Asian countries seem to have given the word! At the dawn of spring and the return of the warm weather, several countries are reopening their borders after 2 years of closure or are easing the sanitary measures concerning Covid-19.
Thailand: towards the end of the Thailand Pass?
The end of the Thailand Pass should be officialized in July 2022. Indeed, Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand), declared that the project to qualify Covid-19 as endemic from the second half of the year would lead to new relaxations, such as the abolition of the Thailand Pass, this complex document which gives a hard time to travel professionals and visitors. A PCR test result will still be required for the time being. TAT plans to propose further relaxation of travel rules at the next meeting of the Covid-19 Situation Administration Center (SACC) on March 18.
Indonesia: Quarantine exemption trial program
As of this Monday, March 14, 2022, Indonesia is allowing travelers to enter Bali without quarantine under a trial program. This program is for travelers who are fully vaccinated and have received their booster shots. Travelers will still be required to undergo a PCR test upon arrival in Bali and wait for the result at their hotel. If the result is negative, then travelers will be able to continue their activities on the island. Travelers will also be required to provide proof of a minimum four-day stay in pre-booked accommodation, and take a second PCR test at the hotel on the third day of their stay. If the trial program in Bali is successful, the new entry requirements are expected to be implemented throughout Indonesia beginning April 1. All this information was shared by Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, at a press conference on February 27.
Malaysia: borders reopened
After two years of closure, the Malaysian government has declared that the country’s borders will reopen as of April 1, 2022. “We believe this decision will boost our economy and help revive our ailing tourism sector,” Prime Minister Ismail Sabri confirmed at a press conference. However, travelers will have to present a negative PCR test before departure and upon arrival. They will also have to download the MySejahtera tracking application and fill out a travel form before departure. An electronic visa is available for travel to this destination.
India: international flights resume
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India (DGCA) announced on March 8 the resumption of scheduled international commercial flights to and from India from March 27, 2022. In its statement published on Twitter, the aviation authority said that this resumption “will involve a return to bilaterally agreed capacity rights, as well as the end of air bubble agreements” (an agreement between several countries to facilitate the movement of their nationals from one state to another, despite the health crisis).
As a reminder, on February 10, India announced the abolition of quarantine for all international arrivals, regardless of vaccination status, as well as the abolition of the pre-departure test for vaccinated citizens of 88 countries. As France is not included in this list, despite its air bubble agreement with India, French travelers are still required to provide a negative PCR test result performed 72 hours prior to departure and to register it online when filling out the health form. In addition, in order to boost tourism in the country, India is offering, until the end of March 2022, the issuance of electronic tourist visa without government fees.
Japan: reopening of borders for business travelers
As of March 1, Japan is once again allowing business travelers (only) to enter its territory. This latest directive is valid for vaccinated international travelers. If French people are exempted from quarantine, some travelers coming from “unsafe” countries must respect a 3-day isolation period and present a negative PCR test. Nevertheless, the Japanese government remains cautious and has set up an entry quota: 5,000 international travelers for the moment and 7,000 from March 14.
South Korea: quarantine exemption for world travelers
From March 21, 2022, international travelers (except Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Myanmar) will be exempted from quarantine upon arrival in Korea. The announcement, made on March 11 by the Ministry of Health, specifies that this measure is only for travelers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, specifically those who will have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior to arrival and within 180 days, as well as those who will have received boosters. However, all travelers entering South Korea are still required to perform antigenic tests on the 6th and 7th day after arrival in the country. For the past few months, all visa-exempt travelers must still apply for a K-ETA to travel to South Korea.
Nepal: elimination of pre-departure PCR test
On March 10, the Nepalese government announced the elimination of the mandatory pre-departure PCR test for travelers fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days prior to arrival. As a result, foreign visitors entering Nepal by air or land will be required to present a certificate of full vaccination against Covid-19, or alternatively, a certificate with a negative PCR test result. A new action plan with further easing measures is also expected to be released in April 2022.
Bangladesh: relief for vaccinated and unvaccinated
On March 8, the Bangladesh authorities announced a relaxation of entry requirements for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travelers with immediate effect: PCR testing for vaccinated travelers is no longer mandatory and quarantine is lifted for non-vaccinated travelers. The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh has clarified the new procedures for entry and exit of passengers on all types of international flights as follows:
- Travelers with a complete vaccination schedule, with a WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccine, can enter Bangladesh with official proof of vaccination certification and no COVID-19 negative certificate based on RT PCR is required.
- Travelers without a complete vaccination schedule, with a WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccine, may enter Bangladesh if they have a negative COVID-19 certificate based on RT-PCR performed within 72 hours before departure time.