October 17, 2021

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Just Do Travel

Travel news: Japan, Australia and Argentina reveal reopening plans

6 min read

(CNN) — It was World Tourism Day on September 27 this week, but it’s safe to say it’s been another bad year for tourism globally. If you’re wondering where it’s safe to go and when, and what you need to do to get there, CNN Travel is on hand with these weekly round-ups.

Here’s what we learned in pandemic travel this week:

1. Norway lifted its domestic Covid restrictions — then was moved straight into the US ‘very high’ risk category

It was only on September 25 that Norway lifted its Covid-related domestic restrictions, with the government issuing a statement willing a cautious return to “normal everyday life.” Quoting Prime Minister Erna Solberg, the statement said that, “The pandemic is not over. People will still get sick and therefore it is important that everyone gets vaccinated.”
Just two days later, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moved Norway into the highest-risk category on its list of travel advisories for destinations around the world. While there are plenty of tourist favorites alongside them up in the “Level 4” category — including the UK, France and Spain — its Scandinavian neighbors Sweden and Denmark are still down in “Level 3.”

2. Japan is now a little easier to visit (if you’re fully jabbed and with an approved vaccine)

Japan’s health ministry has agreed to loosen entry restrictions for visitors to the country who can provide evidence of being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Travelers will have to show proof of getting the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, as they are currently the only ones accepted in Japan. So it’s bad news for China’s Sinopharm and the United States’ Johnson & Johnson.

Eligible travelers will no longer have to endure a 14-day quarantine — instead, they can do 10. At the end of the 10-day period, they must take a PCR test. If that test comes back negative, the person is then able to move about freely.

3. Australia has revealed its plan to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated citizens

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced plans to reopen the country’s borders to fully vaccinated Australian travelers for international travels, expected to take effect in November. CNN’s Angus Watson reports.

On October 1, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans to reopen the country’s borders to fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents.
It’s now more than 18 months since Australia closed its borders in response to the pandemic, imposing strict quotas on arrivals and a mandatory 14-day quarantine for those who were able to make the trip. The reopening — expected to take effect in November — is welcome news to the thousands of Australian citizens still stranded overseas.

4. Argentina will also reopen to fully vaccinated international visitors on November 1

Drone footage captured a curious southern right whale bumping into a paddle boarder off the coast of Argentina.

We’re now entering springtime in the southern hemisphere and so it will be a peak time to visit Argentina when it reopens to international tourism on November 1.

All foreign visitors will be welcome to make a quarantine-free visit, as long as they have received the approved vaccines at least two weeks beforehand and also present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before their arrival in the country.

Argentina’s Minister of Health Carla Vizzoti tweeted the news on September 21. The country’s land borders have already reopened, on October 1, allowing foreign nationals from its neighboring countries to enter.

5. Vietnam’s biggest city has relaxed its Covid restrictions

A health worker checks the temperature of a member of the public at a Covid-19 vaccination center in Ho Chi Minh City on August 5, 2021.

A health worker checks the temperature of a member of the public at a Covid-19 vaccination center in Ho Chi Minh City on August 5, 2021.

Maika Elan/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Vietnam has been in strict lockdown since early July, as a result of a Covid wave linked to the Delta variant which would lead to a record high of 804 deaths in one day on September 1.

While cases have dropped, it’s still seeing more than 62,000 new cases a week and less than 10% of the population are vaccinated.
However, the economy has been hit hard and officials in Vietnam’s biggest city and commercial hub, Ho Chi Minh City, have made the decision to end travel curbs within the city and to allow some hospitality facilities, malls and construction projects to resume business, reports Reuters.

6. A couple married on the US-Canadian border so the bride’s family could attend

Karen Mahoney and Brian Ray got married on the US-Canadian border so her family could witness it.

Karen Mahoney and Brian Ray got married on the US-Canadian border so her family could witness it.

Courtesy Karen Mahoney

Some people want a church wedding, others want a beach service, but for newlyweds Karen Mahoney and Brian Ray, a US-Canada border crossing outside Burke, New York, was perfect.

Covid-19 restrictions had made it difficult for the Canadian bride to have her family at her US wedding, so this was the way for Mahoney’s parents and 96-year-old grandmother to be at the celebration.

“The most important part of the day for us was the promises we told to each other, and we wanted my parents and grandmother to witness that,” Mahoney told CNN.

7. A baby was born on a Turkish Airlines flight to the US

On a flight from Istanbul, Turkey to Chicago, Ill. on September 27, a passenger gave birth with help from a doctor on board and the Turkish Airlines cabin crew. The flight continued, as the mother and baby were in good health.
Cabin members on the flight were: Cabin Chief Gülderen Doğu, Gulderen Dogu, Pinar Yildirim, Mehmet Topaloglu, Sinem Ozdemir, Abdulkadir Demir, Ahmet Yakar, Mustafa Can Oksuzomer, Sena Yumru, Ugur Sacak, Ezgi Dilara Subasi, Ismail Serkan Aker and Mehmet Dalkilinc.

Turkish Airlines crew members with the baby they helped deliver.

Courtesy Turkish Airlines

A Moroccan woman gave birth on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Chicago on September 27. Her son was delivered with the assistance of cabin crew and a doctor who was on board, reports Nola.com.

The flight continued, as the mother and baby were in good health, a press spokesperson for Turkish Airlines said in a release.

8. A Middle Eastern airline was named the best in the world

Doha-based Qatar Airways has been named 2021’s best airline twice over: first by AirlineRatings.com in July and now by review body Skytrax.

Skytrax World Airline Awards are voted for by travelers via a customer survey, which this time ran from September 2019 to July 2021.

“It is clear that Qatar Airways has maintained its high standards of innovation and service standards, both in more normal times and through the current global pandemic,” said Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted in a statement on the results.

9. Parts of United Airlines’ vaccine mandate have been postponed under a temporary deal

nited Airlines pilot Steve Lindland receives a Covid-19 vaccine at O'Hare International Airport in March 2021.

nited Airlines pilot Steve Lindland receives a Covid-19 vaccine at O’Hare International Airport in March 2021.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

United Airlines’ vaccine mandate came into effect this week, but the airline is postponing full implementation while a legal challenge to the mandate progresses.

Under a temporary deal, employees who had their religious or medical accommodation requests rejected by the company will be allowed to remain active at the company until October 8, when the court has scheduled a hearing in the lawsuit.

United’s policy will still apply to employees who do not show proof of vaccination and didn’t apply for a religious or medical exemption.

10. UK road trips were tricky, due to a gasoline crisis

The UK military is on standby to deliver gasoline to service stations after a shortage of tanker drivers forced some to close last week, triggering a spate of panic buying by British motorists.

The UK’s week-long gasoline shortage, which has seen service stations closed and long lines at those that are open, is beginning to ease off although things have yet to return to normal.

It’s down to a shortage of tanker drivers, made worse by the Brexit situation and also by panic buying by the general public. CNN’s Charles Riley has the lowdown on what you need to know.

CNN’s Chris Isidore, Lauren M. Johnson, Lilit Marcus, Duarte Mendonca, Henrik Pettersson, Charles Riley, Tierney Sneed, Francesca Street, Angus Watson and Ben Westcott contributed to this report.