Which countries are tightening their Covid corsets and which ones are letting themselves relax?
Here’s what we learned about pandemic travel news this week:
It all starts in Australia.
A man arriving in Western Australia from Brisbane was arrested and charged after escaping from his hotel room after being instructed to return to Queensland.
First, scandalous British media personality Katie Hopkins was deported from Australia for breaking quarantine and bragging about it on Instagram.
Then Airbnb suspended an anti-vaccination host in Victoria for refusing to accommodate a married couple because they had been vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine.
On the same day, news broke that the 39-year-old man allegedly used a rope made from a sheet to climb down from the fourth floor of a hotel room to escape from quarantine in Western Australia.
Then on Friday, the Australia-New Zealand tourism bubble burst.
As the Covid outbreak in Australia continues to spread, quarantine-free travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand will now be suspended for at least eight weeks, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins announced July 23.
Covid-positive man disguised himself as his wife to take flight
An Indonesian man who tested positive for Covid-19 was caught in the air after disguising himself as his wife to board a flight.
The man, publicly referred to only by the initials “DW,” boarded a domestic Citilink flight from Jakarta to Ternate wearing a niqab that covered him from head to toe, CNN affiliate CNN Indonesia reported.
A flight attendant told authorities that she saw “DW” go into the plane’s restroom and then come out of there wearing men’s clothing instead of a camouflage suit.
Canada will finally open its borders next month
The 16-month wait is over. Beginning Aug. 9, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents currently living in the U.S. will be allowed to enter Canada.
International travelers may also be allowed to enter Canada beginning Sept. 7, provided that “the epidemiology of Covid-19 remains favorable,” the Canadian government said in a statement Monday.
Entry into Canada will still be prohibited for all international travelers who have not been fully vaccinated.
France and Italy have imposed “health passes” against Covida
As of August 1, no French bar, restaurant, mall, concert hall or long-distance train or plane will be allowed to enter without a “health pass” proving full vaccination or a recent negative test for Covid. Violators face fines of up to 45,000 euros ($53,000) and a year in prison.
Last week was a record week for vaccinations in France, with about 3.7 million French people signing up for vaccinations, according to a tweet by health care booking site Doctolib on Monday.
In Italy, a similar pass will be introduced Aug. 6, which will be required for visiting bars, restaurants, museums, etc.
Lockdown lifted in England, but numbers continue to rise
England, the most populous of the United Kingdom’s four countries, lifted nearly all restrictions related to the coronavirus on Monday, a day dubbed “Freedom Day” by the British media.
Although most U.K. adults are now double vaccinated, the number of cases is rising rapidly. England is the only country in the U.K. that has taken a step toward coming out of isolation.
By the end of September, England will require proof of double vaccination against Covid-19 to enter nightclubs and crowded establishments, but they are currently open to all.
Marmot don’t care **** about our travel rules.
A marmot named Fork made an epic 600-mile journey from Colorado to Phoenix by driving under a car.
The plucky ground squirrel traveled all the way from Crested Butte to Phoenix, which Arizona wildlife officials estimate took about 10 hours.
She was tracked by her ear tag number and was safely returned to her pack in Colorado.
A new “world’s best airline” has emerged
AirlineRatings.com has published its annual review of the world’s best airlines to help passengers decide which carrier to choose to return to the skies.
There’s a new entrant in the top spot for 2021: Qatar Airways moved up in the rankings and took the top spot, surpassing previous winner Air New Zealand, which has topped the list six times in recent years before coming in second this year.
Jeffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings.com, told CNN Travel that Qatar Airways’ commitment to keeping its route network open during a pandemic was the deciding factor.
Revenge is good, but road trips are better
Three young women said they learned that they had all dated the same guy, with each of them believing they were in an exclusive relationship.
So Bekah King, Abi Roberts and Morgan Tabor made the best possible decision. They dumped the guy, became best friends, and now set off on an epic journey across the Western United States in a 30-year-old school bus they bought and refurbished.
To be fair, it sure beats sticking a fish in the back of a radiator.