Costa Rica will open its borders to residents from six US states in September
Tourists from New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut will be permitted to enter from September and must present their driver's licence as proof of residence. "We have included the license-plate requirement to minimize the likelihood that someone from a non-authorized state be allowed to enter,” tourism minister Gustavo Segura said. "We are minimizing our epidemiological risk."
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Travelers from the permitted states will not be required to quarantine upon arrival. However, under enhanced border controls travelers must present a negative PCR COVID-19 test will be mandatory in the 48 hours before the trip. When visitors arrive, they will need to complete an online health form and purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses.
Costa Rica began a staggered reopening of its tourism industry on August 1 with travelers from countries that have "controlled the spread of the coronavirus" allowed to enter, which includes visitors from Canada, New Zealand, Japan, the UK, and countries within the EU among others. The US, which accounted for 45% of all international visitors to Costa Rica last year, was not initially included in the list.La Fortuna waterfall, Costa Rica ©Pavel Tvrdy/Shutterstock
But now as the Central American country begins to throw its doors open a little wider, the Costa Rica Tourism Board says that it expects about four flights a week from New York City airports, including John F. Kennedy, Newark and La Guardia. "In these moments, [New York] is one of the states with best control of the pandemic," Segura confirmed.
Segura said Costa Rica is monitoring the coronavirus situation in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and that residents of those states may soon be allowed to visit."We are taking very gradual and carefully analyzed steps in the direction of the revitalization of tourism that is very necessary for the protection of the social progress that Costa Rica has achieved through this industry," he added.
Here are the new rules for visiting the Caribbean
Specially-trained dogs are dispatched to detect COVID-19 in airline passengers
All passengers arriving into the United Arab Emirates must present a negative COVID-19 result, from a medical test undertaken no more than 96 hours before their trip. But passengers from high-risk countries and those who display symptoms are often subject to secondary screening in the airport. Officials in Dubai International and Dubai World Central airports are now getting a helping hand with these health screenings from police sniffer dogs who are capable of detecting the virus in humans with 92% accuracy. The non-invasive process sees officials from Dubai Health Authority take sweat samples from passengers. The sample is then placed in a pot with a funnel-like opening to be studied by the dogs at a safe distance. There is no direct contact between the dogs and the sample or the passenger. If the dog detects a positive result, the passenger is then taken for a nasal swab test. Experiments have been carried out across Europe in recent months to see if odour detection dogs can identify COVID-19. The charity Medical Detection Dogs is working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to see whether their dogs – who are trained to detect malaria, cancer, Parkinson's and bacterial infections through the sense of smell – can be re-trained to provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis of the virus. Dogs are trained to sniff samples in the laboratory in Milton Keynes © Medical Detection Dogs While in Germany researchers last month from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover trained army sniffer dogs to distinguish between samples of fluids taken from healthy patients and those infected with COVID-19. The dogs had an accurate detection rate of 94%, with 157 correct positive identifications, 792 correct reflections of non-infected samples and 33 incorrect results. Their findings were published in the BMC Infectious Diseases journal with the team concluding that "in countries with limited access to diagnostic tests, detection dogs could then have the potential to be used for mass detection of infected people. Further work is necessary to better understand the potential and limitation of using scent dogs for the detection of viral respiratory diseases." This article originally appeared on our sister site, Lonely Planet.
State Department lifts international travel advisory
On August 6, the US State Department announced it was lifting its blanket advisory warning against all foreign travel. The advisory was lifted with coordination from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). What does it mean for travelers? The State Department traditionally has 4 advisory levels, from 1 to 4. Level 1 countries are consider low risk for American travelers, while Level 4 advisories are reserved for the most dangerous (such as Syria or North Korea). In March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department issued a blanket Level 4 advisory for all countries, warning Americans against all international travel and recommending Americans abroad make their way home to the United States. The August 6 announcement means that the State Department is going back to individual advisory recommendations based on each country's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which you can view here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/Despite the lifting of the blanket advisory, the majority of countries across the world are still at a Level 3 or higher, meaning American travelers should reconsider any plans to visit those countries. Other borders are still closed to AmericansRegardless of the advisory levels of the American State Department, countries around the world are still closed to Americans. The vast majority of countries around the world have issued a ban on American travelers, stating the seriousness of our COVID-19 outbreak. The European Union and Canada are among popular destinations that are closed to Americans.
Great American Outdoors Act becomes law
Today, President Trump signed into law the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, which provides $900 million annually and an additional $9.5 billion over the next five years to cover the maintenance backlog in America's public lands. The bill is expected to create at least 100,000 jobs across America restoring public lands. Arizona Rep. Paul Grijalva, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, called the GAOA "one of the biggest wins for conservation in decades." He called the bill a "generational opportunity to ensure America's crown jewels are protected." Each year, over 300 million people visit America's public lands. The park service estimates that it has over $11 billion of deferred maintenance needed to update buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure. It will also address infrastructure updates that will address climate change. The Great American Outdoors Act is a huge step in addressing this backlog and ensuring that America's public lands are available for future generations to enjoy.