by Kevin Roberts of Cranky Concierge

We’re sure you’ve seen or will see the news of the omicron variant’s emergence along with the subsequent reactions by governments around the world. We are monitoring what rules countries are putting into place, and if you’re impacted, we’ll let you know. But today, we’re writing to address the latest testing change for entry here in the US, something that will impact most of our clients. Today, President Biden released a statement that indicates how the US plans to move forward into the winter. You can view it in its entirety here but the primary change affecting travel is a change in testing timelines. Here is exactly what it says:

“Strengthening global pre-departure testing protocols: Early next week, the United States will tighten pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers to test within one day of departure globally, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. This tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the Omicron variant.” [emphasis added]

While the gut reaction may be to panic -

We view this as a positive sign that the US is not planning to close borders to foreign travelers again. Instead, they are simply tightening up the testing requirement from 3 days prior to 1 day prior. A quick reminder: the US does not currently require PCR testing which could have a much longer turnaround time to get results. There are test kits you can even purchase before travel and bring them with you, so barring future changes, this shouldn’t be a big hurdle for travel.

If you want to keep up to date on changes, our friends at Sherpa continue to be a great resource to find and keep up with COVID-related travel restrictions. It provides information in a clear way and links to the source material so you can confirm accuracy.

We are looking forward to helping many of you with your holiday travels this year!

Cranky Concierge

Original blog post can be found here: Cranky Concierge Blog

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By: Southeast Asia Journeys

We have all been looking forward to being able to travel back to our favorite countries in Southeast Asia and as the region slowly opens up to tourism, we know everyone is wondering, how safe is it to travel? Is the Covid situation under control? What are the vaccination rates like?

No one wants to put a country's population at risk, and there are many things to consider, so we hope the numbers below can bring some clarity and help in your travel planning.

CAMBODIA
Cambodia is currently reporting very low infection numbers, which is attributed to the country’s successful vaccination campaign. The vaccination campaign has received praise around the world and not only does Cambodia have a higher vaccination rate than its neighbors Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, but it is now one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.

Covid Case Numbers
Confirmed new cases as of November 6, 2021: 73
3 infections per 100K people reported in the last 7 days
9% of peak

Vaccination rates
Please note that the Cambodian government does not have an accurate census of the population which throws off their vaccination percentages (which is why the reported numbers are sometimes greater than 100%).
Adults 18+: 100%
Children 12-18: 98%
Children 6-11: 102%
Children 5 and under: 51%

THAILAND
Covid infections are decreasing in Thailand and are at their lowest since Thailand entered their 3rd wave of Covid in April 2021. The government is aiming to have 70% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of November.

Covid Case Numbers

Confirmed new cases as of November 6: 8,467
81 infections per 100K people reported the last 7 days
37% of peak

Vaccination rates
Thailand started the vaccination of children ages 12-17 in October and plans to vaccinate 3 to 11 year olds at the start of 2022.
Adults 18+: 46%

LAOS
Laos is currently experiencing its worst Covid wave with new infections reaching new highs every day. The vaccinations are going slowly and the country is dependent on donations from COVAX. At the current vaccination rate, the government’s goal is to have 50% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of the year.

Covid Case Numbers
Confirmed new cases as of November 6: 960
89 infections per 100K people reported the last 7 days

Vaccination rates
The Lao government are currently only vaccinating adults and no decision has been made on vaccinations of children.
Adults 18+: 39%

VIETNAM
The "new normal" began in October 2021 and Vietnam is feeling its way into post-pandemic life. Daily cases are increasing mainly outside the main cities as the movement of people has increased, but new infections are less severe amongst those vaccinated. As more people are vaccinated daily the trend should show numbers begin to decline again within the next couple of weeks.

Covid Case Numbers
Confirmed new cases as of November 6: 7,491
41 infections per 100K people reported the last 7 days
47% of peak

Vaccination rates
Vietnam is rapidly picking up the pace of administering vaccinations to its population now that there is an increase in vaccine deliveries arriving and being made available. Until September the focus was on vaccinating the 18+ adult population. From October there is now a proactive push on vaccinating 12 to 17 year olds. The decision around ages up to 11 years old is still pending.
Adults 18+: 29,8%

CONCLUSIONS
The decision to travel to a country that’s still being majorly impacted by the Covid pandemic is one to be thought through. If you’d like some help planning your trip or simply deciding if now is the right time to go, consider a one-hour Travel Coaching call with one of Kaanect’s Southeast Asia specialists.

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