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Covid travel restrictions | Safest and most dangerous EU countries for travel, as per EU health agency

Plus, Indonesia opens with 5-day mandatory quarantine; Abu Dhabi resumes tourist visa submissions.

October 23, 2021 / 04:30 PM IST
A banner thanking frontline health workers hangs on a high-rise building construction site in St Julian's, Malta, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, April 14, 2020. Malta is now among the safest places to travel, according to a report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. (Image: Reuters)

A banner thanking frontline health workers hangs on a high-rise building construction site in St Julian's, Malta, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, April 14, 2020. Malta is now among the safest places to travel, according to a report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. (Image: Reuters)

Only Malta and most regions of Spain, France, and Italy remain on the green list while Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, half of Greece and half of Slovakia are on the dark red list (indicating the most affected and riskiest countries) at the moment, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report released on October 21.

Belgium and the Netherlands have been added to the red list, while the situation in Norway worsened just as the country opened its doors to travellers. In Poland, only four of its regions – Lubusz, Opole, Silesia, Holy Cross Province – are part of the green list, the rest of the country is either marked orange or red.

Germany, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Bulgaria, Hungary, half of Norway, and half of Croatia are also now part of the red list.

Read more: Safety tips for travel amid Covid-19 pandemic

Indonesia: Effective October 14, Indonesia has allowed flight from 19 countries including India. But a five-day quarantine is mandatory even for fully vaccinated travellers. If you are travelling to Bali and Riau Islands next, you’ll need to apply for an electronic visa (e-Visa). This e-Visa has been launched to assist foreign travellers who intend to visit Indonesia. A card or certificate of Covid-19 vaccination and a negative RT-PCR test result are mandatory to enter the country. The Free Visit Visa Waiver and Visit Visa on Arrival are temporarily suspended.

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UAE resumes visa applications from all countries: The UAE recently opened applications for tourist visas for fully vaccinated travellers. Tourists will be required to be fully vaccinated with one of the World Health Organization (WHO) approved Covid-19 vaccines.

Vaccinated travellers: To validate your vaccination or your exemption certificate in Abu Dhabi, 48 hours before your travel date, download the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (ICA UAE Smart) app or visit the ica.gov.ae website to complete the Register Arrivals Form and attach your vaccination certificate(s) for approval. An SMS will confirm approval of the registration form and vaccination certificates and include a link to download the Alhosn app, which enables users to show test results and vaccination status and is used to enter public places in Abu Dhabi.

Unvaccinated travellers: Take a PCR test up to 48 hours before departure from origin destination and only fly if the test result is negative.

- Unvaccinated travellers from Green List countries and regions are allowed into Abu Dhabi with no quarantine measures. They must take a PCR test on day 6 and day 9 (Day 1 being the day of arrival)

- Unvaccinated travellers coming from non-green list countries must undergo quarantine measures.

Read more: Air travelers increasingly frustrated with COVID-19 travel restrictions, says IATA survey

Expo 2020 Dubai: All visitors aged 18 and above wanting to visit Expo 2020 Dubai (October 1, 2021-March 31, 2022), the largest global gathering since the start of the pandemic, will be required to present proof of vaccination with a vaccine recognised by their national government or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours.

Non-vaccinated ticket-holders who have not been tested within this period can test at the PCR testing facility adjacent to the Expo 2020 site. Details of the testing centres are available on the  Expo 2020 website (expo2020dubai.com). On presentation of any valid Expo 2020 ticket, alongside an Expo 1-Day or Multi-Day Pass, the PCR test will be free of charge.

Less expensive test for EU travellers to the UK: Starting October 24, fully vaccinated minors and adult Europeans will be able to take a less expensive Covid-19 test instead of a PCR test upon arrival. Instead of a PCR test, travellers can take a lateral flow test or an antigen test before or on the second day of their arrival.

Currently, only seven countries (Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela) are included in the UK’s red list.

Malaysia opens doors to vaccinated travellers: Effective October 11, 2021, Malaysia has opened its doors to vaccinated travellers.

Brussels to charge extra for short-haul flights: If you are flying from Belgium to London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart (Germany), Basel, (Switzerland), and Paris and Strasbourg (France) you will have to pay from €4 to €6 aviation tax. The Belgian government has introduced this new tax fee for short-haul flights; that is, on travellers who board flights for destinations less than 500 kilometres away.

Slovakia revises entry guidelines: To enter Slovakia, all travellers aged 12 and above will have to register through eHranica, the official website. Fully vaccinated travellers planning to enter Slovakia will be required to prove their vaccination status upon their entry in Slovakia, either by presenting a Covid-EU certificate or another national document of a third country which must contain the traveller’s name, date of birth, vaccine name, doses taken, date of last vaccination.

Travellers holding a national vaccination certificate must ensure that the certificate is in the English language.

CanSinoBIO vaccine recognised by only 10 countries: So far, only 10 countries have approved Chinese-made CanSinoBIO as valid proof of vaccination against Covid-19. The 10 countries recognising CanSinoBIO are Argentina, Chile, China, Ecuador, Greece, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mexico, and Pakistan

The vaccine has not been approved by the WHO or the European Medicines Agency (EMA) yet.

ETIAS to become mandatory by end-2022: Travellers from more than 60 countries, who are currently permitted to travel visa-free to the 26 Schengen Area countries in Europe, might have to apply for travel authorisation before reaching any of these countries. Called European Travel Authorisation & Information System (ETIAS), the new procedure might come into effect by end-2022.
Preeti Verma Lal is a Goa-based freelance writer/photographer.

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