As countries lift entry bans and set new rules in place, the level of disparity in their new norms is leaving travellers dazed. In this rapidly evolving scenario, take a look at the most recent updates from these countries on lockdown and travel.
Slovenia becomes the first European country to completely declare an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slovenia’s Ministry of Health says Slovenia has the best epidemiological picture in Europe and that the Balkan country is eyeing on reinstating travel by late May or early June after a nod from the health department.
Greece may be among the first few European countries to open borders for summer holidays. The authorities hope to welcome travellers best by July 1st, albeit with limited tourist attractions and shops. However, a vast implementation depends on those countries which have airlines operating in and out of them.
Iceland posted entry bans for all nationals except EU, EEA, EFTA, and Schengen regions from March 20th. As the situation stabilizes, the country plans to open borders by June 15th with mandatory quarantine — with a catch. The travellers need not comply with quarantine if they are tested COID-negative at Iceland airport or arrive with a clean bill of health from their home country.
Europe plans to reopen most of the internal borders to countries with stable coronavirus response at the earliest by June 15th. Among the countries are Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland which will open borders to each other with health screenings, COVID-19 tests, and 14-day quarantine in place. Also as per recent announcements, Austria opens borders with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia from June 15th.
As per the Austria-Germany-France-Switzerland travel bubble, Germany will entirely lift border restrictions with them along with Luxembourg. Note that free travel among Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands is already in place, while Germany-Denmark internal reopening is still under discussion.
Switzerland plans to reopen select entry points and timings to allow travellers from Austria, France, and Germany as part of the new travel bubble starting June 15th. Although the country is considering to open borders to Italy soon, there is no clear announcement as to when.
France is slowly and cautiously easing the travel restrictions and as the first step of which the country nodded to the travel bubble arrangement with Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.
As we know, Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries by COVID-19 pandemic. But the country as it successfully rebounds has decided to lift the restrictions starting June 3rd, although only applicable to other EU countries for now. This move can be attributed to Italy’s decision to revitalize the tourism economy.
Spain offers entry to travellers from the EU and Schengen country regions who has to undergo mandatory quarantine upon their arrival. Entry stays restricted to people who don’t belong to the aforementioned regions until May 24th or further notice. However, there are speculations that Spain travel could resume by June end.
10. United Kingdom
There is no official entry ban in the United Kingdom and the country don’t have strict border closures in place. The government have been advising against non-essential travel all these days and have closed tourist attractions and national parks. The United Kingdom plans to open them by summer.
Portugal opens borders to travellers from USA, UK, Canada and the Schengen countries in June and unlike other countries, Portugal doesn’t require travellers to quarantine themselves upon arrival. Right now the country has opened only to select international destinations, but major airlines like Delta and Air Canada are set to restart by July 1st post which international travel could pick up immediately.
Recently Croatia opened its borders for major countries like Hungary and Austria, and more European countries will be added by June 15th. Other countries will likely be added by July 1st, although as per the current situation, travellers are subject to a 14-day quarantine post arrival.
Sweden could easily be the last few European countries to reopen borders for travel. Right now, only travellers from Norway, Liechtenstein, EU States, UK, Switzerland, and Iceland are permitted inside Sweden and sources say it could be a while before other countries are included.
Norway has a rather deliberate approach towards lockdown de-escalation—even the neighbouring country of Sweden is exempted from entering Norway. Any non-essential travel, including domestic, could stay restricted in Norway until August 20 as per the recent travel advisory.
Poland plans to open to international countries from June 12th—most of its hospitality outlets and attractions were opened on May 18th and the situation has been well under control.
Non-residents entry, foreign residents re-entry, mandatory quarantine, visa services are extended and stay in effect until May 24th.
Australia offers entry only to Australian citizens and permanent residents who will be subject to mandatory 14-day quarantine in their homes or hotels. However, Australia is in talks with New Zealand to restore tourism in the safe corridor or travel bubble between their borders.
18. New Zealand
New Zealand has posted strict entry bans for non-resident travellers while resident travellers need to go on a 14-day quarantine upon entry. But New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden is rather confident about opening borders to Australia as part of their travel bubble engagement.
Thailand bunkered in and cut ties with the outer world from March 13th and the travel restrictions and entry bans are effective until May 31st. Also, the 15-day visa on arrival facility has been revoked to 19 countries including India until September 30th.
Bali is on a mission to rejuvenate the destinations and make them tourism-ready, but the current plan foresees reopening borders only in October. However, this may not be final and it depends on the speedy adaptability of Indonesia to the post-COVID era.
Singapore, as it approaches a partial end to the lockdown by June 1st, will undergo a slow and selective border reopening — says Singapore Health Minister Gan Kim Yong. He adds that talks are already on with the neighbouring countries with similar coronavirus response.
Cambodia recently opened its borders to 6 countries including Italy, Germany, Iran, Spain, France and the US to boost its cash-strapped economy, but quarantine and COVID-negative certificate requirements are still in place.
Vietnam is ahead of its Southeast Asian counterparts in tourism revival as the country has ended most of its lockdown protocols already to select international destinations. Most airlines are set to resume in June, following which other countries could be included soon.
Malaysia has extended the international travel ban until June 9th but the country is yet to open up about the quarantine part.
Egypt internally lifted the restrictions pretty early, and the hotels now operate with 25% guest capacity which will increase to 25% by June starting. International travel hasn’t resumed in Egypt and the tourism ministry says it could be soon.
Turkey suspended inbound and outbound flights on March 28th and the restrictions are still in effect. The government hinted at the resumption of travel by late May but is yet to update on the same.
27. South Africa and the rest of Africa
Although internal travel restrictions are gradually being phased down to level 4 in South Africa and the rest of Africa, the country has not mentioned anything on non-essential travel. These countries have some of the strictest entry restrictions in an attempt to stunt coronavirus.
Seychelles defeated coronavirus with just 11 cases and 0 deaths. The country, however, is keen on sustaining the momentum mindfully, easing each and every restriction with prudence. From May 4th to 18th, most of the organizations, schools, day-cares and shops will be open. Flights will resume operation from June 1st and the line of operation is yet to be decided by the aviation ministry.
Dubai has already opened several of its tourist attractions and parks and is set to reopen more by coming Monday. The UAE city is positive that international travel will be resumed sometime in July — although clear plans are still in talks.
The tourism-reliant economy of Maldives took a hard hit due to the pandemic but the island nation dealt well with prompt lockdown procedures. Tourism minister Ali Wahed in a recent meeting hinted that the popular destination could start welcoming travellers from July, albeit that heavily depends on the COVID-19 pattern henceforth.