Today: Countries that are open to travelers vaccinated against COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe. Here in Europe, we are bracing for a third wave of COVID-19 with new lockdowns being imposed in France and Italy. The more contagious British variant of the virus seems to be the common culprit behind the chaos. However, there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel with the roll-out of mass COVID-19 vaccine programs. The story of how these vaccines were developed is unique and inspiring. Normally, vaccines take years to develop. Yet scientists from all around the world, from Germany to Russia to the USA and China, have come up with some extremely effective ones in less than 12 months. This is an extraordinary triumph of science that will go into the history books as one of greatest achievements of mankind.
So far, more than 410 million vaccine doses have been administered across 132 countries. Israel has led the world in vaccinations, and 50% of its populations has already received two doses. In the UK, more than 25.7 million people so far have had a first vaccine dose and about 1.9 million have had a second. In the USA, an average of 2,5 million doses per day are administered and currently, more Americans have received at least one dose than have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began. Unfortunately, Europe is lagging behind countries like Israel, the US, and the UK with only about 7% of the adults living in the EU being inoculated so far. That’s still nothing though compared to Africa, where few nations have received a single shipment of shots so far.
The travel industry, which is badly hit by the pandemic, considers the highly effective vaccines as a way out of the crisis, although it’s worth pointing out that vaccinated individuals may still become infected and spread the virus to others. More and more travel destinations are considering to either drop border restrictions for travelers who’ve been fully vaccinated or ease them significantly. For example, last week, the European Commission has confirmed its support for a Digital Green Pass vaccination certificate, with a single, personal QR code that would be uniform across the continent and allow intra-European travel. The following countries have already reopened to travelers who’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Central American country of Belize now allows visitors from any nation who have completed their vaccinations at least two weeks before arrival. All visitors must first download and complete the Belize Health App.
Back in December, Cyprus was the first travel destination to announce plans to allow travelers who’ve been fully vaccinated to enter without having to go into quarantine. In addition, visitors who provide proof that they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine will be allowed to visit without providing a negative PCR test result on arrival. This will likely only apply to those arriving from destinations on the country’s safe travel list, which is regularly updated. While it was previously claimed that the new rules would come into effect on March 1, this not been confirmed by government officials as yet.
Estonia’s 10-day self-isolation and COVID-19 testing are not mandatory for travelers who have either recovered from COVID-19 or have undergone COVID-19 vaccination in the past six months. Only vaccination certificates produced in Estonian, Russian or English will be recognized and visitors who’ve previously had COVID-19 will need to submit a doctor’s certificate, as well as a recent PCR test indicating they are no longer infected with the virus.
Since February, the country began admitting visitors who completed their courses of vaccination. Further proof of a negative Covid-19 test is not required. Non-vaccinated travelers must present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of travel and are also required to take a second test “at their own expense” on day three of their stay.
Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis has announced that the country is opening its borders on May 14. He said that all persons who have been vaccinated or who test negative could travel to Greece this summer.
Since this week, all travelers – regardless of origin – are welcome to visit Iceland if they can show either a certificate of full vaccination against COVID or a certificate of previous COVID infection. This includes travelers from non-Schengen countries (including from UK, USA, Canada, Asia). Please note that Iceland now allows visitors who have completed their vaccination doses, but only for certain vaccine formulations. Click here to see the most current list of allowed vaccines.
Since January, Lebanon has lifted its quarantine requirement for arriving visitors who have been vaccinated. However, that must be supplemented with a negative Covid-19 test no older than 96 hours.
Officials from this tropical island nation located in the Indian Ocean have announced that vaccinated visitors will soon be permitted to enter the country without quarantining. So far, a start date has not been determined.
Last December, Poland announced that travelers from EU countries who have been fully vaccinated are exempt from quarantine. Those who provide a negative SARS‑CoV‑2 test on arrival are also exempt as long as there’s no more than 48 hours between the time they receive their test result and the time they cross the border.
Romania welcomes vaccinated visitors from permitted destinations if at least 10 days have passed since the final dose. To avoid mandatory isolation, travelers will need to show evidence that they’ve had two doses of the vaccine through a document issued by the health unit that administered it.
In January, the Seychelles decided to drop quarantine requirements for travelers who’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19. Fully vaccinated visitors are now permitted to enter the paradise destination without having to quarantine for 10 days. However, those who’ve received a full course of any Covid-19 vaccine are still required to present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of travel, as well as a certificate from their national health authority verifying that they’ve been fully vaccinated.
The 115-island archipelago is aiming to become the first nation in the world to vaccinate its entire population after receiving a donation of 50,000 doses from the United Arab Emirates government. President Wavel Ramkalawan hopes over 70% will be vaccinated by the end of this month, after which restrictions will be further relaxed, meaning those permitted to enter the Seychelles will only have to submit proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.