By Estelle Shirbon, Sarah Young LONDON (Reuters) – Airlines have slammed UK plans to restart international travel, saying expensive tests for travel to low-risk countries would mean only wealthy people could take vacations to the ‘foreign. displayed at a terminal at Heathrow Airport, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19), London, Great Britain, January 16, 2021. REUTERS / Toby Melville Travel resumes from May 17, a plan that has failed to meet the industry’s hopes for clarity. Airlines and travel agencies are in desperate need of a great summer after a year of restrictions. Without a high level of unlimited travel, some might struggle to survive or need new funds.The government has proposed a system of traffic lights, with countries falling into red, amber or green categories based on COVID risk. 19. Green countries will require a PCR test which costs around 100 pounds ($ 135) for travelers once they return to the UK. “This does not represent a reopening of travel as promised by ministers,” said Airlines UK, an industry body which represents the United Kingdom. Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and others. “This is yet another setback for an industry on its knees.” EasyJet, the UK’s largest passenger carrier, has stressed the requirement for PCR testing, which it says costs more than some of its fares, and called on the government to reassess its plan. “It risks turning the clock around and making flying only for the rich,” said Johan Lundgren, general manager of easyJet. Last 20 years and are among the top spending tourists in Europe. In 2019, more than six in ten Britons took a holiday abroad. Transport Minister Grant Shapps said the government wanted to make travel testing cheaper and suggested that over time the PCR test could be changed to a more affordable lateral flow test. As a government, we are committed to working to reduce these costs, and also eventually, of course, potentially reviewing the type of test, ”he told the BBC. “I’m not telling people they shouldn’t book a vacation now,” the government said in October, Shapps said. “This is the first time that I can say this in many months.” The number of cases in Britain has dropped dramatically from a January spike under a strict lockdown that banned holidays, but a government priority is to avoid undermining its success under the fire system signage, restrictions such as hotel quarantine, home quarantine, and mandatory COVID testing will apply differently depending on the passenger’s country of origin category. Identifying countries most at risk of going from green to orange, although the government has said it would not hesitate to change country categories if data shows the risk has increased. A digital travel certification system would also be part of the plan, but the proposals went into little detail beyond saying Britain wanted to play a leading role in setting standards. ($ 1 = 0.7310 pounds) Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and Sarah Young; Additional reporting by Michael Holden edited by Diane Craft, Robert Birsel and Nick Macfie.
LONDON (Reuters) -The UK will confirm in early May whether to allow international travel to resume from May 17 and which countries will fall into the red, yellow or green category in the traffic light system based on the risk of COVID-19.
The airline, which desperately needs the summer after a year of restrictions, criticized a proposal from the government’s Global Travel Taskforce, which includes a COVID test, saying the cost of 100-pound PCR testing for those arriving from low-risk green countries would attract many travelers.
Providing new details on how they hope to enable people to travel this summer, the task force also said work is being done to develop a certification system, sometimes called a “vaccine passport”, for inbound and outbound travel.
Britain is gradually coming out of a strict winter lockdown sparked by a spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths. Meanwhile, international travel is prohibited except in certain circumstances determined by the government.
But the government’s proposal to restart travel fell short of the airline industry’s expectations.
“This does not represent the reopening of travel as promised by the ministers,” said Airlines UK, the industry body that represents British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and others.
EasyJet, the UK’s largest airline by passenger numbers, said PCR test requirements for low-risk countries were a blow to travelers and called on the government to reassess its plans.
“It runs the risk of turning back time and making flying only for the rich,” said easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren.
The number of cases in the UK has fallen dramatically since the peak of January but the government’s priority is to avoid undermining the success of the vaccination program by importing vaccine-resistant variants from abroad.
“The framework announced today will help enable us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure we protect our hard-earned achievements in vaccine launches and offer peace of mind for passengers and the industry when we start traveling overseas once. again, ”said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The government says it is working with the travel industry and with private COVID-19 test providers to cut travel costs.
“This could include a cheaper test that is used when tourists return home, as well as whether the government will be able to provide a pre-departure test,” said the travel task force.
Under the traffic light system, restrictions such as hotel quarantine, home quarantine and mandatory COVID testing will apply differently depending on the passenger’s country of origin category.
Factors in the assessment category will include the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated, infection rates, prevalence of variants of concern and country access to reliable genome sequencing.
There will be a “green watchlist” identifying the countries most at risk of switching from green to yellow, although the government says it will not hesitate to change a country category if the data shows the risk increases.
The Task Force indicated that a digital travel certification system would be part of the plan but provided few details other than saying that the UK wants to play a leading role in developing standards in this area.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and Sarah Young; editing by Diane Craft, Robert Birsel
April 7 (Reuters) – Australian stocks on Wednesday extended gains for a fourth session, driven by commodity-exposed stocks to strong crude oil and metals prices and as investors bet on improving prospects for a global economic recovery.
The S & P / ASX 200 index rose 0.5% to 6,920.2 points in early trading, hitting a new high since mid-February. Elsewhere in Asia, Nikkei futures were up 0.4%.
On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for global economic growth to 6% this year, a level not seen since the 1970s.
Strong economic data from China and the United States lifted oil prices by 1%, while a weaker dollar and lower US Treasury yields boosted bullion.
Meanwhile copper prices rose on supply concerns after a major Chilean producer closed its borders following a spike in coronavirus infections.
Strong commodities lifted sentiment despite the pullback on Wall Street overnight. All three major US stock indexes closed in the red, retreating from previous session record highs, while Treasury yields edged down.
The ASX 300 metals and mining index was up 0.67%, while the gold sub-index was up 1%, led by Resolute Mining Ltd. which was up 4.4%.
Tech shares rose 1.8%, led by EML Payments Ltd, up 10.7%, followed by NEXTDC Ltd which rose 3.6%.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S & P / NZX 50 index was up 0.68% to 12,484.3.
The highest percentage gainer in the benchmark index was Contact Energy Ltd, up 2.8%, followed by Pushpay Holdings Ltd and Air New Zealand Ltd which rose 2.5% and 1.9%, respectively.
Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips
FILE PHOTO: Johan Lundgren, CEO of EasyJet, gestures as he speaks to media at Gatwick Airport, Britain June 15, 2020. REUTERS / Peter Cziborra LONDON (Reuters) – The Managing Director British airline easyJet has criticized some of the government’s plans to resume travel, saying COVID-19 testing should not be required for passengers traveling to low-risk destinations. UK airlines and the travel industry were disappointed with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s warning on Monday that it was too early to say when international holidays could resume, which could lead to the opening being pushed back later than the current date of May 17. EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said on Tuesday that many details were missing from yesterday’s announcement. and higher risk countries because red made sense, but traveling in green countries should not require passengers to take two COVID-19 tests. This is for me … because it could add costs and complexities, ”he told BBC Radio. He said the cost of COVID-19 testing sometimes exceeded the prices of easyJet tickets. “That means you wouldn’t open international travel to everyone. , you would open yourself up to those who could afford to pay it, ”he said. Asked if people could travel to popular destinations like Spain and Greece without restrictions by July and August, Lundgren said: “Yeah, I really think so. . He said easyJet was continuing to discuss the issues of reopening travel with the government. Reporting by Sarah Young; edited by James Davey.
WELLINGTON / SYDNEY (Reuters) – Quarantine-free travel arrangements between New Zealand and Australia could be “a world first”, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday, with reports suggesting the border between the two countries could open as soon as the week ends.
Australia and New Zealand have handled the COVID-19 crisis more successfully than most other developed countries after closing their international borders to non-citizens and permanent residents very early during the pandemic.
Australia has recorded around 29,400 cases of COVID-19 and 909 deaths since the pandemic began, while New Zealand has more than 2,100 confirmed cases and 26 deaths.
Ardern is scheduled to announce the date for the so-called “travel bubble” with Australia later Tuesday, after facing increasing pressure from businesses in both countries to open international borders.
“Our public health approach means we can now take the next step, and this is a world first,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington.
“I don’t know of any other country in the world that maintains a strategy of elimination and opens up to other countries, so this is a wonderful thing.”
Ardern, however, gave no indication of when the border would open, saying it would be announced after a cabinet meeting at a later date.
The border could be opened to Australian travelers as soon as the weekend, New Zealand broadcaster 1NEWS reported without saying where the information was obtained.
The travel bubble will restrict travelers from certain areas in the event of an outbreak in Australia and is expected to run by state, the broadcaster said.
Meanwhile, The Australian newspaper reported citing government and industry sources that quarantine-free travel between countries could begin on April 12 or 19.
Several Australian states have opened their borders to New Zealand residents since last October, but it is a one-way arrangement due to sporadic outbreaks in several Australian cities.
Reporting by Praveen Menon in Wellington and Renju Jose in Sydney; Edited by Christopher Cushing and Michael Perry