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This Urban Safari Comes With a Warning: Watch Out for Snakes



HONG KONG — The snake didn’t see the catcher coming, at least not in time to avoid being caught.

“This is the fourth-most-toxic land snake in the world, and the most toxic snake in Asia by far,” the catcher, William Sargent, told a group of hikers on a recent night in Hong Kong. He delivered the news calmly, in the way one explains that dinner is ready.

Which of us, he asked, wanted to touch it first?

Mr. Sargent, 44, runs Hong Kong Snakes Safari, an outfit that takes residents on night hikes through the territory’s wooded hinterlands. Some are more apprehensive than others as they learn firsthand about what he says is a chronically misunderstood reptile.

The hikes highlight the scale of biodiversity in Hong Kong, a financial hub of 7.5 million people that is better known for its high-rises than its sprawling protected areas. It’s also a way for city slickers with snake phobias to confront their fears in the wild.

Hong Kong is nearly the size of Los Angeles, but about 40 percent of its land area consists of parks that were created in the 1970s when the Chinese territory was still a British colony. Human-animal conflicts are inevitable because so much of the protected land lies within walking distance of dense urban areas.

Wild boars, in particular, often cause a stir when they wander into busy streets or subway stations. Last month, a family of boars made the local papers by sauntering through Hong Kong’s central business district and taking a swim in the fountain outside the Bank of China’s 72-story office tower.

Snakes generally keep a lower profile in Hong Kong, but because eight native species are capable of inflicting fatal bites, the health risks can be serious if they end up in close quarters with humans.

The Hong Kong Police Force said in a statement that whenever a snake endangers the public, it is “safely boxed and bagged” by approved catchers, then sent to live at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, a local nonprofit that also shelters rescued bats, birds, crocodiles, monkeys, pangolins and turtles. Most of the snakes are later released into the wild.

Mr. Sargent, who kept snakes as pets while growing up on one of Hong Kong’s outer islands, has been a police-approved expert since 2015. He said his snake-catching assignments had taken him to prisons, schools, supermarkets, an airport hangar and a construction site for a coronavirus ward, from which he extracted a 10-foot python.

Last month, he was summoned to a fishing village at 3 a.m. to remove a Chinese cobra — from beneath the bed of a 90-year-old woman. He said a group of the village’s elderly residents formed a kind of receiving line around him as he walked by, “yelling their five cents’ worth about this foreign snake catcher.”

“Even the police were laughing,” said Mr. Sargent, who is British-Swiss and works in event planning by day.

Separately, he runs the hiking business and an educational Facebook group about local snakes that has more than 10,000 members. It was set up partly to help correct viral misinformation, like the suggestion that snakebites are common in the city.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 81,000 to 138,000 people around the globe die each year from snakebites, mostly in developing countries, and that about three times as many suffer permanent disabilities.

Most of the world’s estimated 1.8 million to 2.7 million annual “envenomings,” or snake poisonings, occur in Asia, many in countries with weak health systems and sparse medical resources. The countries that lack the capacity to manufacture antivenom are the most at risk.

But in Hong Kong, which has a first-rate medical system, no one has been killed by a venomous snake since at least 2005, according to a spokesman for the city’s Hospital Authority. In 2018, the last year for which data is available, the authorities recorded just 73 snakebites, making the chances of being bitten about one in 100,000.

“It’s not mystical,” said Mr. Sargent during the night hike. “It’s very clear-cut what the risk is. But there’s such a huge gap of misconception.”

I was one of several hikers who met Mr. Sargent at a village near Hong Kong’s border with mainland China on a sweltering weekday evening. Before we entered an adjacent country park, he explained that the best way to avoid a snakebite was simply to watch our feet and walk with a high-quality headlamp.

Check. And check. As we set out on a concrete path, our carefully monitored footsteps were bathed in a reassuringly bright LED halo.

But the ambient light seemed to fade with every step, and sections of the path were starting to look worryingly overgrown — at least to my snake-fearing eyes.

“Look everywhere you can look,” said James Kwok, a wildlife enthusiast who had tagged along for the safari and offered snake-spotting advice.

The group forded a thigh-high stream and traversed slippery rocks in the dark. A few hikers lost their footing and tumbled into the water.

Mr. Sargent spotted our first quarry — a mountain water snake — and plucked it off a stream-side rock with his bare hands.

As he showed us the snake, it nibbled at his hand, drawing a trickle of blood. He shrugged: It was nonvenomous, and therefore harmless.

But it didn’t look happy in Mr. Sargent’s confident grip.

“No,” he said. “I mean, I’m a predator, right?”

That seemed like more than enough drama for the night. But a few minutes later, a longer, thicker, black-and-white-striped snake slithered into the light of the group’s headlamps.

“Quick, quick, quick!” Mr. Sargent yelled in a stage whisper, as the group scrambled into formation behind him, headlamp beams bouncing across the subtropical foliage like spotlights at a rock concert.

In a fluid motion, he sprinted ahead, slipped his hand into a puncture-resistant glove and scooped up the snake.

As it writhed around in the humid air, he said it was a many-banded krait, a nocturnal species whose highly toxic venom targets the nervous system. We all tittered with anxiety.

But Mr. Sargent, who still looked serenely calm, reassuringly said that in three decades of handling wild kraits, he had yet to see one strike. The animal’s primary instinct was to flee, not bite.

So we gathered around to touch the krait’s belly — which was surprisingly smooth and delicate, like a baby’s cheeks — and to marvel at how beautiful its scales looked up close.

“It’s not what you expect,” said Ruth Stather, a fellow hiker, who works in marketing.

The krait was not exactly pleased, but it seemed willing to tolerate the curious humans for a few minutes. As we stood there touching it in the silent darkness, I felt my snake phobia easing.

“They’re not interested in fighting,” Mr. Sargent said.

I worried that he was tempting fate. But, sure enough, when he released the snake into the undergrowth, it slithered away.

By: Mike Ives
Title: This Urban Safari Comes With a Warning: Watch Out for Snakes
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Published Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2020 09:00:24 +0000

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Welcome Home! Now Go Straight to Quarantine (or Not)




What’s it like traveling in the time of coronavirus? It depends where you’re going. Epidemic prevention and control measures for international arrivals vary greatly around the world, as New York Times journalists found while traveling in recent months. The severity of outbreaks is similarly varied, but stricter quarantine policies tend to correspond with lower case numbers.


Population: 7.5 million | Cases: About 5,300 | Deaths: 105

Hong Kong is not messing around. Since March, traveling there has meant accepting a 14-day quarantine, a tracking bracelet and a coronavirus test.

The semiautonomous Chinese territory is closed to almost everyone except residents, and a highly organized series of stations awaits arrivals at the airport. At the first one, health workers make sure travelers have filled out a health declaration form and downloaded the government’s StayHomeSafe app.

Next, the tracking bracelet is secured to your wrist. Then someone calls your phone to make sure the number on file is correct.

At another station you receive the quarantine order, along with an at-home test to be taken on Day 10 and a form for recording your temperature twice a day. Don’t have a thermometer? Here’s one for free.

Arriving passengers are sent for testing, where they stand in private cubicles and spit into specimen bottles. (“Make a ‘kruuua’ noise,” the instructions suggest.) Anyone who tests positive is sent to a hospital; their close contacts are quarantined.

Passengers who land in the morning have to wait at the airport all day for their test results. But since my flight arrived late, we were taken to a hotel for the night, where we each got a dinner box and an electronic key card good for one use only. After receiving a negative result the next day, we were allowed to check out.

Once at home or a hotel, quarantined residents open the phone app and walk around the perimeter to map its boundaries. The app may at any time ask you to scan the QR code on your bracelet to verify your location, and officials might conduct random checks by phone or in person. Violating the quarantine order can mean fines or imprisonment.

Those in quarantine are not permitted to go out for groceries or a walk or even to take out the garbage — you order everything online or ask friends for help. You just keep yourself busy inside your tiny Hong Kong apartment, counting down the days.

Breezing Through

Population: 8.4 million | Cases: About 264,000 | Deaths: Almost 24,000

In August, I moved back to New York from Hong Kong with my family. We didn’t know what to expect at Kennedy Airport, but we were ready to navigate whatever safety measures we found.

What we found was nothing, other than one of the quickest trips through the U.S. immigration process we’ve ever experienced in years abroad. No temperature checks. No travel history or contact information paperwork. No order or even suggestion to voluntarily quarantine for two weeks. No apparent enforcement of mask discipline for incoming travelers (though only a few were obviously flouting it).

The only check came at the very end, when the immigration officer perfunctorily asked me whether we had traveled abroad anywhere other than Hong Kong over the previous two weeks. I said no, and he said, “Welcome home.”

Burden of Proof

Population: 9 million | Cases: About 30,000 | Deaths: 444

When I flew back to Tokyo from San Francisco in June, Japan’s borders were closed to travelers from more than 100 countries, so the only people arriving were a smattering of Japanese citizens or foreign residents with special exemptions to leave and return after a family emergency — in my case, the death of my father.

The flight had been relatively empty, but to maintain social distancing, flight attendants asked passengers to disembark in small groups. We filled out some forms, had our temperatures taken and shuffled into a waiting area before being called into cubicles for our nasal swab tests.

Clearing customs took nearly an hour while officials checked my documents, including my father’s death certificate and a letter from the funeral home director. They asked me to prove our family relationship, so I frantically texted my husband to send me a digital copy of my birth certificate.

After I retrieved my luggage, I was escorted to an unused baggage hall where cardboard cubicles had been set up for arriving passengers to wait to be picked up. I would be required to quarantine at home for 14 days and had to attest that I would not use public transit to get back to my family’s apartment in central Tokyo. The cubicles contained makeshift cardboard beds for those forced to wait overnight. When my ride arrived, the escort walked me to the curb to confirm that I was not getting into a taxi, which was considered a form of prohibited public transit.

At home, my family had set up an isolation chamber in the bedroom with my desk and our exercise bike nestled by the window. It was a week before I received a call from a local public health center confirming that I was staying inside. The clerk was about to hang up when I asked her about my test results. “Oh, yes,” she said. “You’re negative.”

Hard to Get Home

Population: 5 million | Cases: About 4,400 (statewide) | Deaths: 53 (statewide)

Australia has restricted the number of international travelers who can arrive each day, so my first impression on arriving at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport was one of eerie emptiness. I counted myself lucky not to be among the many Australians stranded abroad after their tickets were suddenly canceled by airlines enforcing the cap on arrivals.

Passengers shuffled off the plane, joking among ourselves about where we would spend the next two weeks. Australia requires travelers to quarantine for 14 days in government-assigned hotels, which could mean a grim room near the airport or a five-star room overlooking Sydney Harbor.

After living through the pandemic in China, where people wore masks as a matter of course, it was unnerving for me to see Sydney airport workers without masks, which are not compulsory in most parts of Australia. Would we be safe? Would they be safe? Masked medical workers took our details and temperatures, rattling off a series of questions: Any fever, coughing, other possible signs of the virus?

We passed through immigration and picked up our luggage. Still no hints of where we were being sent. Police officers pointed us to lines of waiting buses; families on one bus, solo travelers on another. We climbed aboard, and after some prodding the driver told us that we wouldn’t know our hotel until we arrived — the authorities didn’t want us phoning our families to meet us there and risk infections.

A stroke of good fortune: The bus stopped in front of a luxury hotel overlooking Hyde Park in the city center. But the soldiers chaperoning us to our rooms were a reminder that this was no holiday. I had enough experience with quarantine already this year — three stretches locked in hotel rooms in Beijing, Hong Kong and once before in Sydney — to know how to cope: keep busy with work, stick to a routine, exercise.

Still, the days began to drag. I waited each day for the tap on the door at meal times.

A Matter of Trust

Population: 10 million | Cases: About 5,300 | Deaths: 57

South Korea certainly takes its virus control measures seriously — though they are not airtight.

After arriving at Incheon Airport, we were guided through a series of checkpoints, including one where we were asked to download an app on which we were to record any symptoms for the next 14 days. Agents made us show that we had downloaded the app before allowing us to proceed to the baggage area.

Most foreign nationals arriving in South Korea have to quarantine for 14 days in a designated facility, sometimes with angry protesters banging drums outside. But I had an exemption for work reasons, and my family was allowed to serve their quarantine in a hotel.

In the airport, an employee gave my wife the address of the government health office closest to our hotel, and directed her and our children to one of the specially designated “disinfection taxis, ” that transport new arrivals to the country.

After arriving at their hotel, my wife and children discovered the biggest hole in South Korea’s system. They were allowed to walk, unaccompanied, to the local health office for their coronavirus tests. They resisted the urge to dash into a convenience store for chocolate milk.

The next day, my wife got a call saying she and our children had tested negative. She would get a call every day for two weeks from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking if they had any symptoms. And, just to confirm it, she had to fill out the app every day attesting to their well-being. It was essentially the honor system.

At noon on Day 15 of quarantine, my family walked past the hotel’s hallway CCTV camera and out into the open air of Seoul, with no additional tests required.


Population: About 1 million | Cases: About 132,000 (nationally) | Deaths: 230 (nationally)

In September, the long-delayed Afghan peace talks were finally held in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The country requires international arrivals to quarantine for at least seven days, but an exception was made for the large Afghan delegation. Instead, negotiators and journalists traveling from Kabul were tested for the coronavirus multiple times before their flight.

All residents and visitors in Qatar are required to use an app called Ehteraz (Arabic for “precaution”) that shows their color-coded health status. Malls, offices, hotels and other public places won’t let people enter unless their status is green, or healthy. If your status is yellow, meaning you’re supposed to be in quarantine, or red, meaning you are infected, the app alerts others nearby.

After the opening ceremony at the Sheraton hotel, negotiators were allowed to move about Doha freely, while journalists were asked not to leave the hotel until seven days had passed. At that point we were tested again, and once the result came back negative, our status on the app turned green and we could go out in public.

A Normal Journey

Population: 9 million | Cases: About 40,000 | Deaths: 6,885

Before I left Hong Kong for London, where a second wave of infections is building, I had to fill out a form telling the British government that I hadn’t traveled anywhere else in the previous 14 days. I assumed this was just the beginning of what would be a highly unusual travel experience.

Wrong. That was just about the last time the virus was a factor in my trip, aside from wearing a mask on the flight and being extra careful about opening the lavatory door with a paper towel.

There were no forms to be filled out upon arrival at Heathrow Airport. No temperature checks, no tests, no instructions — I just waltzed through customs and the baggage claim and looked for the taxi stand, just as with any other voyage. The only apparent restriction was requiring passengers older than 11 to wear masks inside the terminals.

The baffling convenience prepared me for life in London, where mask use is much more sporadic than in Hong Kong. I found myself in an unimaginable situation: wishing my airport experience had been a little more complicated.

By: The New York Times
Title: Welcome Home! Now Go Straight to Quarantine (or Not)
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Published Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2020 09:00:26 +0000

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I’m a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go?




Americans hoping to travel to other countries during the pandemic face an array of challenges, including closed borders, quarantine and testing regulations, possible Covid-19 exposure during transit and delays in getting their passports.

People wanting to learn about restrictions and the prevalence of the coronavirus in specific countries can go to the U.S. State Department’s website, which uses a four-tier ranking system, or they can go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site, which uses three levels to give coronavirus information for travelers.

Like all public interactions in these unprecedented times, air travel itself carries certain risks for contracting Covid-19. About 2,187 Transportation Security Administration employees had tested positive for the virus as of Oct. 21, and nine workers had died from it. Infected agents may have had direct contact with the public at nearly 70 U.S. airports in the first three weeks of October, according to the T.S.A., which posts a list of the affected airports on its website.

When returning to the United States, passengers from some countries are only allowed to land at certain airports where they will undergo enhanced screening. In addition, the C.D.C. advises Americans to avoid contact with others for 14 days after they return from international destinations.

While Americans continue to be barred from many countries, including much of Europe, here is a list of countries, in alphabetical order, that as of Oct. 21 were open to U.S. citizens, or were expected to open soon.

Americans are allowed to enter. No coronavirus test is needed and there are no quarantine requirements, according to the U.S. Embassy in Albania.

Anguilla is allowing limited entry to some travelers after extensive screening, but since the United States is generally considered a high-risk country, Americans will be far down in the queue. In addition to favoring those from lower-risk countries, priority will be given to visitors planning longer stays and to those with investments in the country.

All visitors must have a negative PCR test taken three to five days before arrival. Another test will be given on arrival, on day 10 and — for those coming from higher-risk countries — on day 14. While not a full quarantine, visitors will have limited contact with locals during the testing period. Fees for the application start at $1,000 for two people and go up from there.

Air travelers over age 12 must complete a Health Declaration Form, a traveler accommodation form, and must provide a certificate of a negative coronavirus test taken within seven days of arrival. There may be further screening on arrival, and passengers must pay $100 for an additional test if health authorities decide one is needed. Visitors should self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for up to 14 days.

The islands are open to those with a Bahamas Health Visa, and, if over age 10, proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken no more than five days before arrival. Everyone must quarantine for 14 days, and in order to remain on the island show another negative test at the end of the two weeks, taken at their own expense.

Inter-island travel requires a Travel Health Visa. Those traveling from New Providence must have a negative Covid-19 test before applying for the Health Visa, and upon arrival must quarantine on the island for 14 days, or the duration of their stay if it is shorter. A person traveling from Abaco to Elbow Cay, Grand Cay, Green Turtle Cay or Man-O-War does not need a negative test, but must still quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Travel is not permitted from islands that have been notified of an impending locked down.

People from high-risk countries like the United States must have proof of a negative coronavirus PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. That information is used to fill out an online immigration and customs form, and a copy of the test result should be taken on the trip. After landing, a health screening will be performed at the airport, and travelers will be confined to limited areas on the grounds of their preapproved hotel, resort or villa for two to three days, at which point they will be retested. If that test is negative, they may leave the property. However, a requirement to self-monitor for symptoms continues for seven days.

In-transit passengers should have proof of a negative coronavirus test before landing.

Americans are allowed to enter. No coronavirus test is needed and there are no quarantine requirements, according to the U.S. Embassy in Belarus.

Bermuda requires most travelers age 10 and up to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within three days of their flight (although tests taken within seven days will be accepted). In addition, mandatory Covid-19 tests are given at the airport, and travelers must quarantine while awaiting the results. Additional tests are given on days four, eight and 14 of a traveler’s stay.A $75 fee covers their cost. Children age 9 and younger don’t have to take virus tests, but pay a $30 fee.

All travelers must complete an online travel authorization form one to three days before their flight, then take and record their temperature with their own thermometer twice a day for the first 14 days of their visit and report it online.

Brazil is allowing people to arrive by air for visits of up to 90 days as long as they can show proof of health insurance that includes coronavirus coverage before boarding their flights.

The country is open to U.S. citizens who can present a negative PCR test result taken no more than 96 hours before departure. (The clock begins from the moment the test was performed.) Passengers must also complete an immigration form.

Costa Rica is open to residents of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming. Residents of Washington, D.C., are also allowed to visit. Plans call for all Americans to be allowed on Nov. 1.

A driver’s license is required to prove residency. Tourists from authorized states may enter if their flight includes a stop in a state that is not on the approved list, as long as they don’t leave the airport.

Until Oct. 26, the entry requirements include a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival, a completed electronic Health Pass, and proof of medical insurance that covers up to $50,000 in coronavirus expenses and $2,000 in hotel costs. After Oct. 26, no test will be required, although travelers with a fever, dry cough, sore throat or other similar symptoms were asked to postpone their trip.

American tourists may visit only with proof of paid accommodation. Travelers must present a negative result for a Covid-19 PCR test taken within the previous 48 hours. If they have an older test result, the person can enter, but must self-quarantine until they can show another negative test, which would be taken at their own expense. Those without negative results must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Travelers from the United States are allowed to enter with a negative Covid-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours. Health ministers may order additional testing or quarantine.

Because the United States is considered a high-risk country, travelers need to fill out an online health questionnaire and, before boarding their planes, show proof of a negative PCR test taken 24 to 72 hours before arrival. They also need to show notification of health clearance to travel.

Upon landing, travelers will be screened and given a rapid Covid-19 test at the airport, and must await the results in a government-approved facility. If the test is negative, they must still quarantine for five days in an approved facility at their own expense. At the end of the five days, another test will be given.

Aruba is open to U.S. residents, but those from nearly half of the states are considered high-risk, and, if they are over age 15, must upload proof of a negative PCR test taken between 12 and 72 hours before flying. Residents of the other states have the option of uploading a test or having one taken at the airport for $75. Travelers must quarantine at their lodgings for up to 24 hours while awaiting results. All visitors must complete an Embarkation/Disembarkation card. Mandatory insurance is also required.

Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius are closed to those who have been in the United States within the previous 14 days. It may be possible to visit Saba and Sint Eustatius by requesting permission from the government. When it is granted, a negative coronavirus test and a mandatory quarantine will be required.

Although commercial flights between the United States and Curaçao have not been announced, the country says it is open to residents of the United States who have a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure. Residents of Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey or New York, with state-issued ID to prove residency, need not quarantine if they have not been outside of those four states in the previous two weeks. Visitors from all other states must quarantine for 14 days. Travelers must complete an online immigration card and a Health Department passenger locator card before travel. Insurance is required.

Dutch St. Maarten is open to those over age 10 arriving from the United States with a completed health declaration form and proof of a negative test taken within five days of travel.

Authorities randomly administer a quick breath test to between 3 and 10 percent of arriving passengers and to those who show symptoms of the coronavirus. Through the end of the year, the country is providing free emergency travel assistance to visitors staying at hotels that will cover Covid-19 testing, lodging and flight change penalties in the event of an infection.

Americans are allowed to enter with proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 10 days before entry. Travelers without the test may take one at their own expense upon arrival. They must quarantine at their accommodation pending a negative test result, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador.

Those visiting the Galápagos Islands should arrive in Ecuador with proof of a recent negative PCR Covid-19 test, then take a second test at their own expense upon arrival and wait at their lodging for the results. For those over age 18, a second negative test is required to proceed to the Galápagos.

Americans over age 6 are allowed to enter with written proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 96 hours of arrival. Proof of health insurance is required, according to the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.

U.S. citizens over age 10 must have proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within five days of arrival, and then must self-quarantine for seven days.

St. Barts requires visitors age 11 and older to show a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival and to sign a sworn statement that they have no symptoms and haven’t been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case in the previous 14 days. Those without a test result will be denied boarding. Visitors staying longer than a week must take an additional test at a cost of about $155 on the eighth day of their trips.

French St. Martin is open with restrictions that differ depending upon the arrival airport. A negative PCR test taken within the previous 10 days is required for those over age 10 coming from the United States to Princess Juliana Airport. Those flying into Grand Case L’Esperance Airport must have taken the test within 72 hours of their departure. An online health authorization must also be completed.

Guadeloupe and Martinique are currently not allowing visitors from the United States.

Travelers to French Polynesia, including the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora, must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours in order to board their flights if they are age 6 or older. Those arriving at the airport will be given a test kit for the virus that contains an oral and nasal swab, and on the fourth day in the islands, the visitor must complete the self-test. Tourists must also complete an electronic entry form attesting that they have travel insurance that would cover coronavirus expenses, or agreeing to personally assume all costs.

U.S. citizens can enter with proof of a negative Covid-19 test and after passing an airport screening. They must quarantine for up to 14 days. Curfews are in effect, as are restrictions on intercity or interstate travel.

Authorities are asking nonessential travelers not to visit the Republic of Ireland. Visitors from the United States must complete a public health Passenger Locator Form and self-quarantine for 14 days. Northern Ireland also has a mandatory two-week quarantine for those coming from the United States.

Tourists age 12 and older arriving from the United States must upload a negative Covid-19 test that was taken at an accredited facility within 10 days of their arrival date. All passengers must complete a Travel Authorization screening form that should be submitted for approval up to five days before travel.

Those staying within the “resilient corridor,” where operators have been trained in Covid-19 protocols, may leave the property to visit coronavirus-compliant attractions within the corridor, via approved transportation. Those who aren’t staying within the resilient corridor must quarantine for 14 days.

Asymptomatic visitors to Kenya from the United States who have proof of a negative Covid-19 test within the previous four days do not need to quarantine for 14 days unless they are from California, Florida or Texas.

Americans are allowed to enter without restrictions, however, the State Department has the country under its highest alert.

“We urge you to postpone or cancel travel to Kosovo this summer. Kosovo remains under a Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel due to Covid-19. The health situation is deteriorating, and public institutions are struggling to keep up with demand,” the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo says on its website.

Visitors over 1 year of age must have proof of a negative PCR test taken not more than 72 hours before the flight. Screenings will be done at the airport and some travelers may be asked to voluntarily submit to another test.

The country requires tourists to have a confirmed booking at a tourist facility. People may stay in multiple resorts after obtaining the approval from the Ministry of Tourism, otherwise the entire vacation needs to be at the same hotel, except when transiting. A representative of the hotel is expected to meet guests at the airport.

The United States is not on the list of green countries for travel to Malta, however, anyone can enter the country if they first spend 14 days in an approved country. That means that American can travel to Croatia or the United Arab Emirates, for instance, and after spending 14 days there, travel to Malta.

The U.S. State Department has lowered its warning about travel to most regions of Mexico to Level 3, or “Reconsider Travel,” but land crossings between the United States and Mexico remain closed until at least Nov. 21. U.S. visitors can arrive by plane. Tourists may be subject to temperature checks and other health screenings, and those showing symptoms may be asked to quarantine voluntarily.

American tourists are allowed to enter with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flights. There is no quarantine for arriving passengers, however, on their fifth day in the country, visitors must be available for Covid-19 tests, and they must be reachable on the seventh day to obtain the result.

General tourism has not resumed, but trekkers and mountaineers with a visa may visit if they have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival; a hotel where they must quarantine for at least seven days; and $5,000 in insurance for coronavirus-related treatment. Tourists must take another virus test, at their own expense, on the fifth day of their quarantine.

North Macedonia is open to Americans with no testing or quarantine restrictions.

Passengers must complete an electronic affidavit before checking in for their flight, and be able to present a negative Covid-19 test result upon landing. If the test result is more than 48 hours old, or if the traveler doesn’t have a test result, a rapid Covid-19 test will be performed at the airport, at a cost of $50.

If the rapid test result is positive, the Panamanian government will arrange and pay for a hotel stay for a mandatory seven-day quarantine, at which time the visitor will be retested.

Airport screenings are also in place.

Visitors need to present a negative molecular Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. Those who are awaiting test results must quarantine for 14 days, or until a negative result is provided to the Puerto Rico Health Department. Similarly, those who arrive without a test will be directed to a local site for testing at their own expense and must quarantine until a negative result is obtained. Those who decline testing must quarantine for 14 days. An online travel declaration form must also be completed.

The country plans to allow tourism to resume on Oct. 31. Visitors must have a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel, and complete an entry form. For the first week, travelers must stay at their hotel, but may move about the property. On the seventh day, they must undergo another coronavirus test. If negative, some excursions will be allowed. Those planning longer stays will receive another test on day 14, and if they are healthy, they may move freely.

Those age 5 and older must email proof of a negative test taken within the past seven days. They also need confirmed reservations at a certified accommodation provider, quarantine facility or verification that they plan to stay on a boat during their visit. Travelers must take a printed copy of their test results, the automatic-response email they will receive, and the travel authorization letter they will also receive. A completed travel registration form must be submitted at least three days before departure.

Screenings will be conducted at the airport. Those without symptoms must take a certified taxi to their accommodations, and are required to remain on the grounds for 14 days except for transfers to another such property, or to participate in certain approved activities. After two weeks, people may travel freely within Saint Lucia.

Visitors from the United States must have a pre-arrival travel form completed and show a negative test for the virus taken within the previous five days. Another test will be given upon arrival.

Travelers also must have proof of five nights of paid accommodation at an approved hotel, and must quarantine there for five days. Another test must be done between day four and day five of quarantine and come back negative. At the discretion of health officials, visitors may be monitored for nine to 16 days.

All travelers must track their temperature for two weeks and report any changes to health authorities.

In-transit passengers must have proof a negative test taken five days before travel and must stay at the airport or at a government approved hotel while awaiting their connection.

Serbia is open to Americans with no testing or quarantine restrictions.

Passengers arriving on an international flight to Tanzania must complete a Health Surveillance Form and undergo screening, including a possible Covid-19 test.

The country is open to Americans with no travel restrictions. Health screening and possible testing may be conducted at the airport.

Although it isn’t supposed to be required of foreign tourists, some airlines may require a Hayat Eve Sigar (HES) code for most people attempting to purchase airline tickets for domestic or international travel, according to the U.S. Embassy in Turkey. The code is obtained by sending a text. Information can be found on the Embassy website or on the website of Turkish Airlines.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is requiring a negative test result taken within five days of travel for anyone over age 10. Visitors also must have insurance that covers any Covid-19 related medical costs. A Travel Authorization Form that will ask health questions must be completed by all passengers before boarding a plane to the islands.

Travelers over age 12 must have proof of a negative coronavirus PCR test taken within 96 hours of their flight in order to board a commercial aircraft to the country. Many passengers are also tested upon arrival, and some may need to self quarantine or may be sent to a quarantine facility. International health insurance is also required.

Residents may travel outside of the U.A.E. for “general reasons,” but must obtain a negative Covid-19 test result and quarantine upon their return.

Visitors can travel to Abu Dhabi by road, but must present a negative result from a test taken in the previous 48 hours. Those who stay for more than six days are required to take an additional test. Travelers arriving in Abu Dhabi are required to wear a GPS bracelet for 14 days.

Anyone arriving from the United States must be prepared to isolate for 14 days, or face a penalty of up to $1,250. Passengers transiting in an airport are exempt, as are those going directly from one port to another; for instance, from Heathrow to Eurostar.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are open to visitors. Those age 5 and older must have a negative Covid-19 test taken within five days of arrival, or show a positive test for antibodies within the previous four months.

The results should be submitted via a travel health form, and the original test result must be presented upon arrival. Airport screenings are also in effect.

Those who don’t have a test result must quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter. They can also get out of quarantine by producing the needed test result.

Follow Karen Schwartz on Twitter: @WanderWomanIsMe

By: Karen Schwartz
Title: I’m a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go?
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Published Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2020 19:22:42 +0000

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Essential Things You Need to Bring on Your Next Hunting Trip




Hunting is not just your ordinary trip to the woods – you need to be prepared. Regardless of how old you are, your first time hunting will be a disaster if you don’t come fully prepared! Your first priority should be getting a license and learning about all the protocols and regulations of the area you are going to hunt in – but what truly makes or breaks the whole experience is the gear or the lack of it! You’ll need to make a checklist of all the essentials you’ll need to bring on the trip and your hunting adventures can begin! 

Here’s a list of basic things you must bring on your hunting trip to make the best of it!


The one thing that you should check out before going on your hunting trip is what kind of weather conditions will occur that day. This will be of great importance when you start packing, as you’ll know what kind of clothes to bring, and never be unpacked and left cold ever again

Layered tops

It doesn’t matter if it’s spring or autumn, your best bet will be to bring multiple clothing items – and layer them as you wish. This way, if you get chilly at some point, you can just put your jacket on and vice versa. This will save you from overheating or freezing, and also you’ll have some spare clothes just in case if you get wet.

Backup clothes

Socks seem a bit insignificant, right? Well, not really, if you fall into a river and get your feet wet, you’ll suffer some consequences if you can’t dry them immediately. That’s why it’s best to bring multiple pairs of socks, and the same goes for the rest of your clothes – you never know if this situation may occur, so it’s best to be prepared and think about your health!


If you think hunting is just bringing a weapon of choice and calling it a day… maybe you should educate yourself a bit more before you run to your local woods. It takes a lot of items to actually make the hunting trip possible, some or more optional and some are a must!


When you are out in the woods, there are lots of things surrounding you, trees and small animals roaming all over the place. It’s hard to keep up with every detail, especially if you don’t have a trained eye for those things! Reading some hunting optics reviews will give you advice that if you want a successful hunting trip, you must increase your eyesight. Binoculars can even help you see in the dark!

Enough ammo

This isn’t the movies, you won’t have an endless array of bullets at your disposal. That’s why it’s best to bring as much as you’ll need – especially if you are a beginner and still learning how to hunt. If you run out of ammo, it will ruin the overall experience, and you’ll go home unsatisfied.

Additional items

Once you have all your clothes and the desired weapon of choice, you’ll need to grab some additional things you probably haven’t really put on top of your priority list. It’s all in the details, even small items can save you from trouble in the given moment!

Food and water

This isn’t the old days, you don’t have to hunt your dinner – bring it with you! If you are on your hunting trip, chances are you’ll get pretty hungry soon, with all the activity you’ll be doing. That’s why it’s best to be prepared and pack meals for the trip, and also pack lots and lots of water or beverages of choice. Doesn’t matter if you are going to camp out there, or just going for a couple of hours, it’s always best to be prepared!

First aid kit

Your first priority should be your health and safety! You never know what could happen on your hunting trip, it’s never a bad thing to have a small first aid kit with you at all times. Even if you get a little bit hurt, you can treat the wound on the spot and continue with your hunting adventures without thinking about getting an infection! Also, remember to bring sunscreen and put it on before you go, even if it’s not as sunny – protect your skin!

Hunting has been around since the dawn of time – the only thing that keeps changing is the gear. With today’s options, you can hunt in the worst weather conditions, day and night, and still have a good time. But choosing the proper items is key in ensuring you get the best experience – and also to ensure your own safety whilst you do it!

The post Essential Things You Need to Bring on Your Next Hunting Trip appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

By: Marina Villatoro
Title: Essential Things You Need to Bring on Your Next Hunting Trip
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Published Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 18:21:28 +0000

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