UK removes UAE from travel corridors list amid increase in COVID-19 cases

UK removes UAE from travel corridors list amid increase in COVID-19 cases
From 4 a.m. Tuesday, travelers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UAE will need to self-isolate for 10 days. (AFP)
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Updated 12 January 2021

UK removes UAE from travel corridors list amid increase in COVID-19 cases

UK removes UAE from travel corridors list amid increase in COVID-19 cases
  • From 4 a.m. Tuesday, travelers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UAE will need to self-isolate for 10 days
  • British transport minister Grant Shapps wrote in a tweet that latest data indicated the UAE should immediately be removed from the travel corridor list

Britain removed the United Arab Emirates from its travel corridors list following a concerning increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the UK Department of Transport said on Monday.
From 4 a.m. Tuesday, travelers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UAE will need to self-isolate for 10 days, the department added.
“The decision has been made following a significant acceleration in the number of imported cases, along with the number of reported new cases over the past seven days, which have risen in the UAE by 52%.”
British transport minister Grant Shapps wrote in a tweet that latest data indicated the UAE should immediately be removed from the travel corridor list.

 


Under existing rules, passengers arriving from all international destinations, including the UAE, are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to three days before departing for England or Scotland.
The move came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain was in “a race against time” to roll out COVID-19 vaccines as deaths hit record highs and hospitals ran out of oxygen, and his top medical adviser said the pandemic’s worst weeks were imminent.
Last week, Abu Dhabi started Phase III clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine amid a surge in infections in the UAE.
On Thursday, Britain said it would extend a ban on travelers entering England from South Africa to other southern African countries to prevent the spread of a variant of the coronavirus identified in South Africa.

 


Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try
A view of Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, with a rocket underneath the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner, during test launch of its high-altitude launch system for satellites from Mojave, California, U.S. January 17, 2021. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 January 2021

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try
  • The rocket’s upper stage coasted for a period, reignited to circularize the orbit and then deployed the nine CubeSats

LOS ANGELES: Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reached space on Sunday, eight months after the first demonstration flight of its air-launched rocket system failed, the company said.
A 70-foot-long (21.34-meter-long) LauncherOne rocket was released from beneath the wing of a Boeing 747 carrier aircraft off the coast of Southern California, ignited moments later and soared toward space.
The two-stage rocket carried a cluster of very small satellites known as CubeSats developed and built as part of a NASA educational program involving US universities.
The launch occurred after the Boeing 747-400 took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert north of Los Angeles and flew out over the Pacific Ocean to a drop point beyond the Channel Islands.
“According to telemetry, LauncherOne has reached orbit!” Virgin Orbit tweeted later. “Everyone on the team who is not in mission control right now is going absolutely bonkers.”
The rocket’s upper stage coasted for a period, reignited to circularize the orbit and then deployed the nine CubeSats.
The flight developments were announced on social media. The launch was not publicly livestreamed.
Virgin Orbit, based in Long Beach, California, is part of a wave of companies targeting the launch market for increasingly capable small satellites, which may range in sizes comparable to a toaster on up to a home refrigerator.
Competitor Rocket Lab, also headquartered in Long Beach, has deployed 96 payloads in 17 launches of its Electron rocket from a site in New Zealand. Another of its rockets was nearing launch Sunday.
Virgin Orbit touts the flexibility of its capability to begin its missions by using airports around the globe.
Virgin Orbit attempted its first demonstration launch in May 2020.
The rocket was released and ignited but only briefly flew under power before it stopped thrusting. The lost payload was only a test satellite.
The company later said an investigation determined there was a breach in a high-pressure line carrying cryogenic liquid oxygen to the first-stage combustion chamber.
Virgin Orbit is separate from Virgin Galactic, the company founded by Branson to carry passengers on suborbital hops in which they will experience the sensations and sights of spaceflight.
Virgin Galactic expects to begin commercial operations this year in southern New Mexico.