COVID-19 and countries' entry requirements around the world: How countries are managing visitors

Since the start of the pandemic, Australia has often been pilloried for its tough stance on overseas arrivals. Today, we're not alone. With the Delta variant on the rampage, many other countries have ramped up their entry requirements for leisure travellers, or even hauled up the drawbridge, denying entry to those coming from designated 'red' zones.

One requirement that sets Australia apart from most other countries is the 14-day supervised hotel quarantine that applies to all incoming travellers, regardless of their nationality, where they're coming from, COVID-19 test result or vaccination status.

For each country below, the figure for percentage fully vaccinated refers to the eligible population fully vaccinated at August 4, 2021. No country plans to vaccinate everyone, at least not now. Children are generally excluded, along with those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Israel

59 per cent of eligible population fully vaccinated

94,978 Covid cases per million population

Celebrated for its early vaccine roll-out, Israel's vaccination rates have slowed recently and the country is now grappling with the Delta variant, adding over 2500 new infections per day. In response, Israel has shut the door to tourists, although that is expected to change soon, possibly later in August 2021.

When it does, only travellers who have been fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by the USA or EU will be allowed in, however that should not exclude Australians who have been vaccinated in Australia. Visitors from some high-risk countries are excluded, including the UK.

A negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result from 72 hours before departing your country of origin is required, with another PCR test on arrival in Israel. Health insurance is also required. Returning Israeli citizens must take a PCR test upon entry and isolate until a negative test result is confirmed.

US

50 per cent of eligible population fully vaccinated

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108,599 Covid cases per million population

The US moved quickly to roll out vaccines and despite an increasing number of infections, anyone coming direct from Australia gets a break. Australian travellers are free to enter with proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before boarding their flight to the US.

Those who have visited or transited through areas deemed high risk in the 14-day period before arrival are banned from entry. That includes any non-US citizen or resident coming from Europe's Schengen Area countries and the UK.

The US Centers for Disease Control recommends but does not require that all returning residents take a COVID-19 test soon after return. In addition, unvaccinated travellers are advised to stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after they return.

Singapore

61 per cent of eligible population fully vaccinated

11,085 Covid cases per million population

Singapore has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases since the beginning of July and Australian residents are no longer able to take advantage of the Air Travel Pass, which allowed them to enter Singapore, subject to remaining in quarantine for 1-2 days awaiting the results of their PCR test taken on arrival.

Except for those on business or official visits Australians cannot enter Singapore, although transiting through Changi Airport is not affected by the ban.

Except for those coming from lower-risk countries or regions, returning citizens and permanent residents must prove a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, taken within 72 hours before departure from origin.

New Zealand

16 per cent of eligible population fully vaccinated

576 Covid cases per million population

Entry from all countries is subject to strict controls. That includes Australia, since the travel bubble that allowed free travel across the Tasman earlier in 2021 is suspended. The only countries whose residents are allowed to enter New Zealand without quarantine are the Cook Islands and Niue.

All other arrivals must spend 14 days in managed isolation or quarantine and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure for New Zealand. Residents returning from countries other than the Cook Islands and Niue are subject to the same conditions.

Canada

60 per cent of eligible population fully vaccinated

37,654 Covid cases per million population

Australians and other foreigners are not allowed to enter Canada for leisure purposes. Only those non-citizens who are entering as approved workers, students, permanent residents, for compelling compassionate visits or who are close relatives of Canadian citizens are allowed to enter.

Canadian citizens returning from overseas and who are fully vaccinated may enter without the need to quarantine. All others must complete 14 days in quarantine, the first three in a pre-booked government-approved hotel.

France

49 per cent of eligible population fully vaccinated

94,869 Covid cases per million population

Since Australia is a designated 'green' country, Australian residents can enter France regardless of vaccination status. Visitors will find their travels limited unless they have a health pass, required for access to restaurants, cafes, bars, long-distance train travel and leisure and cultural events with more than 50 people. The health pass is available only to those who have been fully vaccinated. At the moment there is no clear avenue for travellers from outside the EU to obtain a health pass.

Keeping track of entry requirements

Quarantine restrictions and red zones complicate entry for travellers, they can change at a moment's notice and they vary from one country to another. Keeping track of the current requirements gets complicated for travellers with multi-country itineraries, but one way to stay up to date is with Skyscanner's COVID-19 travel info map.

Click on any country on the world map and you get a comprehensive run-down of the current regulations as they pertain to Australian travellers. You can also sign up for travel updates for the countries on your itinerary, allowing you to respond quickly to changes.

The International Air Transport Association has a similar map here

See also: I returned from Australia to Rome, where locals can't believe our restrictions

See also: Zero cases: The countries that avoided COVID-19 completely

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