As international concerns mount over the COVID-19 (or coronavirus) pandemic, the world of travel is keeping close tabs on ongoing developments. With several countries employing border shutdowns after months of stringent airport screenings, the war against novel coronavirus has intensified. Across the world, over 40,932,220 people have been infected, and while the infection rate has dropped in the Americas, most European countries are battling a second wave. India has recorded more than seven million cases (Johns Hopkins University). India was under coronavirus lockdown from March 25 till June 30, and curbs on movement and economic activity are now being relaxed gradually. The country has recorded 7,651,107 COVID-19 cases, out of which 740,090 are active cases, as of October 21. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has activated toll-free number (1075) for coronavirus support. Here is the link for a state-wise breakdown of helpline numbers. As nations across the world race to contain the virus, we track the latest updates.
October 21, 10.30 p.m.: German Health Minister Jens Spahn has tested positive for Covid-19 and is currently in home quarantine.
October 21, 8.30 p.m.: To curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Polish government is likely to introduce tighter curbs on public life and movement tomorrow.
October 21, 6 p.m.: Amid a surge of new Covid-19 infections, the national government has ordered most shops and services to close in the Czech Republic. Additionally, residents are urged to limit non-essential travel to a minimum to prevent transmission of the virus.
October 21, 4 p.m.: The Guardian reports that Slovakia and Poland have recorded their highest ever daily increases in Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours. The infection is spreading at an alarming rate in Poland, with cases doubling in less than three weeks.
October 21, 2 p.m.: The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that around 300,000 excess deaths have occurred in the country this year, as compared to the average annual deaths in the years 2015-2019. It is estimated that around 200,000 of them are coronavirus-related deaths, a number much higher than the official figure of 221,083.
October 21, 12 p.m.: A man in Victoria, Australia has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in October, after first testing positive in July. Though it has not been confirmed by officials, the patient might be Australia’s first confirmed case of coronavirus reinfection. Only six confirmed reinfections have been reported globally, but they nevertheless raise questions about the body’s immunity against the virus after recovery.
October 21, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 7,651,107, and the death toll stands at 115,914.
October 21, 8 a.m.: Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific announced that it will cut 5,900 jobs in light of the financial downturn brought on by the pandemic. The airline will also end its regional carrier Cathay Dragon, which means that a total of 8,500 employees will be laid off. Airlines have been hit hard because of the drop in demand for air travel due to the pandemic.
October 20, 10.30 p.m.: The Guardian reports that after witnessing a record daily increase in cases, face masks have been made mandatory in Bulgaria.
October 20, 8 p.m.: A night-time curfew has been imposed in Italy’s Campania region to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The region has seen a sharp increase in infections over the past few days.
October 20, 6 p.m.: At London’s Heathrow airport, departing passengers are now offered a rapid Covid-19 test which produces a result in an hour. The tests cost 80 pounds and are intended for passengers travelling to countries where a pre-departure Covid-19 test is a requirement for entry.
October 20, 4 p.m.: The Spanish region of Navarre will enter a 15-day coronavirus lockdown starting Thursday. The region’s hospitals and healthcare facilities are under immense pressure due to a spike in infections over the past few days, prompting authorities to impose lockdown measures.
October 20, 2 p.m.: In Italy’s Lombardy region, authorities have decided to impose a night time curfew to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Lombardy is one of the country’s worst-hit regions, and residents will likely be allowed to leave their homes only for essential purposes.
October 20, 11 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 7,597,063, and the death toll stands at 115,197.
October 20, 9.30 a.m.: The Irish government has imposed a six-week lockdown in the country because of the rising coronavirus infection rate. Among other restrictions, non-essential retail shops are to be shut down, restaurants and pubs are only allowed to offer takeaway and citizens are not permitted to travel more than five kilometres.
October 20, 8 a.m.: Argentina has become the fifth country to cross 1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases, after the U.S.A., India, Russia and Brazil. Argentina is the smallest nation to surpass this grim figure, and has recorded in excess of 26,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
October 19, 10 p.m.: The U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today that by December 1, the government will roll out a test-and-release system for international arrivals into the country. It is likely that under this system, travellers will have to undergo a Covid-19 test a week after arrival, which would reduce the duration of quarantine by seven days.
October 19, 8 p.m.: A member of a central government committee said today that 50% of India’s population is likely to be infected with the coronavirus by February 2021. The committee estimates that around 30% of the population is infected currently.
October 19, 6 p.m.: The Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that a two-week lockdown will be imposed across the country to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
October 19, 4 p.m.: According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Centre, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world has crossed the grim 40 million landmark. More than 1.1 million people have lost their lives to the virus so far.
October 19, 2 p.m: Amid a surge in Covid-19 infections, the Belgian government announced a nationwide night time curfew today. Additionally, masks have been mandatory in Switzerland in an attempt to minimize coronavirus transmission.
October 19, 12 p.m: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 7,550,273, and the death toll stands at 114,610.
October 19, 10 a.m: A week after international air travel resumed in Panama, authorities are offering incoming passengers a Covid-19 test to minimize the risk of imported coronavirus infections.
October 19, 8 a.m: Direct flights between Goa and London have resumed under the air travel bubble arrangement between India and the U.K. The weekly flight service will ply twice a week starting November.
October 18, 10 p.m.: After new coronavirus infections were detected in towns near the border with Myanmar, the government of Thailand has closed all border crossings with Myanmar.
October 18, 7 p.m.: Metro services are set to resume in Mumbai tomorrow after more than six months. Passengers will be thermally screened on entry and will adhere to social distancing norms.
October 18, 5 p.m.: Travellers coming to Israel from the U.K. will now be required to quarantine for 14 days due to a rise in the latter’s infection rate over he past few days.
October 18, 2.30 p.m.: The Guardian reports that the French administered Wallis and Futuna Islands in the Pacific Ocean, have registered their first Covid-19 case. Because of their remote locations Pacific islands like Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are believed to be Covid-19 free at the moment.
October 18, 12 p.m.: A night-time curfew has come into effect in Paris and other French cities last night, to bring the rising coronavirus infections rate in the country under control.
October 18, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 7,494,551, and the death toll stands at 114,031.
October 18, 8 a.m.: After three weeks, a case of community coronavirus was detected in New Zealand yesterday. The country has been successful thus far in controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus, and has largely eliminated its spread in the community.
October 17, 10 p.m.: Amid rising coronavirus infections in the country, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to announce tighter restrictions on public life across Italy tomorrow.
October 17, 8 p.m.: Starting October 28, flights will resume between Bangladesh and India under a bilateral travel bubble arrangement. Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara and GoAir will be the five Indian airlines to operate flights to and from Bangladesh.
October 17, 6 p.m.: IndiGo announced today that it will charge passengers a fee of Rs. 100 if they check in their baggage at the airport counter. The additional charge has been brought into effect to incentivise passengers to use the web check-in services and by doing so, minimize contact at airports.
October 17, 4 p.m.: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged citizens to minimize travel as much as possible and to limit social contact, in order to bring the rising Covid-19 infection rate under control. Like many other European countries, Germany too is witnessing a resurgence of cases over the past few days.
October 17, 2 p.m.: Express Covid-19 RT-PCR testing facilities have been introduced at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai. All departing passengers can get tested before the flight and avoid quarantine at their destination by producing the negative test result on arrival.
October 17, 12 p.m.: Thailand’s Covid-19 administration centre announced that two new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the country today. This is the first instance of local transmission in Thailand in more than a month.
October 17, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 7,432,680, and the death toll stands at 112,998.
October 17, 8.30 a.m.: Maltese Prime Minister Abela announced that in light of the rising Covid-19 infection rate in the country, face masks will be made mandatory in public places. Additionally, bars and clubs will have to shut shop by 11 p.m.
October 16, 10 p.m.: Authorities in Hong Kong have banned Air India and Vistara flights from India after passengers onboard the flights tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival. This will mark the third time that Air India flights to Hong Kong have been banned because of passengers testing positive.
October 16, 8.30 p.m.: Amid rising Covid-19 infections in the country, the Belgian government is likely to introduce tighter coronavirus measures today. Restrictions could include mandatory work from home, and limits on meeting people.
October 16, 7 p.m.: As the coronavirus infection rate declines in Israel, the government will ease the ongoing nationwide lockdown. Beaches, national parks and nature reserves will be reopened to the public and limits on movement of people will be relaxed.
October 16, 6 p.m.: The French Transport Minister announced today that rapid Covid-19 testing facilities will be introduced at airports this month. The move will likely help boost air travel demand as rapid tests could be a substitute for lengthy quarantines currently in place.
October 16, 3.30 p.m.: According to the World Health Organization, the drug remdesivir does not significantly affect Covid-19 mortality. The drug has previously been touted to be an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus by some experts during the course of the pandemic. Additionally, the drug also has little effect on the amount of time patients remain hospitalized.
October 16, 12 p.m.: The U.S.A. surpassed 8 million confirmed Covid-19 infections today. The country is the worst-affected in the world, and accounts for 20% of the world’s tally of cases. The last million cases have been recorded in less than a month.
October 16, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India is 7,370,468 and the death toll stands at 112,161.
October 16, 8 a.m.: The German Foreign Ministry issued a warning against non-essential travel to France, the Netherlands, Malta and Slovakia starting Saturday amid high coronavirus infection rates in these countries.
October 15, 10 p.m.: The WHO’s regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge announced that Europe recorded its highest weekly rise in Covid-19 infections over the past seven days. WHO experts have warned that Europe could see very high daily Covid-19 deaths within months if social distancing measures are not adhered to.
October 15, 7 p.m.: In an easing of coronavirus restrictions, the Israeli government has lifted the ban on citizens flying out the country today. Starting tomorrow, those who have booked their tickets before September 25 will be allowed to enter the airport and fly.
October 15, 4 p.m.: Amid new travel restrictions imposed across Europe, Irish carrier Ryanair will cut their winter flight schedule by 33%. The airline will also close its bases in Toulouse in France and Cork and Shannon in Ireland.
October 15, 3 p.m.: Reports suggest that tougher coronavirus restrictions will be imposed in British capital London. The city is currently at medium alert level, and is likely to shift to the high alert level.
October 15, 2 p.m.: A travel bubble will be set up between Singapore and Hong Kong, authorities of the two cities announced today. Though travellers will not have to quarantine, they will have to provide a Covid-19 negative test certificate in order to travel.
October 15, 12.30 p.m.: Germany recorded 6,638 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, the highest ever daily increase in cases since the pandemic began. The country is battling a second wave of infections over the past few weeks, prompting the government to tighten coronavirus restrictions.
October 15, 11 a.m.: The World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist, Soumya Swaminathan said that young and healthy people might have to wait till 2022 to receive their coronavirus vaccination, as health workers and high-risk individuals will be prioritized first. Dr. Swaminathan also said she was hopeful that at least one successful coronavirus vaccine will be available by 2021.
October 15, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India is 7,307,097 and the death toll stands at 111,266.
October 15, 8 a.m.: A public health emergency has been declared by the French government due to the coronavirus pandemic in the country. The emergency was first declared in March, and was lifted in July when the infection rate was dropping steadily. However, the country is in the midst of a second wave of infections,prompting the government to declare an emergency once again. Reports suggest a night time curfew could be imposed as well.
October 14, 10 p.m.: The Guardian reports that starting tomorrow, tighter coronavirus restrictions will be imposed in Portugal as the coronavirus infection rate continues to rise in the country.
October 14, 7.30 p.m.: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced today that an air bubble agreement has been signed with Ukraine, and that the two countries’ carriers will operate flights between them. The air bubble will be in place till November 30.
October 14, 4 p.m.: The Czech government announced that a three week partial lockdown will be imposed in the country to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Czech Republic currently has the highest new infection rate per 100,000 in Europe.
October 14, 2 p.m.: Authorities in Israel have extended the ongoing nationwide lockdown till Sunday night. The country’s reopening plans have thus been delayed due to the high Covid-19 infection rate.
October 14, 12 p.m.: Amid rising Covid-19 infections, tougher restrictions will be imposed in Northern Ireland. Schools will likely be shut down and hospitality establishments will be required to adhere to stricter curbs.
October 14, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India is 7,239,389 and the death toll stands at 110,586.
October 14, 8 a.m.: American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has paused clinical trials of its Covid-19 antibody treatment drug for safety reason. Yesterday, it was announced that Johnson & Johnson had also paused large-scale trials on its coronavirus vaccine after a volunteer fell sick.
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