The U.S. government announced that the country’s land borders with North American neighbors Canada and Mexico will remain closed to nonessential travel for through April 21 due to the ongoingย COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration is optimistic that the border closures can be lifted in May, but Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau is not as optimistic.

More people are becoming eligible for Covid-19 vaccines every day. A strong reaction to first COVID-19 vaccine may signal a previous infection and raises questions about the need for a second dose. My first dose had zero side effects; so that may mean I haven’t been infected with SARS-CoV-2.

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The Tokyo Olympics will have no foreign tourists. Tickets purchased by foreigners will be refunded. A decision on limits to domestic fans will be made in April.

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Japan’s National Stadium Photo credit: PA MEDIA

Thailand reneged on the tourism board’s promise to reduce quarantine requirements for vaccinated tourists to seven days. Effective April 1, the mandatory quarantine for all foreigners becomes 10 days rather than 14 days. That length of quarantine is still much too long for all but the most determined travelers to tolerate. The government also had bad news for the local population and anyone else who is already in Thailand or willing to accept the quarantine. For the second year in a row, it banned the traditional water battles that accompany the Songkran Thai New Year celebrations April 13 – 15, 2021.

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“Playing water” is a Songkran tradition.  Vendors sell plastic pouches to keep for cell phones from getting wet.

There is some good news for vaccinated travelers. Nepal is eliminating quarantine requirements for travelers who have had a Covid-19 vaccine. It is also permitting those individuals to apply for visas on arrival after undergoing a short health exam. Still in effect for vaccinated travelers are rules requiring a negative PCR test taken not more than 72 hours before departing for Nepal and insurance coverage for emergency search and rescue and medical treatment.

Etihad Airways CEO has indicated that the airline will keep its A380 fleet grounded permanently. That is sad because Etihad A380 had arguable the best first-class seat in the sky, the First Class Apartment. I was privileged to experience this fantastic seat and the onboard shower a couple of times by using American Airlines frequent flyer miles.

From the Out of this World Department, here is a recording of interplanetary traveler Perseverance driving across the Martian landscape. You hear the rover’s metal wheels and suspension system crunching and creaking as it creeps along over the rocky surface.

I hope you enjoyed some of these updates. Please add any questions or comments below.