Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Malaysia, Philippines reopen for travel
Another day — another border reopens.
A number of countries have announced in the last two weeks plans to relax or reopen their borders. These include countries that had maintained the most stringent pandemic-related borders controls anywhere in the globe.
This announcement comes on the heels a record-setting year for global infections. The World Health Organization reports that Covid-19 infections reached a peak in January with over 4,000,000 cases in one day.
However, many countries are signaling that they can’t economically afford — or are no longer willing — to stay closed.
The pervasiveness of the omicron variant, which started spreading in countries — both open and closed — late last year, caused people to question the utility of locked border policies.
Our World in Data also shows that 54 percent (or more) of the population are now immunized. The best medical treatments are able to treat and prevent severe infections. And, many experts are now “cautiously optimistic” — as top American medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated — that a new phase of the pandemic may be within reach.
The most significant announcement in the last week was Monday’s declaration by Australia that it would be a member of the G20. reopen to vaccinated travelers from Feb. 21.
It was the end of the controversial “Fortress Australia” policy which had closed its borders to all but citizens.
Australia’s visitors must have their vaccinations up-to-date, which is a reminder of the nation’s controversial ouster in January by Novak Djokovic, tennis player.
James D. Morgan | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
When Prime Minister Scott Morrison granted backpackers permission to enter Australia, January was a reminder of the economic consequences of Australia’s closed border policy. pledged to refund some $350 in visa fees to those who moved swiftly. It turned out that the change in attitude towards visa holders who are “working holiday makers” was part of a larger effort to decrease severe labor shortages.
Darryl Newby is co-founder of Melbourne-based Travel Company Welcome to TravelThe global pandemic had “not only affected travel but all industries” in Australia, according to the statement.
Covid infections led to increased pressure. skyrocketed in DecemberIt is still unclear why travelers who have been tested and vaccinated are kept indefinitely locked out.
According to market research, “Negative emotion” may also have played a role in the emergence of negative sentiment. The Sydney Morning Herald. Phillipa Harrison, Tourism Australia’s Managing Director, was quoted as saying that Australia became “envied” and “ridiculed”, over its border policies. Some fear this will cause lasting damage to Australia’s tourism appeal.
Western Australia is closed to foreigners. Australian tourists yet. Following a spike in Covid cases, it decided to cancel plans for reopening.
Percent of peak*: 38%
*Reuters’ rolling 7-day daily case average compared with the country’s all-time highest infection rate.
A second “fortress”, announced plans to receive back international tourists who have been vaccinated.
New Zealand, unlike Australia, last week described a five-step phased reopening planThis ban will prevent international travellers from entering the country before July. The 10 day self-isolation period for vaccine-assisted travelers is mandatory upon their arrival.
Except for a few exceptions, citizens and residents are welcome to come into Australia later in the month. Residents and citizens from other countries, as well as eligible workers can all enter the country in March. Some visa holders and students will follow in April.
Travellers from Australia who have been vaccinated those from countries who don’t need visas — including people from Canada, the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Israel, Chile, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates — can enter from July. You can also visit the country from October.
Average peak percentage: At peak and rising
After having closed its borders March 2020, the Philippines declared plans to reopen their borders to travelers who are vaccinated. more than 150 countries and territories.
In favor of opening travel to vaccinated travellers who have failed a PCR, the country has suspended its country-color coded classification system. The requirement for self-monitoring was also added to facility-based quarantines.
For travel to the Philippines, you must possess valid return tickets as well as travel insurance that includes medical coverage up to $35,000.
Rouelle Umali | Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
Last month, the Philippines saw more than 300,000. Daily cases of covid. According to WHO, 3,543 cases were confirmed in 24 hours.
The Philippines Department of Tourism stated that the sudden increase in tourism was not a result of economic hardship. to match the policies of other Southeast Asian countries.
“The Department sees this as a welcome development that will contribute significantly to job restoration … and in the reopening of businesses that have earlier shut down during the pandemic,” said Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat in an article on the department’s website. We are certain that we can keep up with ASEAN countries who have made similar efforts to open their doors to tourists.
Percentage at peak 19% and falling
Bali, Indonesia opened its doors to international tourists last week despite rising rates of infections.
“It is known that currently the positivity rate is already above the WHO standard of 5% … the number of people who are checked and tested on a daily basis has also increased significantly,” according to a news releasePublished on January 31, on the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs.
A lady meditates in Bali, Indonesia.
Getty Images| The Image Bank | Getty Images
Yet the decision to reopen to international travelers — which has been postponed in the past — was made to “re-invigorate Bali’s economy,” according to the website.
The five-day quarantine period for travelers is mandatory. However, they are allowed to isolate themselves. one of 66 hotelsThese include some of the most luxurious and well-known resorts on the island, such as The Mulia Resort and Villa The St. Regis Bali Resort.
However, Bali is not reopening for foreign tourists at this time. It opened last October to travelers from 19 countries. Few people arrived due to the strict entry requirements and a dearth of international flights.
Percentage of the peak (Indonesia). 68% and rising
The Malaysian National Recovery Council recommended Tuesday that Malaysia reopen its doors to foreign travelers by March 1. according to Reuters.
Similar to the policies in place by Singapore and Thailand for tourism, travelers aren’t expected to be required to quarantine upon arrival.
Nearly 98% of Malaysia’s adult population is vaccinatedThe Ministry of Health in the country reports that more than two thirds of people use vaccines manufactured by AstraZeneca and Pfizer while only one-third use vaccines from China-made Sinovac.
Malaysia could be heading towards an omicron-induced peak in cases. Two weeks ago, a sharp upsurge in daily cases started and is not expected to decrease.
Peak: 41% and rising
Countries already welcoming international tourists are easing their admission requirements.
Though Europe is the regional leader in new Covid cases according to the WHO, countries such as Greece, France, Portugal, Sweden and Norway have announced plans to drop incoming test requirements for vaccinated travelers — though some apply only to E.U. residents.
Similar measures were taken by Aruba and Puerto Rico last week.
Others are following the same path. Hong Kong instituted restrictions in Hong Kong, which included limiting public gatherings and banning some of the incoming flights. According to reports, the restrictions are leading to food shortages across Hong Kong, rising prices, and public anger. The Guardian.
China has also taken strict measures to ensure the Winter Olympic Games are a success, including lockdowns affecting some 20 million people According to The Associated Press, January was the hottest month.
Although both countries relaxed their border restrictions, Bali and the Philippines also announced increased local restrictions for this year.