right now. Having those guys in our frontcourt, stepping up and being able to impact winning has been huge. And then you bring back Diante Smith, whose played high minutes for us, we’ve missed him the last two games.

“And then Turbo Jones, who is a true point guard, we obviously have missed that. Having guys out has cost us some games, but it has been a blessing in disguise because it’s allowed guys to get out there and get comfortable. It’s increased our depth.”

South Alabama forward Javon Franklin has also been an impact player in his first year since transferring from Auburn, averaging 11.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He’s joined with Thomas and Kearing to give the Jaguars three viable players in the low post, and with Manning (Sun Belt-best 17.5 points per game) and Chandler (15.2) to give the Jaguars three reliable scorers.

But if there’s one team that can match South Alabama’s size up front, it’s Louisiana (8-7, 3-2). Arizona transfer Jordan Brown is averaging 14.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, while holdover Theo Akwuba — who, like Brown, is 6-foot-11 — is averaging 10.4 points and 8.8 rebounds in just nine games.

“They’re a team that has been affected by COVID and injuries like we have,” Riley said. “They’ve not been able to be a whole (team) throughout the season, and that’s affected their play. But I think they’re the most talented team in our league. Jordan Brown … has had an incredible year. He’s one of the better front-court players, not only in our league, but in all of basketball at (the mid-major) level.

“They’ve got other guys back too. Theo Akwuba is an elite rim-protector. He really hurt us on the offensive glass in the conference tournament. Their size on the interior is certainly a challenge. They also mix that in with pretty good guard play.”

Tip-off for South Alabama-Louisiana is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette, La. The Jaguars also travel to Louisiana-Monroe (10-8, 2-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday.



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Slick road conditions impacting travel Monday; refreeze expected overnight – WSOC TV


QUICK HITS:

>> Watch Channel 9 at noon for team coverage as we track road and weather conditions across our area.

A dangerous winter storm combining high winds and ice swept through the Carolinas on Sunday, knocking out power, felling trees and fences and coating roads with a treacherous, frigid glaze.

Winter Storm Warning- until 6 p.m. Monday:

High Wind Warning- until 10 p.m. Monday:

>> Click here to see photos Channel 9 viewers have shared of the winter weather.

(WATCH BELOW: Monday morning’s forecast update with Meteorologist Keith Monday)

Scroll below for the latest updates on winter weather and road conditions:

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Emergency shelters that were activated across Mecklenburg County in response to the severe weather impacting the Carolinas are being demobilized Monday.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office, in partnership with the American Red Cross and the town of Matthews, opened four shelter locations in Charlotte, Huntersville and Matthews on Sunday, according to a release from the office.

The Hopewell High School and Crews Recreation Center locations were demobilized at 7 a.m., and the Mallard Creek High School and Central Piedmont locations will demobilized at noon.

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MONDAY OUTLOOK

  • Temperatures will not rise above freezing until Monday afternoon.
  • With low temperatures, the rain freezes on contact with the ground, creating icy conditions. Black ice is a big threat.
  • Full sunshine returns Monday, so we will warm up to near 40 degrees by the afternoon.
  • Any ice that doesn’t melt will refreeze Monday night into Tuesday morning, as temps fall to below freezing overnight.
  • Be prepared for several days of impact!
  • Expect more sun Tuesday, and more melting with highs in the mid 40s.
  • Rain chance to move in late Wednesday, but it looks like just the mountains could see some snow.
  • We will watch another system on Friday that could bring another wintry mix areawide though.

Winter storm brought snow, sleet, ice to the Carolinas Sunday

A winter storm combining high winds and ice swept through parts of the U.S. Southeast on Sunday, knocking out power, felling trees and fences and coating roads with a treacherous, frigid glaze.

More than 1,800 NCDOT employees in 1,200 trucks applied nearly 10,000 tons of salt while plowing essential routes by 3 p.m. Sunday.

Tens of thousands of customers were without power in North Carolina and South Carolina Sunday evening, including 10,000 Duke Energy customers in the Charlotte area.

Highway patrols reported hundreds of vehicle crashes across the Carolinas, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said it responded to 53 wrecks Sunday.

The winter storm also impacted airlines, with more than 1,200 Sunday flights at Charlotte Douglas International canceled – more than 90% of the airport’s Sunday schedule, according to the flight tracking service flightaware.com.

Flight cancellations continued into Monday, with American Airlines, which operates 90% of CLT flights, canceling more than 100 flights for Monday.

Ahead of the storm, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued state of emergencies as workers in both states spent days getting state roads ready for the storm — particularly preparing for ice.

>> For our minute-by-minute coverage of the winter storm Sunday, click here.

(WATCH BELOW: Tens of thousands of Duke Energy customers lose power across Carolinas due to winter storm)





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Winter storm: Ice, heavy snowfall, potential travel woes and power outages expected in the Southeast


As many as 80 million people are under winter weather alerts from that region to the Northeast, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.

“I am particularly concerned for the impending ice storm that will impact the interior of South and North Carolina. Following a round of heavy snow, up to 3/4 of an inch of ice could accumulate,” Van Dam said.

“This will certainly bring power outages in the area as winds gust over 40 mph,” he added.

Greenville, South Carolina, and Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina are under winter storm warnings, forecasters said. As much as a foot of snow could fall near the edge of the Blue Ridge escarpment in Greenville and as much as 20 inches of snow could accumulate above 4,000 feet of elevation in that area. A tenth of an inch of ice is also possible.

The National Weather Service has issued an ice storm warning for portions of South Carolina, in effect through early Monday, with temperatures likely to remain sub-freezing until the start of next week.

Here's how several states are preparing
“Significant amounts of ice accumulations will make travel dangerous or impossible. Travel is strongly discouraged,” according to the NWS office in Greenville.

Charlotte could get up to a foot of snow in the foothills, and possibly as much as a half-inch of ice. Raleigh is expected to get up to 2 inches of snow and maybe a quarter-inch of ice, forecasters said.

The NWS is warning that ice accumulations will become very dangerous along and east of I-85 including Spartanburg, South Carolina, all the way up to Salisbury, North Carolina. This includes the entire metro Charlotte area. “The highest snowfall totals are expected along the spine of the Appalachians as well as across the lower Great Lakes,” the National Weather Service said early Sunday.

“The most significant icing is expected over the Carolinas this morning. Significant impacts to travel across these regions are expected,” the NWS said.

Snowfall rates could top one inch per hour from northeast Georgia into the western Carolinas and far eastern Tennessee, the Storm Prediction Center said. Heavy snow will is also possible in western Virginia.
From the Mid-Atlantic through New England, the NWS said, “precipitation is forecast to begin as snow before changing over to ice/sleet and eventually rain with the approach of the storm center.”

The governors of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency, allowing resources to be positioned ahead of the storm’s arrival.

Parts of northern and central Georgia could also see powerful winds Sunday, the National Weather Service in Atlanta said.

“With strong winds and the potential for winter weather, we are highly concerned about downed trees and powerlines knocking out power through Sunday, so prepare now!” the service wrote on Twitter Saturday evening.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ordered the state Department of Defense to prepare 1,000 National Guard troops to assist in the response to the storm.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

The storm will turn northeastward to the East Coast Sunday and Monday.

Some snow will fall in major metro areas, but a change to rain will hold down the accumulations. Washington could get 2-4 inches, while Philadelphia could get 1-2 inches. New York and Boston are expected to get about an inch each.

Heavier snow is expected elsewhere, with more than a foot expected in some locations.

“As is common with this storm track, the Shenandoah Valley back toward the Alleghenies will be the likely winners in terms of highest snowfall totals,” NWS Baltimore said Saturday. “7 to 10 inches is possible, but over a foot is not out of the question where heavier bands form.”
25 ways to stay warm this winter that won't break the bank

Snowfall intensity in the region may be heavy enough to evade significant icing, but NWS Baltimore warns that untreated surfaces may still lead to dangerous travel conditions where ice accumulates.

The majority of accumulating snowfall will occur Sunday afternoon through Monday morning.

Interior cities such as Charleston, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Syracuse and Burlington, Vermont, will see the heaviest snow.

Prior to the snow event moving into the region, the Northeast will experience cold temperatures and dangerous wind chill, forecasters said.

Coastal flooding also expected

Alongside the snowfall potential, strong winds from the east associated with the storm system could cause major coastal flooding of up to 3 feet above ground in some areas along the Northeast coast during high tide.

Parts of New York City, Long Island and some areas of Connecticut are under coastal flood warnings, forecasters said.

The timing of winds shifting from the east to the south will largely determine the severity of flooding, with moderate flooding potential if winds shift prior to high tide.

“Widespread moderate to locally major flooding of vulnerable areas is possible near the waterfront and shoreline, including roads, parking lots, parks, lawns, and homes and businesses with basements near the waterfront,” the NWS in New York said Saturday.

Inundation could cause road closures and structural damage along the Atlantic coastline.

CNN meteorologists Allison Chinchar, Chad Myers, Dave Hennen, Monica Garrett, and Haley Brink contributed to this story





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Dangerous ice storm, heavy snowfall and potential travel woes and power outages expected in the Southeast – erienewsnow.com



Dangerous ice storm, heavy snowfall and potential travel woes and power outages expected in the Southeast  erienewsnow.com



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Winter Storm Watch issued for Clarksville, with 2-5 inches of snow expected


CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – Montgomery and surrounding counties are under a Winter Storm Watch through 6 p.m. Sunday, but the latest forecasts show the deepest snow predictions moving south of Clarksville.

Heavy, wet snow is possible this weekend across Middle Tennessee, with total snow accumulations of 2 to 5 inches in Clarksville, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’s going to start out as rain on Saturday,” Krissy Hurley, NWS warning coordination meteorologist, told Clarksville Now. “But that cold air is going to come in, and if we can time it right with the moisture still over the state, some places could see some wintry precipitation on Sunday.”

The latest models show the heaviest snow south of Montgomery County along Interstate 40, and in the eastern side of the region.

The rain should change over to snow Saturday night into Sunday, with snow beginning to stick through Sunday evening. Travel could become hazardous Saturday night through Sunday night, according to an NWS advisory.

Everything depends on whether the moisture is still in the area when temperatures begin to fall, Hurley said, and the forecasted snow amounts will change as we get closer to the weather event.

Clarksville forecast

Here’s the day-by-day outlook.

Today: Partly cloudy early in the morning then becoming mostly cloudy. Highs in the upper 40s. Northeast winds up to 5 mph.

Tonight: Cloudy. Chance of rain showers possibly mixed with snow showers after midnight. Little or no snow accumulation. Lows in the mid 30s. East winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 50 percent.

Saturday: Rain showers likely possibly mixed with snow showers in the morning, then rain showers in the afternoon. Little or no snow accumulation. Highs in the lower 40s. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 90 percent.

Saturday night: Snow showers possibly mixed with rain showers in the evening, then snow showers after midnight. Some snow accumulation possible. Lows in the mid 20s. Northeast winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 80 percent.

Sunday: Snow showers. Some snow accumulation possible. Highs around 30. North winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 80 percent.

Sunday night and Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Mostly cloudy. Lows around 20. Highs in the mid 30s.

Monday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 20s.



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Travel news live: France expected to lift UK travel ban


France is expected to announce that it will lift its travel ban on most UK travellers in the next couple of days.

On Tuesday, French politician Alexandre Holroyd tweeted: “Following numerous discussions with the Government, considerable reductions in health measures at the borders will be announced very soon.

“More details here in the coming days.”

The cryptic tweet followed several holiday companies telling customers they believed the French ban on all Brits, barring those with a handful of “compelling” reasons for travel, was about to be scrapped.

Some ski travel operators are selling packages for next week, with promises of refunds if the update does not happen.

Yesterday afternoon, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal confirmed that an announcement will be made “by the end of the week”.

Many feel the travel ban is outdated, since the Omicron variant is widespread across many countries, and France’s case numbers are higher than the UK’s.

France adjusted the restrictions on 6 January to allow some essential business travel from the UK, as well as permitting people with homes in an EU country to pass through France to reach them.

Follow the latest updates below:

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Good morning

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog, where we’ll be posting all the latest news and updates.

Lucy Thackray13 January 2022 07:35



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Travel news live: France expected to lift UK travel ban imminently


Expectations are building that France may imminently announce it is lifting the blanket ban on British travellers.

Speculation, already rife, was further fuelled last night when French politician Alexandre Holroyd tweeted: “Following numerous discussions with the Government, considerable reductions in health measures at the borders will be announced very soon.

“More details here in the coming days.”

The cryptic tweet followed several holiday companies telling customers they believed the French ban on all Brits, barring those with a handful of “compelling” reasons for travel, was about to be scrapped.

London firm Skiline.co.uk has sent out a marketing email saying: “We are expecting the French government to make an announcement this Wednesday to confirm that British vaccinated skiers can enter France from this Saturday 15 January.”

Two key meetings are happening in France this morning, at which it is hoped restrictions may be eased: one for the defence council, following by another with the council of ministers.

Follow the latest updates below:

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Ryanair claims to be a ‘Ghostbuster’ and demands seats on empty flights are sold at low fares

After the Lufthansa Group revealed that it would operate 18,000 empty flights this winter purely to hang on to airport slots, arch-rival Ryanair has demanded that seats on these so-called “ghost flights” are sold at low fares.

Under “use it or lose it” rules, airlines must give up rights to take off and land if they are not sufficiently utilised.

Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “The solution to Lufthansa’s ‘ghost flights’ problem is a simple one – just sell these seats to consumers.

“If Lufthansa really needs to operate these flights, solely to prevent the release of these slots to competitor airlines, then they should be required to sell these seats to the public at low fares.

“Slots are the way it blocks competition and limits choice at big hub airports like Frankfurt, Brussels Zaventem, Vienna, among others.

“Ryanair again calls on the European Commission to force Lufthansa and other state-subsidised airlines to release slots that they do not wish to use, so that low-fare ‘Ghostbusters’ like Ryanair, among others, can offer choice, competition, and lower fares at these hub airports.”

Simon Calder12 January 2022 10:31

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Train cancellations due to Omicron rise

Faced with staff shortages due to workers self-isolating, train operators are cancelling increasingly many services.
TransPennine Express, which is already running a reduced timetable, has today cancelled or curtailed a further 18 trains.

Six of the cancellations are on the core route from Liverpool via Manchester, Leeds and York to Newcastle. Others are from York to Manchester Airport and to Scarborough.

“Further short-notice cancellations and amendments to services are likely throughout the day,” the operator warns.

Many other rail firms are running reduced services in line with the slump in passenger demand.

Simon Calder12 January 2022 10:25

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Last-minute bookings beating summer holidays

Holiday bookings have risen steeply since last weekend, when expensive and onerous UK testing rules introduced because of the Omicron variant of coronavirus were eased.

But almost one-third of travel agent sales are for trips within the next four weeks, while just 7 per cent are for holidays in July and August respectively.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, told The Independent: “Confidence to book to travel within the next few weeks is growing, with around 30 per cent of all sales for travel within the next four weeks.”

Simon Calder12 January 2022 10:13

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Sharp increases in Covid cases as Omicron surge continues

“The last 24 hours saw the most positive tests ever seen around the world,” says Tim White, the Covid data analyst who tweets as @TWMCLtd.

He writes: “2.81m people confirmed to have contracted the disease yesterday.

“Norway confirms 9,622 new Covid-19 cases, beating the previous high set six days ago by 1,237.

“Bulgaria also hitting unwanted new heights in terms of Covid-19 infections: 7,062 cases, 13 per cent higher than last Wednesday.”

For the US, Mr White estimates “a 20 per cent chance the all time record will be broken tonight”.

With seven states left to report, there were more than 670,000 new cases overnight.

“Meanwhile it looks like CDC [the US health regulator] will either mandate or recommend use of medical masks,” he writes.

Simon Calder12 January 2022 10:06

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UK companies selling French ski holidays for next week

Twenty-five days after France abruptly closed its frontiers to British visitors, anticipation is growing that the travel ban on the UK will soon end. One ski operator is so confident that it is selling winter sports trips for the coming weekend.

The south-east London firm Skiline.co.uk has sent out a marketing email saying: “We are expecting the French government to make an announcement this Wednesday to confirm that British vaccinated skiers can enter France from this Saturday 15 January.”

It is selling one-week holidays to Tignes in the French Alps departing from London Heathrow on Saturday for £799, including flights, transfers and fully catered accommodation.

“If the announcement is made as we expect, you will be one of the few lucky skiers in France this weekend,” the company says.

Skiline promises: “If no announcement is made this Wednesday, we will refund your credit card before this Friday.”

Simon Calder12 January 2022 09:55

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog. We’ll be bringing you all the latest updates throughout the day.

Helen Coffey12 January 2022 09:54



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