The United States State Department is constantly assessing the latest threats around the world and issuing updated travel advisories for international destinations.
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U.S. State Department officials issued 14 updates recently, including new risk designations for Morocco, Nepal and Bolivia. The latest advisories range from Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions (Cabo Verde, Comoros and The Gambia) to Level 4: Do Not Travel (Israel**, The West Bank and Gaza). However, the majority fall under Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution and Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
The majority of updates issued this week being for potential COVID-19 risks amid the ongoing pandemic but some other factors mentioned include crime, terrorist threats and civil unrest.
After issuing just over three dozen updated travel advisories during February, the State Department has been busy this month, already issuing 60 updates just this month. New updates included Russia (Level 4: Do Not Travel) following the country’s invasion of Ukraine and several Caribbean islands and Mexico due to the coronavirus.
**Note: Official U.S. State Department current recommendation for Israel is (Level 4) Do not travel due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Israel due to terrorism and civil unrest that was previously rated as Level 3. Do not travel to the West Bank due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution when traveling to the West Bank due to terrorism and civil unrest. The announcement doesn’t match up with the threat as Israel has shown only a modest uptick in confirmed cases and no increase in Covid related deaths.
The United States Current Covid Policy
Currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require everyone two years of age and over entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 1 day before entry, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days. Airlines must confirm the negative test result or proof of recent recovery for all passengers prior to boarding. Airlines must deny boarding of passengers who do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery. Humanitarian exemptions to this order will be granted on an extremely limited basis and will only be considered when the country of departure lacks adequate SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity and cannot meet the requirements to provide a negative viral COVID-19 test within one calendar day of departure. This policy does not apply to undocumented crossings of the Southern Boarder for humanitarian reasons.
Places Recently Lifting Covid Restrictions
Fully vaccinated travelers visiting Canada will no longer need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country starting on April 1. Travelers may be selected for random testing upon arrival but will not be required to quarantine while awaiting test results.
Effective March 10, travelers visiting Puerto Rico on domestic flights will no longer be required to complete an official Travel Declaration form, provide a negative COVID-19 test result or show proof of vaccination. The island will also lift mask mandates and capacity limits for public and private businesses and establishments like restaurants, bars, theaters and event venues.
International travelers visiting Ireland from March 6 on can do so without COVID-19 restrictions. That means that there’s no longer any need to provide proof of vaccination or recovery, negative test results or even complete the previously-required Passenger Locator Form
Starting April 1, Costa Rica will no longer require travelers to complete an online Health Pass, and unvaccinated travelers will no longer be required to purchase a travel insurance policy. What’s more, establishments such as sports, cultural and academic institutions, and even nightclubs, will be able to operate at 100 percent capacity without requiring vaccination QR codes from April 1
Italy also recently eased entry requirements for travelers visiting from non-European Union countries such as the U.S. last week. As of March 1, fully vaccinated travelers no longer require a negative COVID-19 test result. Plus, unvaccinated individuals arriving in Italy can avoid quarantine with a negative test result. Additionally, Italian officials will accept valid proof of recovery from COVID-19. Italy is also easing mask requirements from April 30.
The island no longer is requiring visitors to complete Travel Authorization as of March 1, and travel-related quarantine measures have also expired. Children 12 years and older will still require a negative COVID-19 test, whether antigen or PCR, that’s been conducted within 72 hours prior to the date of travel at check-in.
All visitors to the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten who have been fully vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last nine months no longer require proof of a negative test upon arrival. Still, unvaccinated visitors must provide a negative PCR test taken 48 hours prior to arrival or an antigen test taken 24 hours prior to arrival.
Officially reopened to vaccinated travelers as Western Australia recently became the last state in Australia to lift its interstate and international travel restrictions.
New Zealand plans to begin reopening to international travelers from visa waiver countries such as the U.S. from May 1 without any quarantine measures. Visitors will require proof of full vaccination as well as a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test.
Iceland lifted all of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions late last month. Currently, international travelers can visit the European island country without requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a negative test or mandatory quarantine.
As of March 1, Israel is inviting visitors from all over, regardless of their coronavirus vaccination status. Nonetheless, travelers must produce a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their departure and take a second PCR test upon arrival.
Thailand is further relaxing travel restrictions this spring. Starting April 1, fully vaccinated visitors will no longer need to submit a negative COVID-19 test result before entering the country. However, a COVID-19 RT-PCR test is still required on arrival as well as a rapid antigen test on the fifth day.