National Vaccine Card, Japan Extends Strict Entry Rules, EU to Suspend Visa-Free Travel for Vanuatu

news roundup

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News Roundup

This is a roundup of news and other interesting pieces that I’ve come across over the last few days. Read about a new national vaccine card, Southwest available on KAYAK for Business, Japan extends strict entry rules, Avelo launches new SRQ-HVN route, EU to suspend visa-free travel for Vanuatu.

A national Covid vaccine card has quietly emerged

The digital pass known as the SMART Health Card is voluntary and minimal by design to protect personal information. It has a person’s name, date of birth and the dates and brands of vaccination doses, all contained within a type of scannable bar code known as a QR code.

And after a relatively quiet start, it has built momentum in recent months as more states and companies have signed on, making it something of a de facto national digital vaccine card.

Southwest Airlines Now Available on KAYAK for Business

KAYAK for Business, KAYAK’s free corporate travel solution has integrated Southwest Airlines® into its platform making the process of booking a business trip and earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points easier. Through the integration, travelers and travel decision makers will be able to compare all available travel options in one place, making KAYAK for Business a one-stop-shop designed for small and medium sized businesses.

Japan Extends Strict Entry Rules till February

On January 11, the Government of Japan announced that strict border restrictions barring most foreign nationals from entering Japan will continue until at least late February.

All travelers from the United States must comply with a mandatory three-day or six-day quarantine at government of Japan-designated facilities. The length of the quarantine period varies depending on travelers’ location of origin. Rules related to quarantine requirements change often and with little notice. Before departing, travelers should monitor local news resources. They should also check websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare.

Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 must comply with government of Japan regulations regarding the necessary quarantine period and testing prior to release from quarantine. The U.S. Embassy is unable to intervene in these matters.

Avelo Airlines Begins Service to 6th Florida Destination from Tweed-New Haven Airport

Today Avelo Airlines begins new nonstop service to its sixth Florida destination, the white-sand coastal oasis of Sarasota-Bradenton. The inaugural flight will depart HVN at 2:25 p.m., arriving SRQ at 5:35 p.m. Very low one-way fares between Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) and Southern Connecticut’s Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN) starting at $49* are available at

Avelo’s exclusive nonstop service on Boeing Next-Generation (NG) 737 jets will operate three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

EU to suspend visa-free travel for ‘golden passport’ country

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday a suspension of a visa-free travel agreement with the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu because of its scheme offering passports to rich foreigners.

If the proposal is backed by EU states, it would be the first time that the EU imposes sanctions on a country for running “golden passport” schemes, which the Commission has repeatedly warned could pose security and money laundering risks. Other countries, including eastern European states are monitored.

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