Countries have begun to ease international travel restrictions, provided certain conditions are met, as Covid-19 vaccination programmes become more widespread. Spain and the UAE are the latest countries to allow certain categories of Indian travellers to enter their territories, while the UK has also moved India to its amber watchlist from red previously.
From today, the UAE has lifted the ban on travellers from India and five other countries. However, the relaxation has only been extended to fully vaccinated travellers with a valid residency visa. Additionally, the final dose must be taken at least 14 days before travel. The country has also lifted curbs on transit flyers. However, with the formalities still pending and SOPs for the new group still being drawn up, airlines expect a delay in the new rules being implemented.
The UAE’s decision to lift curbs on transit flyers has come as a relief for those traveling to the US or the UK, particularly university students, ahead of the fall semester. The shortage of flights to Europe and the US for Indian passengers from the UAE as well as the US’s restriction on the number of flights inconvenienced students.
Spain has allowed tourists from India to enter the country, provided they complete the vaccine course at least 14 days before departure. However, only travellers inoculated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency or the World Health Organization (WHO) would be allowed to enter the country, the Spanish government has said. While Covishield, the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine produced in the country by Serum Institute of India has got WHO approval, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin does not make the cut.
The country’s transport department has announced India would be moved to the amber list from red from August 8. This would allow travellers from India to bypass the mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine for home isolation. The travellers would still have to get a Covid-19 test done before travel and subject themselves to two more tests upon arrival.
Other international destinations
While India has banned regular international scheduled flights, it has come to air-bubble arrangements with several countries. Following the second Covid-19 wave in India during April, several countries had barred the entry of travellers from India.
In May, the US banned the entry of travellers from India, except their own citizens. However, the rules were later relaxed for student visa holders.
Germany also reclassified India last month to “high incidence areas” and removed the ban on entry travellers from the country.