A travel corridor, also known as a travel bubble or corona corridor, pertains to the opening of travel borders between neighbouring countries that allow their citizens to travel on certain routes to and from places with low Covid-19 infections and avoid mandatory isolation or quarantine period.
Many countries have opened travel corridors to other countries via exclusive partnership and got considerable success in re-establishing connections with each other while combating Covid-19 within their borders.
The travel corridor is seen as a way for economic recovery across various sectors. While many countries have released the list of destinations that are open to travel, most of them will require proof of vaccination or coronavirus test results upon entry.
(Note that the rules and restrictions are updated as of 29 June 2021.)
Here’s a look at some countries that have opened travel corridors to selected nations and their entry requirements.
European Union (EU)
EU has published a list of epidemiologically safe third countries that have a low rate of infection and people from these countries can enter the Schengen area from 18 June 2021. (Note that the safe list is reviewed periodically and is subject to change amidst changing infection rates and emerging variants)
You can view the updated list here.
The EU commission has opened travel from outside of the European Union and is easing restrictions for non-essential travel as well. Visitors will, however, require proof of vaccination.
The EU is also set to launch the Digital Green Pass which to restore travel within Europe. The digital pass is free of cost and will be officially implemented from 1 July 2021.
The latest list of third countries exempted from the entry ban for non-essential travel since 18 June 2021 includes Albania, Australia, Chinese regions of Hong Kong and Macao, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States of America.
Based on the ease of movement and access to public spaces, tourists from the above-listed countries can travel to:
Travellers need to present the Covid-19 Green Certificate upon entry. Face masks are compulsory to be worn outdoors and most of the public places are now open.
Those travelling from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland should quarantine for five days with mandatory swab testing.
Full details here.
Travellers from “Green” countries don’t need to take any health measures if they are fully vaccinated. If not, a negative PCR or antigenic test that was taken no longer than 72 hours must be presented upon entry. Full details here.
Spain has issued new restrictions amid the spread of the new Delta variant of coronavirus. Non-vaccinated British travellers will have to produce proof of recovery or vaccination upon arrival by showing a negative PCR test or vaccination certificate.
Tourists are subjected to medical screening upon arrival at the airport. Also, those entering or transiting through Spain must duly fill an “FCS Health Control Form” before departure.
Additionally, US travellers are allowed for non-essential travel in Spain, and those who have received EMA approved vaccines – AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, and Janssen – do not require Covid-19 testing upon arrival.
Full details here.
Unless you are fully vaccinated, all travellers entering Greece require a negative PCR certificate for a COVID-19 test taken no less than 72 hours without the need for quarantine for most countries. All the iconic places for sightseeing are open and there might be a night curfew post 12:30 am. Full details here.
The restrictions for fully vaccinated tourists are changing amid the concerns of the new Coronavirus variant. Germany is allowing tourists from EU member states, German residents from other countries and these states associated with Schengen – Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
Upon entry, there is a mandatory PCR test or proof of vaccination or recovery in the form of a vaccination certificate. The proof must be presented to the airline before departure or wherever applicable. Similar to Spain, Germany only recognises vaccination certificates from EMA approved vaccines.
Quarantine obligations vary from 10 to 14 days, depending on whether you have travelled from a basic risk area or a high-risk area.
Full details here.
Switzerland has relaxed restrictions on non-essential travel for Schengen and Third Countries such as the USA, Albania or Serbia. Tourists from the Schengen area will not be required to quarantine upon arrival, and they must carry the Covid-19 test certificate. Tourists from high-risk countries with Delta variants such as India or the UK can enter Switzerland by producing negative PCR tests but need to quarantine upon entry, except those who can produce the proof of vaccination.
Switzerland has relaxed restrictions on wearing the mask outdoors, and restaurants, hotels, clubs and events can work at full capacity.
Full details here.
Albania has opened its borders to international travellers for non-essential travel without any strict restrictions or need of a negative Covid-19 test or any other special document. If a tourist shows any of the Covid-19 symptoms upon arrival, they need to comply with the laws and may have to quarantine.
Full details here.
The United Kingdom
The British government has a ‘traffic light’ system for travel with countries rated as ‘red’, ‘amber’ and ‘green’ depending on the rate of infections, population vaccinated against Covid-19 and prevalence of coronavirus variants.
The UK is welcoming vaccinated travellers from most countries with varying quarantine periods. The travellers need to produce a Covid-19 negative PCR test report with a quarantine period of 10 days for countries in the ‘red’ list. Find full details here.
If you hold proof of vaccination and have not travelled to these countries — China, European Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, India and Iran within the past 14 days, you can enter with a negative COVID-19 test report no older than 72 hours before entry, without the need for self-quarantine.
For visitors from high-risk countries, partial entry is allowed with a negative Covid-19 test report no older than three days. There may be a quarantine period depending on the country of departure.
In the light of growing concerns over the new Delta variant, Hong Kong has announced the prohibition of all flights landing from the UK as the country comes under high risk-Group A1.
Full details here.
Travellers will need to produce a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours upon arrival. There is a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days for both Thai and foreign nationals which must be completed at one of the Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) Hotels accredited by the country’s Ministry of Health. Full details here.
Tourists from all countries need to provide a negative PCR test report and the quarantine period may vary from 7 to 10 days. Full details here.
All tourists need to provide a negative COVID-19 test report taken no longer than 96 hours before entry and there is no quarantine period. Full details here.
Australia has resumed its travel corridor, also known as the Trans-Tasman bubble, with New Zealand which allows two-way quarantine free movement. The airports operate ‘Green’ flights between NZ and approved safe nations.
Australia has restricted travel from ‘virus-variant zones’ such as Portugal and Russia amid the concerns of the new Delta coronavirus variant.
Australia-Singapore travel corridor is also set to open by digital merit to ease quarantine-free travel between both countries. Full details here.
The Middle East
The UAE has opened up travel corridors with countries such as Bahrain, Greece, Seychelles, Serbia and Italy. Under this agreement, travellers from these countries are required to produce vaccine certificates from the respective health authorities and will enjoy their trip without the need for quarantine. A possible travel corridor between the UAE and Maldives is also underway. Full details here.
Mexico is welcoming tourists from all countries without any mandatory quarantine or testing requirement. However, tourists will be screened upon arrival and those exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms may be asked to undergo self-quarantine. They will also have to fill out a health declaration form. Full details here.
The government of Saint Lucia has opened its travel corridors or travel bubble with these 11 Caribbean countries — Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Turks and Caicos Islands due to the low risk of infection and transmission. The government has also eased restrictions for vaccinated tourists who hold a vaccine certificate or a negative COVID-19 test report took no later than five days before travel. Full details here.
Aruba has allowed non-essential travel restrictions for all countries and opened its travel corridors for vaccinated travellers or those who can produce a negative Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival at the airport. The government of Aruba has eased restrictions for US states classified as ‘hotspot’ as well. Full details here.
The Dominican Republic has resumed non-essential travel and most foreign tourists from countries such as United States, Canada, France, Argentina, Italy, Russia, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Spain among others do not need to present a negative Covid-19 test upon entry.
However, a quick aleatory breath test can be performed by the authorities at the airport to ascertain if tourists have any symptoms relating to Covid-19. Tourists with valid vaccination certificates and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of entry will be exempted from the test. Full details here.
Seychelles has relaxed restrictions on non-essential travel with entry allowed for foreign tourists carrying valid vaccination certificates, though they still need to provide a negative PCR test without the need to go for quarantine. Full details here.
It is mandatory to wear a face mask in public while exploring Seychelles or it may result in a fine.
Amid the recent Delta coronavirus variant concerns, tourists from Nepal, India, Brazil, Bangladesh and Pakistan are not permitted to enter until further notice.
Egypt has allowed non-essential travel for fully vaccinated travellers if they carry approved vaccination certificates with valid QR codes. Tourists from high-risk countries such as Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Latin America, Pakistan, Vietnam and Sri Lanka are allowed but must have a vaccination certificate and take ID NOW Covid-19 test upon arrival. Curfews in Egypt have been discontinued and public places are open at full capacity with health measures in place. Full details here.
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This story first appeared in Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.