Travel news latest: Heathrow reports highest passenger levels since start of pandemic

Advice

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to reveal long-awaited plans for the reopening of the country’s borders tomorrow. 

Ahead of the announcement, an expert governmental advisory panel has recommended that the country can reopen slowly once its vaccination programme is complete, without the need for mandatory hotel quarantine. The group suggested that inbound travellers should be assessed on their vaccination status, the nature of the pandemic in their home country and be subject to pre-departure and rapid tests on arrival. 

The head of the group, epidemiologist Sir David Skegg, stated that the country could continue to pursue its Covid elimination strategy once travel restarted, but should begin preparing measures such as airport testing and increased contact tracing. 

New Zealand has some of the strictest border controls in the world and has only recorded 26 deaths throughout the pandemic. Its vaccination effort, however, has been fairly sluggish, with only 21 per cent of the population fully jabbed. 

Last month the government suspended its travel bubble with Australia over the rising cases of the delta variant in its neighbouring country. 

Scroll down for more updates.

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Hawaii to reimpose restrictions as delta variant surges

Hawaii will re-impose Covid-19 restrictions limiting social gatherings to avert straining the state’s healthcare, Governor David Ige said on Tuesday, as the rapid spread of the delta variant pushed cases and hospitalisations in the US to a six-month high.

“I’ll be signing an executive order that will limit social gatherings, effective immediately,” Ige said in a tweet.

In June, social gatherings were increased to 25 indoors and 75 outdoors statewide but now it will be capped to no more than 10 indoors and 25 outdoor.

Hawaii, with more than 60 per cent of population fully vaccinated, has witnessed a rise in cases by 168 per cent between July 26 and August 8, according to the state’s department of health.

Nine in 10 private Covid travel test providers yet to be accredited as competent

More than 90 per cent of private travel Covid test providers are yet to be accredited as competent operators amid claims that holidaymakers face a “Wild West”.

The UK accreditation service (UKAS) is responsible for vetting and approving the 434 companies listed by the Government as offering testing and which are charging holidaymakers up to £399 per PCR test.

The process to check that they meet medical and scientific standards began at the end of last year after the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) set up the gov.uk site of approved companies.

However, only 38 have so far been fully accredited, prompting complaints that holidaymakers are being exposed to rip-offs, misleading pricing and missed flights because of delays in returned test results.

Charles Hymas has the full story.

What happened yesterday?

A recap of the top stories.

  • Vodafone hits new customers with EU roaming charges 
  • Randox test drop boxes emptied “up to” four times a day
  • Government should pay for ‘crippling’ travel tests, says WTTC
  • InterContinental Hotels returns to profit 
  • JetBlue to launch NYC to UK flights 

Now, on with today’s travel news.

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