Covid travel test changes a ‘hammer blow’ to industry


There was already concern in the industry that people’s confidence to travel, and to book future trips, would be knocked by the requirement to take a PCR test within 48 hours of arriving in the UK, and the need to self-isolate until a negative result.



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New Omicron variant spread fears as 13 passengers on flight from South Africa test positive in Amsterdam


AT least thirteen people have tested positive for the Omicron Covid variant after landing in Amsterdam on a flight from South Africa.

Dutch health authorities have confirmed 61 passengers are quarantining as they are infected with the coronavirus with at least 13 cases of the new super strain – but officials fear it is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Dozens of passengers aboard flights from South Africa to Amsterdam have tested positive for Covid

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Dozens of passengers aboard flights from South Africa to Amsterdam have tested positive for CovidCredit: AP
Hundreds of people queued for Covid tests after flying into Schiphol

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Hundreds of people queued for Covid tests after flying into SchipholCredit: Reuters

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“The Omicron variant has so far been identified in 13 of the positive tests. The investigation has not yet been completed. The new variant may be found in more test samples,” the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in a statement.

The passengers were among 600 to arrive at Schiphol Airport on two KLM flights on Friday.

“It is not unlikely more cases will appear in the Netherlands,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said at a press conference in Rotterdam.

“This could possibly be the tip of the iceberg.”

The Dutch government banned all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday.

However, Mr de Jonge said passengers already en route to the Netherlands would be allowed into the country after undergoing testing and quarantine.

Passengers on the two KLM flights, from Cape Town and Johannesburg, said they were kept waiting on the tarmac for hours.

New York Times journalist Stephanie Nolen, a passenger on a flight from Johannesburg who later tested negative, reported a “huge queue” to see Covid testers.

The discovery of Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, has sparked worries around the world that it could resist vaccinations and prolong the nearly two-year Covid pandemic.

Dutch health authorities are also seeking to contact and test some 5,000 other passengers who have travelled from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia or Zimbabwe since Monda

It comes after it was confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the UK.

The Health Secretary said the dreaded super-strain has been reported in Chelmsford and Nottingham as fears of a second Christmas lockdown grow.

Mr Javid said the two individuals who have tested positive and all members of their households are now self-isolating.

They are being re-tested and have been told to self-isolate while further testing and contact tracing is underway.

Boris Johnson has added four more countries on the travel ban list in a desperate bid to avoid a fresh lockdown this Christmas amid Omicron variant chaos.

Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola were added to the travel red list at 4am today in addition to the six already on it – South Africa,

SUPER-STRAIN FEARS

Meanwhile, health chiefs say it’s overwhelmingly likely that “very high risk” Omicron is in Germany already after a traveller tested positive for a mutated form of the deadly bug.

Fears are intensifying over the Omicron variant – believed by experts to be the “worst variant ever”.

In Germany – which looks set to head back into lockdown as Covid cases spiral – a minister in western state Hesse said Omicron has already arrived.

“Last night several Omicron-typical mutations were found in a traveller returning from South Africa,” tweeted Kai Klose.

The state is home to busy Frankfurt Airport.

EU health chiefs have warned the new mutation poses a “high to very high” risk to Europe.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says there’s “considerable uncertainty related to the transmissibility, vaccine effectiveness, risk for reinfections and other properties of the Omicron variant.”

‘HIGH RISK’

On Friday, video emerged of travellers being told they couldn’t get off a plane in Amsterdam after the first European case was confirmed in Belgium.

They were finally allowed off the jet after being tested and leaving their details with contact tracers.

Some nations, including Germany, are believed to be bracing for a ‘Code Black’ scenario – meaning medics will have to choose who gets treatment and who doesn’t.

The situation could soon worsen if Omicron spreads, it’s feared, and the strain has officially been named a “variant of concern” by the WHO.

Elsewhere, a state of emergency has been declared in New York, and President Joe Biden has banned travel from eight African countries.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told his officials to review plans to ease travel restrictions, but tighten border screening.

The country is the world’s second-worst affected by the pandemic. The government only decided yesterday to resume international flights from countries deemed ‘at risk’ of the virus.

The Red Cross took those infected into quarantine

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The Red Cross took those infected into quarantineCredit: EPA
Passengers queueing to board a flight to Amsterdam at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg today

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Passengers queueing to board a flight to Amsterdam at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg todayCredit: AFP
People on board a flight today from Johannesberg to Amsterdam after Dutch authorities confirmed 13 cases of the new variant

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People on board a flight today from Johannesberg to Amsterdam after Dutch authorities confirmed 13 cases of the new variantCredit: AFP
The Dutch government banned all flights from South Africa - but allowed in passengers already in the air when the decision was made

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The Dutch government banned all flights from South Africa – but allowed in passengers already in the air when the decision was madeCredit: Reuters

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Fears Covid super-strain Omicron is already in UK as 1st case confirmed in Europe and passengers banned from leaving plane





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Omicron variant: Do you need a COVID test to travel?


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may make a major change to travel guidelines because of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Per ABC News, the Biden administration and the CDC might soon add new travel guidelines that would require proof of a negative COVID-19 test within a day of flying into the United States from outside the country.

  • “CDC is working to modify the current global testing order for travel as we learn more about the omicron variant; a revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travelers to one day before departure to the United States,” CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said, per ABC News. “This strengthens already robust protocols in place for international travel, including requirements for foreign travelers to be fully vaccinated.”

The omicron variant of the coronavirus has reached the United States as the CDC announced the first official case in a California patient, as I wrote for the Deseret News. Experts expect the variant to pop up more within the country in the comings days.

The United States issued a travel ban from South Africa and seven other African nations due to the emerging omicron variant.





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Gophers pass first big test vs. Pitt, improve to 6-0


The Minnesota Gophers passed their first big test as Luke Loewe’s tip-in with 2.4 seconds remaining helped Minnesota defeat Pittsburgh 54-53 on Tuesday night.

The Gopher offense was inconsistent throughout the first half as both teams struggled to get a bucket. After going into the first media timeout with a 2-0 lead, Minnesota started to find a rhythm by attacking the rim.





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NDSU Prepared for Monday Night Road Test at Kansas State


THIS WEEK
North Dakota State (2-3) is set to travel to Kansas State (6-1) on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum.
 
GAME COVERAGE
Radio: The contest will be available on The City 94.5 FM with Keith Brake on the call.
 
Watch: The contest will be available on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ for subscribers. Brian Smoller (play-by-play), Missy Heidrick (analyst) and Kelsey Bigelow (sideline) will have the call.
 
GoBison.com: Live statistics, audio and video links are available on GoBison.com.
 
BISON QUICK HITS

  • NDSU enters the week with a 2-3 overall record.
  • The Bison earned their first home win of the season after topping Dickinson State, 95-42, last Tuesday night at Scheels Center.
  • NDSU is 1-1 on the road this season.
  • Kansas State begins the week with a 6-1 overall record and are 6-0 in home games.
  • Ryan Cobbins (15.0) and Heaven Hamling (14.0) are both averaging double figures in scoring to pace the Bison through five games.
  • The Bison rank 10th in the nation in free throws made with 92.

 
LAST TIME OUT
NDSU earned its first home win of the season after rolling past Dickinson State last week, 95-42. The Bison tallied a season-high 95 points with six different players reaching double figures in the scoring column. It marked the most points NDSU has scored in a game since 2019. Heaven Hamling led the way with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field.
 
AGAINST POWER 5 OPPONENTS
Under third year head coach Jory Collins, NDSU is 1-3 against Power 5 opponents. Last season, NDSU went on the road and upended Kansas, 72-69. Heaven Hamling paced the Bison with 14 points, while Emily Dietz added in 11 points of her own.
 
KANSAS CONNECTIONS
Ryan Cobbins is a native of Kansas City, Kan., and attended Piper High School.
• Head coach Jory Collins is originally from Holton, Kan., and spent 12 years at Emporia State, including eight seasons as the head coach. He also spent one season at Kansas as an assistant coach in 2018-19.
• Assistant coach Dylan Geissert is a native of Herington, Kan. and also had stints at Kansas and Emporia State.
• Assistant coach Brooke Costley played and spent time as an assistant coach at Emporia State.
 
WE’LL TAKE THAT
The Bison created a season-high 21 steals in the win over Dickinson State, which is tied for the fourth most in program history in a single game. It also marked the most steals since NDSU posted 20 against Valley City State on Jan. 17, 2006.
 
ON THE LINE
Through the first five games of the season, NDSU has proven to be one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country. The Bison have netted 92 free throws, which ranks 10th in the nation.
 
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD
NDSU netted a season-high 95 points in the win over Dickinson State. It marked the most points the Bison have scored in a single game since NDSU tallied 97 at Mayville State on Dec. 15, 2019.
 
COBBINS CONTINUES FAST START
Ryan Cobbins is averaging a team-best 15.0 points per game and has tallied double figures in scoring in all five games this season. She’s shooting a team-high 58.5 percent (24-41) from the field. Cobbins is also making an impact on the defensive side of the floor grabbing 22 total rebounds, which ranks tied for second on the team.
 
Cobbins is shooting a team-best 66.7 percent (10-15) from behind the arc, which leads the Summit league and ranks third in the nation.
 
CAREER NIGHT FOR NO. 2
Kylie Strop provided a spark off the bench in the win over Dickinson State. The River Falls, Wis., native registered career-highs in points (17), assists (6) and rebounds (5) over a career-best 24 minutes of action.
 
DIETZ IS BACK FOR MORE
Emily Dietz is back for her fifth season and looking to leave her mark in the Bison record book with plenty of milestones within reach. Last season, she became the 31st player in school history, and fifth during the NCAA Division I era, to join the 800 points/500 rebounds club. The Fargo native has also played in 107 games with 87 starts over five seasons
 
She ranks in the top 50 in Bison history in games started (14th, 87), rebounds (23rd, 562), blocked shots (t-32nd, 37), field goals made (36th, 375), scoring (42nd, 929) and games played (47th, 107).
 
CHECKING IN ON THE NEWCOMERS
Of the five newcomers on the roster this season, Katie Hildebrandt and Abbey Kubas are the only ones to see action so far this season. Kubas made her Bison debut in the win over Dickinson State and contributed one rebound and one assist. Hildebrandt has seen playing time in four games and notched a season-best 10 points against Dickinson State.
 
SCOUTING KANSAS STATE
Kansas State begins the week with a 6-1 overall record, including a 6-0 mark at home this season. In their most recent contest, the Wildcats topped Northwestern State, 70-36, on Saturday afternoon. Kansas State has notched 38 total blocked shots, which ranks sixth in the nation. The Wildcats are also positioned 16th in the country in blocked shots per game averaging 6.3.
 
THE SERIES VS. KANSAS STATE
This will mark only the third all-time meeting between the Bison and Wildcats dating back to 1985 with Kansas State leading the series, 2-0. In the most recent meeting in 2011, the Wildcats edged the Bison, 70-47, at the BTI Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev.
 
UP NEXT
NDSU will take on Bradley (3-2) at Scheels Center on Saturday, Dec. 4. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.
 



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Holiday travel: Problem Solvers test journey from Pikes Peak shuttle lot to terminal


DENVER (KDVR) — More than 2 million travelers are expected to pass through Denver International Airport over the Thanksgiving holiday travel surge.

Airport officials have reopened the massive Pikes Peak shuttle parking lot to accommodate the extra demand. The Pikes Peak lot was closed for months because it wasn’t needed during the pandemic. But times have changed. DIA is bracing for an even larger Thanksgiving travel crowd than it saw in 2019, prior to pandemic restrictions.

The airport closed the east economy lot to funnel more shuttles to the far-and-away Pikes Peak lot that costs drivers $8 a day.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers timed the wait between six shuttles late Monday afternoon into the early evening. The first wait was nearly seven minutes. After that, the waits were anywhere from 90 seconds to five minutes between shuttles. Once on board, it took just a bit more than 15 minutes to arrive at the terminal.

Accounting for the time it takes to park, walk to a stop, and any unexpected delays— airport officials advise 45 minutes for the shuttle lot option to ensure travelers are at the airport two hours before a domestic flight.

Security lines Monday evening appeared to be average length.

The airport said there will be anywhere from 89 to 95 shuttle drivers working each day through the rest of Thanksgiving week to get people to and from the terminal.



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Utahns line up at test to travel sites


SALT LAKE CITY — Thanksgiving is now just a week away and a lot of Americans are expected to be traveling.

So, Utah Health Department officials are doing what they can to ensure folks are COVID free during this holiday weekend.

NOMI health officials now have two locations established. One in Salt Lake City and one in St. George, for what they’re calling test to travel sites.

Both locations have a fast lane set up that will let travelers know their COVID status before heading off to gather with family and friends.

Hopefully an extra layer of protection to prevent this Thanksgiving from being a super spreader event.

“So if you’re traveling and you want to get that immediate response before you jump on that plane, we will need a boarding pass to prove that you’re traveling and then if you’re a state resident you can just provide us some proof of residency and then it’s completely free,” said Carolina Herrin with NOMI Health. “But if you’re not a state resident we have a minimal fee with that but you’re still able to get it and you’re still able to have that response quickly so you can get on that plane.”

It’s set up to super fast, taking 15 to 20 minutes from start to results.

People can also get a full PCR test which has a 24 to 48 hour turnaround at the very most.

These locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.





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AA, BA, Amex GBT Partner to Offer Business Travelers Covid Test Kits


American Airlines and British Airways have partnered with American Express Global Business Travel and global Covid-19 testing provider Qured to offer complimentary test kits to premium business travelers.

Business passengers who book premium seats on either American Airlines or British Airways flights between the U.S. and U.K., departing from either country, through GBT will be eligible to receive a rapid antigen test kit, which is approved for use by both the U.S. and U.K. governments.

GBT will provide qualified travelers with a unique promotional code after their travel is ticketed. They can use the code to order from the Qured website, with kits delivered to the location or locations specified on their itinerary. Eligible customers can begin ordering the tests in 2022 for travel through the end of the year.

Tests are completed remotely through a supervised video call scheduled with and administered by a professional health advisor, according to American Airlines. Results are available within 20 minutes of swabbing, and electronic verified results are shared with the patient within two hours of their remote consultation.



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