COVID-19: Booster jabs and third doses added to NHS pass for international travel | Travel News


Proof of booster jabs and third doses are being added to the NHS COVID Pass for international travel from today.

It comes after some countries – including Israel, Croatia, and Austria – introduced a time limit for COVID vaccination status to be valid for quarantine-free travel.

The booster is not being added to the domestic COVID pass at this time.

People travelling into England will also not need to show evidence of having had a third jab.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to show their vaccine status if they are travelling abroad,” said Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

“This update to the NHS COVID Pass will mean people can have their complete medical picture at their fingertips if they are going on holiday or seeing loved ones overseas.”

More than 20 million people have accessed their pass via the NHS app since it launched in May.

Boosters and third doses will show up automatically in the digital pass from today for people in England.

It will not immediately be available via the COVID pass letter service, but the government said this will “be updated in due course”.

The number of booster jabs administered in the UK so far has topped 13 million, and the age range for eligibility was this week lowered to anyone over 40.

Most people must wait six months since their second jab to get one.

The booster is given to ‘top up’ a person’s protection as it begins to wane, and is seen as especially important as we enter winter.



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Booster jabs to be added to NHS app for travel | News


Travellers from the UK are likely to need a boost jab to travel without quarantine or restrictions, Boris Johnson has confirmed.

The prime minister told the nation that getting three jabs “will make life easier” – including when it comes to holidays.

It comes as the government urges people to get vaccinated before winter hits, with 22 per cent of the UK currently triple-jabbed.

The booster programme will be extended to include people aged 40 and over following signs protection is waning, it was announced earlier.

However, it is possible that every adult will eventually be called forward to get a third dose.

The prime minister told a Downing Street press conference the country would have to “adjust the concept of what constitutes a full vaccination”.

He added: “I think that we will be making plans to add the booster dose to the NHS Covid travel pass.

“But again, I think what the general lesson is for anybody who wants to travel, you can see that getting fully vaccinated with a booster is going to be something that will, on the whole, make your life easier in all kinds of ways including foreign travel.

“So I would just say, if you are thinking about that, that this is yet another reason to get it done.”

Travel experts have welcomed the news, saying the addition to the NHS app should be brought in as soon as possible.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “It’s welcome news that the government is looking to add evidence of booster vaccinations to the NHS app.

“This issue has some urgency as other countries have already introduced the requirement to have had a booster jab as they limit the validity of vaccines, but with UK residents currently unable to provide evidence that they have done so they risk being turned away from the plane on their next trip.

“Until booster jabs are added to vaccine certificates on the NHS app, you should carefully check the requirements of the country you’re planning on visiting before booking.

“Booking a package holiday with a tour provider that has a good flexible booking policy will help protect your money if restrictions change at the last minute.”





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Our hot tips to cut costs before the big chill, include don’t fix energy rates, free flu jabs and more


1. Martin’s warning: Energy firms are pushing you to fix… don’t. In fact DO NOTHING.

Over to our founder: “The energy market is in crisis, wholesale prices have exploded. Firms are being forced to sell energy substantially below its cost price, due to the energy price cap on standard variable tariffs. And I’m starting to hear that firms’ marketing departments are therefore kicking into gear to try to persuade people to take up other tariffs.

“Expect to get fancy letters extolling the virtues of fixing – tapping into switchers’ instincts as if these were normal times, when that was the right thing to do. No surprise, they are desperate to get people off the price cap. Yet as a consumer, fixing now is almost certainly NOT the right thing to do (I can’t say 100% without a crystal ball, but it’s my very strong suspicion).

“The cheapest fixes cost 30%+ more than the price cap – a huge premium, when you consider the price cap is in itself fixed until April. If you’re on it you’re essentially locked in at the cheaper price over the high-use winter period. So DO NOTHING, and if you’ve never switched, you’ll be on the price cap. If your fix is coming to an end, or your provider has gone bust, DO NOTHING and you’ll automatically be moved to the price cap.

“If you want to see the price differentiation for yourself, do a Cheap Energy Club comparison.”





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New COVID-19 jabs needed in 2022


BERLIN — The head of Germany’s independent vaccine advisory panel says it’s likely that everyone will have to get vaccinated again next year against COVID-19.

Thomas Mertens told the Funke newspaper group in comments published Sunday that there isn’t yet enough data to say when exactly booster shots will be needed, and officials will have to wait a few months to see whether protection against the coronavirus weakens in some groups.

But he stressed that “the virus won’t leave us again” and so the vaccinations currently under way won’t be the last. He added: “In principle, we have to prepare for everyone possibly having to refresh their vaccine protection next year.”

Nearly 30.4 million people in Germany, or 36.5% of the population, had received at least one vaccine shot by Friday. More than 9 million, or 10.9% of the population, had been fully vaccinated.

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— India finds hundreds of bodies buried in riverbanks as the prices for cremations soar

UK gears up for big reopening but fast-spreading virus variant first found in India threatens future plans

Turkey eases some COVID-19 restrictions but keeps curfews on for weeknights and weekends

— Barefaced, footloose: New Orleans eases masking, OKs dancing

— Nepal scales back Hindu chariot festival amid virus surge

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Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

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LONDON — Travelers in England were packing their bags, bartenders were polishing their glasses and performers were warming up as Britain prepared Sunday for a major step out of lockdown — but with clouds of worry on the horizon.

Excitement at the reopening of travel and hospitality vied with anxiety that a more contagious virus variant first found in India is spreading fast and could delay further plans to reopen.

Cases of the variant have more than doubled in a week in the U.K., defying a sharp nationwide downward trend in infections and deaths won by hard-earned months of restrictions and a rapid vaccination campaign. A surge testing and stepped-up vaccination effort was being conducted in the northern England areas hardest hit by that variant.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the variant, formally known as B.1.617.2, is more transmissible than the U.K.’s main strain and “it is likely it will become the dominant variant.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said if the new variant causes a big surge in cases, it could scupper plans to relax restrictions more fully on June 21.

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NEW DELHI — Police are reaching out to villagers in northern India to investigate the recovery of bodies buried in shallow sand graves or washing up on the Ganges River banks. There’s been speculation on social media that they are the remains of COVID-19 victims.

In jeeps and boats, police are using portable loudspeakers asking people not to dispose of bodies in rivers.

On Friday, rains exposed the cloth coverings of bodies buried on the riverbank in Prayagraj, a city in Uttar Pradesh state. A state government spokesman on Sunday denied local media reports that more than 1,000 corpses of COVID-19 victims were recovered from rivers in the past two weeks.

But others say COVID-19 deaths in the countryside are rising.

Ramesh Kumar Singh, a member of Bondhu Mahal Samiti, a philanthropic organization that helps cremate bodies, said the number of deaths is very high in rural areas, and poor people have been disposing of the bodies in the river because of the exorbitant cost of performing the last rites and a shortage of wood. The cremation cost has tripled up to 15,000 rupees ($210).

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LIMA, Peru — After Joel Bautista died of a heart attack last month in Peru, his family tried unsuccessfully to find an available grave at four different cemeteries. After four days, they resorted to digging a hole in his garden.

The excavation in a poor neighborhood in the capital city of Lima was broadcast live on television, attracting the attention of authorities and prompting them to offer the family a space on the rocky slopes of a cemetery.

“If there is no solution, then there will be a space here,” Yeni Bautista told The Associated Press, explaining the family’s decision to dig at the foot of a tropical hibiscus tree after her brother’s body began to decompose.

The same plight is shared by other families across Peru.

After struggling to control the coronavirus pandemic for more than a year, the country now faces a parallel crisis: a lack of cemetery space. The problem affects everyone, not just relatives of COVID-19 victims, and some families have acted on their own, digging clandestine graves in areas surrounding some of Lima’s 65 cemeteries.

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BEIJING — A COVID-19 outbreak in Mongolia appears to be easing after a six weeks in which the sparsely populated country’s coronavirus death toll rose from 15 to 219.

Authorities on Sunday reported 541 new cases and two deaths in the latest 24-hour period, China’s Xinhua News Agency said. It was the sixth straight day of under 600 new cases, and down from a peak of 1,356 cases about two weeks ago.

Coffee shops, gyms and swimming pools were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity this weekend as the Mongolian government continued a gradual lifting of restrictions following a four-week lockdown that ended May 8, Xinhua said.

A ban on restaurants, bars, religious services and large gatherings for sports and cultural events remained in effect, the Chinese news agency said.

The total number of confirmed cases has increased since the beginning of April from 8,841 to 48,642. ___

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s interior ministry on Sunday lifted a full lockdown that had ordered people to stay home to fight COVID-19 infections, shifting to a less-restrictive program that still involved curfews on weeknights and weekends.

The ministry called the steps that apply from Monday to June 1 a “gradual normalization.”

Shopping malls will be able to reopen. Some businesses will remain closed, including gyms and cafes, but restaurants will be able to offer take away in addition to delivery. Preschools will resume in-person education but upper grades will continue remote learning.

Turks can return to their workplaces but will have to stay home from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of walking to a market to buy food. Civil servants will continue working remotely or in shifts in offices. Foreign tourists and workers with special permits are exempt.

The Turkish government introduced a full lockdown end of April to curb a surge in infections and deaths, following record daily cases above 60,000. Saturday’s health ministry statistics show 11,472 new cases. The total death toll is 44,537.

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SEOUL — The Asian Football Confederation has announced North Korea has pulled out of qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

“The (AFC) has today confirmed the withdrawal of the DPR Korea Football Association from the Asian Qualifiers,” the AFC said in a statement on Sunday.

Pyongyang has not yet given an official reason for pulling out of next month’s qualifiers for the tournament, to be held in Qatar in November and December 2022, but South Korean media has reported that it is because of concerns over COVID-19.

Due to the spread of the virus, there have been no qualifiers in Asia since November 2019 and in order to reduce travel as the games resume, the AFC has ruled that all group matches in the second round of qualification will be played in hubs. ___

ORLANDO, Fla. — Visitors to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios-Orlando were allowed Saturday to remove their masks when outdoors, except when on attractions, in line or riding transportation.

Florida’s major theme parks are adjusting face mask policies after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosened its recommendations on Thursday as more people get vaccinated for the coronavirus. Masks remain mandatory indoors, except in restaurants when seated or actively eating and drinking.

SeaWorld Orlando and its sister park, Tampa’s Busch Gardens, are allowing guests who say they are fully vaccinated to remove their masks throughout the parks. The two parks will not require proof of vaccination but are asking guests to “respectfully comply.”

The CDC guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

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MILAN — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi was released from Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital on Saturday, where he was treated for complications related to an earlier bout with coronavirus.

The 84-year-old Berlusconi, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last September, has been in and out of the hospital in recent weeks. He was most recently admitted last Monday. He also spent 24 days in the hospital under medical supervision in April.

The three-time former premier and media mogul left the hospital without passing in front of photographers and television cameras waiting outside. Last year, Berlusconi spent 10 days at the same hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19. He also received a pacemaker several years ago.

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NEW YORK — Yale University is requiring its faculty and staff to get coronavirus vaccinations before the fall term, extending a requirement already imposed for students.

The private university says faculty members, staffers and academic trainees must be fully inoculated by Aug. 1, although there are provisions for exemptions for reasons based on medical conditions or religious or “strongly held” personal beliefs.

More than 350 colleges and universities around the country are requiring vaccinations for students, at least those living on-campus. However, requirements for employees are somewhat rare. That’s according to information compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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BEIJING — China has canceled attempts to climb Mount Everest from its side of the world’s highest peak because of fears of importing coronavirus cases from neighboring Nepal.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency says the closure was confirmed in a notice from China’s General Administration of Sport. The move reflects the abundance of caution China has taken in dealing with the pandemic.

While China has mostly curbed domestic transmission of the coronavirus, Nepal is experiencing a surge with record numbers of new infections and deaths.

China had issued permits to 38 people to climb Mount Everest this spring, and Nepal to 408 climbers. In Nepal, several climbers have reported testing positive for the coronavirus after they were brought down from the Everest base camp.

The month of May generally has the best weather for climbing Everest. Scores have reached the summit this week and more are expected to make attempts later this month once the weather improves. Two climbers have died on the Nepalese side, one Swiss and one American.



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