Covid-19: mandatory testing, quarantine … which countries still restrict access to travelers, even vaccinated?

The summer holidays are approaching, and with them time to think about your destination. But is it always possible? For more than two years with this Covid-19 pandemic, many countries have imposed more or less severe restrictions on their borders. Some even banned, for more or less time, any access to their land. Measures have been sharply reduced over the last few weeks, with the fall of the epidemic. For example, since this Sunday, May 1st, New Zealand has allowed tourists to arrive at the destination in about sixty countries, including France, if they have been vaccinated.

In France, 90% of the population has received a complete vaccination program. For them, the rest of the world is mainly divided into two blocks: the one of the countries where it is possible to go without any restrictions, and the one of the states that always impose a negative test. We take stock, keeping in mind that the rules may still evolve in the coming weeks.

Mandatory test for travel to the USA, Morocco, India …

In the first group, which does not impose vaccinated tourists who want to go there, in addition to New Zealand, there are especially all the countries of the EU, Canada, Mexico, Algeria or Tunisia. On the spot, certain measures are sometimes still in force. In Greece, for example, it is mandatory to wear a mask in all closed public places (shops, museums, etc.). In France, this has only been the case in transport and healthcare institutions since 14 March.

The United States, Morocco, India or even half of the African countries are in the group of countries that always impose a negative test on vaccinated travelers. The validity period as well as the type of test varies by country. The antigen or PCR sample must be taken on the same day or during the day before the trip in the case of the United States, or within 48 hours before boarding (and PCR only) if you are traveling to Morocco, for example.

Be careful though: the definition of “vaccinated” may vary by country. For example, some of them – such as the United States – do not recognize the “one infection plus one injection” vaccination scheme in force in France. It is therefore advisable to consult the official pages of that country before traveling.

Quarantine in Malaysia and Laos

A handful of Asian countries still require vaccinated travelers, in addition to a negative test before departure, to respect a period of isolation on arrival. In Malaysia, for example, you have to be quarantined for 24 hours in a hotel designated by the authorities.

A Frenchman arriving in Laos must be tested on arrival and must pay around 50 euros out of pocket. “In the event of a negative result, a 48-hour quarantine must also be complied with in a hotel approved by the authorities, supplemented by 7 days at home,” the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs specified.

Access banned in Japan and China

Finally, some states are still banned from French tourists. Japan, for example, “has suspended the issuance of tourist visas until further notice”, its French embassy states on its website. Only relatives of Japanese citizens, travelers with “compelling exceptional or humanitarian circumstances” or those who justify a professional reason can hope to be allowed to travel to the Japanese country.

Less surprisingly, it is impossible to travel to China, the last bastion of the “Zero Covid” strategy. Turkmenistan, for its part, “has closed its borders, air, land and sea, to the movement of people, to combat the spread of the epidemic”, still according to the Foreign Ministry.

Much stricter restrictions for the unvaccinated

Admission requirements are stricter for travelers who have not been vaccinated (or who have not yet received their full vaccination plan). They even ban travel to certain countries, such as the United States. Within the EU, on the other hand, an unvaccinated tourist can generally travel by presenting a simple negative test performed in the 48 hours prior to the trip.

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