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Thursday, April 15, 2021

From Sri Lanka to Seychelles: Destinations that have opened its doors for tourists amid Covid-19

Countries like Denmark are mulling coronavirus digital passports that will act as proof that the holder has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 7, 2021 1:30:22 pm
Covid-19 touristsTurkish police officers check the passports of a group of Russian tourists at Ortakoy square (Reuters)

With most countries now rolling out Covid-19 vaccines for their citizens, a number of destinations are either dropping border restrictions for travellers who have got their jabs, or easing them significantly.

Countries like Denmark are also mulling coronavirus digital passports that will act as proof that the holder has been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. From Sri Lanka to Seychelles, here are the countries which are planning to or have opened its borders to welcome tourists:

Sri Lanka

With a large section of the population being dependent on tourism, the Sri Lankan government opened up for visitors but with rules that “no other nation had implemented” while welcoming tourists. Calling it a “new concept”, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando had said that tourists can travel in “bio bubbles” or roving semi-isolated groups that let visitors sightsee without mixing with the local population.

The rules, however, apply for first two weeks of their stay. Thereafter, guests are free to “interact with the local community,” according to a safety booklet produced by the country’s Ministry of Tourism.

Cyprus

The Cyprus government was one of the first around the world that had announced plans to allow tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid-19. Travellers who provide proof that they have received both doses of the vaccine, do not even have to furnish a negative RT-PCR report.

Although the new rules were set to kick in from March 1, the government hasn’t issued a statement about it yet and travellers currently have the option to either provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel, or undergo a test on arrival. They must then go into quarantine for two weeks in government-assigned accommodation.

Iceland

Fully-vaccinated travellers from Europe can skip quarantine when they arrive in Iceland from May 1. They will also not be required to submit a negative RT-PCR report.

However, people who have not got their Covid-19 shots and are arriving from from destinations where travel to Iceland is permitted must take a Covid test on arrival, before going into quarantine for five to six days and taking a second test.

Thailand

The Thai government has rolled out a campaign — #OpenThailandSafely — aimed at welcoming tourists from around the globe by July 1.

Last week, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha had ordered officials to study vaccine certificates for international travel after signalling that the tourism-reliant nation is open to scrapping the two-week quarantine for inoculated visitors. This came after the local tourism industry wanted the mandatory-quarantine rule to be lifted so that vaccinated tourists can visit the country.

Thailand’s central bank says tourism, which accounted for about a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product pre-pandemic, is key to returning Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy to growth.

Romania

Travellers visiting this European nation from permitted countries after having being vaccinated do not have to quarantine themselves. The rule had come into effect from January 28.

The new rules were announced by Romania’s National Committee for Emergency Situation, which stipulated that visitors and returning residents will need to show evidence that they’ve had two doses of the vaccine in order to avoid mandatory isolation.

However, people arriving from countries on Romania’s “yellow list”, which is made up of destinations of high epidemiological risk, are required to quarantine for 14 days.

Seychelles

Seychelles, in January, became a part of the countries which are gradually opening up for tourists and dropping quarantine norms for those who have been inoculated against the virus.

Fully vaccinated visitors are now allowed to enter the country without having to quarantine for 10 days. However, they are still required to present a negative RT-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.

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