DestinationsSingapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and more scale back on travel restraints in a move to achieve normalcy as soon as possible.

Drop it like it’s hot: 8 countries that have eased Covid travel rules

Singapore has established quarantine-free travel to and from Greece.
Singapore has established quarantine-free travel to and from Greece. Photo Credit: Getty Images/frantic00

After three years of dealing with the Covid crisis and travel restraints, the urge to return to normalcy is stronger than ever. As more European countries do away with pandemic restrictions, destinations in Asia and the Middle East are following suit in taking steps to ease and bring an end to Covid safety measures.

Singapore includes more cities in vaccinated travel lanes

Drop it like it’s hot: 8 countries that have eased Covid travel rules
Photo Credit: GettyImages/Noppanun Lerdwattanapaisan

On Friday, 4 March, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced that vaccinated air travellers from more cities in Malaysia, Indonesia and India will be able to enter Singapore, and vice versa. From 16 March, Singapore’s VTL scheme will be extended to Bali, Penang, Vietnam and all cities in India.

Additionally, Singapore will also launch new vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) for Greece and Vietnam, effectively restoring two-way quarantine-free travel for the first time since the pandemic with these two countries.

Singapore now boasts more than 30 established VTLs with other countries. Travellers arriving in Singapore from these countries will also find their arrivals more streamlined and hassle-free. The country has also eased history requirements for travellers entering Singapore from Europe under the VTL scheme. CAAS said these steps will help to reclaim and rebuild Singapore's position as a premier air hub.

Bali trials quarantine-free travel

Drop it like it’s hot: 8 countries that have eased Covid travel rules
Photo Credit: GettyImages/Yumi mini

The Indonesian government will drop the three-day quarantine requirement for all fully vaccinated international travellers coming to Bali starting on 14 March, under a trial programme. If the government sees positive development, the policy will be expanded across other destinations in Indonesia. The country’s goal is to lift all requirements by April.

To qualify for entry into the resort island, travellers have to show proof of hotel booking payments at least four days in advance. Upon arriving in Bali, foreign visitors in Bali will still have to take a PCR test and remain in their indicated pre-booked accommodation while awaiting their results.

Australia’s last frontier opens up

Drop it like it’s hot: 8 countries that have eased Covid travel rules
Photo Credit: GettyImages/zetter

When Australia reopened its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers on 21 February, quarantine-free travel applied across all its states and territories with the exception of Western Australia. Now, the land down under is fully open for travel as the massive state of Western Australia unsealed its borders on Thursday, 3 March and beckons visitors under the government’s Safe Transition Plan.

Travellers to Western Australia are required to provide proof of full Covid-19 vaccination; present a negative PCR test taken within three days of departure or a negative antigen test taken under medical supervision within 24 hours; complete the digital passenger declaration; register for a valid G2G Pass; and take a rapid antigen test within 12 hours of arrival.

Thailand is letting go on some Test & Go regulations

Drop it like it’s hot: 8 countries that have eased Covid travel rules
Photo Credit: GettyImages/tawatchaiprakobkit

Thailand's Test & Go programme that allows fully vaccinated tourists to enter the country quarantine-free, but requires travellers to pre-pay approved hotels and undertake multiple Covid-19 tests, is being simplified.

Under the recently modified regulations, travellers entering the country from 7 March will no longer require a PCR test on day 5. The former mandatory PCR test on day 5 will be swapped to a self-administered ART test. The required prepaid accommodation will also be reduced to one night, instead of the previous five nights.

UAE removes PCR test and eases mask mandate

Drop it like it’s hot: 8 countries that have eased Covid travel rules
Photo Credit: GettyImages/Delpixart

As of 26 February, the UAE will no longer require PCR tests for fully vaccinated visitors. Under the new relaxed guidelines outlined by the National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), vaccinated visitors need only show a vaccine certificate with an approved QR code. Unvaccinated travellers are allowed entry but they will still have to present a negative pre-arrival PCR test result within 48 hours.

UAE has also dropped the need for physical distancing in public places. Masks remain mandatory in public indoor spaces, but optional outdoors.

New Zealand eliminates self-isolation requirements

The New Zealand government has put an end to a requirement for vaccinated travellers to isolate themselves with effect from Friday, 4 March, enabling Kiwis going back home to immediately reconnect with family and friends and for tourists to enjoy New Zealand right as they step off the plane.

Travellers will still have to present a negative pre-departure test and undertake two rapid antigent tests upon arrival and on day 5 or 6. Positive test results are to be reported and the traveller has to isolate for the same period as a local community case.

Iceland lifts all Covid restrictions

Iceland’s Health Minister announced that Thursday, 24 February marks the day that the country sees an end to all of its few Covid-19 restrictions, including its 200 pax gathering limit. However, the ministry still encourages those who are sick to test themselves and isolate at home.

Israel welcomes one and all, vaccinated or not

Israel has dropped its red list of countries that was previously not permitted entry. The country is now open to tourists from all across the world, regardless of vaccination status.

However, all travellers flying into Israel are subjected to a pre-departure PCR test taken within 72 hours, and another PCR test upon arrival at the airport. Following which, travellers must place themselves in quarantine for us to 24 hours until they receive a negative result.

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