Kiribati and Samoa under lockdown after COVID arrives on international flights : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

Tarawa atoll, Kiribati, is pictured in 2004. The Pacific island nations of Kiribati and Samoa have announced rare COVID-19 lockdowns after dozens of international travelers tested positive for the virus.

Richard Vogel/AP

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Tarawa atoll, Kiribati, is pictured in 2004. The Pacific island nations of Kiribati and Samoa have announced rare COVID-19 lockdowns after dozens of international travelers tested positive for the virus.

Richard Vogel/AP

Kiribati and Samoa both implemented COVID-19 lockdowns on Saturday after international arrivals brought the virus with them, a rarity for the remote Pacific island nations.

This is the first pandemic lockdown in Kiribati, which had previously reported only two COVID-19 cases — both were people on a fishing ship in May 2021 who isolated on board. The country reopened its borders to international travel earlier this month for the first time in nearly two years.

Its government announced on Tuesday that 36 out of 54 passengers on a flight from Fiji had tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, despite being vaccinated and testing negative three times during the pre-departure quarantine period. They were escorted to a quarantine center for further monitoring and testing. One of the frontline workers stationed outside the quarantine center also tested positive.

On Friday, the government confirmed a new case, this time from someone uninvolved with the quarantine center.

Based on the newest case, “there is now an assumption that COVID-19 is now spreading in the community on South Tarawa and Betio,” the government wrote on Facebook.

South Tarawa is part of Kiribati’s capital and home to about half of its population, or some 63,000 people.

A 24-hour curfew went into effect on Saturday and it’s not clear how long the lockdown will last.

Residents can only leave their homes to access emergency or essential services including hospitals, police departments, grocery stores and banks. Essential providers can only operate during certain hours, public transportation will not run, social gatherings are banned and travel between the outer islands is prohibited.

The government also urged residents to get vaccinated. Only about 53% of adults had received two doses as of late December, according to Radio Kiribati.

In Samoa, officials announced a 48-hour lockdown after 15 out of 73 passengers who arrived on a Wednesday flight from Brisbane, Australia, tested positive.

Samoa had previously confirmed just two COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. Some 62% of its population is fully vaccinated.

Between Saturday and Monday, all residents except for essential workers are required to stay at home and off the roads. Businesses, schools and restaurants will be closed, travel is prohibited and mass gatherings are banned.

Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo, the chairman of the National Emergency Operation Center, said that the “day dreaded by authorities for COVID-19 to invade Samoa is here,” according to the government statement.

“Our country is in a national emergency and our security is under siege from COVID-19,” he said, urging members of the public not to be complacent.

The government said that failure to comply with lockdown restrictions could result in a $2,000 fine.

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Lockdown Defense Secures Tiger Win Over Houston

MEMPHIS, Tenn.– After two weeks of not playing in Elma Roane Fieldhouse, the Tigers came back to Memphis for an American Athletic Conference match-up with Houston. While the game was close for the entire 40 minutes, big defensive stops down the road would earn Memphis the 57-53 win over the Cougars.
Following today’s game, Memphis moves to 11-5 overall and 2-3 in AAC play.
The fast pace was set early by both teams; by the first media timeout, the Tigers and Cougars had already had four lead changes. Houston would extend their lead out to four after two made free throws from Laila Blair, but Emani Jefferson and Alana Davis would turn on the jets and score on three consecutive possessions to tie the game at 18-18.
The Cougars would add in a jump shot at the buzzer to take a 20-18 lead into the second quarter.
Houston and Memphis would trade buckets in the second quarter before the Tiger offense was able to create a little space between the teams.
Back-to-back lay-ups from Davis and a free throw from Jamirah Shutes would give the Tigers their largest lead of the half at 32-26 with 2:28 left in the quarter. The Cougars would add in baskets in the last minute of play before Tyler Frierson closed out the half with a lay-up and put Memphis up 34-30 heading into halftime.
Memphis got their largest lead of the day right out of the break when Madison Griggs drained a three-pointer from the near side and put the Tigers up 37-30.
The Houston offense began to chip away at the Tiger’s lead, going on a 9-2 run and regaining the lead with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter.
The Cougars wouldn’t go far as the Memphis offense continued to push. Jefferson, Shutes and Griggs would keep the Tigers within reaching distance of Houston and take the 49-45 deficit into the final 10 minutes of play.
It was all Memphis in the fourth quarter as they outscored Houston 12-4 and secured the 57-54 win with two made free throws from Tyler Frierson with 19 seconds left on the clock. Houston would get one last shot off, but a defensive rebound from Emani Jeffersonsealed the deal.
Madison Griggs and Emani Jefferson led the way for the Tigers with 13 points each while Jamirah Shutes and Tyler Frierson both added in eight points. Lanetta Williams and Jefferson were a dominating force on the boards today with eight and seven, respectively, while Jefferson and Shutes combined for nine of the team’s 11 assists.
As a team, Memphis 43% from the field and 50% from three-point range
The Tigers will be back in action when they travel to Oklahoma to take on the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa on Wednesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Memphis will be back in Elma Roane Fieldhouse on Saturday, January 29 when they host the Owls of Temple University. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.

How to follow the Tigers: For complete information on Memphis Tigers Basketball, visit and follow the team’s social media channels on TwitterInstagram and  Facebook.





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Kiribati lockdown: Remote nation in the Pacific imposes Covid restrictions

(CNN) — The remote island nation of Kiribati went into lockdown for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began two years ago after dozens of passengers on an international flight tested positive for the virus.

In a statement posted to its official Facebook account on Tuesday, the Kiribati government confirmed that 36 out of 54 passengers on a flight that had come from Fiji on January 14 had all tested positive for the virus. Authorities had “taken all precautions” and have been “managing” the passengers from the time they entered into pre-departure quarantine in Fiji until their arrival and quarantine in Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, the statement said.

Of a population of just 122,391, only 3 confirmed cases had been identified in Kirbati before last week’s flight. That’s partly due to the island’s strict entry controls during the pandemic and its isolation. Kiribati sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) away from North America.

Kiribati’s government said it will enact on Monday a 24-hour curfew in South Tarawa — the main hub of Kiribati — and the nearby township of Beito.

Residents must stay home unless they have to leave for essential work, access emergency services or shop for food or other essential goods, the government said in its statement.

No public transport will be in operation; social gatherings will be banned; and all bars and nightclubs will be closed.

Kiribati at the moment requires all people to wear masks in public spaces, including on public transportation. There is already a curfew in place from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., and social gatherings are currntly limited to 10 people.

Kiribati and other Pacific nations were spared the worst of the pandemic because many states closed their borders foreign nationals shortly after the virus emerged in late 2019.

The decision to go into lockdown over a handful of cases is not without precedent in the South Pacific. Tonga declared a weeklong lockdown for the main island Tongatapu after authorities there discovered the country’s first Covid-19 case in November.

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Covid news live: Scrapping travel tests ‘risks lockdown’

Health secretary announces Covid isolation period cut to five days from next week

The testing industry has warned that scrapping tests could trigger “hard lockdowns” just as reports emerge suggesting all current testing requirements could soon be dropped by January end for fully vaccinated travellers entering the UK.

The government announced new guidelines for people self-isolating with Covid-19 in England set to come into force, starting Monday. Under the revised guidelines, people will have the option to reduce their isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative on both day 5 and day 6 and do not have a temperature.

If anyone still tests positive on day 5 on rapid lateral flow tests, they must continue to stay in isolation until they have had 2 consecutive negative tests taken on separate days.

The decision was taken to “support essential public services and keep supply chains running over the winter”.

Meanwhile, more than 70,000 new Covid cases have been reported in the UK with 88 further deaths on Sunday. The data does not include Scotland’s figures due to a technical fault.

Amid rising cases in the US, surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy warned that “the next few weeks will be tough” and that the present Omicron-fuelled wave of coronavirus has yet to peak.


Rail passengers suffer one of the worst periods on record for cancellations

Train passengers have suffered one of the worst periods for cancellations on record due to coronavirus pandemic-related staff shortages, new figures show.

It was estimated earlier this month that around 10 per cent of rail staff were absent from work as the Omicron coronavirus variant spread across the UK, leading to swathes of short-notice cancellations.

Around 4.4 per cent of services across Britain were cancelled between December 12 and January 8, according to Network Rail.

Most operators responded by introducing emergency timetables with fewer trains to increase reliability.

Avanti West Coast, c2c, East Midlands Railway and South Western Railway became the latest firms to adopt the measure on Monday, cutting hundreds more daily services.

Customers are being advised to check for updates before setting out on their journey or sign up for automatic alerts from National Rail Alert Me.

Additional reporting by PA

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 12:46


Tickets for Beijing’s Winter Olympics will not be sold to the public to limit the spread of covid-19

Tickets for the Winter Olympics set to begin on Feb 4 will be distributed to “targeted” groups of people and will not be sold to the general public due to coronavirus, the organising committee said on Monday.

Organisers had already said there would not be any international spectators at the Games, as part of China’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 11:48


Covid-19: Data shows Omicron wave is ‘turning around’

The continued drop in UK Covid cases indicates the Omicron wave may well be “turning around”, a leading expert advising the Government has said.

Prof Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M), said that the latest case figures were “cautiously good news” and he hoped the country may have a “flu-type” relationship with the virus by the end of the year.

The latest data shows a 38 per cent drop over the last seven days across the UK in the numbers testing positive for Covid-19, with 70,924 new cases reported on Sunday.

Prof Tildesley told BBC Breakfast “it does look like across the whole of the country cases do seem to be falling”, adding: “We have had very, very high case numbers throughout late December and early January – we peaked about 200,000 at one point.

“We do now seem to be a little bit beyond that. Hospital admissions are still relatively high albeit there is some evidence that maybe they’re plateauing or possibly going down in London, which is cautiously good news.

“I would say we probably need about an extra week of data to really see the effect of children going back to school – we’re still only two weeks since children went back to school – but if we still see that over the next week or so, I’d be pretty confident that we are seeing this wave turning around.”

Asked whether changes in testing rules, which means people do not always need a PCR test, may have contributed to the drop in cases, he added: “Yesterday was a Sunday and we were in the region of 70,000 (cases) which is a lot lower than previous Sundays, so I think even taking into account any changes in testing, I think it is pretty clear that the Omicron wave is slowing down.”

Additional reporting by PA

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 11:40


‘Keep travel tests or risk hard lockdowns,’ critics warn

Our Travel correspondent, Simon Calder, reports.

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 11:17


Scotland: Students to be drafted into health service to tackle pandemic

The Scottish Government has said about 12,000 students will be deployed across Scotland’s health service to help fight coronavirus.

With 3,000 nursing and midwifery students being sent on placement this month, a further 7,000 students will be placed throughout next month.

A further 1,500 allied health professional students and 500 paramedic students will also be deployed next month.

Placements in active healthcare settings form part of a number of university courses.

Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, “wholeheartedly” thanked the students who would be supporting healthcare.

“As part of their professional programme of education, and throughout the pandemic, these students have worked tirelessly to support our NHS, making an invaluable contribution to the delivery of care as part of their supervised practice in health and social care environments,” he said.

Additional reporting by PA

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 11:10


Sir Keir Starmer has refused to apologise over images of him drinking beer in an office last summer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has refused to apologise over images of him drinking beer in an office in April 2021 in the run-up to the May 2021 elections.

Sir Keir said he usually travelled with a team of around six people and the incident took place in City of Durham MP Mary Foy’s office. At the time coronavirus rules meant indoor socialising was banned in England.

Sir Keir told LBC Radio: “The restrictions allowed people to work when they needed to, we were running an election campaign, we were in a constituency office.”

He said no restaurants or pubs were open and the hotel he and colleagues were staying in did not serve food so “if you didn’t get a takeaway then our team wasn’t eating that evening”.

Asked if he was prepared to apologise, Sir Keir said: “We didn’t break any rules, we were working in the office and we stopped for a takeaway.”

He added: “We did nothing wrong.”

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 10:50


Covid review for England could come this week, early next, says top government source

A review of “Plan B” measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in England could take place this week or early next, a senior government source said on Monday, part of efforts to move attention away from lockdown-breaking events at Downing Street.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to reset his agenda after coming under fire for attending a gathering in the garden of his Downing Street office and residence in May 2020, when strict COVID-19 rules forbade almost all socialising.

He has apologised for attending, but the growing reports of alcohol-fuelled gatherings at the heart of government have prompted calls for his resignation, including from some in his Tory party.

The removal of “Plan B” measures – an order for people to work from home when they can, to wear masks in public places and use COVID-19 passes to enter some venues – would please many in his party who want to return to something more akin to normal life.

The senior government source said the review could come this week, but possibly early next week.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 10:30


Scotland: Coronavirus restrictions on outdoor events and matches lifted

Attendees at this week’s football matches are being urged to be careful as restrictions on large events are lifted by the Scottish Government.

Games were rescheduled by sports authorities after restrictions were introduced in December, limiting large outdoor events to 500 people, after the Omicron variant began to spread rapidly across the UK.

Chief medical officer Dr Sir Gregor Smith urged fans returning to stadiums to exercise care, with the first fixture due to be played on Monday at Celtic Park – a stadium which has a capacity of upwards of 60,000 people.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he said: “If I was in the stadium, I think I’d just be careful.”

“Look for the choke points where people congregate, make sure you’re avoiding those crowds, try and make sure that you’re wearing a face covering at all times when you’re in that crowd.”

Sir Gregor also stressed the importance of minimising the spread of Covid-19 while on the way to games, taking a lateral flow test before leaving and limiting the number of places where fans stop in between home and the stadium.

Additional reporting by PA

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 10:10


‘Covid was no joke’: New York congresswoman AOC shares photos of her virus battle

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced that she had contracted Covid-19 in an Instagram post on Saturday, explaining that she has experienced debilitating symptoms even given the added protection provided by her vaccine.

John Bowden has this report.

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 09:45


Scientists detect novel coronavirus in wild leopard cub in India

Veterinary scientists in India have detected the novel coronavirus in the carcass of a wild Indian leopard cub, marking the first reported instance of the viral infection in a free-roaming wild feline.

The yet-to-be peer-reviewed research, posted in the preprint server bioRxiv, revealed that the one-year-old cub, which was found dead in mid-October, just months after the second wave of the pandemic in India had receded, was infected with the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

My colleague, Vishwam Sankaran, has this report.

Charlene Rodrigues17 January 2022 09:23

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Lockdown, Travel Curbs In Chinese Cities On Covid Alert As New Year Looms

Lockdown, Travel Curbs In Chinese Cities On Covid Alert As New Year Looms

Covid In China: As of December 30, China had 102,083 confirmed symptomatic cases.


China is on high alert against COVID-19 as the New Year holiday looms, with the city of Xian under lockdown while several New Year’s Eve events in other cities have been cancelled and some provinces urged restraint in travel during the festive season.

China reported 166 locally transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Thursday, according to the National Health Commission, with 161 from Xian, which is fighting the worst outbreak for a Chinese city this year.

The number of domestically transmitted infections in Xian have exceeded 1,200 during the Dec. 9-30 period. While the case load pales in comparison with many outbreaks overseas, China has insisted on stamping out infections quickly, especially ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.

“With the arrival of the New Year and the Lunar New Year, the number of people returning home from abroad will increase and the movement of people within China will rise,” He Qinghua, an official at the National Health Commission, said on Wednesday.

“Coupled with the emergence of new variants such as Omicron, these scenarios will increase the risk of the epidemic spreading,” He said.

The popular Happy Valley amusement park in Beijing has cancelled an event to ring in the new year, while the Happy Valley park in the eastern city of Nanjing has dropped a drone show and fireworks from its line-up of celebrations for New Year’s Eve.

In the financial hub Shanghai, the Great World amusement park said it will not organise special events such as stage performances, while no count-down will take place in core districts along Huangpu river.

The central city of Wuhan, where COVID-19 first emerged in late 2019, will not hold any large-scale gatherings during New Year’s Eve at certain public venues, including at Guanggu, one of the world’s longest pedestrian shopping streets.

Several Buddhist bell-ringing ceremonies in the eastern cities of Nanjing, Yangzhou and Zhenjiang to celebrate the new year have also been scrapped.

The northern province of Hebei, which will host some events for the Winter Olympics, said it urges residents not to travel unnecessarily during the New Year and Lunar New Year period.

Shanxi province, also in the north, advised residents not to head to other provinces for tourism, while the northwestern region of Ningxia said people have been encouraged not to leave the region unnecessarily.

As of Dec. 30, mainland China had 102,083 confirmed symptomatic cases, including both local and imported ones, with the death count at 4,636.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Netherlands ‘going into lockdown again’ to curb omicron

LONDON (AP) — Nations across Europe moved to reimpose tougher measures to stem a new wave of COVID-19 infections spurred by the highly transmissible omicron variant, including a new nationwide lockdown introduced by the Dutch government.

Schools, universities, and all non-essential stores, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands will be closed until Jan. 14 starting Sunday, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Saturday night. Residents only will be permitted two visitors except for Christmas and New Year’s, when four will be allowed, he said.

“The Netherlands is going into lockdown again from tomorrow,” Rutte said, adding that the move was “unavoidable because of the fifth wave caused by the omicron variant that is bearing down on us.”

Before the Dutch announcement, alarmed ministers in France, Cyprus and Austria tightened travel restrictions. Paris canceled its New Year’s Eve fireworks. Denmark closed theaters, concert halls, amusement parks and museums. Ireland imposed an 8 p.m. curfew on pubs and bars and limited attendance at indoor and outdoor events.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan underscored the official concern about the climbing cases and their potential to overwhelm the health care system by declaring a major incident Saturday, a move that allows local councils in Britain’s capital to coordinate work more closely with emergency services.

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin captured the sense of the continent in an address to the nation, saying the new restrictions were needed to protect lives and livelihoods from the resurgent virus.

“None of this is easy,” Martin said Friday night. “We are all exhausted with COVID and the restrictions it requires. The twists and turns, the disappointments and the frustrations take a heavy toll on everyone. But it is the reality that we are dealing with.”

The World Health Organization reported Saturday that the omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 89 countries, and COVID-19 cases involving the variant are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in places with community transmission and not just infections acquired abroad.

Major questions about omicron remain unanswered, including how effective existing COVID-19 vaccines are against it and whether the variant produces severe illness in many infected individuals, WHO noted.

Yet omicron’s “substantial growth advantage” over the delta variant means it is likely to soon overtake delta as the dominant form of the virus in countries where the new variant is spreading locally, the U.N. health agency said.

In the Netherlands, anticipation a government meeting Saturday would result in tougher restrictions caused shoppers to swarm commercial areas of Dutch cities, fearing it would be their last chance to buy Christmas gifts.

Rotterdam municipality tweeted that it was “too busy in the center” of the port city and told people: “Don’t come to the city.” Amsterdam also warned that the city’s main shopping street was busy and urged people to stick to coronavirus rules.

In the U.K., where confirmed daily cases soared to record numbers this week, the government has reimposed a requirement for masks to be worn indoors and ordered people to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test when going to nightclubs and large events.

But the moves are causing anger.

Critics of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest coronavirus restrictions flooded Oxford Street, a popular London shopping area, on Saturday. The maskless protesters blew whistles, yelled “Freedom!” and told passersby to remove their face coverings.

Hundreds of people blocked traffic as they marched with signs bearing slogans such as “Vaccine passports kill our freedoms” and “Don’t comply.” Other signs had the faces of Johnson or U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid and read, “Give them the boot.”

Scientists are warning the British government it needs to go further to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Leaked minutes from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies suggested a ban on indoor mixing and hospitality, the BBC reported.

Britain and other nations are also accelerating the pace of booster shots after early data showed that two doses of vaccine were less effective against the omicron variant. Shopping centers, cathedrals and soccer stadiums in Britain have been converted into mass vaccination centers.

During a visit to a mass vaccination pop-up clinic at London soccer team Chelsea’s stadium on Saturday, Khan said the running of public services could be impeded by the rapidly spreading variant.

“The big issue we have is the number of Londoners who have this virus and that’s leading to big issues in relation to staff absences and the ability of our public services to run at the optimum levels,″ he told the BBC. “I’m incredibly worried about staff absences in the (National Health Service), in the fire brigade, in the police service, in our councils across London.″

Omicron is now the dominant coronavirus variant in London and efforts were stepped up to reach people who haven’t yet been vaccinated or boosted.

“I want to make a direct appeal to the more than 1 million Londoners who are yet to come forward for any COVID-19 vaccinations — it’s never too late to get your first or second dose,″ the mayor said. “It will help to protect you, your loved ones and our NHS.”

In France, the government announced that it will start giving the vaccine to children in the 5 to 11 age group beginning Wednesday. Prime Minister Jean Castex said Friday that with the omicron variant spreading like “lightning,” the government proposed requiring proof of vaccination for those entering restaurants, cafes and other public establishments. The pending measure requires parliamentary approval.

Demonstrations were planned in Paris to oppose the vaccine pass proposal and ongoing government restrictions.

Thousands of opponents of vaccine requirements and mask mandates protested Saturday in Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf and other German cities. In Austria, local media reported the crowds swelled to tens of thousands.


Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands. Courtney Bonnell in London; Emily Schultheis in Vienna; and Thomas Adamson in Paris, contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at

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Family ski holidays in jeopardy despite end of Austria lockdown

Reports of difficulty obtaining PCR tests in French ski resorts are emerging, writes Abigail Butcher.

Under current regulations, children 12-17 must take a PCR every 24 hours in order satisfy the Pass Sanitaire, a health pass required for use on ski lifts and in hospitality venues.

While the PCR test rule applies also to the unvaccinated, only adult travellers who are double jabbed can currently visit France for leisure purposes.

There are few British children in the French Alps this week but once school holidays start next week the problem is expected to worsen as demand for PCR tests increase.

Stephen Speirs, secretary of Glencoe Ski Club, has been skiing in Alpe d’Huez this week and yesterday said: “The medical centre here could only offer me an antigen/lateral flow test. I would need to travel miles to a bigger town to get a PCR – which would not only cut half a day off the holiday but if I made that journey on public transport you can guarantee Covid rates will go up.”

Some resorts are better organised, however. When the rules for daily PCR tests were introduced on December 7, the Grande Pharmacie in Morzine has increased its PCR capacity from 500 to 1,500 per day which are bookable on the Doctolib website.

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Alpine country goes back into lockdown, suspending tourism as the holiday season starts

(CNN) — Austria has introduced unprecedented new Covid measures, Ireland’s under a midnight curfew, but India has reopened to vaccinated tourists.

Here are some of the biggest developments in travel this week:

It’s beginning to look a lot like … lockdown

Austria will impose a national lockdown on November 22 as Covid-19 cases soar, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced, becoming the first European country to do so this fall.

But things are picking up in Asia

India suffered greatly when it was hit by a calamitous second Covid wave this spring, but it now has some of the lowest case rates in the world, earning it a CDC Level 1 rating as a low-risk travel destination. On Monday, it opened its borders to fully vaccinated foreign tourists on commercial flights for the first time since the pandemic began.

Ireland is now a Cinderella state

Irish revelers now need to leave their Prince Charmings and hurry home from the ball. On Thursday, Ireland imposed a midnight curfew on bars, restaurants and nightclubs, just a few weeks after nightclubs reopened for the first time since March 2020.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Netherlands has returned to partial lockdown and Hungary and the Czech Republic are among four new additions to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s highest-risk travel category.

Ireland will impose a midnight curfew on bars, restaurants and nightclubs from November 18 as the country sees a new surge in Covid-19 cases, despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. CNN’s Becky Anderson sits down with Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister, to discuss.

Thanksgiving travel will near pre-pandemic levels

In the United States, there’ll be a lot more turkey shared compared to last year, as holiday travel is expected to be back almost to the good old days of 2019. Here are our tips on handling the rush.
Around 53.4 million Americans are likely to be on the move, among them Jamal Hinton, who will be continuing his tradition of visiting his “Grandma Wanda” in Arizona. The pair met in 2016 when Wanda Dench accidentally sent the teenaged Hinton a Thanksgiving invite meant for her grandson and an unlikely friendship blossomed.

This is what you could be sitting on in 2025

When you’ve been sitting on your sofa for close to two years, a new era of 2025 business travel can seem very far away — but designers are already working away like Christmas elves on the luxury airplane seats of the future. We’re talking lightweight structure, extra space, bigger and better screens and plenty of wireless charging. Sustainability, ethical sourcing and the reduction of carbon emissions are key concerns.

Thailand’s Maya Bay is set to reopen

It's not me, it's you: Maya Bay needed some recovery time and a break from tourists.

It’s not me, it’s you: Maya Bay needed some recovery time and a break from tourists.

Mladen Antonov/AFP/Gety Images

Officials in Thailand have announced a reopening date for one of the country’s most famous attractions. Maya Bay, a resplendent cove made famous by “The Beach” — a 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio — will reopen to tourists on January 1, 2022. This particular closure wasn’t Covid-related, though; It’s been off limits to tourists since 2018 as officials embarked on a rejuvenation program aimed at reviving the area’s decimated corals.

A chance encounter

When snowstorms stopped Jennifer Lowther flying to her best friend’s wedding, a total stranger came to her rescue, taking her on a breakneck journey and setting in motion a love story that’s still going strong after 18 years.

Aircraft hangar, but make it bouncy

Airport hangars can take years to build, but these inflatable models can be set up in a matter of hours. They have many benefits compared with the traditional design, and can be used for disaster relief.

Isn’t building traditional airport infrastructure such a drag? That rigmarole can go on for years. Thank goodness for inflatable hangars, which can be up and running in no time.

In case you missed it

United Airlines will once again serve hard liquor on its flights

The crowds will be back in Time Square this year for NYE fun

Black Santas are appearing in US Disney parks this season for the first time

National Geographic has revealed its top destinations for 2022

Two American tourists broke into the Colosseum to drink beer

CNN’s Natasha Chen, Karla Cripps, Stephanie Halasz, Tamara Hardingham-Gill, Niamh Kennedy, Lilit Marcus, Artemis Moshtaghian, Rob Picheta, Nadine Schmidt, Kristina Sgueglia, Francesca Street, Manveena Suri and John Walton contributed to this report.

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