I was still clinging on to hope that next week may bring some positive news about reopening the US after they reached the target of 70% of the population receiving their first vaccination. Although we still have nothing confirmed, it now looks very unlikely. The next review of the ban on the UK, EU Schengen zone, India and Brazil is due by the end of the month. However, it was confirmed by the White House on Friday that the land border closure with Mexico and Canada will be continued until at least 21 September. It, therefore, seems highly unlikely that they will allow in other countries before reopening their land border.
The only glimmer of hope is that they said the US would be likely to only accept vaccinated travellers when it does open. Trying to police this on a land border could be very difficult given the usual volume of travellers, so that could be why they have taken this decision. The border with Mexico and Canada is open for air passengers currently. The irony is of course that Mexico has a big surge in cases and is on the UK red list. But it is fine for anyone from Mexico to enter the US by air…proof that it is entirely political and not based on any science whatsoever.
Bali reopening update
Bali has been saying it is going to reopen in a few months since nearly a year ago, so I would still take the latest update with a pinch of salt. Indonesia had said previously it would try to reopen the islands of Bali and Bintan which are the major tourist destinations in July 2021 depending on the success of vaccination. Obviously, that date has been and gone without anything happening.
The latest update is that the recent rise in cases has delayed the reopening yet again until at least September. So far there is no official word on whether they will require visitors to be vaccinated. The original goal was for 70% of Bali’s population to be vaccinated. Although 71% are vaccinated, they have only had a single dose and cases are rising.
The islands have also looked at various air corridors ideas with countries including the UK but as yet nothing has happened. This is probably partly due to the fact that Indonesia is on the UK’s red list so it’s unlikely the UK would agree to it.
Traffic Light Predictions
Next week should have the next update to the traffic light system. There has been little speculation or leaks regarding the latest update. I suspect that there will be little change. However, one country that has deserved to be on the amber list instead of red, could be about to move off the red list according to data expert Tim White. On Twitter, he predicted that the Maldives should be put on the amber list at the next review. Given that the majority of travellers spend their time on remote islands, this would seem sensible.
There has been speculation for weeks about Spain and Greece hitting the red list. As many have said, it’s highly unlikely as the government would struggle to find that many hotel rooms at short notice given the massive numbers currently there. There is more solid evidence that this is unlikely according to Tim as case numbers have dropped rapidly in Spain and are headed in the same direction as Greece.
British Airways route resumptions
The news from Australia has been pretty gloomy in terms of allowing tourists to enter again, even fully vaccinated. Current estimates are around mid-2022, over 2 years since the border was shut. British Airways has taken a slightly more optimistic approach with flights now showing from March 2022 to Syndey. If you are looking for Avios awards there are still some available in 2022! Qantas is expected to announce their latest plan for restarting international flights this coming week.
BA has also confirmed that they will restart Phoenix flights from the end of August three times a week. There will be a 3 class B777 on the route. With the recent change allowing vaccinated Americans to enter the UK without quarantine, BA has also added more flights to New York JFK, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle.