Travel Changes Across Europe

We take a look at some of the latest changes to travel restrictions across Europe.

Cyprus

Cyprus has moved the following countries from the red, high risk, category, to its orange list:

  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Uruguay

Arrivals from these countries now only need to present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours.

Czech Republic

Travellers to the Czech Republic from Lithuania will now be obliged to following a double testing requirement and quarantine for 5 days on arrival. This comes as arrivals from France, Spain, Monaco and the Netherlands have been moved to the medium risk, orange category. Travellers from these countries are required to complete the passenger locator form and receive a PCR, or antigen test no more than 5 days after their arrival.

These restrictions do not apply to fully vaccinated or fully recovered travellers.

Ireland

Ireland has dropped the mandatory hotel quarantine requirement for non-vaccinated travellers arriving from outside the EU+ zone, and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. These arrivals are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Ireland.

If you have received the full dose of an approved vaccine, or have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 180 quarantine is not required.

Germany

Germany has moved the following countries onto its ‘high risk area’ list:

  • Ethiopia
  • Burundi
  • New Caledonia (French overseas territory)
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Slovenia

The following areas are no longer considered high risk:

  • France – the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region
  • Japan
  • Senegal

>> EU Travel Restriction Changes

Norway

Norway has gradually started making some travel changes by easing its stringent restrictions. Starting this week, quarantine requirements will be dropped for travellers from green and orange category areas. Those arriving from red, dark red, purple, and grey countries will still be subject to a 10-day self-quarantine, although this can be shortened with a negative PCR test taken no sooner than 3 days after arrival.

Sweden

Travellers from the following non-EU/EEA countries who have a valid vaccination certificate do not need to present a negative PCR test on arrival in Sweden:

• Albania 
• Andorra 
• The Faroe Islands 
• Israel 
• Morocco 
• Monaco 
• Northern Macedonia
• Panama
• San Marino
• Switzerland
• Turkey
• Ukraine
• Vatican City State

The certificate must be more than 14 days old.

Travel restrictions can change quickly, and with little notice. All travellers are advised to check their trips in advance of travel.

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Vietnam to Re-Open in October

The borders of Vietnam have been shut for the last 18 months, and now, the country is set for a phased re-opening in October.

Phased Re-Opening

Vietnam’s initial re-opening will be the tropical island of Phú Quốc, to the south of the mainland. Much like Thailand’s sandbox re-opening of Phuket, this scheme is designed as a boost to the local economy, and a precursor of a further re-opening down the line.

From October, fully vaccinated tourists can visit Phú Quốc, and travel by both chartered and commercial flights. A negative PCR test is a requirement.

The government is also working towards securing mutual recognitions of vaccine passports with other countries in order to facilitate travel and ensure a smooth return to the travel market.

About Phú Quốc

Considered one the best kept secrets in Vietnam, Phú Quốc is a holidaymaker’s dream. Also known as Pearl Island, the 150km long coastline offers visitors their pick of glitteringly white beaches. Dotted along the southern coastline are palm-lined resorts, restaurants, bars, and markets. It is not yet clear whether visitors will be required to stay in specific hotels, but Phú Quốc has accommodation options to suit every budget.

The marine life around Phú Quốc allows for exceptional diving and snorkeling. The coral is colourful and abundant, a myriad of species of fish, and if you’re lucky, giant clams, sea turtles, and other rarities, make for a memorable experience.

To the north of the island is the Phu Quoc National Park – over 30,000 hectares of protected forest. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the park offers visitors a wide range of activities and experiences. The dense forest has a number of hiking trails, including, for the fit, a four-hour trek and a climb up a bamboo ladder, to Mount Heaven.

Phú Quốc is the ideal tourist destination, so it is hoped that it’s re-opening will provide a healthy boost to a struggling economy.

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The EU Recognizes Digital Certificates From More Countries

The EU Digital COVID Certificate entered into circulation in July of this year. The system, that allows users to store their vaccine, recovery, and testing details on their phones, is designed to facilitate travel both across the EU and within EU countries. The EU is now recognizing the digital certificates of a number of third party countries.

What is an EU Digital Covid Certificate and how do I get one?

The digital certificate acts as proof that the user has either been vaccinated by a vaccine approved by the EMA, has recovered and has a certificate issued by a medical authority, or, has received a recent negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours. Each user receives a unique QR code, which can either be stored on their phones, or printed out and kept as a hard copy. Additional information included on in the system are personal details such as your full name, date of birth, and the date the certificate was issued. The system is secure, free of charge, and valid in all EU countries.

The digital certificate should be issued by your country’s health authorities. Either through testing centres, medical institutes or, online e-health portals, such as an official Covid-19 website. In the case of a minor, parents can either store their testing/recovery information on their own profiles, or the child can have their own.

>> Applying for a French Vaccine Certificate for non-EU Visitors

Which digital certificates are recognized by the EU?

Aside from the 27 EU member states, the certificates from the following countries, regions, and principalities are also recognized by the digital certificate system:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • The Faroe Islands
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Vatican City
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EU Travel Restriction Changes

EU travel restrictions change rapidly, we take a look at the latest updates.

Austria

Austria has removed the following countries from its ‘safe’ list:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Brunei
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kosovo
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia
  • Serbia
  • Thailand
  • United States

Arrivals from these countries must now present either, a negative PCR test result, proof of vaccination, or proof of recovery. Travellers who can show proof of vaccination or recovery do not need to registered for pre-travel clearance. Unvaccinated arrivals are required to self-isolate for 10 days.

As from the 15th of September 2021, the following are considered areas of variants of concern:

  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Suriname
  • Zimbabwe

Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Uruguay have been removed from this list. Travellers who have been in one of these countries in the 10 days prior to travel will not be allowed to enter Austria. Exemptions such as for Austrian residents and citizens, are in place.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from all testing and vaccination requirements.

>> US Travellers Face Restrictions from these EU Countries

Belgium

From the 11th of September, Belgium has placed the following EU/Schengen regions on its red list, indicating a higher epidemiological risk:

  • Croatia: Adriatic Croatia, City of Zagreb, North Croatia
  • Norway: Trøndelag
  • Caribbean Netherlands: Bonaire

Germany

Germany has removed the following regions and countries from it’s high-risk list:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Ecuador
  • France – the regions Corsica, Occitanie and the overseas department Réunion
  • Greece – the regions Crete and South Aegean
  • Namibia
  • Oman
  • Paraguay
  • Peru

New high-risk areas that have been added to the high-risk list this week are:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Grenada
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway – the counties Oslo and Viken

Travellers who have been in a high-risk area within 10 days before entering Germany are required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival (at home). Travellers with proof of either vaccination or recovery do not need to quarantine.

All arrivals over the age of 12 must carry with them either: a negative PCR test result; a vaccine certificate; a recovery certificate.

Greece

In Greece, domestic travel on planes, trains, busses now requires all passengers over the age of 12 to provide one of the following:

  • Proof of full vaccination certificate which was issued no sooner than 14 days prior to travel
  • Proof of recovery certificate valid within the last 6 months
  • Negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before the scheduled time of arrival in their destination
  • A rapid antigen detection test taken within 48 hours before the scheduled time of arrival in their destination

Minors between the ages of 4 and 11 can have a self-test which is free-of-charge and provided by the state.

Spain

Spain has placed the whole of France on its high risk list. This list is valid until the 19th of September. Arrivals from France are required to present either a negative PCR test, or certificates of either vaccination or recovery.

EU travel restrictions are constantly changing, so we advise travellers to double check the requirements before their trip.

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How SafeScore Helps Airports Recover

Airports are in trouble. The strong recovery needed to overcome the hurdles put in place by the pandemic is being hurt by a number of factors. Confusion and chaos are reigning king and queen, and not giving travellers the confidence to put their money towards international holidays that they aren’t guaranteed of getting. SafeScore is here to change this.

Chaos at Airports

Re-opening for tourism was never going to be smooth sailing. However, the ease of re-opening might have been underestimated as has been illustrated at a number of airports in recent weeks. Dublin Airport had to issue an apology at the end of August as passengers were required to wait in queues for over 2 hours. Over 100 passengers missed their flights as a result.

In Heathrow International Airport, travellers reported queuing times of over four hours. In fact, the queues were so long, and so poorly managed that some passengers even fainted. The same scene appeared to play out in other airports across the United Kingdom.

In Malaga Airport, in Spain, some passengers reportedly took out their frustration at the long waiting times by knocking down the barriers in the arrivals terminal.

And, in each of these cases, social distancing rules weren’t followed, and there was often little access to food and water.

Why is this happening?

Travel requirements and restrictions are a minefield of confusing, ambiguous, and often misleading information.

Passengers aren’t arriving at the airport with the correct documents, and often aren’t meeting key requirements. Some travellers are denied boarding as they didn’t receive the correct tests. In most cases, customers haven’t completed forms that are recommended to be filled in at home. Why? Because they didn’t know they had to. In Ireland alone, it was reported that two passengers were being denied travel every two hours thanks to incorrect travel information and documentation.

A lack of access to clear, concise, and up-to-date information is one cause to blame for this. In many cases, there is no clear point of contact for the aviation industry to communicate government mandates to its customers. Airport and airline staff, are expected to know specific requirements for exiting, and entering numerous destinations. They haven’t been given the correct tools for the job.

Checking travel details like these take time, and it’s a labourious task – leading to even longer queues. Sometimes airports have been given incorrect information, which they convey to the passengers. SafeScore’s CEO experienced this himself – luckily, he had the correct data to hand.

In fact, UK watchdog, Which? released a study highlighting just how many UK airlines were giving their passengers incorrect, incomplete, or unclear travel information. And, if the passenger fails to meet the requirements at the airport, there is no recourse for a refund – hardly an enticing prospect for a would-be customer.

Travellers are facing delayed flights, and missed flights thanks to chaos at airports

Damaging Recovery

So, how are the queues, and information stumbling blocks hurting airports and airlines?

Queues are the unpleasant reality of the modern world – but when they lead to fines, refunds, and loss of customers, they become a different beast. Whether it’s the airlines facing hefty fines for exceeding their allotted time on the tarmac, or the compensation paid to customers, or irate customers posting on social media, the damage is clear in every corner.

How we Help

SafeScore provides clear, up-to-date, and reliable travel information.

We have all the data airports and airlines need to ensure smoother transitions, and improve the customer experience. Some of the important data points we include are, child PCR testing ages, locator form information, specific vaccine requirements, and more. We are origin and destination-specific, so we tailor our data according to the routes required.

Our API packages are customisable, and our products are concise, and easy to use. We know how long it can take to find the correct information in a government website – nobody wants to queue for that. This is why we’ve made everything straightforward, and accessible with just a few clicks.

Let’s help the travel industry recover, together.

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Travel to Mauritius: Now Open for South Africans

South Africans will once again be able to travel to Mauritius as the Indian Ocean island has lifted its travel ban. From the 1st of October, the specific bans against arrivals from South Africa will be removed, and tourists will be welcomed once again.

Prior to this, travellers from South Africa had to spend 15 days outside of the country before being allowed to enter Mauritius’ borders.

Travel to Mauritius in October

From October, South African tourists can visit Mauritius provided they meet the requirements depending on the category they fall into:

Vaccinated travellers: Fully vaccinated travellers can explore the island, and book any accommodation they choose. A negative PCR test must be presented on arrival, but otherwise no other restrictions are in place. The PCR test must be be taken no more than 72 hours from the last point of embarkation.

Unvaccinated travellers: An in-room hotel quarantine stay is required for unvaccinated travellers. The 14-day stay must be at one of the official quarantine hotels, and must be booked in advance. Arrivals need to present a negative PCR test dated between 3-7 days from their last point of embarkation. Depending on the length of stay, travellers will be tested again on day 7 and on day 14. If the final test result is negative, then the visitors are free to explore the island.

All travellers must follow the PCR testing requirements, including children and infants.

All travellers must download, print out and complete the following documents to hand over to officials on arrival:

South Africans can once again travel to Mauritius

Who is Flying to Mauritius?

The following airlines have been authorized to operate direct commercial flights between the two countries: Air Mauritius, Comair South Africa, SAA, and FlySafair. Air Mauritius has already resumed flights between Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport and O R Tambo International Airport, South Africa’s main hub, in Johannesburg. Comair is scheduled to resume flights on the 30th of November. Alternatively, routes via Kenya, and Reunion island are also viable options for South African travellers.

>> 5 Important Travel Rules You Need to Know

Recognized Vaccines

The following vaccines are recognized by Mauritian authorities:

  • AstraZeneca: Covishield
  • AstraZeneca: Vaxzevria
  • Covaxin
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine
  • Sinopharm
  • Sputnik
  • Sinovac- CoronaVac

Mixed vaccinations are also accepted provided the travellers provides proof of both doses. Children under the age of 18 are currently exempt from vaccination requirements.

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Cambodia Looks to November for Tourism re-Opening

As the vaccine rollout strengthens, Cambodia is, at last, looking towards re-opening its borders for tourism.

The Cambodian ministry of tourism announced plans to relax travel restrictions for foreigners from November. To further entice tourists, the country is also looking at reducing its current quarantine time of 14-days, or, even removing it entirely. At this stage, it appears that the re-opening plan will only permit fully vaccinated travellers to visit the country. As yet, no further details have been announced.

Cambodia is rapidly outpacing its neighbours in the vaccination race – according to figures from Our World in Data, the country has vaccinated 54,6% of its population. Thailand, and Vietnam are lagging behind with 11,2% and 3,6% respectively. It’s no surprise then, that these positive numbers have brought the possibility of re-opening to leisure travel to the fore. In fact, Cambodia’s vaccine rollout has been so fast-paced, it’s the second highest in Southeast Asia, beaten only by Singapore, which is currently at 79,1% of the population vaccinated. Currently, Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh is the most vaccinated city in Southeast Asia. The country’s goal is to reach herd immunity by the end of September when roughly 75% of the population will have received both jabs.

>> Ethical Travelling in a Covid World

Phnom Penh has amongst the highest vaccination rates in the world

When to visit?

For foreigners eager to explore the temples of Angkor Wat, or kick back on a beautiful beach, then Cambodia‘s re-opening couldn’t be better timed. The wet season tends to run between May and October, so by then, the seasonal monsoon cycle should be over. The dry season runs from November to April, and December and January are the coolest months. With daily average temperatures sitting in the mid-20oC’s the end of the year is ideal for a beach escape. So, whether you want to snooze on the beaches of Saracen Bay, or hack through the rainforests in the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia will soon be a bucket-list possibility once more.

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Travel Changes Across the EU

Aside from re-imposing travel bans on travellers from the US, the EU and the EEA have experienced several travel changes this week. We take a look at what’s new.

Cyprus

Travellers from Norway, Slovenia, and Canada have been placed on the high risk, red list. This means they need to provide a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours prior to arrival, and be tested again once in Cyprus at their own cost.

Romania and Kuwait have been moved from the green list to the orange, which means these arrivals must present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours.

Saudi Arabia has moved from the orange to the green list which means PCR testing is no longer a requirement.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has scrapped it’s ‘extreme risk’ black list of countries. Countries on this list have moved to the ‘dark red’ list, and are considered very high risk. The only European country currently on this list is Ireland. Cyprus, the Netherlands, Norway, San Marino and Slovenia have been moved to the red list, and Romania and the Azores have been moved to the orange list.

Travellers from most countries outside of the EU are only permitted to enter the Czech Republic for essential reasons. Unvaccinated travellers and those who have not recovered from Covid-19 in the last 180 days and are arriving from risk, or high risk countries, need to provide a negative PCR test on arrival, receive another test on day 5, and self-isolate until a negative result is received. These travel changes have been in effect since the beginning of September.

Estonia

Unvaccinated travellers from Bulgaria, Norway, San Marino and Slovenia are now required to undergo a 10-day self-isolation on arrival in Estonia. These countries have been added to Estonia’s red list. Restrictions do not apply to travellers who have proof of recovering from Covid-19 within the last 180 days.

Finland

Travellers from Hong Kong, Macau, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan can travel to Finland without facing any restrictions. Restrictions have been reinstated for traveller from Australia, Brunei, and Ukraine. Non-vaccinated travellers from these three countries can only enter Finland if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Returning to Finland
  • Returning to another EU or Schengen country
  • Are in transit through Finland
  • Are entering Finland for essential reasons

Germany

Germany has made some travel changes by adding the following countries to its ‘high risk’ list:

  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Guatemala
  • Japan
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Serbia
  • Sri Lanka

Kuwait is no longer considered high risk, and has been removed from the list. Travellers from countries on the high risk list must provide either proof of vaccination, or recovery, or undergo a 14-day at home quarantine.

Italy

Travellers from Brazil, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka will face stricter rules on arrival in Italy. Travel from these countries is only permitted for Italian citizen and residents, those studying in Italy, or those travelling to their minor child, spouse, or civil partner living in Italy. Those travellling from Brazil can do so if their provide proof to the government of the imperative need for their trip.

Lithuania

Unvaccinated travellers from Croatia and Slovenia are now required to undergo a 10-day self-isolation and present a negative PCR test on arrival in Lithuania. Travellers who can provide proof of recovery are exempt from quarantine requirements.

Norway

Norway has removed Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and the USA from its ‘safe’ Third Party country travel list in accordance with EU Council recommendations. Travellers from these countries will no longer be exempt from quarantine requirements, or benefit from lighter restrictions.

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Dodgy Travel Data can Cost you Thousands, & your Holiday!

Dodgy travel data could be costing passengers thousands, in time and money.

This past weekend, disturbing accounts of passengers’ experiences at Dublin International Airport made the headlines in Irish Newspapers.

Irate passengers quoted “long queues”, “delays” and “laborious forms to fill in” as reasons for the delays. Some passengers had to pay over €100 to reschedule flights and a “a lot of understandably anxious people” have taken to social media to voice their frustrations.

The truth is, all you have to do is visit 3 government websites, 1 airline website, call your travel agent, get a test, pay for fast results, review the vaccine validity windows, get the approved masks, find the passenger locator forms, fill out the passenger locator forms and do that all again when you get back, except from a different country. Not so simple.

Flight arrival board at an airport
Confusing travel data is causing chaos for travellers and the industry

A recurring theme


This isn’t the first bad airport experience story in the last 18 months. From Birmingham to Dubai, thousands have been turned away from check-in desks. Many more have paid for tests that weren’t valid and an unknown number have had to pay for quarantines and tests they never needed. Some have had multiple vaccines, not knowing that their current schedule wouldn’t be accepted in their destination. Airports have the thankless task of enforcing document compliance on behalf of airlines and it is starting to hurt their customers.

Our network in the airports business has told us that many passengers arrive with missing or incomplete documents like passenger locator forms. Sometimes, their tests are too old to fly or they’ve taken the wrong test completely. Some have thought their children didn’t need a test when they did, and some passengers have had children tested who never needed to be tested in the first place. In some cases, airport staff have given the wrong information to passengers, which has taken hours to resolve, causing queue buildups and further frustrations.

In many cases the root cause is that passengers simply don’t have a single point of reference for their travel requirements. Government websites aren’t always reliable and restrictions come and go faster than a toupee in a hurricane. Accurate and up-to-date travel data, that anticipates both the passenger’s and the government’s requirements is the key to solving this problem.

Take a deep breath

At SafeScore, we have built a simple, customer-facing widget for airlines and airports to add to their apps and websites. Everything from child testing ages to quarantine requirements, and vaccine validity is clearly, and easily available. We’ve even provided the passenger locator forms too. We’ve purpose-built the tool, allowing you to show exactly what a passenger needs before travelling and what they will need on return.

Informed passengers move through airports faster, get to the lounge quicker and help raise net promoter scores. Passengers need airport and airline support, now more than ever. Airlines and airports need satisfied and happy customers now more than ever. SafeScore can provide this support, with just 3 clicks.

Contact us to find out how.

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Ireland Drops Mandatory Quarantine for 23 Countries

The Republic of Ireland has maintained mandatory hotel quarantine requirements for some months. Over the past weekend, however, these restricitions have dropped for arrivals from a large number of countries.

We take a look at Ireland’s latest travel rules per continent, below.

What is mandatory quarantine?

Arrivals from what are considered to be ‘high risk’ countries (designated states) are only allowed to enter Ireland if they provide proof of a reservation in a government selected quarantine hotel.

These reservations must be booked in advance, and apply anyone who has been in any high risk country in the preceding 14 days. The same rules apply to travellers who have transited through these countries, even if they stayed airside. If you are arriving from a designated state, you can end your quarantine early if you receive a negative test result on Day 10.

Find out more about booking hotel quarantine here.

What has changed?

The following countries have been removed from the designated state list effective Friday, 27th August. Mandatory hotel quarantine is therefore no longer an entry requirement.

Africa

  • Botswana
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Eswatini
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Zimbabwe

Asia

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Kazakhstan
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Pakistan

Europe

  • Georgia
  • Russia

Oceania

  • Fiji

North America

  • Cuba

South America

  • Paraguay
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay

Mandatory Quarantine List

The list of designated states has been dramatically shortened. The last countries on the list are:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru

There are several categories for exemption from the quarantine requirement.

The government has announced that the number of hotels in the system will be reduced from 8, to 3, but the mandatory quarantine programme will remain as long as is necessary.

Current Rules on entry and in Ireland

23 countries have been released from Ireland's mandatory quarantine requirements, which means more visitors to sites like the Cliffs of Moher
Ireland is re-opening to more visitors – with restrictions in place

Travellers to Ireland must complete the Passenger Locator Form before their trip. Passengers must present proof of either, full vaccination, or recovery, or, a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. Children below the age of 12 do not need to provide any of the above.

Bars, restaurants and attractions are open. Indoor dining services have specific regulations in place for those older than 18. In order to enter a venue, you must show proof of vaccination, or a recovery certificate dated within 6 months. Businesses have a right to refuse service if one of these is not presented. A maximum of 6 people aged 13 or older are permitted at a table, and masks must be worn when not at your table.

Face masks must be worn in public transport, shops, and other premises.

The Irish government has announced that its plans to reduce restrictions and Covid-19 rules in the coming 2 months.

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