As many parts of the world continue to battle coronavirus outbreaks, some leaders have paused the reopening process and announced new constraints on travel and gatherings. At the same time, other countries are easing their restrictions.
In APAC, the situation is changing by the day. New Zealand today (23 July) suspended its travel bubble with Australia. The Philippines also announced a ban on travel from Malaysia and Thailand to curb the spread of the Delta variant.
And now, a roundup of what is happening around the globe.
Aruba eased travel restrictions on July 14, with fully vaccinated US residents no longer required to take a Covid-19 test prior to entry. In order to qualify, travellers must be US residents who have received the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. At least two weeks must have passed from their last vaccine dose. Eligible visitors must also complete the SMART Health Card vaccine record, within Aruba's CommonPass health app. All other travellers are required to take a Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to travel. On July 5, the government lifted all Covid-19 restrictions, although businesses have the right to require face masks. More details are available on the Aruba Convention Bureau's website.
Covid-19 restrictions vary across the country. In response to rising cases of the delta variant, a lockdown in Victoria state, which includes the city of Melbourne, has been extended. A deadline for when the lockdown will be lifted has not yet been announced. Officials have also extended a lockdown in Greater Sydney until at least July 30. Under the stay-at-home orders, residents can only leave their homes for essential reasons and gatherings have been banned.
New Zealand announced it was pausing its travel bubble with Australia for eight weeks starting Friday night (23 July). Only Australian citizens, permanent residents, immediate family members can enter the country. Visitors are required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior of departure. Travel updates can be found on the Australian Department of Health's website.
A lockdown remains in effect until January 24. Residents are required to stay home except for essential reasons. Culture and leisure facilities have been ordered to close, and restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery. Events have been cancelled and hotels can only serve essential travellers; leisure travel is not allowed. The latest reopening updates can be found at Austria's travel portal.
As of May 1, fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to undergo Covid-19 testing before or after arriving in the Bahamas. Visitors must still apply for the Bahamas Travel Health Visa, which includes Covid-19 health insurance for the duration of their stay, and they must upload proof of vaccination. Travellers are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, or two weeks after their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Travel updates can be found on the Islands of the Bahamas website.
Belgium entered a second lockdown on November 2, which is expected to last until December 13. During this time, nonessential shops and businesses must close. Employees are encouraged to work from home and public gatherings are limited to a maximum of four people. Bars and restaurants, which had been ordered to close for one month on October 7, will remain shuttered for the duration of the lockdown. As cases began to rise after reopening, the country's leaders enacted a rule requiring masks to be worn in stores and on public transit, and residents returning from holidays must notify Belgian authorities 48 hours before their arrival.
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The U.S. land border with Canada will remain closed to nonessential travel through August 21. However, fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents currently living in the United States will be allowed to enter Canada for nonessential travel, beginning August 9. Eligible travellers must meet Canada's pre-entry testing requirements, be asymptomatic upon arrival and upload their vaccination information to the ArriveCAN system. More details can be found on the Canadian government's website. The country also announced plans to open up its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from all countries on September 7, as long as Canada's Covid-19 cases remain stable.
Many provinces and territories have restricted gathering sizes. The Canadian government has also released a risk mitigation tool for event planners.
The first country to be hobbled by Covid-19, China has been steadily reopening its economy, first its manufacturing sector and gradually expanding with the reopening of theme parks, hotels and other attractions returning, most recently cinemas and water parks.
Beginning September 1, U.S. travellers will again be allowed to visit the country, as long as they are residents of New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont or Connecticut. More states are expected to be added soon after. Previously, on August 1, Costa Rica reopened its borders to residents of the European Union and Schengen Zone, the United Kingdom, Canada, Uruguay, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, China, Australia and New Zealand.
Most restrictions in the Czech Republic have been lifted. Museums, galleries and theatres have all reopened, and indoor dining has resumed with safety protocols in place. The latest updates on meetings and travel can be found on Czech Tourism's website.
Travellers from all but six EU countries are now are permitted to enter the country, as long as they book for at least six nights, but they must quarantine if they are coming from a city of more than 750,000 people. Visitors from Sweden are still prohibited. After imposing a nationwide lockdown, Denmark began easing its restrictions, reopening shopping centers on May 11, restaurants and cafés on May 18, and permitting outdoor sports without spectators. Gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted, and larger gatherings are expected to be banned until at least August.
The Dominican Republic's Ministry of Tourism and Public Health offers free antigen testing to all international visitors staying at a hotel. The rapid tests are administered by health professionals at the hotels. The destination also extended its free health coverage plan for all tourists arriving on commercial flights and staying at a hotel until June 12, 2021. The plan covers covers all medical emergencies, including those caused in the event of an infection or exposure to Covid-19 while in the country. Since last September, travellers arriving to the island nation have been subject to random Covid-19 tests upon arrival. Passengers are also required to complete an electronic entry and exit form in order to enter.
After lifting the border restrictions for a number of Schengen and/or EU countries on July 13, this Scandinavian country has since reimposed travel restrictions. Due to rising cases, travellers coming from Iceland, Greece, Malta, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Cyprus, San Marino and Japan will be limited to essential trips beginning Aug. 24, with people returning from those countries required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Indoor and outdoor public events and public meetings with fewer than 50 attendees are allowed. Gatherings of up to 500 attendees are permitted if social distancing is ensured, and gatherings of more than 500 people are expected to be permitted beginning August 31.
France has lifted most Covid-19 restrictions, but masks are still required in indoor public spaces and Covid-19 passports are mandatory for events with more than 1,000 people. Attendees must show that they are fully vaccinated, have received a negative Covid-19 test result within the last 48 hours or have fully recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months. President Emmanuel Macron announced that health certificates will also be used in cafés, restaurants, theatres and on long-distance trains, beginning in August.
The country has implemented a new traffic-light system for travel, which allows vaccinated travellers from green and orange countries to enter without completing a Covid-19 test. Travellers from red-light countries must have an essential reason for travelling, complete a Covid-19 test before departure as well as on arrival, and quarantine for seven days if fully vaccinated or 10 days if not vaccinated.
Germany has reopened its borders to American citizens. In order to enter the country, travellers must present proof of full vaccination, proof of recovery from Covid-19 within the past six months or a negative Covid-19 test taken prior to departure. Restrictions vary across the country, depending on regional Covid-19 rates.
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