Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine: What to know

COVID 19 is the coronavirus caused by the virus SARS-Co V2 has quickly cornered all sides of the globe. Over 2 million people have died thus far from the virus that millions of people have contracted. Medical experts and researchers have been working tirelessly 24 hours 7 days a week to produce an effective safety vaccine that was ready for use by December 2020. This blog post takes an in-depth look at the different types of COVID-19 vaccines and how they work, how safe they are, and how to get one.

Which vaccines have approval?
Multiple vaccines are now available in different countries. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs to approve the vaccines. To prove that they are safe and effective, they first need to pass through three phases of tests. Tens of thousands of participants are involved in phrase 3.
At the time of publishing this article, two vaccines have FDA approval in the U.S.:
• Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
• Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
Developed in Germany, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received approval from the FDA in the form of an ‘Emergency use authorization’.

43,000 people were involved in a phase 3 trial with around half receiving a placebo and half receiving two doses of the vaccine, 21 days apart. The final results proved that the vaccine was 95% effective at protecting against the COVID-19 virus.
The vaccine developed in Cambridge, MA, Moderna, received approval for emergency use in the U.S. in December. 30,000 phase 3 trial volunteers received a placebo or two doses of the vaccine 28 days apart. The results indicated that the vaccine was 94% effective.

Other vaccines
Vaccines that have been approved for use in different countries:
• The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine (United Kingdom)
• Coronavac, developed by Sinovac (China)
• The Sputnik V vaccine (Russia)
• Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech (India)
The Novavax vaccine is in phase 3 trials as is Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine. Both vaccines were developed in the U.S.A.
Keep up-to-date with the latest developments using the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker.

Are the vaccines safe?
There are several approval trial stages before any of the vaccines can be approved by a country’s health authority. The FDA and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S.A. work hard for public safety. And vaccine trials involve an ever-growing number of volunteers. Phase 3 had tens of thousands of participants.
The exact long-term effects of any new medical vaccine are unknown in the early stages. It is key to balance the potential risks with the known dangers of developing COVID-19.
A patient who has had a COVID-19 vaccine injection may experience flu-like symptoms and other side effects like:
• pain at the injection site
• swelling at the injection site
• fatigue
• headache and muscle pain
• a fever
The body’s immune response is intensified after the second dose of the vaccine because the side effects may be worse.
The CDC did a great job by allowing participants to keep them informed about any side effects through a smartphone-based app called V-safe. This information is valuable to monitor the vaccine’s impact on the participants and assist the ongoing work towards safety.
The vaccine should only be dispensed from a licensed healthcare professional and must follow every guideline. Patients may get the vaccine from the local hospital, clinic, or pharmacy. If you have had a previous allergic reaction to vaccines, you will need to alert your healthcare worker before they administer the vaccine. If you have an immediate allergic reaction, see your doctor immediately.

Getting the vaccine
At the moment, vaccine doses are limited and for this reason, the vaccine will only be administered to healthcare workers, people aged 75 years and older and first responders. More people will receive the doses as it becomes available. The Vaccine is free and the government will distribute it to hospitals and clinics.

Types of COVID-19 vaccine
Researchers have used various approaches to developing different types of vaccine, including:
• whole virus vaccines
• recombinant protein subunit vaccines
• replication-incompetent vector vaccines
• nucleic acid vaccines
Let’s explore these types in more detail:

Whole virus vaccine
These are known as ‘inactivated’ or ‘weakened’ virus vaccines containing dead or inactivated forms of the virus. These vaccines do not contain live viruses and therefore cannot cause an infection. The manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccines are Sinovac, Bharat Biotec, and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.

Recombinant protein subunit vaccine
This vaccine is designed to trigger the body’s strong immune response. The vaccine cannot cause an infection because it does not contain a live pathogen. Researchers are working hard to make a ‘Recombinant Protein Subunit Vaccine’ that targets the spike protein which the new coronavirus uses to latch onto and infect cells. Nanoparticle technology is being developed by a company called Novavax.

Replication-incompetent vector vaccine
This vaccine carries genes that the body can express to provide immunity. The vaccine produced by Astra Zeneca has been approved in several countries, is a replication-incompetent vector vaccine. A harmless, weakened adenovirus is used to provoke an immune response. The virus was discovered in chimpanzees and was then redesigned to be more suitable for humans. This type of virus which can be found in other vaccines also reacts with the body to produce a strong immune response. An Ebola vaccine got approval and may provide the basis for further development of other vaccines.

Nucleic acid vaccine
This is an mRNA-based vaccine that involves injecting genetic material called mRNA into live host cells. Each vaccine is manufactured to isolate a particular pathogen. In the COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA has information for manufacturing coronavirus spike protein. The vaccine initiates the immune system and the body produces antibodies to fight the virus. Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna have manufactured this vaccine. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are already available for use.

How do vaccines work?
Vaccines have a clever little trick up their sleeve. They influence the immune system to make antibodies to defend against diseases. In simpler terms – they make the body believe that it is already infected with the virus. And all of this is achieved without making the patient ill.

Once exposed to the vaccine, the body develops immunity to the disease. The body can fight off the infection such as the coronavirus if it occurs.
The immune system must remain stable and not be thrown into overdrive. The goal for researchers is to develop a vaccine that works without unwanted side effects. Safe vaccines are an absolute must for all patients especially those with pre-existing conditions such as allergies and diabetes, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and senior citizens.

Preventing infection?
While this vaccine is still in production, people need to take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe from COVID 19.
Follow these easy steps for reducing the risk of infection:
• Wear a face-mask in public
• Washing your hands with soap and water as often as you can – for up to 30 seconds
• Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
• Cover a sneeze or cough with a tissue or elbow
• Avoid touching your face
• Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces people frequently touch
• Avoid handshakes
• Stay away from sick people
• Maintain a 6 feet social distance
• Avoid crowds
• Be aware of symptoms like a high fever and a cough
If people need emergency care for COVID-19, call in advance to let the clinic or hospital know about their condition.
Follow these recommendations for anyone who may have been exposed to the virus:
• Contact a healthcare worker
• Keep track of your symptoms
• Isolate by staying away from others
• Seek emergency medical care
Some common COVID-19 symptoms include:
• High fever
• Persistent cough
• Loss or change of smell or taste
Throughout the world, COVID-19 has become a major health scare and challenge.
Medical scientists and governments are working hard to develop and administer vaccines and educate the public on other preventive measures.
The ultimate goal is for all people to have the COVID-19 vaccination. While waiting for the vaccine to become available, you should follow all guidelines from public health and medical experts.
So, now that you have discovered more safe ways to travel during COVID, you can now reserve your seat and book your flights to some amazing spots around the world. www.lowpriceflights.co.za
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The A380, a giant of the skies that just didn’t take flight.

When you see the A380 for the first time, there’s something special about it. It’s a large aircraft – the biggest passenger aircraft ever built with a wingspan that could easily fit across a football field. If the aircraft was fitted only with economy seats, it would take 800 passengers. We all know how uncomfortable a long-haul flight can be but aboard the A380 a flight of 16 hours half-way across the world is like a ride in a Rolls Royce of the skies. This has made it a favourite amongst passengers and crew with its spacious and well-heeled interiors.

 

Airlines saw this differently: Airbus has only sold 250 aircraft that has rolled off the production line with early estimates, Airbus was hoping to sell 750. Now its production line will go quiet at the end of 2021. The A380 has only been in service for 13 years. It was conceived on a philosophy of a bygone era in which the 747 ruled the skies in large numbers. And with a hefty price tag of over $450 million per aircraft, this engineering marvel eventually had its wings clipped by rising fuel prices and maintenance costs. The Coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the aviation industry which will reduce the lifespan of this mighty jet. The end is approaching rather quickly with multiple aircraft already having been sent to the scrapyard by several airlines. One wonders how such an aircraft took to the skies in the first place.

 

A ‘747’ for Europe  

Airbus A380 in flight

The 747 is the original jumbo jet from which the A380 was inspired by. For many people within Airbus, this aircraft would rule the skies for decades to come. But for a brief period, the unthinkable was considered where Boeing and Airbus would work together to produce a Super Jumbo. Both companies eventually joined forces in 1993 and shared a study of the potential market size of a large aircraft. They both ended up with different conclusions and so they never joined to work together. In the 1990s, Airbus had just 20% of the large aircraft market and looked at growing their market share and working with Boeing seemed like a good idea as it would not create competition. However, Boeing was never really ready to give up its highly successful 747 programmes and it was in 1996 that Airbus realised this and decided to go it alone. By 2000 the demand for the 747 was 1200 units for the following two decades and Airbus was ready to capture half of this market. Boeing instead saw it differently and decided to build variants of the 747 rather than build a whole new aircraft. Airbus pushed on with the project. Early signs were encouraging for Airbus with 50 initial orders from six airlines

Airbus wanted to take on Boeing at their own game by flying the same routes like the 747 such as London to Singapore. The goal for Airbus was to offer an aircraft that was 20% to 25% more economical. Boeing’s 747 had profited handsomely from the large hubs and a handful of carriers. Passenger numbers had risen sufficiently to create congestion at large airports like JFK in New York, Heathrow in London and  Narita in Tokyo, which all have been running at full capacity. Airbus believed it had the solution by building a larger aircraft thereby getting more people out of the airports with fewer flights. But change was in the air. The popular ‘Hub and spoke’ model was slowly being favoured by the ‘Point to point’ model. Airlines now chose smaller cheaper aircraft over larger more expensive ones to carry passengers on more financially viable routes like the secondary airports which were never congested in the first place. According to one aviation expert and historian, Graham Simons, the world had changed. Smaller more fuel-efficient planes were on the rise and the 747 and A380 would slowly drift away into the scrapyard. The airlines were now heading in a new direction, one with low priced flights to every destination an aircraft can take you point to point.

 

Giant of the Skies

Airbus A350 landing

The unveiling of the A380 took place in Toulouse in 2005 and flew for the first time on 27 April 2005. Chief engineer test pilot Robert Laftontan commented about how gently the plane landed even when it was 100-tons overweight. The aircraft quickly became favoured by pilots on how easy it was to fly and felt like a smaller lighter aircraft. Airbus explored various options in the design phase but eventually settled on two full-length double-decker aircraft which is essentially two widebody aircraft on top of each other. One of the concept designs had two widebody fuselages side by side and using existing components from an A340 Airbus passenger aircraft. There were several configurations and fuselage designs but Airbus, in the end, decided to follow one simple rule: to design the A380 inside an 80-metre box so that it’s compatible with airports. The 80-metre limit was set by airport authorities in the 1990s when it came to the 747 superjumbos. And the A380 is just short of it which thankfully allows it to operate using existing airport infrastructure although some airport gates needed upgrading.

At high speeds, the constrained wingspan creates more drag which in turn increases fuel consumption. More problems were to come for Airbus when the wings failed a load test and had to be reinforced adding extra weight. The four Rolls Royce engines were chosen to sit on these very large wings with Engine Alliance in the United States as a second option. The combined thrust output for these engines is 240 000 pounds providing a lift to its maximum take-off weight of 650 tonnes and within 15 minutes it takes to reach cruising altitude. The Airbus can fly from Dallas to Sydney non-stop, a range of over 15 000 kilometres. Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace engineer called the four-engine aircraft an anachronism in this day and age. At over $40 million per engine, this is a significant cost for the whole aircraft meaning that having four engines, raises the price. Unlike the more favourable option of a twin-engine aircraft, the A380 requires twice more the maintenance, tons more fuel and has a higher carbon emission. At the time Rolls Royce had produced a state of the art engines with the best fuel consumption and power to weight ratio, but in this high tech field of engine development, it took Boeing just a few years to surpass the technology with the Boeing 787. It was hard for Airbus with four winged engines to compete with the newer generation of long-haul more fuel-efficient, twin-engine low-cost aircraft.

 

Comfort

Close up of an Airbus A380 engine

The A380 gave Airbus a chance to showcase the latest technologies, airframe and avionics. But it was passenger comfort that was to receive top priority with a cabin designed to reduce passenger fatigue and increase the quality of their experience, especially on long haul flights. This was achieved with lower noise levels, higher cabin pressurisation and relaxing ambient lighting. Since then this has become standard on all new aircraft. Industry experts agreed that comfort leads the way and influenced the design direction of the aircraft from day one. A mock-up was even built to fly around the world to get feedback from all passengers on what they wanted. These insights were used and influenced the interior design to a great deal. Passengers were so impressed with the interior space and the fact they could stand up straight whilst at the window seat. On aircrafts such as the 737 or A320, you can’t stand up at the window seat because of the low overhead bin but in the A380 the walls are almost vertical. The interior space was set out to allow customisation for airlines to choose and even a shower option was added to the business deck. This was an idea that was well-received by passengers. Features were added like heated marble floors, mood lighting that changed as the aircraft’s environment changed and a bar at the back for the thirsty traveller.

There’s no denying that the aircraft offers genuine levels of comfort and it’s a firm favourite with passengers and crew. It’s quiet and pleasant, has a low cabin noise, sits nicely in the air with pressure and humidity levels not found on any other aircraft. However, storm clouds were brewing when the fuel price started to increase and new more fuel-efficient engines started to debut.

 

Delays and cancellations

A380 cockpit

Singapore Airlines was the first A380 customer on 25 October 2007 to receive their pride and joy, but by the time it was delivered it was late and already outdated. Aviation had shifted, drastically! Smaller more efficient aircraft designed for point to point travel emerged like Boeing’s 787 and Airbus A350 were piling up the orders in the hundreds. The writing was on the wall. The only hope that was left is that history reversed itself and went back to a bygone era when the Super Jumbo’s flew the sky, a return to the ‘hub and spoke’ model. For that, you’d have to go way back to the Pan-Am days. The A380 programme was hit by delays which caused some airlines to cancel their orders and opt for other options like the 787 and A350 even though it would be years before it was delivered. Airlines could already buy a long-range aircraft that was smaller and more fuel-efficient like the Boeing 777-300ER which was soon to become the most popular of the 777 variant. These aircraft allowed for larger margins of profit which pleased the airlines. The 777-300ER was a four-engine Boeing and Airbus killer.

 

No US buyers

A380 in hanger while getting built-up

Emirates Airlines have come to the rescue and kept Airbus afloat, but just temporarily with almost half of all A380’s made, been sold to the Dubai based airline. Who knows how much sooner the A380 would have been shut down if were not for Emirates Airlines ordering 36 A380s in 2018. So, when Airbus’s biggest customer, Emirates cut down its order from 53 to 14 aircraft, Airbus had no choice. Production had to stop. It all had to come to an end for Airbus’s $25 Billion investment that did not yield a profit. Airbus’s European clients had bought aircraft but not nearly enough as expected or hoped for but the real telling sign of success or failure was the US market – where not a single aircraft was sold. Airbus has in the past been very successful in the US with its easy to fly aircraft, so it wasn’t about being patriotic towards Boeing that prevented sales. American Airlines operates a large fleet of A319’s and A321’s. Jet blue’s fleet consists of 80% of Airbus’s and United has the fourth-largest fleet of A350’s. It just came down to the idea of four fuel-hungry engines attached to a very large expensive jet that didn’t fit in with current aviation trends. US airlines were also falling out of favour with their all American homegrown favourite, the 747.

 

Dark skies ahead

Airbus A380 at the passenger terminal

The A380 project turned out to be a $25 billion disaster and Airbus admitted to their mistake. Airbus was juts 10 years too late and was aimed at a niche market and despite its failure, the aircraft paved the way for many brand new technologies. With production now sure to stop in 2021, support for the existing aircraft will continue for as long as they fly which is expected to be around 2040. But its future could end sooner with the advent of Corona Virus making this aircraft most vulnerable. There is no secondary market to speak of with most airlines priding themselves on young fleets – so what could happen is that many 12-year-old jets will be retired and recycled in the soda cans in a very quick time. It was thought the fleet could linger on up until the early 2030s but now the timing could come sooner like the 2020s. Could the airline survive the pandemic because its large size could assist with social distancing within the aircraft, but that would mean dramatically reduced passenger numbers which would be extremely uneconomical to fly half empty. With low demand during this pandemic, it has become difficult to fill up these large aircraft. It is thought that for a while the A380’s capacity won’t be needed and quite a few are currently parked, that may just remain parked.

 

So, now that you have discovered a better way to travel to, you can now reserve your seat and book your Low Price Flights to some amazing spots around the world.  www.lowpriceflights.co.za

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When will Europe be open for travel?

People walking the streets of Europe

This is a developing story. For up-to-date information on Covid 19, visit the World Health Organisation during travel on Coronavirus. We can’t help but ask our selves during this time, how we will be able to travel to Europe where we can enjoy the long summers loitering along the Seine or busking in the Mediterranean. It was on March 17 that we realised the Coronavirus pandemic had gripped Europe, as European Union Leaders agreed to impose travel restrictions on most tourists entering. This list is being continually updated and the European Union has said countries not on the list are so because they have not brought Coronavirus under control. There are currently 10 countries on the list which are:

  • Rwanda
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • New Zealand

(Morocco, Algeria, Serbia and Montenegro have since been removed.) It’s not a legally binding list. Nevertheless, there has already been some aberrance. Germany is only allowing certain countries on the list. However, there has been some exceptions to the European travel ban which include families, passengers in transit and students. Within Europe, internal borders have begun to open up on June 15, with certain rules and restrictions in place. Airlines have been left exposed to the maximum of the travel restrictions and have started to add flights to their international capacity. US airlines such as Delta, American and United plan to resume flights which will feature London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris. Below is a breakdown of how different European countries have decided to approach travel in Europe and beyond.

 

Take a coronavirus test if you want to travel to Croatia

Landscape image of the city in Croatia

A negative nasal swab test for Covid 19 is required in Croatia for all non-European tourists who enter Croatia as tourists, business travelers or as students, can travel freely. The test results must be no more than 48 hours old prior to arriving at the border. If you fail to provide a result, there is a mandatory 14 days of self-isolation at your own expense, which can be less if you take the Covid 19 test within 7 days of entering Croatia and pass with a negative test. The test costs around R3854 and you can expect a result within 1-2 days.

Croatia takes these self-quarantine measures very seriously with the Croatian heath department monitoring and enforcing the quarantine with individual fines of up to 8000 Croatian Kuna (about R20,100.00) and 120 000 Croatian Kuna (R300,000.00) for repeat offenders. Before arrival, tourists are advised to go online and fill in the travel form and they must provide proof of their hotel accommodation. Once the form is filled and sent, travelers will get a confirmation and instructions about rules and regulations for traveling within Croatia. The majority of airlines now require all passengers to wear a mask. But before that, check out Low Price Flights South Africa. There are no direct flights to Zagreb. But you can find cheap flights from Johannesburg to London.

 

France is welcoming travelers

City scape of Paris

From June 22, France eased all of its travel restrictions for those coming into the country from within Europe only. France opened its borders to inter-European travelers on June 15 and later to those coming from Spain on 22 June. EU members as well as those from Andorra, Liechtenstein, Vatican, Iceland, San Marino, Norway and Switzerland can now all enter France without restrictions. UK visitors have to undergo a 2 week quarantine. France made the decision that from July 1 it will open its doors to travelers from outside Europe as long as those countries have been granted access by the European Commission.

 

Tourists from those countries can enter France, book into hotels, enjoy the amenities and tourist sites throughout France. Face masks are now mandatory in some outdoor spaces in Paris as the Coronavirus cases experienced an uptick. It has now been declared that face masks are necessary for anyone of the age 11 and older using public transportation, in a taxi or enclosed public space. All museums and important landmarks that are open will require you to wear a mask even in cafés, bars and restaurants will open with these public measures in place. Only night clubs remain closed with cinemas and other entertainment venues have been allowed to open. Visiting France is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Paris.

 

Italy reopened to travelers on June 3

Florence with buildings

Italy became the earliest and first country to open its international and regional borders on the 3 June. This only applies to people arriving from European Union member countries within the Schengen Zone including the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. The microstates and principalties of Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican are also added.

 

This new government decree has made a law for people who test positive for Covid 19 or have had close contact with a person who contracted the virus, will have to be held in quarantine for at least 2 weeks. It is very difficult for officials to determine exact details of how they would check or confirm tourist’s contacts. Thermal scanners will be used for temperature checks at Fiumicino and Ciampino airports on all passengers departing from Rome. Visiting Italy is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Rome.

 

The United Kingdom’s quarantine laws need not apply to all travelers

London Bridge

It is not recommended that you travel to the United Kingdom but it is also allowed. If you travel to the United Kingdom from one of the countries on the exempted list, you will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Travelers coming from nations that are not on the list have to follow the rules and abide to the 14-day quarantine rule that was placed on 8 June. The list of countries exempted includes Australia, , Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Vietnam, Finland, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Austria, Bermuda, Croatia and Cyprus. The list is being updated on a regular basis. Travelers from within the United Kingdom and Ireland are exempt as well the 14 British international colonies.

 

The British government has made it clear that the list could be updated at any time as the situation evolves. International visitors and British citizens returning home and tourists traveling from countries that are not on the list, must present UK Border Control with their phone number, address of where they will be staying whilst in the UK in self-isolation for two weeks. There are hefty fines for failure to self-isolate and could see fines of up to R21 458 and if you fail to provide correct details, this fine will go up to R68667. The UK government provided guidelines on a Coronavirus fact sheet from 4 of July as a guideline to businesses allowed to open as long as they follow the Covid 19 rules. This includes restaurants, pubs, museums, hotels, vacation rentals, cinemas, retail stores, galleries, theaters, and concert halls. Flying to Britain is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to London.

 

Germany has eased restrictions for some European countries

castle-Germany

If you were in Europe, you were allowed to travel to Germany from 16 June without restrictions. The only country that was exempted was Spain which had to wait till 22 June. Germany has eased its restrictions on travel for tourists coming from seven (Montenegro was dropped) of those countries: Australia, Thailand, Tunisia, New Zealand, Georgia, Canada, and Uruguay, based on European Union recommendations. Japan, China and South Korea now enjoy easier travels to Germany since they’ve been lifted, but expect reciprocal travel benefits. Flying to Germany is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Berlin.

 

Spain has reopened to European travelers

Barcelona

Spain is at the moment only allowing Spanish nationals, residents, visa holders and those people coming from European Schengen countries. Spouses, parents, descendents of Spanish nationals, essential workers, students, and passengers in transit are also being allowed to enter the country, as they are. Spain went into a state of emergency on 14 March and ended on 21 June bringing to an end the severe lockdown rules. However, Spa9n has seen a surge in the Coronavirus numbers. The Spanish government issued a law to make all people, 6 year and older, to wear a mask in all public spaces especially in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. Flying to Spain is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Barcelona.

 

Greece to open to more travelers

oia-Greece

On 13 July the government was said to be evaluating on whether to open its borders to more travelers or not in the summer. Up until now, they have not made an official announcement. In early May, Greece slowly opened up its economy after almost six weeks of very tights lockdown restrictions which saw the banning of all movement across the country. On 15 June, the Prime Minister set into motion the official start of the Greek tourist season and since then countries with low rates of virus infection were allowed to enter.

 

A regularly updated list can be obtained through the Greek Tourism Board for all travelers coming into Greece by land, sea or air. Some changes have been made like on 15 July when all travelers are required to show their Covid 19 test results not more than 72 hours old. Passengers are told to fill in a Passenger Locator Form 24 hours before arriving into Greece. On this form they must provide detailed information on their departure, duration of stay and a Greek address. Flying to Greece is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Athens.

 

Portugal has reopened for travel

city-Portugal

Portugal went into a state of emergency on 14 March and ended its lockdown on 2 May. People can now get back to watching movies at the cinemas, theatres and shopping centres. At the moment, citizens from the European Union and even Lichtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom can all enter by air according to Portuguese authorities. Passengers from the following countries will be allowed to enter: South Korea, Australia, Rwanda, Thailand, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Canada, China, Georgia, Tunisia and Uruguay.

 

Add to the eligibility of travelers from Portuguese-speaking countries or with large Portuguese communities like those you find in the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Venezuela and USA. Due to the ban of Europe by the US, only Portuguese citizens and family members can enter Portugal from the USA. Hotels and other tourist venues in Portugal displaying the blue and white label for doing their part of keeping clean and safe during this Covid 19 crisis are to be noted by tourists and visitors alike. Portugal reopened it 500 plus miles of coastline to some strict regulations. Flying to Portugal is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Lisbon.

 

And in other places in Europe…

Map of Europe

On 31 of August a travel ban to Sweden from non-European Union countries is set to end. Sweden does not require travelers to quarantine. If you travel from the European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland to Sweden, there are currently no restrictions. Denmark allows most countries from the European Union with the exception of Malta, Romania, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and Bulgaria. Denmark is open to travelers from Georgia, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Japan, New Zealand and Uruguay.

 

Iceland has opened its borders to citizens countries outside the European Union that includes New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Tunisia, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco  and Uruguay. Iceland has given travelers three options upon landing in Keflavik Airport; If they results are negative they may continue with their travels, or go for a 14 day quarantine or provide proof that you have tested negative for Covid 19 in the past 72 hours. Ireland requires passengers to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival as there are no travel restrictions. On 1 July, Malta opened its airports to international flights from Europe and welcoming all other destinations 2 weeks later. Turkey has lifted all of its Coronavirus restrictions on 12 June which means that international visitors can simply arrive and be subject to a medical screening.

So, now that you have discovered more safe places to travel to, you can now reserve your seat and book your flights to some amazing spots around the world.  www.lowpriceflights.co.za

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10 Weird places you should visit

most-beautiful-places-in-the-world-utah

Been there, seen that? Then maybe it’s time to consider visiting places that are not even on the tourist map. Now that’s a journey into the unknown and unexplored. For some that may be inviting and thrilling, going somewhere very few people have gone to. Something new for the bucket-list. It appears that all corners of the globe have had their fair share of happy snappers but when you dig a little deeper, there are some places that have not found their way onto Instagram as yet. Or are they just to bizarre for anyone’s liking. There’s nothing like a little mystery and mystique to get the adventurous traveler all strapped up ready to take in all of their surroundings while the trove of tourists revel elsewhere and that’s precisely the point. Take the time to get away from it all and sometimes just have the place all to yourself to relish in. But don’t discount the experience as this is not just another ferry ride. You’re unlikely to have all your senses engaged and redirecting electrical waves to brain like never before. We live in a very interesting planet and despite all our tech savviness, our planet Earth continues to slowly yield her secrets to us in her own time.

 

Salar De Uyuni – Explore The White Salt Bed

Salar-De-Uyuni

One of the most fascinating and visually appealing places is located in Potosí and Oruro, this is the world’s largest salt pan and one of the most provocative places in the world. When mother nature drizzles a thin layer of water on the surface it is also becomes the world’s largest natural mirror. The central Incahuasi Island is the best vantage point from which this space can be observed from.  Salar De Uyuni white salt beds are the remains of a prehistoric lake that has long dried off and in its wake left behind vast spaces of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-islands. These white salt beds are also home to largest flocks of beautiful pink flamingos that can be seen masticating in the water. The best time to visit Salar De Uyuni is from of July to October. You can get there by low price flights or take a train or bus to Uyuni and then take a hired vehicle to the salt flats.

 

Lake Natron – The Scariest Lake

Flamingo on Lake Natron

If you are looking for some weird places then try out this lake. Through a process of calcification, animals die here in this African lake by being turned into statues. Furthermore, the massive amount of sodium bicarbonate ensures they turn into mummies. The lake looks red in colour because of the high alkaline collection, especially during summer in Tanzania. Given this fact it is not surprising this is also known as the ‘Petrifying Lake’. These are very tough conditions to survive in and raise the young and in spite of all this, it is the grazing ground for the Lesser Flamingos. Best time to visit is from June to August. You can take a low price flight to Tanzania and book a guided tour of Rift Valley of which the lake is a part.

 

Die Rakotzbrück – Nature’s Ring 

Die Rakotzbrück

Under the weird places in the world, comes The Die Rakotzbruck bridge as another strange place. No matter where you see it from, the bridge and the reflection merges into a complete and perfect stone circle. It was constructed in the 19th century and is famed for its unique construction accuracy. This certainly creates one of the weirdest places in the world. We’re not sure why but maybe in the fog it may look eerie and hence, it’s been called the ‘Devil’s Bridge’. It appears that the bridge builders emphasized more on its aesthetics than its function. If you look closely you will notice that both the ends of the bridge have thin rock spires installed. This is to give it a more natural basalt columns look, which frequently occur in parts of Germany. Best time to visit is from May to September.
Fly with a low price flight to Dresden. Take a train to Gablenz from Dresden Hauptbahnhof, from here you can take a taxi to the Devil’s Bridge.

 

Spotted Lake Khiluk – Puddles Of Water 

Spotted-Lake-Khiluk

This is another one of those places that makes it onto one of the weirdest places in the world as spotted Lake Khiluk is the most mineralised lake in the world. The lake is dotted with 365 smaller pools organised in a strange mosaic-like pattern. Each of these separate pools holds a distinct and highly concentrated chemical content which is believed to cure different diseases which could make this place a centre for pilgrimage for the weary. Best time to visit is from April to October. Take a Low Price Flights to British Columbia and thereafter take a bus or train to Osoyoos.

 

Slope Point – Windy Spot

Slope Point

South island’s southernmost point is Slope point also making it on our list of weirdest places of this planet. The intense Antartic gusts have constantly blown over the forest here to permanently twist them making this on of the windiest places in the world. The rugged cliffs adds to the intensity of the landscape eroded by strong winds over time. This area the is well known for sheep farming with very little houses around. There is an unusual AA signpost which details the distances between the Equator (5140 km) and South Pole (4803 km). Best time to visit is from December to February. Take a Low Price Flight to Auckland and take a ferry to South Island.

 

Dead Vlei – The Beautiful Yet Dead Forest 

Namibia-Dead-Vlei

This unusual landscape is a sun baked and blackened dead forest in a white clay pan that has dried up ages ago. The name Dead Vlei literally means ‘Dead Marsh’. The struggle for life to succeed in this brutal tough environment is easy to see as roots of trees surface looking for moisture. This certainly adds to this place looking like one of the weirdest places of earth. The area is surrounded by everlasting rust-orange sand dunes that form a dramatic and towering backdrop with some dunes said to be the highest in the world. Best time to visit is from March to May. Take a low price flight to Namibia and take a bus or taxi to Namib-Naukluft Park.

 

Underwater Park – Fun Below The Water

Underwater Park

Our list is only complete when you add in some underwater attractions. Located in the Green Lake in Tragoess, is one of the most weirdest places on earth. This park is completely dry during most of the year except for in Spring when the park is completely flooded with water. This attracts many divers from around the world as it is considered one of the most fabulous waters to dive in. This is such a rare natural phenomenon in one of the most beautiful lakes in Austria. Best time to visit is from April to May. Take a low price flight to Vienna, then take a train to Bruck an der Mur using the OEBB. Take bus 175 that will get you to the lake.

 

Eternal Flame Falls – Nature’s Unique Phenomena

Eternal Flame Falls

Seeing this weird feature is truly believing that something like this can actually exist. This is one the craziest places in the world. The Eternal Flame Falls is located in Shale Creek Preserve, a section of the Chesnut Ridge Park in Western New York. A small opening at the base of the waterfall emits natural gas. It can be lit to produce a flame which is visible all year round. It can also be extinguished and re-lit again. Best time to visit is from April to October. Take a low price flight to New York and a train to Buffalo. Take a train or bus to Orchard Park where the falls are located.

 

Tunnel Of Love – Walk Amidst The Greenery

Tunnel Of Love

This a green leafy tunnel that seems right out of a fairy tale and belies its true nature that of a section of industrial railway in Ukraine. Its idyllic romantic nature appears to attract couples either for a morning or evening stroll. If you’re planning a romantic getaway, you might as well ditch the old dinner at the restaurant and book your trip to Ukraine. Ukraine is such a traveller’s gem, you won’t be disappointed with this country, especially with the natural beauty of the tunnel of love that will leave you astounded. Best time to visit is from May. Take a low price flight to Ukraine and take a bus or train to Rivne. At Rivne train station, you’ll be able to see the tunnel.

Christ Of The Abyss – Explore Underwater

Christ Of The Abyss

There’s a 2.5m statue of Jesus Christ which is under the water off the coast of Italy. It’s also a favourite place for divers and certainly one of the strangest places to visit. This submerged statue of Jesus Christ was built by Guido Galletti and rests in one of the best tourist spots in Italy. An statue by the same artist is located in the Mediterranean Sea, off Fruttuoso, between Camogli and Portofino. Best time to visit is from May to June.
Take a low price flight to Milan and a train to Genoa city. Take a taxi, bus, or another train to either Portofino or Camogli. Here you can book a diving tour to swim to see the Christ Of The Abyss.

So, now that you have discovered more places to travel to, you can now reserve your seat and book your flights to some amazing spots around the world.  www.lowpriceflights.co.za

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