Travel News


DECEMBER 21, 2020

With travel restrictions being lifted up around Africa, the African Development Bank’s Visa Openness Index Report which measures which countries are facilitating travel for citizens of other countries, gives a picture of the state of travel in Africa. . What’s in this year’s report

  • African borders have become increasingly open over the past five years.
  • Africans do not need a visa to travel to 26% of other African countries
  • Africans need visas to travel to 46% of other African countries
  • 24 countries offer electronic visas (eVisas) reflecting 44% of the continent, a significant increase from 9 countries in 2016.
  • The most visa-open countries are found in East and West Africa—these two regions accounted for 80 per cent of the top 20 most visa-open African countries in 2020.
  • Seychelles, Benin and The Gambia are the only African countries that offer visa-free access to all Africans.

Why it matters : The adoption of eVisas has made the issuance and management process of Visas easier, a further increase in its adoption by African governments could lead to more openness. While Identity theft and forgery are valid concerns, they're negligible when compared to gains from the increase in openness and the development of regional tourism. 

Dubai holidays: Am I allowed to visit, do I need a PCR test and what are the rules? - THE INDEPENDENT

DECEMBER 21, 2020

BY Qin Xie

With year-round sunshine and just a few days of annual rainfall, it’s no wonder Dubai is such a hit with British holidaymakers – 1.2 million Britons visited in 2019.

After going into lockdown earlier in the year, Dubai has started issuing tourist visas again with leisure travellers finally allowed to return to the Emirate.

And with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) remaining on the UK government’s travel corridors list, there’s no longer a requirement to self-isolate on your return.

Here’s all the information you need to know.

Am I allowed to travel to Dubai from the UK?

Dubai, and the rest of the UAE, is currently on the Foreign Office’s (FCDO) safe list, which means you can travel there without invalidating your travel insurance. The emirate has also been accepting international tourists since 7 July.

It means you can now travel there for business or leisure relatively easily.

However, you should adhere to the travel restrictions in place in your area. For example, while those living in England are permitted to travel abroad, those in certain parts of Scotland and the whole of Wales are not.

How can I get there?

British Airways and Emirates are currently the only airlines operating direct flights from the UK to Dubai.

The Independent found direct return flights from the UK with British Airways, for travelling in January, from £362. But Emirates has the benefit of offering free Covid cover as part of its fare.

However, you can find cheaper options by adding a stop over. Gulf Air offers return flights from £290, for example, with a stop in Bahrain, which is on the UK’s travel corridors list, meaning you won’t have to quarantine on return if you transit there.

Alternatively, package holiday deals are available. Virgin Holidays is offering a package holiday departing London Heathrow on 7 December, flying direct to Dubai and staying at the Hilton Dubai Creek for seven nights, from £729pp B&B including transfers.

Will they let me in when I arrive?

Different emirates in the UAE have different entry requirements so make sure you double check if you’re flying into another emirate to reach Dubai.

Dubai’s borders are open.

Visitors will be required to complete a Health Declaration Form and a Quarantine Form, which must be printed, completed and handed to Dubai Health Authority staff upon arrival. Visitors will also have to download and register their details on the Covid-19 DXB App according to the FCDO.

In addition, visitors must have international health insurance before travelling.

Your passport should also be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into the UAE.

Do I need to take a PCR swab test for Covid?

Yes. Visitors have two options – they can take a PCR swab test for Covid within 96 hours of departure or on arrival in Dubai. It must be a PCR swab test and other tests, including antibodies test, are not accepted.

Those taking a test before they travel are required to show printed negative results on their arrival. Those taking a test on arrival will need to quarantine until their results come back negative, which typically takes 12 hours but can be longer.

Additional testing may be required at Dubai airport and those who test positive in Dubai will be required to self-isolate in a government-mandated facility on their own expense.

All visitors to Dubai must adhere to public health measures issued by the Dubai authorities, including any requirements to quarantine.

Further details of the restrictions can be found here.

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive?

If you test positive for Covid-19, yes. Guidance from the Dubai government states that it is mandatory for tourists who test positive to register their details on the Covid-19 DXB app and isolate themselves “at an institutional facility provided by the government for 14 days at their own expense”.

Dubai’s national carriers, Emirates and FlyDubai, both include coronavirus cover as part of the ticket prices. In this case, your quarantine expenses will be covered by the airline.

Otherwise no.

Will I have to quarantine when I come home?

The UAE is on the UK’s travel corridors list. It means you won’t have to self-isolate after returning from Dubai at present.

Can I travel within the United Arab Emirates?

Yes, but there are additional restrictions in place.

Abu Dhabi, for example, is requiring all visitors to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. They also need to show a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival if travelling by road. Tourist visas on arrival are currently not being issued at the Abu Dhabi airport. If you’re leaving Abu Dhabi for the UK or the EU, you also need to take a PCR test within 96 hours before your departure.

Sharjah is requiring those wishing to enter the emirate to provide negative results of a Covid-19 test taken within 96 hours of arrival. They must then take another test once in Sharjah and self-isolate until their tests come back negative. All visitors must have adequate health insurance to cover adequate tests and if they test positive on arrival, they will need to quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

Are hotels open?

Dubai skyline by nightistock
Dubai skyline by nightistock

Yes, hotels opened in Dubai in May with social distancing regulations in place, such as socially distanced sunbeds.

Are restaurants, shops and attractions open?

Most shops, restaurants and attractions have now reopened. Major shopping malls, such as the Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Outlet Mall reopened in April.

Public and private hotel beaches, major parks, cinemas, museums and top attractions such as Atlantis Aquaventure and The Green Planet are all open.

If you’re travelling for an event, the FCDO has advised that you should check with the organisers whether it’s still happening – some events have restarted, however.

What rules are in place?

Face masks are mandatory everywhere outside your hotel room, even on the beach. You can however take off your mask for eating, drinking, swimming and exercising.

Failure to wear a face mask carries a AED3,000 (£650) fine, with the same amount applicable for anyone not adhering to social distancing guidelines of two metres.

There may also be temperature checks in place at restaurants and other indoor venues.

Travel bans on UK flights, ferries and trains: the essential questions - THE INDEPENDENT UK

DECEMBER 21, 2020

BY  Simon Calder

Countries across Europe and the world are imposing or considering short-term bans on travel links with the UK. These are the key questions and answers.

What is happening?

The infectious mutation of the Covid-19 virus which appears to be raging in London and parts of southeast England is causing serious concern around the world.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, described it as “out of control,” though it is not thought to cause a more severe illness.

Foreign countries are understandably concerned about the risk that the mutant coronavirus strain could take hold dangerously on their territory. As a result, many European nations have called a halt to transport links with the UK.

They are imposing restrictions on travellers from the UK, and in some cases those who have spent time in the UK in the previous two weeks.

Over the next two days the European Union will work on procedures to allow travel to re-start, probably with stringent testing requirements in place.

Where are the worst problems?

France has suspended all traffic from the UK until 11.59pm on Tuesday 22 December.

The biggest issue is across the Channel to France. The ferry terminal at the Port of Dover is closed to all accompanied traffic leaving the UK until further notice due to French border restrictions.

The last departure of Eurotunnel shuttles from Folkestone to Calais was at 9.34pm. Access to the terminal is now prohibited.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, tweeted: "Following the French government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48hrs, we're asking the public & particularly hauliers not to travel to Kent ports or other routes to France.

“We expect significant disruption in the area. My department is urgently working with Highways England and Kent Council on contingency measures to minimise traffic disruption in the area.”

Which other nations?

The first restriction – a two-week flight ban – was introduced by the Netherlands ministry of health in the early hours of Sunday morning. Dozens of flights were cancelled on Sunday, with many others are grounded up to 1 January 2021.

Belgium has imposed a 24-hour ban from 0.01am on Monday 21 December, with the Foreign Office saying: “Subject to scientific consultations, the closure could be extended for a longer period.”

Separately, Belgium is introducing a demand for evidence of a negative Covid-19 test, taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival, in order to enter the country. This will take effect on Christmas Day.

Next was the Austrian government, announcing that, effective from 0.01am on Tuesday 22 December, a ban will be imposed on flights from the UK.

Italy has declared flight ban to 6 January 2021, and anyone already in Italy who has been in the UK since 6 December must report to their local health authorities and take a Covid-19 test.

All arrivals to Italy between now and 6 January 2021– from anywhere – must self-isolate for 14 days.

Switzerland announced a flight ban late on Sunday night. It is not clear when it will begin. The Foreign Office says that anyone arriving after noon local time (11am GMT) on Monday from the UK, regardless of nationality, will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.

What about Ireland?

ban on passengers arriving on flights and ferries from Great Britain has been imposed at 0.01am on Monday 21 December. The prohibition is initially for 48 hours but may be extended. Ferries will continue to sail but will carry only freight.

The prohibition is in place for Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 December and the measures will be reviewed by the Irish cabinet on Tuesday.

This is extremely unusual: Ireland and the UK are in a Common Travel Area and have been working together very closely. In addition, a very large number of Irish people living in Great Britain were planning to return to the Republic for Christmas.T

The government in Dublin says arrangements are being put in place to allow Irish residents on short trips to the UK to return in the coming days, as well as international travellers to Ireland who are transiting through the UK.

Conversely Aer Lingus will be operating flights to the UK (flying back empty) according to its normal schedule.

Citizens in distress can call the Irish Embassy in London 020 7235 2171 or email [email protected]

Arrivals from Northern Ireland are not expected to be affected.

Where else?

Spain is the main exception: it appears to be allowing arrivals from the UK. Under an existing rule, all passengers must arrive with a negative Covid test.

Portugal says only its citizens returning home, and foreigners who are resident there, will be allowed to fly in from the UK – and they must take a Covid-19 test.

Germany has banned all flights up to 11pm on 31 December, coincidentally the time the Brexit transition phase ends.

Meanwhile central and eastern European countries are taking action.

Greece is still allowing arrivals from the UK, but the health ministry said they must quarantine for a week rather than the three days required for other travellers.

The Czech government initially introduced mandatory quarantine for those who have travelled from the UK, or spent more than 24 hours in the UK during the past 14 days. It has now introduced a flight ban from Monday 21 December.

Romania has banned all flights from the UK for two weeks.

Bulgaria is reported to have imposed a ban on links from the UK until 31 January 2021, but this – like all other initial durations – is subject to change.

Many other countries are considering imposing bans.

Anywhere long-haul?

Kuwait was the first non-European nation to ban any travellers who have been in the UK during the preceding two weeks. This ban will affect relatively few people; Kuwait is not a significant tourist destination, and imposes 14 days of quarantine on all arrivals.

Were the UAE to follow suit, many more people would be affected.

What about travel from abroad to the UK?

The UK has no specific restrictions on any of these countries apart from the usual quarantine requirements. So in theory British citizens returning home should be able to travel without problems. But if flights are cancelled in one direction, they tend to be cancelled in the other, too.

It may be that in some cases “directional” flights continue – for example, flying empty from the UK to a country, then bringing people back. Aer Lingus has confirmed it will be doing so.

In addition, Eurostar is running Paris to London train services on 21 and 22 December, but not in the reverse direction.

I am due to travel to one of the countries. What are my rights?

When a flight is cancelled you will be due a full cash refund within a week. For package holidays, you should get all your money back within two weeks.

British Airways has updated its passenger information, saying: "Due to the current coronavirus pandemic and changing global travel restrictions we are operating a reduced and dynamic schedule.

“If your flight is cancelled, we will contact you but please check the status of your flight before travelling to the airport.”

Ryanair is telling passengers booked to travel up to and including Christmas Eve: “For any flights to/from the UK in the coming days which are banned by EU governments’ regulation, all affected customers will receive an email notification and they will be offered practical alternatives including free moves (no change fee applies) or refunds if they so wish.”

Britain's biggest budget airline, easyJet, has not yet updated its customer information.

I have family members trying to return to the UK from Europe. What can they do?

While there is a general presumption against international travel to the UK, many British citizens who are working abroad are expecting to return in the next few days.

Travellers must either wait for the measures to be suspended or look at alternative routings. However, this may be difficult with new restrictions taking effect at very short notice.

Complex journeys will also increase risk to the individual and those they encounter along the way.

For those who choose to stay where they are, European air passengers’ rights rules mean that the airline is obliged to find and pay for accommodation until it can get travellers where they need to be.

I have a long-haul flight via a European hub which is not operating. What can I do?

For people booked on Air France via Paris, KLM via Amsterdam or Lufthansa via Frankfurt or Munich, European air passengers’ rights rules come to your rescue.

If one part of the journey is cancelled, the carrier is still obliged to find an alternative way for you to get home – for example nonstop on British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, or via a Gulf hub (assuming they do not impose flight bans too.)

British Airways agrees to require negative coronavirus tests before New York flights, Cuomo says - CNBC

DECEMBER 21, 2020

BY  Leslie Josephs


  • Gov. Cuomo says he’s asked Delta, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to ensure travelers test negative for coronavirus before flying to the U.S.
  • More than two-dozen countries have restricted travel from the U.K. because of a highly contagious strain of the virus there.

British Airways Boeing 747-400 with nickname Queen of the Skies commercial aircraft as seen on final approach with landing gear down landing at New York JFK John F. Kennedy International Airport in USA on 23 January 2020. British Airways Boeing 747-400 with nickname Queen of the Skies commercial aircraft as seen on final approach with landing gear down landing at New York JFK John F. Kennedy International Airport in USA on 23 January 2020. Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

British Airways will require travelers to test negative for coronavirus before boarding flights bound for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, as officials grapple with a highly contagious new strain of Covid-19 that’s spreading in the U.K.

Cuomo said at a press briefing that he also asked Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic to abide by the same requirements.

“We are aware of what the Governor has said and will work with his office to understand the exact details the State of New York is seeking with respect to flights from the United Kingdom,” said a Delta spokesman. Virgin and British Airways didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

More than two dozen countries have cut off flights or restricted access from individuals traveling from Britain because of the new strain of the virus.

U.S. and foreign carriers have already cut much of their international service because of the virus and travel restrictions. Since March, for example, the U.S. has barred most foreigners who have been in the European Union or Britain from entering the country.

This week there are 122 flights between the U.K. and the U.S., down from 752 last year, according to flight-data provider OAG.

625 Deported Nigerians Returned Via Abuja Airport In 2020 – Immigration - CHANNELS TV

DECEMBER 22, 2020

A total of 625 deported Nigerians returned to the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja.

The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Sunday James, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

He added that 24 other Nigerians were repatriated for various criminal and immigration-related offences abroad.

Back in the country, 12 foreign nationals who failed to comply with Nigerian entry requirements were refused admission and returned, said James.

He noted that the year witnessed a global pandemic – COVID-19 – which prompted various countries to enforce mandatory lockdown and border closure before their eventual relaxation within the year.

The NIS spokesman stated that Nigeria had its fair share of the COVID-19 experience and the Serviceas the lead agency in charge of migration control and border management at the airport in Abuja, stepped up personnel protection to insulate them from contracting the disease.

He listed some of the measures taken to include the installation of glass shields that separate the operatives from passengers, as well as the use of face masks, hand gloves, hand sanitisers, among others.

“No fewer than 239,114 outbound and inbound migrants passed through NAIA, Abuja between 1st January 2020 and 15th December 2020. So far, 73,582 Nigerians and 46,665 non-Nigerians departed NAIA, Abuja for various destinations abroad.

“Similarly, 81,277 Nigerians and 37,590 non-Nigerians arrived through NAIA airport within the period under review,” the statement said.

James revealed that in the course of the year, 34 Nigerians – predominantly young ladies – were refused departure for non-compliance and violation of immigration regulations and other extant laws.

He explained that the young ladies were victims of human trafficking being transported for the purpose of forced prostitution and sex exploitation and were between the ages of 18 to 28.

“Their final destination was Dubai, UAE. Upon interception, they were profiled and forwarded to NIS Service Headquarters for further investigation and released to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for rehabilitation.

“In the same vein, the change of operational strategy led to the uncovering of the persons recruiting and trafficking these ladies via sting operation where six recruiters/traffickers were apprehended – four males and two females. In addition, the identities of 3 recruiters/sponsors resident in Dubai were equally uncovered,” the statement said.

The NIS spokesman disclosed that NAIA Command, within the period under review, received and handed over 100 Nigerians whose offences were not immigration-related, such as drug-related issues, financial crimes, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, to relevant agencies.

239,114 passengers passed through Abuja airport in 2020 – NIS - PUNCH

DECEMBER 22, 2020

BY Adelani Adepegba, Abuja

A total of 239, 114 passengers passed through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja between January 1 and December 15, 2020, the Nigeria Immigration Service has stated.

During the period, 625 Nigerians were deported and 24 repatriated for various criminal and immigration-related offences abroad, while 34 Nigerians, predominantly young females, were refused departure.

The service explained that the ladies aged 18-28 were victims of human trafficking being transported for forced prostitution and sexual exploitation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The NIS spokesman, Sunday James, disclosed in a statement in Abuja on Monday  that the ladies were profiled and sent to the NIS headquarters for further investigation and subsequently released to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons for rehabilitation.

The statement titled ‘Review of NIS operational activities at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in 2020’ further noted that a sting operation resulted in the arrest of six human traffickers comprising four males and six females.

Besides, the identities of three recruiters/sponsors resident in Dubai were equally uncovered.

The statement said that 12 foreign nationals, who failed to comply with Nigerian entry requirements, were refused admission.

The NIS stated, “No fewer than 239,114 outbound and inbound migrants passed through NAIA, Abuja, between 1st January and 15th December 2020. So far, 73,582 Nigerians and 46,665 non-Nigerians departed NAIA, Abuja, for various destinations abroad.

“Similarly, 81,277 Nigerians and 37,590 non-Nigerians arrived through NAIA airport within the period under review. A total of 625 Nigerians were deported and 24 repatriated for various criminal and immigration-related offences abroad.”

The Airport Command, according to the statement, during the period received and handed to relevant agencies over 100 Nigerians arrested for drugs, financial crimes, human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

British Airways, Delta will screen JFK-bound passengers from Britain for coronavirus - REUTERS

DECEMBER 22, 2020

By Jonathan Allen, David Shepardson, Tracy Rucinski

NEW YORK (Reuters) -British Airways and Delta Air Lines will only allow passengers who test negative for the coronavirus to fly to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport following the emergence of a highly infectious new strain, New York’s governor and the airlines said on Monday.

'Mandate testing... or halt flights from the UK now' -Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo said he had also asked Virgin Atlantic to voluntarily agree to screen passengers on flights to Kennedy airport, saying scores of countries, though not the United States, had already placed restrictions on British travelers.

“If they do not agree voluntarily, then New York State will pursue other options,” Cuomo said. British Airways would begin the screening on Tuesday, he said.

Both Delta and British Airways confirmed they had agreed to the new screening.

Virgin did not respond to a request for comment. The airline said early on Monday that it had suspended flights to some destinations, but it was unclear if New York was included.

Dozens of countries closed their borders to Britain on Monday over fears of a highly infectious new coronavirus strain, causing travel chaos.

Cuomo, who shares oversight of the airport through the state agency the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has said the U.S. government should also stop flights from Britain, though he acknowledged that may come too late to prevent the spread of the new strain.

“I believe intuitively it’s already here,” he said, “because if it’s been flying around the world, it’s been here.”

The White House coronavirus task force is set to meet on Monday afternoon and will discuss the possibility of temporarily halting inbound passenger flights from the United Kingdom.

U.S. airlines have already drastically scaled back flying to the United Kingdom, as well as the rest of Europe: American Airlines, for example, currently operates just one U.S. daily flight to London out of Dallas.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York, David Shepardson in Washington and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Writing by Jonathan AllenEditing by Chizu Nomiyama, Alistair Bell and Angus MacSwan

Virgin Atlantic to require negative COVID-19 tests for London-U.S. travelers - REUTERS

DECEMBER 22, 2020

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Virgin Atlantic will require all travelers from London to the United States to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test before departure under a new pre-departure screening from Dec. 24, a spokesman said on Monday.

The move follows an earlier request from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that airlines only allow passengers who test negative for the coronavirus to fly to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport following the emergence of a highly infectious new strain in Britain.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Chris Reese

Air Peace operates direct nonstop flight to Jamaica - BUSINESSDAY

DECEMBER 22, 2020

Air Peace embarked on a direct, nonstop 11-hour flight from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos to the Island country of Jamaica on December 21, 2020.

Nigeria’s leading airline, Air Peace, in a remarkable show of strength, has added to its list of achievements by embarking on a direct, nonstop 11-hour flight from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos to the Island country of Jamaica on December 21, 2020.

The airline deployed one of its three Boeing 777 aircraft with registration number 5N-BVE for the historic flight, which departed at 17:00hrs conveying 132 passengers on board and has arrived Montego Bay, Jamaica. The aircraft will fly into Montego Bay again on December 27, 2020, for the return flight the next day.

Disclosing this to newsmen, spokesperson of Air Peace, Stanley Olisa, stated that it was a special charter flight and was the airline’s maiden flight to the Island country. He said the flight further accentuates the airline’s capability to operate flights to any destination in the world.

READ ALSO: FG extends deadline for NIN update to January 19, February 9, 2021

“Air Peace has the aircraft and the requisite manpower to do this,” Olisa said.

Air Peace has operated international flights to multiple destinations such as China, Turkey, India, Malaysia, Israel, United Kingdom, Thailand, Indonesia and recently launched scheduled direct flights to Johannesburg, South Africa, providing respite to travellers on the Lagos-Joburg-Lagos route and connecting the two giant African countries at affordable fares.

Germany bans UK, South Africa arrivals until Jan 6 - AFP

DECEMBER 22, 2020

Germany on Tuesday extended a ban on arrivals from Britain, Northern Ireland and South Africa until January 6 after a new more infectious coronavirus strain appeared in the countries.

“The transport ban covers passenger traffic by train, bus, ship and flights directly from these countries,” the health ministry said in a statement.

“The order covers the period from December 22, 2020, until January 6, 2021.”


It added that people who have valid residency permits for Germany could return from January 1.

The ministry said that travellers who arrived from the affected countries or who spent time there in the last 10 days would be required to be tested for the coronavirus.

“Existing quarantine rules for arrivals from risk areas continue to apply,” it added.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said that “as long as it is possible”, Germany aimed to prevent “potentially dangerous virus mutations from spreading in continental Europe”.

“The entry ban from Britain, Northern Ireland and South Africa is a precautionary measure until we know more about the reported coronavirus mutations” in those countries, he said.

A string of nations around the continent on Sunday began suspending travel links with Britain to prevent the spread of the new strain of the coronavirus.

EU ambassadors were to meet Tuesday to try to thrash out a unified approach and work out how to eventually lift the border restrictions with Britain — including by imposing a requirement for tests on all arrivals.


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