As Curently the Omicron infections are torching off, after an initial spike, several countries are recalibrating their travel rules. In a major policy change, several states have eliminated pre-departure PCR testing for incoming travelers. The easing of restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers is seen as a boost for international travel.
Bahrain and the United Kingdom announced the elimination of pre-departure COVID-19 tests for vaccinated travelers. They are not the only ones. So did Sweden, Greece and Portugal and most of the Scandinavian countries. Others have announced plans to lift travel restrictions at a later date.
|From: February 4, 2022
|All passengers coming to Bahrain will no longer need to present a PCR test before boarding, starting from Friday (Februray 4, 2022), the Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) has announced.
|Arrivals to the Kingdom, however, are still required to take PCR test upon arrival at the Bahrain International airport. Unvaccinated travellers must have to follow precautionary quarantine, according to state News Agency BNA. Passengers must still adhere to precautionary measures in force in the Kingdom. The new COVID-19 travel-related updates came following a decision by the Government Executive Committee.
|From: February 20, 2022
|Kuwait has scrapped the pre-arrival PCR test requirement and home quarantine for the fully-vaccinated passengers coming to the country, as of Sunday, February 20, state-run press agency Kuna announced on Monday. A negative PCR test requirement is still mandatory for unvaccinated passengers — who must undergo a one-week home quarantine after their arrival in the country. They need to conduct a PCR test on the seventh day of their arrival. The quarantine period can be ended before that if they test negative. The country has noted a decline in daily reported coronavirus infections. From March 13, 2022, the regular working hours will resume at all government entities in Kuwait.
|From: February 11, 2022
|Britain has scrapped testing measures for fully vaccinated travellers from February 11 (from 4am). Fully vaccinated travellers entering England will be exempt from any COVID test requirements, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier announced.
|The British government stated the daily Omicron variant data is getting better and it was time for the country to be more open for travellers.
|From: January 18, 2022
|In a recent COVID-19 travel update, Sweden has abolished the requirement of a negative RT-PCR test before entering the country. A statement released by the government stated, “Travelers are no longer considered to pose a particular risk of affecting the spread of Omicron in Sweden.” Sweden has also stopped testing for COVID-19 even among people showing symptoms of an infection, putting an end to the mobile city-square tent sites, drive-in swab centres and home-delivered tests.
|On February 9, the Swedish police, posted an update on its website, stating: There is from 9 February 2022 no longer an entry ban from an EU/EEA country, but from the rest of the world the entry ban is in effect till 31 March 2022. “From 9 February 2022 there is no longer an entry ban when entering directly from an EU/EEA country of Switzerland. This means that everyone, regardless of citizenship, can enter Sweden without any COVID specific restrictions. Entry regulations will now revert back to the regulations in place during normal circumstances in regards to requirement to hold a valid travel document and potential visa, max length of stay, and the right to free movement within EU/the Schengen area. The same applies for transit via an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, if you are processed for immigration in the first destination country. Regardless of where your journey originally started.”
|From: February 12, 2022
|The French government has announced the end of the requirement for a negative COVID test for all fully-vaccinated arrivals into the country. The change comes into effect at 00.01am on Saturday, February 12.
|Currently arrivals from within the EU do not require a test, but travellers coming from almost all non-EU countries, including the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, need to present a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours of departure. However on Friday (February 11, 2022) the government announced it was scrapping that requirement, saying: “proof of vaccination will be sufficient to come to France whatever country you are coming from, just as it was before the spread of the Omicron variant”.
|From: February 14, 2022
|There’s no pre-departure RT-PCR test required for fully-vaccinated travellers to India from Monday (February 14, 2022). In the biggest relaxation for international arrivals to India since COVID, the government will allow passengers to upload their certificate of completing full primacy COVID-19 vaccination schedule in 82 countries on a mutual-recognition basis.
|Last week, India said that passengers from “more than 80 countries” would be allowed to travel to the country with just a negative RT-PCR test report or a certificate of completing the primary vaccination schedule. The list features travelers from the US, the UK, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Spain and Sri Lanka.
|On February 10, India dropped the 7-day quarantine rule, as well as the “at risk” category list of countries.
|From: March 1, 2022
|The European island of Cyprus has announced that it will lift all travel restrictions on vaccinated travellers from March 1. The country, which relies largely on tourism, has decided to remove all entry requirements for travellers who have a valid vaccination certificate, including their booster certificate. As of now, the Mediterranean island nation requires travellers to either show their negative RT-PCR test report or self-quarantine upon arrival.
|From: February 1, 2022.
|Denmark lifted all COVID restrictions on February 1, 2022. Denmark has become one of the first EU member states to scrap most pandemic restrictions as the Scandinavian country no longer considers the COVID-19 outbreak “a socially critical disease.” The government on Copenhagen also scrapped face masks alongside digital vaccination passes to enter venues. The head of the Danish Health Authority, Soren Brostrom, told Danish broadcaster TV2 that his attention was on the number of people in ICUs, rather than on the number of infections. He said that number had “fallen and fallen and is incredibly low.”
|From: February 7, 2022
|From February 7, Greece has allowed tourists with a European vaccination certificate to enter the country without having to show a negative test for COVID-19. The tourism and health ministries said the Mediterranean country, which relies heavily on tourism, has been gradually easing travel restrictions initially imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19. Now, a valid digital European Union vaccination certificate will suffice from February 7, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said, adding that the country expects summer tourists to start arriving from March 1, earlier than in past years. Random tests are conducted at airports and if the test result is positive, travellers must quarantine for five days.
|From: February 4, 2022
|Visitors to Portugal will now be permitted entry as long as they can show recognized proof of full vaccination. Air passengers will be able to enter Portugal if they can show a valid digital European Union certificate or recognized proof of vaccination. In an official statement, the government said negative tests will no longer be required for “those who present the EU Covid Digital Certificate in any of its modalities or other proof of vaccination that has been recognized”.
|From: February 4, 2022
|Norway has scrapped almost all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, doing away with its face mask and self-isolation requirements, ending the one-metre rule, and limiting testing to those with symptoms. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store announced the end of restrictions on Saturday morning. “The one-metre rule is disappearing. We are taking away the recommendation on social distancing,” Store told reporters at a press conference. “Now we can socialize like we did before, in nightlife, at cultural events and other social occasions. And on the way to and from work on buses, trains and ferries,” he said. Store put the change in restrictions to the shift in infections towards the milder Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. “We can treat COVID-19 like other diseases.”
|From: January 22, 2022
|Switzerland has scrapped the pre-departure PCR test for fully-vaccinated inbound travellers from January 22, 2022. The tourists will not be required to show evidence of a negative PCR or antigen test before entry into the country.
|Thailand also announced easing entry requirements for vaccinated visitors from all countries from February as concerns about the omicron variant of the coronavirus decline, officials said. Fully vaccinated travelers will be able to enter the country under the Test and Go program if they undergo a RT-PCR test on arrival and spend a night in a pre-booked hotel while awaiting results, and then have a second test and hotel stay five days later. The visitor is responsible for the costs of the tests and hotels. Visitors must also download a tracking app.
|From: February 15, 2022
|Vietnam will remove its COVID-19 restrictions on international passenger flights with all markets from Tuesday (February 15, 2022) with no limitation on the number of flights, the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on Sunday.
|Authorities have slowly eased the curbs in recent months, with visitors trickling in under a bubble arrangement since November. Starting Tuesday (1700 GMT Monday), “Vietnam will lift restrictions on passenger carriage on scheduled flights and non-scheduled flights,” the civil aviation authority said. Anyone wanting to enter Vietnam must be fully vaccinated and will have to observe a three-day quarantine, either at home or in a hotel, according to regulations.
|COUNTRIES PLANNING TO DROP PCR TEST
|EUROPEAN UNION (EU)
|COVID tests for fully vaccinated visitors are to be dropped across the EU in time for the half-term holidays, France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune on February 9. As part of a new EU protocol, booster jabs could also become mandatory after nine months for all travellers entering the bloc.
|The European Commission is due to announce new guidance on harmonising entry rules for non-EU visitors in a matter of days, according to Beaune.
|CANADA: From: “End of the Month” (February)
|Following a growing worldwide trend, the Canadian government is widely expected to announce the scrapping dropping the mandatory pre-arrival PCR COVID-19 test for travelers who can show proof that they are fully vaccinated, according to a number of Canadian news outlets. Currently, inbound travellers must provide proof of a negative molecular test taken within 72 hours of departure on a flight or arrival at a land border.
|The Canadian Broadcast Corp. and other outlets that cite senior Canadian government officials as saying that the PCR pre-arrival testing requirement will be dropped “by the end of the month”.
|Currently, visitors to Canada must provide proof of a negative molecular test taken within 72 hours of departure on a flight or arrival at a land border. But that PCR pre-arrival testing requirement will be dropped by the end of the month, reports the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and other outlets that cite senior Canadian government officials.