See what countries are reopening or adjusting their Covid-19 restrictions by heading to our roundup of the latest reopening updates in Asia Pacific.
As vaccination rates increase by the day and people all around the world start accepting that the Covid-19 virus could be part and parcel of their daily lives, more destinations are lifting travel entry requirements entirely for travellers.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that Covid-19 has entered the endemic stage for many countries and the easing of borders is being set into motion. IATA’s latest study of travel restrictions for the world’s 50 major air travel markets revealed that vaccinated travellers have increasingly more destinations to travel to.
In this article, we highlight several destinations popular among Asian travellers which they can travel to without being subjected to various Covid-19-related tests and quarantines.
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When Switzerland lifted close to all its pandemic protocols on 17 February, effectively allowing fully vaccinated travellers to enter, the country said it will soon abolish all restrictions related to Covid-19, including vaccination status.
On 1 April, the country fully reverted to life as it was before the pandemic, with all remaining restrictions dropped, specifically the mask requirement in public transportation and health facilities, and the mandatory five-day isolation requirement if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Additionally, even unvaccinated travellers are welcomed to visit Switzerland now just as fully vaccinated travellers are able to.
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All travellers, regardless of vaccination status and country of origin, are welcomed with open arms into Greece with effect from 1 May. Visitors, vaccinated or not, will no longer be required to present vaccination or Covid-19 recovery certificates, or be subjected to on-arrival quarantine, though mask-wearing in indoor venues is still obligatory.
There is still a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) in effect, of which its completion is optional for visitors. This PLF will serve the purpose of allowing travellers to issue an EU Certificate of a positive or negative test.
Travellers who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 anytime during their visit may choose to isolate at their booked hotel.
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All Vietnam destinations are free to visit with no Covid-19 testing requirements from 15 May. Vietnam has also scrapped the need for Covid vaccination passports or certificates, effectively allowing international visitors of all vaccination status to enter the country.
Upon arrival, travellers need only provide proof of travel insurance covering Covid-19 treatment with a minimum coverage of US$10,000. Visitors will also be required to download the PC-Covid mobile app which must be presented to enter all establishments in Vietnam.
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Pre-travel clearance in Austria has been dispensed with from 25 May. Travellers don’t need to submit proofs of vaccination status, recovery or tests. Additionally from 1 June, masks will be made optional in indoor spaces, with the exception of public transport and pharmacies.
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The vaccinated and unvaccinated alike are permitted to enter Israel from 21 May, with neither the need for Covid-19 tests nor quarantine upon arrival.
Israel has also dropped the requirement for masks on international flights, but this relaxation of rules is dependent on each individual airline’s safety protocols and whether the airline requires passengers to mask up or not.
Those who have been diagnosed with Covid in the destination from which the flight to Israel departs from, and have not yet recovered, will not be permitted entry to the country.
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With effect from 18 May, travellers entering Indonesia will not be required to take any Covid-19 tests, though they must be vaccinated with at least two Covid-19 vaccine doses. Prior to entering Indonesia, international travellers are required to download the PeduliLindungi mobile app and complete their user profile and entry application.
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Beginning 1 May, fully vaccinated travellers or those who have recovered from Covid-19 within six to 60 days, need not undergo both pre-departure and on-arrival Covid-19 tests to gain entry into Malaysia. This also applies to children aged 12 and below despite their vaccination status. Adult travellers who have not been inoculated against the virus though, will still be required to undergo an RT-PCR test two days before departure followed by a professionally-administered RTK-Ag test within 24 hours upon arrival in Malaysia in addition to observing a five-day quarantine.
While visitors are still required to don masks in shopping malls, offices, public transportation and e-hailing rides, masks are not mandatory outdoors, but still very much encouraged especially in crowded places. In the event that either a traveller or citizen is diagnosed Covid-19 positive, they'll have to observe a mandatory seven-day quarantine, or test negative on a professionally-administered RTK-Ag test on Day 4.
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Thailand will finally scrap its Test & Go scheme from 1 May, allowing fully vaccinated tourists to enter the country without a PCR test or a stay at a SHA+ hotel. They will be free to travel around the country upon arrival.
Vaccinated travellers are advised to test themselves using rapid antigen test kits, and if they test positive they can seek treatment under their insurance policy or should their medical costs themselves, announced Thailand's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Friday 22 April.
Under the new set up, visitors are still required to apply for the Thailand Pass prior to their arrival, including submitting documentation of vaccination certificates and proof of insurance.
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After announcing Singapore’s full reopening to all vaccinated travellers beginning 1 April, the Ministry of Health said that the pre-departure Covid-19 test requirement will be reviewed again in mid-April based on public health assessment. True to their word, authorities have recently revealed that fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Singapore from 26 April via air or sea will no longer need to take a pre-departure test to enter the country.
Further to removing the mask mandate for public outdoor spaces earlier, more easing of regulations will take effect from 26 April. Masks can be taken off when indoors at the workplace, but will still have to be worn in any other indoor settings. Safe distancing will no longer be required, and the cap on group sizes will be dropped. Singapore will also abolish its contact tracing measures which mandated people to digitally check-in to all establishments, though showing proof of vaccination at events with more than 500 attendees, nightclubs and F&B outlets will still stand.
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When Australia reopened its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers on 21 February, visitors were required to test negative on a Covid-19 test prior to travelling. Two months later, the Department of Home Affairs announced an end to the pre-departure testing requirement with effect from 18 April, though to qualify for entry, travellers will still have to provide proof of double vaccination against Covid-19.
11. Czech Republic
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The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Health announced that as of 9 April, Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted for both foreign tourists and Czech citizens. Travellers no longer have to fill in an arrival form or submit proof of vaccination or a previous infection to enter the country.
However, various transport providers (plane, bus, train) operating to, from, and within Czech Republic may have their own set of safety protocols, thus the government encourages travellers to verify the conditions required from these transport carriers (e.g. whether Covid-19 tests and vaccinations are mandated for boarding).
12. South Africa
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Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa, announced on 22 March that fully vaccinated travellers entering the country no longer need to produce a negative Covid-19 test with immediate effect. In addition to that, other remaining Covid-19 curbs have also been dropped. Mask wearing will no longer be required in public outdoor spaces, and the 50% capacity are allowed at event venues for people who are vaccinated and test negative on a PCR test.
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Travellers are allowed to enter Austria without having to take any Covid-19 tests if they can show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid. A negative Covid-19 test result is only required from unvaccinated travellers. Upon gaining admittance into the country, tourists will no longer have to show proof of their vaccination, recovery or test anywhere else.
While travelling to Austria was made possible since March, Vienna continued to enforce strict regulations. However as of 16 April, Vienna has lifted its remaining restrictions to align with the rest of Austria. Across the country now, masks are only mandatory on public transport, supermarkets and pharmacies, other indoor places such as museums no longer require the need for masks to be worn.
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Cambodia has been widely acknowledged by industry members as "ASEAN's most open destination". And it’s living up to its accolade as fully vaccinated travellers are no longer subjected to Covid-19 tests and quarantine upon entry from 17 March onward. Meanwhile, visa on arrival for passengers arriving by land, air and waterway has also resumed.
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Back in July 2020, the Maldives had been one of the first few countries to open without quarantine requirements. Since 4 March this year, the country scrapped all remaining travel requirements, meaning that fully vaccinated international travellers need not present a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country.
Furthermore, the Maldives has removed its mask mandate, allowing visitors to fully take in the country’s fresh air and truly experience the wide breadth of unique experiences on this island paradise.
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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, 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.
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From 18 March, both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers are free to travel to England without taking any Covid-19 tests, quarantining, or completing a UK passenger locator form. Previously, the Covid test and quarantine exemption only applied to fully vaccinated travellers.
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Guinness fans, rejoice! Starting from 6 March, international travellers visiting Ireland can do so without any Covid-19 restrictions. The Irish government announced that travellers from other countries are no longer required to present proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid. They are also exempted from the requirement to fill in the passenger locator form.
However, travellers who plan to go to Northern Ireland (to visit the first official Game of Thrones Studio Tour perhaps?) after staying in Ireland will still be required to follow the UK’s travel requirements, including completing a UK passenger locator form.
19. The Netherlands
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From 23 March, people travelling to the Netherlands from outside the EU/Schengen area no longer need to show a negative test result. The Netherlands has also on 25 February lifted its self-quarantine requirement.
However, to qualify for a Covid-19 test-free and quarantine-free arrival, travellers still need to show proof of vaccination or recovery.
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Italy has eased entry requirements for travellers visiting from non-EU countries. As of 1 March, fully vaccinated or recovered travellers no longer need to take a Covid-19 test. Additionally, unvaccinated individuals are also granted quarantine-free entry, but they will still be required to present a negative test result. Italy will ease mask requirements from 30 April.
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The land of fire and ice has lifted the entirety of its Covid-19 biosecurity measures with effect from 25 February. This includes border policies, social distancing, mask mandate, and gathering limitations. International travellers can now visit Iceland’s world-famous glaciers without having to present a negative test and show proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
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Starting 1 April, fully vaccinated travellers visiting Canada need not provide a negative Covid-19 test. Travellers may still be selected out of random for testing, much like how travellers are randomly selected for baggage checks, but they will not be required to quarantine while awaiting their test results.