New York airports to test passengers for COVID-19
At a news conference this week, governor Andrew Cuomo said the new testing facilities will allow the state "to do faster testing of people coming in," and will be set up by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and NYC Health + Hospitals, the government organization that oversees the city's public hospitals and health clinics.
"Our infection rate is low," Cuomo said. "The question is how do you keep it low? How do you make sure you're not getting infected from people coming in from other states where the infection rate is high?"
New York was one of the hardest hit states in the first wave of the pandemic but in recent weeks officials have managed to rein in infections due to a careful and phased reopening of the economy and widespread testing. Now the state wants to extend some of those testing capabilities to its borders at the city's airports. Officials have not yet confirmed when the tests will be available, nor have they advised on costs and results' turnaround time, but the system is expected to be in place in the coming weeks.
Those arriving in New York from high-risk areas are still required to self-isolate for two weeks and fill out a form before leaving the airport with their local contact information and the address they will be staying at while they quarantine, as New York continues to update its joint travel advisory with New Jersey and Connecticut.
Delta Airlines has banned nearly 250 passengers for not wearing masks
Delta Airlines says that it has banned nearly 250 passengers from flying with the airline for refusing to abide by its mandatory mask policy. Delta has a very strict mask policy, requiring one be worn at all points in flight and across all check-points, including check-in, TSA security and boarding lines. In an internal memo that was shared with CNN, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said that "although rare, we continue to put passengers who refuse to follow the required face-covering rules on our no-fly list. As we work toward recovery, it's vital that we continue to stay focused on the drive to provide the safest, cleanest airports, aircraft and workspaces possible." If you choose to fly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC advises wearing a mask in all airport locations.
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." With wallet-friendly accommodation, adventurous activities and chilled-out beach towns where you can meet likeminded travellers, Costa Rica is the perfect destination for solo travel. Ready to go? Lonely Planet's Solo Travel Handbook is packed with practical tips and ideas for a safe, fun and fearless trip. 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/ShutterstockBut 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.