The Thai government said that fully vaccinated and recovered foreign travellers from all countries will be able to apply online for visas under its 'Test & Go' programme from 1 February 2022.
An earlier incarnation of the 'Test & Go' quarantine-free entry scheme was rolled out in November 2021, as Thailand’s vaccination rates rose, and Covid-19 cases declined. But, in December, the discovery and ensuing global spread of Omicron prompted Thai authorities to suspend the programme considering the fresh viral threat.
Now, to qualify for quarantine-free entry, vaccinated foreign visitors (or those with a certificate of recent Covid-19 recovery) will need to have a negative pre-travel PCR test taken within 72 hours of their departure and take additional PCR tests upon arrival in Thailand and on the fifth day of their stay. They must also provide proof of booking and prepayment for at least two nights’ accommodation at a government-approved hotel and prearranged transfer from the airport to their hotel.
Spain removes countries from safe list
Travellers from Bahrain, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Peru, Qatar, and Uruguay now face stricter entry restrictions when entering Spain as they have been removed from the latter’s ‘safe third countries list’.
The decision was announced by the Spanish Ministry of Health, which stated that new rules against these seven countries would start applying from 24 January, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports. Previously, travellers who reached Spain from one of these seven third countries were permitted entry without having to provide proof of vaccination against the disease or a recent Covid-19 test.
However, since Bahrain, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Peru, Qatar, and Uruguay are no longer part of the safe list, travellers from these areas now need to present a valid vaccination certificate.
A ‘third country’ is a country which is not a member of the European Union (EU), or a country or territory which enjoys EU rights to free movement under a related treaty.
Regarding the validity of vaccination passes, travellers must note that starting from 1 February, Spain will recognise only certificates that indicate that the holder has been fully vaccinated against the virus within the last 270 days.
EU ‘locks out’ Australian travellers
Australians hoping to book a holiday in Europe may be locked out after the European Council advised member states to block visitors from Australia, which it singled out as a ‘Covid danger zone’ due to surging Omicron case numbers.
The directive, which applies regardless of vaccination status, means people wanting to undertake non-essential travel to Europe from Australia could face restrictions ranging from a total ban on entry to having to quarantine or face extra testing requirements.
Cyprus, Greece, and Italy dissented from the European Council’s decision to ban Australian travellers. The European Council listed Australia, Canada, and Argentina as Covid-19 hotspots in its official directive, issued as countries in Europe prepare to ease travel restrictions for countries on the so-called EU whitelist.
Countries on the list, which the European Council reviews fortnightly, include New Zealand, Colombia, Indonesia, Rwanda, Bahrain, Chile, Kuwait, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, and China. The European Union (EU) said in a statement that Australia had been ‘removed from the list of countries for which EU travel restrictions should be lifted’.