Reprinted with permission from Ailm Medical.
Covid regulations are still in flux around the world. Here’s a country-by-country roundup of what’s happening.
In the latest news, Spain will lift its mask mandate on public transportation in February. South Korea has extended travel restrictions for visitors from China. Hong Kong will drop its mandatory isolation rule at the end of January for people infected with Covid-19, while Japan plans to downgrade the status of the virus to that of a seasonal influenza. Germany will drop a mask mandate for long-distance trains and buses on Feb. 2.
Meanwhile, the United States has extended its vaccine mandate for all international travelers until at least April 10. The rules require all non-U.S. citizens to show proof of having received at least two Covid vaccine doses or an accepted single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s. Also, after announcing that it would reintroduce vaccination requirements for foreign travelers, Thailand has backtracked and rescinded the policy.
The European Union strongly encourages its member states to require predeparture Covid-19 tests for passengers from China. Though the bloc could not agree on a binding recommendation, E.U. Commission spokesperson, Tim McPhie, said the “overwhelming majority of countries are in favor” of the move. The E.U. said it will reassess the situation in a few weeks.
Hong Kong reopened its border with mainland China on Jan. 8. In return, China increased the number of flights to and from the city and removed the limit of passengers on each plane. The country also scrapped its mandatory quarantine for international travelers. Meanwhile, Japan now requires testing for visitors from mainland China.
Reopening status in countries that banned or restricted events
Aruba lifted all entry requirements for international travelers in March 2022. Tourists are still required to fill out an Aruba Embarkation/Disembarkation card and purchase Aruba Visitors Insurance prior to arrival. All local Covid-19 protocols have already been lifted.
In October 2022, Australia ended the mandatory five-day quarantine for anyone who tests positive for Covid-19. The mask mandate for domestic and inbound international flights was lifted the previous month.
Since July 2022 travelers have no longer needed to show proof of vaccination or complete the digital passenger declaration in order to enter the country. Covid-19 testing requirements for inbound travelers were lifted in April 2022.
As of March 2022, a negative test result is no longer needed for entry to events, bars, restaurants and other activities. Nightclubs have reopened, a midnight curfew for restaurants and bars ended, and limits on event sizes were removed. Masks are no longer required on public transportation and in pharmacies.
Visitors to the Bahamas no longer have to take a rapid test on the fifth day after arrival. They must still take a PCR test within 72 hours before travel and apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa, regardless of vaccination status.
Bermuda dropped all Covid-19 restrictions in November 2022. Visitors no longer need to show proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test result or medical insurance that covers the duration of their stay. The requirement to complete a travel authorization form prior to visiting has also been removed. Details and Covid-19 updates can be found on the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s website.
The Canadian government allowed the vaccine mandate for international travelers to expire at the end of September 2022. Masks are no longer required on airplanes, random testing at airports has been eliminated and cruise ship passengers do not have to show a negative Covid-19 test prior to embarkation. More details can be found on the Canadian government’s website.
The U.S. lifted travel restrictions with Canada in November 2021. Fully vaccinated Canadians are able to enter the country via the land border or by ferry for nonessential reasons. Proof of vaccination is required, and those who are not vaccinated are not allowed to enter. Essential travelers from Canada also need to show proof of vaccination. Canadian travelers can fly into the U.S. with proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within one day prior to travel.
The Cayman Islands dropped all remaining Covid-19 restrictions in August 2022. Vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers can enter the British Overseas Territory without needing to show proof of vaccination, presenting a negative Covid-19 test or completing a travel declaration. Mask mandates have also been lifted. Updates can be found on the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism website.
Fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to show a negative PCR test result prior to entering the country, but still must provide proof of vaccination. Those who are unvaccinated must present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure. Chile has also replaced its Mobility Pass, which was required for entry to public spaces and on public transportation, with vaccination certificates. Details can be found on the government’s website.
As of Jan. 8, international travelers no longer have to quarantine upon arrival. Visitors are still required to present a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of departure and masks must be worn on flights. The country is increasing the number of flights gradually to and from Hong Kong and removing the passenger limit on planes.
A ban on flights that brought in passengers who tested positive for the virus also has been lifted. Previously, such flights faced a one-week suspension if more than 4 percent of the passengers tested positive, or a two-week suspension if more than 8 percent of the passengers were found to have Covid.
Other restrictions remain and the country continues to abide by a tight zero-Covid policy.
Travel restrictions were lifted in March 2022. The requirement to show proof of vaccination or present a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 24 hours prior to arrival in Denmark has been removed.
All other Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in February 2022. Masks are no longer required in restaurants, shops and on public transit. Social distancing and limits on indoor gatherings have been eliminated. The national Covid pass app is no longer required for events, although organizers can still choose to use it.
Covid-19 restrictions for international travelers entering England were removed in March 2022. Visitors no longer need to complete a passport locator form, and the requirement for unvaccinated visitors to complete Covid-19 tests prior to departure and on day two of arrival was dropped. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland adopted the same travel policies.
Face masks are no longer required in public spaces, including on public transportation and in shops.
In September 2022, Fiji lifted its pretravel testing requirement for international visitors. The island nation also shortened the quarantine period for anyone who tests positive from seven days to five days. All travelers age 16 and above are required to show proof of full vaccination and travel insurance prior to entry. Details and updates can be found on Tourism Fiji’s website.
France lifted all Covid restrictions for international travelers in August 2022. Visitors no longer need to test before arrival, show proof of Covid-19 recovery or present proof of vaccination in order to enter the country.
France had previously ended the requirement to show vaccine passports for access to restaurants, bars, events and other venues. People no longer need to wear masks in most indoor spaces, including shops, offices and schools, nor on public transit.
The latest travel and Covid-19 updates can be found on the government’s website.
On Feb. 2, Germany will drop a mask mandate for long-distance buses and trains. There are no Covid restrictions in place for people traveling from countries that are not classified as high-risk Covid areas. However, those traveling from areas of concern, such as China, must register their visit online and provide proof of vaccination, recent recovery from the virus or a negative test. Details can be found on the German National Tourist Board’s website.
The country did away with most Covid restrictions by late March 2022. The first phase allowed private gatherings to resume, and ended the requirement to show proof of vaccination or recent recovery from the virus when entering shops. Phase two ended the requirement for people to present proof of vaccination or recovery to access restaurants, bars and hotels. Nightclubs were allowed to reopen and outdoor events of up to 25,000 people have resumed.
Other restrictions can vary across the country, depending on regional Covid-19 rates.
International visitors no longer have to provide vaccination status or get tested prior to traveling. Greece lifted many restrictions for the summer 2022 tourism season.
Beginning Jan. 30, Hong Kong will drop its mandatory isolation rule for people with Covid-19. Those with symptoms and who test positive will be encouraged to stay home, but people with asymptomatic cases will not have to quarantine. Currently, those who test positive have to isolate for at least five days and can go out once they test negative for two consecutive days. After Jan. 30, the only restriction remaining will be the mask mandate.
Hong Kong reopened its border with mainland China on Jan. 8, allowing up to 60,000 people to cross every day without quarantining. Travelers will have to test negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours of departure. The government will decide when to expand the scale of the reopening in conjunction with the mainland authorities.
Hong Kong dropped more of its Covid restrictions on Dec. 29, including PCR tests for inbound travelers and vaccination requirements for certain venues like restaurants and bars. Close contacts of those who test positive no longer have to isolate and the limit of the number of diners per table at restaurants was lifted. Masks must still be worn in public except while exercising.
As of Dec. 14, international travelers no longer need to abide by amber-code restrictions, which had barred them from entering restaurants, bars and other venues during the first three days after arrival. The Leave Home Safe mobile pass app is no longer needed for entry to public spaces.
The Hong Kong government ended quarantine rules for overseas arrivals in September 2022.
Full travel rules and other Covid-19 updates can be found on the government’s website.
Ireland removed all travel restrictions in March 2022. Travelers no longer need to show proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative test result to enter the country. They are also not required to get tested or self-isolate upon arrival. Face masks do not have to be worn, but are recommended on public transportation. The latest travel updates can be found on the government’s website.
Israel no longer requires a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country and dropped the requirement that travelers isolate for up to 24 hours upon arrival until they receive their test result. Travel updates can be found on the government’s website.
Proof of vaccination is no longer needed for restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, hotels, event venues and nightclubs. The mask mandate for indoor public spaces has been lifted.
Italy dropped all restrictions in June 2022. Per the changes, travelers are no longer required to present proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test result or proof of recent recovery from the virus in order to enter the country. The requirement to wear face masks indoors and on public transport was lifted in April 2022. Details and updates can be found on the government’s website.
Jamaica lifted its mask mandate and dropped the testing requirement for international visitors in April 2022.
Japan plans to downgrade Covid-19 to the status of the flu, although a timeline for doing so has not been determined. This would relax mask requirements, remove self-isolation rules and allow Covid patients to get treatment at any hospital instead of only specialized facilities.
As of Dec. 30, Japan requires all visitors from mainland China to test for Covid-19. Those with a positive result must quarantine for seven days at a designated facility.
In October 2022, Japan dropped its daily cap on the number of travelers allowed into the country. Visa requirements for visitors were lifted and individual travel resumed. Previously, travel was restricted to Japanese citizens, foreign students, some business travelers and visitors who had purchased a guided- or self-guided tour. Updates on travel guidelines can be found on the Japan National Tourism Organization’s website.
Non-U.S. travelers coming from Mexico to the U.S. must be vaccinated and provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of traveling to the U.S.
The Mexican Ministry of Tourism has implemented the Clear Point Quality Seal certification system to indicate restaurants, bars, hotels and other tourism providers that are following the highest safety protocols. There are no Covid-related travel restrictions for international visitors.
As of September 2022, all Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted. Visitors are therefore no longer required to show proof of full vaccination or recent recovery from the virus in order to enter the country.
Additionally, the digital Covid-19 pass is no longer needed to enter nightclubs and large events, and the face mask mandate has been dropped. Details can be found on the government’s website.
New Zealand dropped its traffic-light system of Covid-19 restrictions in September 2022, and removed face-mask requirements. In addition, incoming travelers and aircrew no longer need to show proof of vaccination or to complete post-arrival testing. However, anyone who contracts Covid-19 is required to quarantine for seven days.
The country fully reopened its borders in July 2022, with travelers from nonwaiver countries and international students again allowed to apply for visas. The move marked the final phase of the country’s reopening plan. New Zealand also opened its maritime border, allowing cruise ships and recreational vessels such as foreign yachts to return.
Restaurants, bars, retail shops and other businesses no longer need to require vaccine passports for entry, although they can continue using them if they so choose. The latest updates on travel and Covid-19 can be found on the government’s Unite Against Covid-19 website.
As of February 2022, masks are no longer required in crowded places and social-distancing rules have been lifted. Self-isolation requirements also have been replaced with a recommendation that infected people stay home for four days. Norway dropped its quarantine rule for unvaccinated travelers as well, and reversed its ban on selling alcohol in restaurants and bars. Learn more at the government’s page on Covid-19 restrictions.
Vaccinated tourists do not have to provide a negative test to enter Portugal. A negative Covid-19 test is no longer required for entry to business events, cultural shows, nightclubs, sporting events, tourist attractions and local accommodations.
Face masks are no longer required in public indoor settings with the exception of public transport and health-care facilities. Details on the latest gathering and travel restrictions can be found on Visit Portugal’s website.
Travelers no longer need to provide a negative Covid-19 test result in order to enter the country. The requirement to show proof of vaccination also will be eliminated, and the mandate to wear face masks in indoor public places and on public transportation has been lifted.
Saint Lucia dropped its pretravel testing mandate for international visitors. Vaccination requirements have also been removed. Details can be found on the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority’s website.
Scotland’s indoor mask mandate was lifted in April 2022. Face coverings are no longer required in shops and restaurants, or on public transport. Covid passports are no longer needed for nightclubs and sports venues. Scotland lifted most of its Covid-19 restrictions in January 2022. Nightclubs were allowed to reopen, large indoor events resumed and the social-distancing rules were dropped. Restrictions on outdoor events were lifted as well.
As of June 2022, nightlife establishments no longer have capacity limits and a negative rapid test is not required for entry. However, only fully vaccinated people are allowed and masks must be worn. Capacity limits for events and private gatherings were removed in April 2022.
Quarantine requirements were lifted for vaccinated travelers. The country also lifted the outdoor mask mandate. The latest Covid-19 guidelines can be found on the Ministry of Health’s website.
The government delayed the launch of new vaccinated-passenger travel lanes due to the Omicron variant. Some vaccinated travel lanes are already in effect, allowing inoculated travelers from Malaysia, Canada, the United States and a handful of other destinations to enter Singapore without quarantining. However, users of those lanes must still complete a PCR test before departure, on arrival, on day three and on day seven.
Event organizers must submit their plans to the Singapore Tourism Board for approval, and adhere to specific risk-mitigation measures. The Singapore Tourism Board has launched the SG Clean initiative to audit the sanitation practices of all types of facilities; those who put the measures in place will earn a certification from the STB.
South Africa dropped all remaining Covid-19 restriction in June 2022. There are no longer vaccination or testing requirements to enter the country. The indoor mask mandate and gathering limits were also lifted.
South Korea will continue to restrict short-term travelers from China through February over Covid-19 concerns following the Lunar New Year. The country stopped issuing most short-term visas at its consulates in China in early January due to the surge in virus cases. Travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macao wishing to enter South Korea must provide a negative test taken within 48 hours of departure and test again upon arrival.
In September 2022, South Korea eliminated the requirement for international travelers to show proof of a negative PCR test prior to entry. However, visitors still must complete a PCR test within one day of arrival in the country and quarantine until they receive their results. Full details on travel restrictions can be found on the Korea Tourism Organization’s website.
Spain will end its face-mask mandate on public transportation in February. Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said she would recommend that the order be lifted when the Cabinet meets on Feb. 7. Masks still will be required in hospitals, health clinics and pharmacies.
Spain lifted all Covid-19 entry rules in October 2022. Travelers no longer need to present proof of vaccination, a negative test results or documentation of recent recovery.
In addition, masks are no longer required in indoor or outdoor public spaces. All capacity and social-distancing restrictions on hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, cultural venues, trade shows and exhibitions have been removed.
St. Maarten dropped its remaining Covid-19 restrictions for international travelers in November 2022. Visitors no longer need to present proof of vaccination or a negative test result prior to entry. Details and updates can be found on the government’s website.
Sweden dropped all remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions in April 2022. Travelers no longer need to show proof of vaccination and a negative test result prior to arrival.
Nationwide measures to curb the pandemic were lifted in February 2022, including restrictions on public and private gatherings, leisure venues, sports, restaurants and more. The requirement to wear face masks on public transportation and the work-from-home advisory also were removed.
Switzerland dropped all remaining Covid-19 restrictions in May 2022. Travelers from all countries are allowed to enter the country and do not have to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result. Switzerland also eliminated use of the Covid-19 certificate and its mask mandate, including on public transportation. Travel details and updates can be found on Switzerland Tourism’s website.
On Jan. 9, Thailand rescinded a vaccine mandate for international travelers that was set to take effect. The government had previously removed the requirement for travelers to apply for the Thailand Pass and have $10,000 worth of health insurance. The mask mandate has also been lifted.
The United Arab Emirates has ended the requirement to wear face coverings in public spaces. Masks are only needed on public transportation, in medical facilities and in mosques.
Fully vaccinated international travelers do not have to provide a negative PCR test upon arrival. Unvaccinated people can visit the UAE, but must present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure.
Events can be held without capacity limits. The latest updates on travel and Covid-19 restrictions can be found on the government’s website.
All testing requirements for international travelers have been lifted.
A negative Covid-19 test is no longer needed to enter the country. Vietnam dropped its quarantine requirements for international visitors in March 2022, and lifted all restrictions on international flights the previous month, restoring the prepandemic schedule.