Traveling abroad becomes less complicated for vaccinated travelers.
A growing list of countries is reducing or eliminating quarantine and Covid-19 testing requirements for those who have been fully vaccinated, while keeping restrictions on those who have not.
Where vaccines ease travel restrictions
Barbados announced this week that quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers will be reduced to zero for two days where they can 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 days for the results.
The new protocols start on May 8.
Children are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, which is a complication of the family̵
Mixed groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers are not so lucky. Vaccinated adults traveling with unvaccinated adult companions who “choose not to be separated” are subject to the more onerous requirements of the uninoculated.
Barbados’ relaxed policy toward vaccinated travelers begins on May 8.
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With its new branched restrictions, Barbados joins Estonia, Guatemala and Slovenia to create different entry requirements for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travelers. Most require vaccinations to be completed within two weeks of arrival, and some only accept vaccines from the United States or Europe.
Here is how more countries are approaching the gap:
· Croatia: Vaccinated travelers only need to show vaccine certificates to enter, but unvaccinated travelers will need to test negative for Covid-19 (or show evidence of improvement) and possibly self-isolate while awaiting test results.
· Iceland: Let vaccinated (and previously infected) travelers, regardless of origin, enter if they test negative on arrival. Many unvaccinated European travelers – plus residents of Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand – can get in by testing negative twice and quarantining for five to six days. All other unvaccinated travelers, including Americans and Canadians, are prohibited from entering.
· Belize: Vaccinated travelers do not need a test to enter, but unvaccinated travelers (including children 5 years and older) must test negative before or after landing. Those who test positive must be quarantined for at least 14 days at the expense of the traveler.
· Georgia: Vaccinated travelers from all countries can enter by plane, while unvaccinated travelers must come from certain countries and test negative before and after arrival.
Will more sites use vaccine-based policies?
Yes, he said Gloria Guevara, President of the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council.
“As the vaccine outbreak continues to pick up speed, more and more countries will no doubt follow suit,” she said.
The US state of Hawaii is currently working to allow vaccinated visitors to circumvent tests and quarantine requirements, according to local media. Lieutenant Josh Green pointed out that children still need to test negative to get in, but children of vaccinated parents may be exempt from testing if Hawaii reaches herd immunity, as reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Phuket, Thailand and Greece have indicated that less restrictive vaccine-based protocols are in place.
Such policies make “perfect sense,” said Harry Nelson, founder of Los Angeles-based health law firm Nelson Hardiman.
“My expectation is that this will ultimately be the rule in the vast majority of countries, and that at some point in the future … we will see some countries switch to a vaccination requirement,” he said.
Are these policies fair?
No, Nelson said, “but the complaints about justice are, in my opinion, ridiculous.”
He quoted long-standing precedents for countries imposing evidence of vaccinations on visitors, especially with illegal fever. He said the ongoing threat of Covid-19 variants makes it “completely reasonable for countries to impose vaccination requirements.”
“Fair is a concept that is irrelevant when it comes to controlling a highly infectious virus that is transmitted worldwide,” he said.
Regarding Hawaii’s vaccine-based plans, Lieutenant Governor Green told local television station KHON in Honolulu that “We are not discriminating against anyone. If they are against being vaccinated and they want to travel, they can just get [a] test, no big deal. ”
“Every country has the right to define its public health policy as it sees fit,” said health care lawyer Harry Nelson.
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Guevara said while the World Travel & Tourism Council is opposed to requiring vaccines to travel, the organization supports the introduction of a short-term health card such as the European Commission’s digital green certificate “to further enable safe international travel.
“We should not discriminate against those who want to travel but have not been vaccinated,” she said. “We know it will take considerable time to vaccinate the global population, especially those in less advanced countries or in different age groups.”
The travel security company International SOS is working with the International Chamber of Commerce to establish standards for the digital AOKpass, said Dr. Robert Quigley, Global Medical Director at International SOS.
He said digital vaccine passport apps “are not designed to be discriminatory, but conversely to help the travel industry get back on track and help ensure the health and safety of citizens and travelers.”
Nelson said “policies” related to fairness arguments and opposition to vaccine passports are an obstacle.
“We need to recognize the practical reality we live in these times and deal with it,” he said.