As the threat of reimposed lockdowns heightens across the globe, an encouraging item in The Telegraph reports that G20 leaders are considering an international plan for mass airport coronavirus testing intended to ‘revive travel and tourism’. The scheme calls for standardised COVID-19 testing protocols on departure – including no quarantine for travellers – and the establishment of a traffic light system of reporting COVID-19 numbers, among other measures.
Airport testing has also been a major focus for Italy, one of the countries hit hardest by coronavirus. Fiumicino Airport – Aeroporti di Roma has announced it will become the first European airport to introduce 30-minute tests for departing passengers following a successful trial involving flights to Milan, with the aim of introducing ‘COVID-free flights’ in the near future.
Meanwhile, South Africa has joined a growing list of countries reopening their borders, with President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing the return of both inbound and outbound travel from 1st October. It will mark the first time travellers have been allowed into the country since 27th March.
Elsewhere, the Straits Times notes the US government has eased its warning over people travelling to China, with the State Department noting that the People’s Republic of China ‘has resumed most business operations’ and ‘improved conditions’ since the breakout of COVID-19. At the same time, American Express revealed it will begin reopening its Centurion Lounges with new social distancing and hygiene protocols in place, which will commence at airports in Seattle and Philadelphia from 5th October.
And finally, the recent surge in airlines launching ‘flights to nowhere’ has caught the attention of the world’s media. Australian carrier Qantas announced its latest flight – a seven-hour scenic route taking off and landing from Sydney – has become the fastest-selling in the airline’s history, with tickets snapped up in 10 minutes. Those lucky enough to board the flight enjoyed views of the Great Barrier Reef and other famous landmarks, and Qantas says it will launch similar scenic flights if demand remains high.