Traveling abroad is becoming less complicated for vaccinated travelers.
A growing list of countries is reducing or eliminating Covid-19 quarantine and testing requirements for those who have been fully vaccinated, while maintaining restrictions for those who have not.
Where vaccines ease travel restrictions
Barbados announced this week that quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers will be reduced from zero to two days, during which they will be able to move around their hotels. However, unvaccinated visitors must stay in their hotel rooms until they pass a Covid test on the fifth day and wait several more days for results.
The new protocols begin May 8.
Children are not yet eligible to get vaccinated, a fact that complicates the family’s travel plans this year, but Barbados does not exclude them. Children under the age of 18 traveling with vaccinated parents are subject to the same rules as vaccinated travelers, according to the Barbados tourism marketing website.
Mixed groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers are not so lucky. Vaccinated adults traveling with unvaccinated adult companions who “choose not to separate” are subject to the more onerous requirements imposed on non-inoculates.
Barbados’ relaxed policy towards vaccinated travelers begins May 8.
Atlantide Phototravel | Corbis Documentary | fake images
With its new bifurcated restrictions, Barbados joins Estonia, Guatemala and Slovenia in creating different entry requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Most require vaccines to be completed within two weeks of arrival, and some only accept vaccines made in the US or Europe.
Here’s how various countries are approaching the split:
· Croatia: Vaccinated travelers only need to show vaccination certificates to enter, but unvaccinated travelers must test negative for Covid-19 (or show proof of recovery) and possibly self-isolate while awaiting test results.
· Iceland: It allows vaccinated (and previously infected) travelers, regardless of their origin, to enter if they test negative on arrival. Many unvaccinated European travelers, in addition to residents of Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand, can enter if they test negative twice and are quarantined for five to six days. All other unvaccinated travelers, including Americans and Canadians, are prohibited from entering.
· Belize: Vaccinated travelers do not need tests to enter, but unvaccinated travelers (including children 5 years and older) must test negative before or after landing. Those who test positive must remain in quarantine for at least 14 days at the expense of the traveler.
· Georgia: Vaccinated travelers from all countries can enter by air, while unvaccinated travelers must come from certain countries and test negative before and after arrival.
Will more places use vaccine-based policies?
Yes he said Gloria Guevara, President of the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council.
“As the launch of the vaccine continues to accelerate, more and more countries will undoubtedly follow suit,” he said.
The US state of Hawaii is currently working to allow vaccinated visitors to circumvent testing and quarantine requirements, according to local media. Lt. Governor Josh Green said children will still have to test negative to enter, but children of vaccinated parents may be exempt from the test if Hawaii achieves herd immunity, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Phuket, Thailand and Greece have indicated that protocols based on less restrictive vaccines are being worked on.
Such policies make “perfect sense,” said Harry Nelson, founder of the Los Angeles-based medical care law firm Nelson Hardiman.
“My anticipation is that eventually this will be the rule in the vast majority of countries and that at some point in the future … we will see some countries change to a vaccination requirement,” he said.
Are these policies fair?
No, Nelson said, “but the complaints about fairness are, in my opinion, ridiculous.”
He cited precedents of many countries that impose vaccination tests for the entrance of visitors, in particular with yellow fever. He said the current threat from Covid-19 variants makes it “completely reasonable for countries to impose vaccination requirements.”
“Fairness is a concept that is irrelevant when it comes to controlling a highly infectious virus that is transmitted around the world,” he said.
Regarding Hawaii’s vaccine-based plans, Lt. Governor Green told local Honolulu television station KHON that “We do not discriminate against anyone. If they are against being vaccinated and want to travel, they can simply get [a] proof, it’s not a big deal. ”
“Every country has the right to set its public health policy as it sees fit,” said health attorney Harry Nelson.
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Guevara said that while the World Travel and Tourism Council is against requiring vaccines for travel, the organization supports the introduction of a short-term health pass such as the European Commission’s “digital green certificate” to allow safe international travel. .
“We must not discriminate against those who want to travel, but have not been vaccinated,” he said. “We know that it will take a significant amount of time to vaccinate the world’s population, particularly those in less advanced countries or in different age groups.”
Travel security firm International SOS is working with the International Chamber of Commerce to establish standards for the digital AOKpass, said Dr. Robert Quigley, International SOS global medical director.
He said digital vaccine passport applications “are not being developed to be discriminatory, but in reverse to help the travel industry get back to normal and to help ensure the health and safety of citizens and travelers. “.
Nelson said “politics” related to fairness arguments and opposition to vaccine passports is an obstacle.
“We need to recognize the practical reality that we live with in these times and deal with it,” he said.