UK to Review COVID Travel Rules in January | World News

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will review its COVID travel rules in January and is looking at reforming its airport slots system as part of a wider new aviation strategy, minister Robert Courts said on Monday.

Britain has lagged other European countries in lifting pandemic travel restrictions with airlines complaining that the need for day-2 coronavirus tests and complicated passenger locator forms have deterred people from travelling to and from the United Kingdom.

“We will be reviewing the policy in January. We’ll be looking to see what we can do at that stage,” Courts told the Airlines UK conference.

He said reforming the country’s airport slots system remained a priority for the government and it will feature in its new aviation strategy.

Under normal rules, airlines must use 80% of their take-off and landing rights at busy airports or cede slots to competitors but the so-called “use it or lose it” rule was waived early in the pandemic when the crisis grounded most flights.

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“Slots reform remains a priority for the government,” Courts said. “We are carefully considering the role of the slot system as part of our future aviation strategy.”

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by William Schomberg)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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Unvaccinated NBA players won’t be able to travel to Toronto to play Raptors starting in January


NBA players who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 won’t be able to travel to Toronto to play in games against the Raptors beginning on Jan. 15, as Canada’s government is set to end vaccine exemption for athletes. Minister of public safety Marco Mendicino made this announcement on Friday. Here are some details, via CBC News

Unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes will no longer be able to travel to Canada as of January 15, minister of public safety Marco Mendicino said on Friday. Currently, NBA and NHL players who have yet to receive one of Canada’s approved COVID-19 vaccines are able to enter the country under a national interest exemption. But Mendicino said that is changing due to the wide availability of vaccines.

“As of January 15th, there will no longer be an exemption in place for professional and amateur athletes,” he said… Those who remain unvaccinated will soon be unable to play games in Toronto against the Raptors or in any of the seven Canadian NHL teams’ home arenas.

It is unclear whether unvaccinated Canadian athletes who play for American teams would be able re-enter the country with their teams. However, beginning November 30, vaccination will be required for travel within and out of Canada.  

Luckily, this change shouldn’t be an issue for too many NBA players, as around 95 percent of the league’s players are reportedly vaccinated. Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving is the most well-known player to refuse the vaccine, but he hasn’t been playing in games for the Nets this season, so the change won’t impact him anyway. 

The NBA isn’t enforcing any sort of a vaccine mandate for its players, but the league has strongly encouraged all players to get inoculated. Earlier this month, the league encouraged all players and coaches to get a booster shot in order to try to continue to curb any potential outbreaks. Several players from across the league’s landscape have had to miss time due to COVID-19 this season, but no games have been postponed due to extreme team-wide outbreaks, which is an improvement over last season. 

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Malaysia on track to welcome tourists back by January

Malaysia has partially reopened its borders to foreign tourists today, allowing vaccinated visitors to travel to the islands of Langkawi ahead of Malaysia opening up the entire country to tourism in January 2022

On Monday, Malaysia opened the tropical archipelago of Langkawi to fully vaccinated international tourists for quarantine-free travel. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Friday that visitors must be fully vaccinated, among other requirements, and stay in Langkawi for at least seven days before traveling to other parts of Malaysia.

Beach bar on Pantai Cenang beach on the Langkawi island in Malaysia.
The Langkawi gateway is the first phase in Malaysia’s border reopening plans ©AsianDream/Getty Images

Malaysia then plans to launch a travel bubble with Singapore on November 29, allowing quarantine-free travel between the two countries for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A similar travel arrangement with Indonesia will also be created, before Malaysia’s big return to tourism on January 1—when the country’s borders will open to international travelers from elsewhere, according to Reuters.

Currently, most international travelers are banned from entering Malaysia for non-essential reasons (if they’re not part of the Langkawi program) and even fully vaccinated arrivals are required to test negative for COVID-19 before travel and quarantine for at least seven days when arriving into the country.

Young asian girl using phone
Young asian girl using phone at street and she is wearing brown hijab with yellow shirt. She is waiting for friend or uber or grab at road side. Getty Images

It’s likely that arrivals will have to be vaccinated when borders reopen in January given that it’s a requirement of the travel plan for Langkawi and the upcoming travel bubble arrangements with Singapore and Indonesia, but the government has yet to specify what entry requirements will look like in January. We will update this article when more information is available.

To be considered fully vaccinated to travel to Malaysia at present, 14 days must have passed since the second dose of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Sinovac vaccines; or 28 days after one dose of Johnson & Johnson or Cansino, confirms the US Embassy in Malaysia.

Malaysia Hawker Culture, Clay pot Chicken Rice stock photo
Most businesses including markets and restaurants are operating at full capacity © Getty Images/iStockphoto

At a government meeting on Thursday, Reuters reports that the head of Malaysia’s recovery taskforce, Muhyiddin Yassin, said measures such as “COVID-19 tests will remain in place, with authorities to determine entry based on the COVID-19 situation in originating countries, and other factors” in January.

Most states in Malaysia are at phase four (the least restrictive) of the National Recovery Plan, which means that most businesses can operate at full capacity with health protocols in place. However, entertainment venues such as nightclubs and bars remain closed for now.

This article was first published on November 11, 2021 and updated on November 15, 2021

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United CEO Thinks Full Travel Recovery Could Happen by January

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said this morning that while the delta variant of COVID-19 has been a nuisance, he believes the country has reached its peak and expects a full travel recovery in January.

“The Delta variant has obviously caused a downturn in travel, (but) it’s particularly business travel. A lot of offices were expecting to be open again in September, and the Delta variant has pushed those opening dates back a few months. My guess is it will now be January,” Kirby said on the CBS Sunday news program, ‘Face The Nation.’


United CEO Scott Kirby
United CEO Scott Kirby (United Airlines)

“It appears that we’ve peaked in cases. Let’s hope that that’s the case. Let’s hope that as we continue to get more people vaccinated, we really can get back to normal across the country. But the demand (for) recovery has, really, probably been pushed back to January.”

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Appearing with host Margaret Brennan, Kirby touched on a variety of subjects.

On whether airline contractors or passengers can be confident they won’t cross paths with an unvaccinated United employee, Kirby said simply it was a matter of wearing a mask.

“One of the things that’s important when you’re traveling on an airplane, particularly once you’re on the airplane, it’s really the safest place you can be because the airflow on an airplane, the safest place you can be indoors,” he said. “And so, wear your mask in the airport. That’s a rule. And before long, we’ll have everyone in the airports vaccinated thanks to the administration’s order.”

Brennan asked Kirby if the Biden Administration should roll out a mandate that all passengers who want to fly be vaccinated, saying the TSA could check for vaccination cards.

Mandating fliers to be vaccinated is something that has been discussed, and it received an endorsement from White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Kirby said it would be easier for people to be vaccinated en masse at work.

“You can get a high percentage of the country as opposed to making it a burden on people that are vaccinated every time you get a plane, a train, any kind of public transportation to prove that you’re vaccinated,” he said. “So, for now, I think their approach of focusing on the employment and focusing on work is probably the right way to go. But they’ve got great data and science, and if they tell us that they want us to check everyone, we’re prepared to do that as well.”

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Travel at TF Green nearly doubled from January to March

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — More Americans are taking to the skies despite warnings from health officials against non-essential travel.

A spokesperson for the New England Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says passenger volume at T.F. Green Airport nearly doubled from January to March this year.

More than 74,000 people were screened to fly in March compared to about 39,000 in January.

At New England’s six major airports, the TSA says just over two million people were screened in the first three months of 2021.

The upward trend in passenger travel can also be seen nationwide. For more than 20 days in a row, the TSA has screened more than one million people daily at airports across the country.

The travel uptick has health officials warning of another potential surge in virus cases.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says the fact that we’re scaling up in vaccines is the reasoning behind the uptick in travel.

“Much more traveling is happening. I think people want to be done with this and as I mentioned, I too want to be done with this,” she said. “The thing that’s different this time is we actually have it in our power to be done with the scale of the vaccination and that will be so much slower if we have another surge to deal with as well.”

There are also reports of delays when it comes to getting a passport with the processing time being between 10 to 12 weeks.

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Orange County Man Accused in January 6 Riot Appears in Court

ORLANDO, Fla. — A 30-year-old Orange County man accused of participating in the January attack on the U.S. Capitol as a member of the Proud Boys, wore a T-shirt promoting the group to federal court on Tuesday in Orlando.

What You Need To Know

  •  A 30-year-old Orange County man appeared in federal court Tuesday on charges he participated in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
  •  Arthur Jackman could be seen wearing a shirt saying, “Proud Boys did nothing wrong!” during the hearing
  • He was released on a $25,000 bond

Arthur Jackman, 30, was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond and other conditions, including staying away from his wife’s guns.

He ignored reporters’ questions and remained silent after Tuesday’s hearing.

He had turned his black T-shirt turned inside out, hiding the lettering, for his brisk walk from the courthouse to an SUV that pulled over on West Central Boulevard to pick him up.

Earlier, when Jackman — shackled at his ankles and wrists — walked into the courtroom wearing the shirt, the words on the front, “Proud Boys did nothing wrong!” were visible.

The back was also visible during his 20-minute hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Irick at the George C. Young Federal Courthouse Annex.

It said: “I am a Western chauvinist, and I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”

The back also had an image of George Washington and a character giving an OK hand gesture — a suspected “white power” symbol.

In a criminal complaint filed by federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia, Jackman is accused of obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

He is also accused of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and engaging in disruptive and disorderly conduct. Someone convicted of that crime, which is a misdemeanor, could be imprisoned for up to a year.

Jackman will eventually have to travel to a federal court in D.C.

He also will have a pretrial hearing in Orlando, but a date wasn’t set Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors did not ask Irick to hold Jackman until his trial.

Instead, the judge imposed release conditions recommended by prosecutors, including taking his passport and restricting his travel to the Middle District of Florida and the District of Columbia.

He is allowed to travel between those destinations for court appearances.

Jackman is the latest in a string of Florida suspects tied to the Proud Boys accused of storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to overturn the results of the presidential general election. Other Florida suspects include alleged attackers from another far-right group, The Oath Keepers.

In all, more than 300 people, many supporters of former President Donald Trump, have been charged in the siege.

The FBI got a tip about Jackman from an unidentified person described as a childhood friend.

Jackman texted a photo of himself inside the Capitol while wearing a mask and giving the OK hand gesture, agents allege.

Agents said in a document Jackman photographed and videotaped wearing a red plaid shirt in the U.S. Capitol.

The FBI interviewed him on January 19, when he reportedly told them he joined Proud Boys in 2016 to support Trump.

He thinks the election “was stolen,” according to a court document which states Jackman and “other Proud Boys were not there to infiltrate the Capitol as it was not a sanctioned Proud Boys event …”

Federal investigators obtained Google records of Jackman’s phone and say he entered the Capitol at around 2:14 p.m.

He was inside various locations, including the northern end of the Capitol and inside the Senate chamber, federal officials allege.

When agents asked if he was in the Capitol or if photos would show him there, Jackman had “no comment,” the agents said.

Agents said Jackman was spotted with Joseph Randall Biggs of Ormond Beach, another accused member of the Proud Boys, before and after the Capitol attack.

Biggs, Jackman and others were captured on video marching on Constitution Avenue while chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” and expletives.

Biggs was later captured on video inside the Capitol, according to the affidavit.

“In the video, a voice off camera says, ‘Hey Biggs, what do you gotta say?’ The person depicted below smiles broadly and replies, ‘This is awesome!’ before pulling his gaiter up to cover his face,” a probable cause affidavit from the FBI said.

The video was live streamed on the Parler social-media site, the FBI said.

Biggs and other alleged members of the Proud Boys in the U.S. Capitol attack were equipped with “walkie-talkie style communication devices” on their chests, the FBI alleges.

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The News Journal » January tip off works for high school basketball

COVID–19 has changed the way a number of things work from voting to high school basketball.

Because of the pandemic, early and absentee voting was made more widely available.

It proved so popular, with voter turnout increasing exponentially in both the 2020 primary and general election, that the state legislature has taken steps to make some of the changes permanent.

Another change was the beginning of the high school basketball season was pushed back to early January as opposed to early December.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association follow the legislature’s lead on voting and make the change to the basketball season permanent.

With every participating high school making the high school football playoffs, the state championship games do not take place until early to mid December.

When I asked Williamsburg Boys Basketball Coach Eric Swords to comment about his team for a preview story when we thought the season was going to open as scheduled, he said he couldn’t because his team was still on the football field.

The Yellow Jackets reached the state semi-finals in Class A, losing to Kentucky Country Day on December 11.

Like everything else in 2020, the high school football season was delayed because of COVID–19.

If basketball had gone as scheduled, a number of teams, including Williamsburg, would have already played their first games at that point.

Williamsburg has been in that situation in past seasons. What has happened in those cases is that the games were rescheduled until football season was over and the players could begin playing basketball.

However, coming off a football season that has been going since July, many of these players are now being asked to go directly into a grueling basketball season that is not scheduled to end until March.

The smaller schools would definitely benefit from the month-long layoff as players would have time to practice and get up to speed before beginning to play games that count.

One of the things that is preached about boys’ high school basketball in Kentucky is that all of the schools across the state, no matter their size, are playing to cut down the nets at Rupp Arena.

In 2020, before the Boys’ Sweet 16 was cancelled because of COVID–19, several smaller schools, including Hazard, Martin County and Elizabethtown were among the 16 teams that earned the right to play along with big schools such as Scott County, Fern Creek and Male out of Louisville, and George Rogers Clark.

Hazard is Class A in football, Martin County is Class 2A and Elizabethtown is Class 3A compared to the majority of the others who play in Class 5A or 6A

Should these smaller teams be penalized for a successful football season that has them playing into December?

Should the athletes be forced to choose between football and basketball?

Moving the start of basketball season doesn’t really lengthen the season all that much.

Plus, if we don’t see a number of games postponed because of COVID–19 and weather, basketball would be closer to the same number of games in the regular season.

The only thing lost would be the traditional travel tournaments played over the Christmas holiday break.

However, on the back it, not much changes.

In 2020, the 50th District Tournament began on Feb. 25. Even with the delay because of COVID–19, the 2021 tournament is scheduled to begin on March 13.

Yes, the change will affect spring sports.

The 13th Region Tournament championship will be March 29, which is the same day high school baseball and softball are scheduled to open their respective seasons.

Not to mention, track and tennis will also be beginning.

While basketball is a non-contact sport in name only, players involved in spring sports should more easily transition from basketball than asking football players to immediately begin playing basketball.

It is, at least worth trying on a trial basis in 2022.

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Be prepared for the coldest temperatures since January 2019 | Local News

Arctic air and temperatures are forecast to take over the area beginning tonight and run through the middle of next week.

The National Weather Service/Chicago said this will be the coldest weather since late January 2019.

There will be several days with lows near or below zero and wind chills at times well below zero. Fast-moving disturbances could also bring periods of fluffy snow at times and light to moderate accumulations Saturday afternoon through Monday night. Forecasters say to plan for a long duration of much colder weather than we’ve grown accustomed to this winter.

NWS meteorologist Kevin Birk said the area could see 1 to 2 inches of snow today before the cold air mass rolls with wind gusts up to 40 mph Thursday night.

“This is part of the coldest parts of winter,” Birk said.

This would be more uncommon if it came in late February or early March, he explained.

“There is a shift in the jet scream that is bringing a pretty good air mass from Canada,” Birk said. The native of St. Louis has been with the NWS for 14 years, including the last 11 at Chicago.

If you must travel, Dr. Michael Yokell of AMITA Health St. Mary’s Hospital said to dress in layers, including wearing a scarf and hat.

“People should plan ahead,” said Yokell, who is the medical director of the emergency department at St. Mary’s.

Staying outside for long periods of time in these conditions could lead to frostnip, frostbite and hypothermia.

The colder it is, the faster they can happen. Under arctic blast conditions, where wind and cold bring temperatures to subzero, these conditions can occur in a matter of minutes.

Frostnip affects the nose, ears, fingers and toes. They become numb and the skin turns pale or dusky, Yokell said.

Frostbite goes deeper into the body’s tissue. It decreases the blood flow and oxygen.

If medical attention is delayed, Yokell said it could lead to gangrene or amputation.

Mayo Clinic’s website said exposed skin in cold, windy weather is most vulnerable to frostbite. But frostbite can occur on skin covered by gloves or other clothing.

Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing dangerously low body temperature.

Yokell said normal body temperature is around 98.6 Fahrenheit. Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature falls below 95 Fahrenheit.

When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and eventually to death.

Hypothermia is treatable by warming the body’s core temperature.

“People should refrain from consuming alcohol,” Yokell said. “It causes the body to feel warm. The blood is being drawn from the body’s organs to the skin, thus making a person think they feel warm.

Yokell said they have treated patients for hypothermia this winter.

Local municipalities want residents to take note of snow routes and parking restrictions on the days following significant snowfalls.

The Illinois State Police suggests that you refrain from traveling during inclement weather.

If you must, they recommend that you:

• Dress warmly for the weather-dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.

• Make sure someone is aware of your travel plans. If traveling a long distance, let someone know your route and estimated departure and arrival time.

• Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. Also be sure to keep a cell phone charger with you in your vehicle.

• Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.

As temperatures are set to drop, residents will undoubtedly be looking for ways to stay warm. But not all ways are safe ways.

Grant Park Fire Protection District Chief Matt Shronts advises residents to keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, wood stoves, or portable space heaters.

He provided these additional winter safety tips:

• Never use your oven to heat your home.

• Have furnaces and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

• Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

• Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. Replace batteries every six months.

• During and after a snowstorm, make sure all vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow build up.

• Remember to clear away deep snow from the area around your gas meter and to clean off excess snow from your gas meter preventing ice build up which can potentially cause the vents to be blocked and allow excess gas pressure into the home.

A major winter storm dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of Nebraska and Iowa while blanketing other parts of the middle of the country Tuesday.

Aqua Illinois advises that if temperatures drop to close to 10 degrees, leave a very thin stream of water running constantly from at least one tap. Aqua recommends using the tap farthest from the meter. The additional expense in your water bill will be minimal compared to the cost to replace a ruptured pipe, the utility said.

It also advised the following:

• Check the water temperature by placing a thermometer under the tap.

• Open cabinet doors below all sinks to allow the warmth from inside your house to reach your pipes. Before you follow this tip, be sure to remove all harmful items from beneath the sink.

• If you have a frozen pipe, locate the frozen section and use a hair dryer to thaw the area. Hold it six inches away and move it back and forth. If this doesn’t work, call a plumber.

Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods in below-freezing weather.

If you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment.

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Update January 2021: The Official European Council Coronavirus ‘safe Travel List’

Update January 2021: The official European Council coronavirus ‘safe travel list’

On Thursday, the European Council updated the list of safe countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel.

From January 28, residents of Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity), will be permitted to enter Europe.

Update January 2021: The official EU coronavirus ‘safe travel list’

Travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China Hong Kong and Macao, subject to confirmation of reciprocity.

Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as European Union residents for the purpose of this recommendation.

The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations.

Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation.

Greece remains the only ‘green’ country on EU coronavirus map

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