Pandemic travel news: Russia and China fight record Covid outbreaks

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(CNN) – Russia and China are battling Covid record outbreaks, U.S. domestic air travel will go from bad to worse, but there is good news from the Asia-Pacific.

These are some of the things we learned during the pandemic trips this week.

1. Russia has moved into the highest risk category of the CDC

Moscow will impose a 10-day blockade starting next week to try to curb the rise in Covid-19 cases, the city’s mayor said, as Russia endures its worst phase of the pandemic. Frederik Pleitgen of CNN reports.

Covid cases in the world’s largest country by area have reached an all-time high, with nearly 274,000 new cases reported in Russia last week and only 34% of the population fully vaccinated. The increase means the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added Russia this week to its list of “very high” risk travel destinations, the criterion for which it has had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 28 days. .

There are now about 80 countries on the CDC’s Level 4 list, including the United Kingdom, Greece, Switzerland, and Thailand.

2. China is duplicating its zero-Covid strategy

Shanghai Disneyland went into a quick blockade after a single Covid-19 case was confirmed. The extreme measure forced tens of thousands of visitors and staff to undergo coronavirus testing before they were allowed to leave the park, as police blocked the exits and secured the ground. CNN’s David Culver reports.

Across Asia Pacific, from Australia to South Korea, countries are easing restrictions and reopening borders as they move away from Covid’s zero strategies, but China holds on.

The country is currently working to contain its most widespread Covid outbreak from Wuhan, although the number of recent cases is still only hundreds. A single case of Covid at Shanghai Disneyland on Halloween closed the entire park and adjacent Disneytown shopping district.

Despite completely vaccinating more than 75% of its population, China is pursuing its policy of closing borders, long quarantines for international arrivals and localized blockades.

3. Flying has gotten really bad. Here’s why

American Airlines has canceled hundreds of flights over a four-day period because it deals with staff shortages and weather problems. The airline says 1,800 flight attendants are returning from free time due to the pandemic. CNN’s Pete Muntean reports.

Staff shortages mean flight crews are overloaded and vaccine mandates could lead to even more shortages. Meanwhile, lower flight availability means higher ticket prices for these flights. The planes are full, there is division over mask rules and tensions are rising.

Meanwhile, the U.S. will reopen fully vaccinated foreign visitors on Nov. 8. “At first it will be a bit sloppy, I can assure you,” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said at a tourism industry conference in late October. “There will be lines, unfortunately.”

4. The ultra-long-distance dream is not gone

A 2019 Qantas experimental research flight landed in Sydney after flying nonstop from London, breaking two aviation records.

Ultra-long-haul flights are classified as any that are scheduled to last more than 16 hours, and have actually existed since the 1930s.

While the aviation industry is currently focusing on recovery rather than breaking records, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has told CNN’s Richard Quest that in 2022 his airline hopes to review the development of Project Sunrise , a plan to operate the world’s longest nonstop flights. , which would allow travelers to fly between London or New York to the eastern Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne. The goal is to launch it later in the next two or three years.The longest scheduled passenger flight in the world currently in service is Singapore Airlines ’Singapore-JFK flight, which covers 9,536.5 miles and takes 18 hours and 40 minutes on the route to Singapore.

5. Try warm weather destinations, travel experts say

Relax and enjoy the surf and sun by taking a 60-second break in the Turks and Caicos.

While the 2020 holiday season was a matter of staying home, this year moving around the world is safer and more accessible. However, we still have to weigh the risks and benefits during every step of vacation planning.

Your vaccination status is the most important factor when it comes to ease of travel, as many countries do not allow those who do not enter. If you want to reduce your risk of Covid, but still want to vacation abroad, consider warm weather destinations where most of the activity is outdoors.

7. The “best cheese in the world” for 2021 was revealed

The 2021 World Cheese Awards were held in northern Spain.

The Good Food Guild

Even if you’re not making plans to go anywhere for a while, you can still travel the world with your palate.

A soft goat cheese from Spain won first place at the World Cheese Awards on November 3, after being chosen from more than 4,000 works from more than 40 countries.

The winning cheese, called Olavidia, is from an artisan cheesemaker with the trade name Quesos y Besos. The crown returned to Europe this year after the previous winner was, for the first time, an American cheese, Oregon’s Rogue River Blue.

8. There were cheerful meetings at Australian airports

Australia’s international borders have reopened, ending nearly 20 months of harsh restrictions and provoking emotional scenes at Sydney Airport when people were reunited with their loved ones. CNN’s Angus Watson reports.

Tens of thousands of loved ones and relatives have been separated for more than 20 months due to Australia’s strict border policy in response to the Covid-19.

So far, only the highly vaccinated states of New South Wales and Victoria have relaxed restrictions on international arrivals, but the Australian government says more borders will be removed as other parts of the country meet their targets. 80% vaccination.

Forrest Brown, Karla Cripps, Nectar Gan, Steve George, Al Goodman, Marnie Hunter, Chris Isidore, Angus Watson, Ben Westcott and Jessie Yeung of CNN contributed to the reports.

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