Several countries are in the process of rolling out new international travel policies affecting non-citizens who want to fly into their lands. United States will reopen in November to air travellers from 33 countries including India and China who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The United Kingdom also eased its tough pandemic-related restrictions, however, its rules spelled trouble for desis. Here’s a look at rulebooks of countries that are opening doors for international travellers.
The Joe Biden administration on Monday announced that it will lift Covid travel bans on all air passengers in November if they are fully vaccinated and undergo testing and contact tracing. The unprecedented restrictions had kept relatives, friends and business people around the world separated for many months as the pandemic grinds on.
Jeffrey Zients, coronavirus response coordinator for US President Joe Biden, told reporters the new “consistent approach" would take effect “early November."
Numerous safeguards will remain in place to suppress spread of the virus, which has already killed more than 670,000 Americans and is resurgent after what many had hoped was a lasting dip earlier this year. “Most importantly, foreign nationals flying to the US will be required to be fully vaccinated," Zients said.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the new rule only applied to US-approved vaccines or if other brands, such as those produced in China or Russia would also qualify. Zients said that would be determined by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Restrictions on vehicle movement from Canada and Mexico will remain in place. “We do not have any updates on the land border policies," Zients said, adding that passengers will need to show they were fully vaccinated before boarding planes to the United States, as well as providing proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days.
Americans not fully vaccinated will still be able to enter but only on testing negative within a day of travel.
Masks will be obligatory on US-bound flights and airlines will provide the US health authorities with contact tracing information. “This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans’ international air travel safe," Zients said.
As per the new Covid-related travel rules in the United Kingdom, fully jabbed Indians will not be considered vaccinated in the country and will have to undergo 10 days of quarantine. The latest changes, announced on Friday, mandate that only people who have got both shots of a double-dose vaccine such as Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or the single shot Janssen vaccine “under an approved vaccination program in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas” will be considered fully vaccinated.
The changes, announced on Friday, mandate that only people who have got both shots of a double-dose vaccine such as Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or the single shot Janssen vaccine “under an approved vaccination program in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas” will be considered fully vaccinated.
Before travel to England, even the fully vaccinated in India will have to undergo a pre-departure Covid-19 test within the three days before the travel date, book and pay for day two and day eight Covid-19 tests to be taken after arrival in the UK and complete their passenger locator form any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England
After arriving in the country, all Indian passengers will be required to quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days and take a Covid-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight.
However, these rules do not apply to travellers who are considered fully vaccinated. These travellers will not be required to take a day eight Covid-19 test, undergo a pre-departure test, quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days after the arrival.
The changes, which will become effective from October 4, have upset the Indians with former Union ministers Ramesh and Tharoor calling it “offensive and smacks of racism". After criticism, the UK on Monday said it was engaging with the Indian government to explore the expansion of their recognition of vaccine certification.
Canada, which had put a stop to all flights from India months ago, after passengers with pre-travel negative RT-PCR certificates also tested positive in on-arrival tests, on Tuesday resumed operations of direct flights between Canada and India. It also relaxed the third-country RT-PCR requirement for Indian travellers.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the Thailand Embassy in New Delhi on Monday said that it will resume issuance of all visa types for permitted non-Thai nationals. These visa types include student visa, those with a work permit, or those with a residency permit, etc. It is not issuing medical visas or tourist visas at the time.
Turkey has announced that travellers who have been administered two doses of a WHO-approved vaccine at least 14 days before departure can enter Turkey. The rules also apply to Indian travellers who have received two doses of Covishield. Other vaccines that Turkey accepts are Pzifer, Biontech, Sputnik V, Sinovac and the single dose Johnson & Johnson.
those who took the Covaxin jab will also be allowed to travel to Turkey, as per a news report. Unvaccinated people can also fly to Turkey but will have to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine period on arrival.