The emergence of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 have had an immediate impact on student mobility and travel. Governments around the world are shutting their borders until further notice to several African countries and increasing border protocols such as testing and quarantine requirements.
In addition to a temporary ban on arrivals from southern African countries and the obligation for travelers to fill in a health form ahead of their trip, here is our roundup of Omicron-related tighter border measures implemented in the major student markets:
The Omicron variant and travel restriction updates for key study abroad destinations – Verbalists Education Beyond Borders Podcast
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The UK announced that all vaccinated passengers and those qualifying as vaccinated, like the students under 18 years of age, arriving in England will be required to take a PCR test. Students must self-isolate until they have a negative test result (or for 14 days if they test positive).
All travelers to Ireland need to present a negative COVID-19 test result in order to be permitted entry to the country. The testing requirement applies to everyone, even to those who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from the virus. However, vaccinated and recovered travelers can choose between a PCR or rapid antigen test, whereas the others can only present a PCR test.
The US requires that all passengers two years or older must provide a negative viral test taken within 24 hours of departure. The requirement applies to all travelers regardless of vaccination status or nationality.
Government of Canada has announced additional border measures to reduce the risk of the COVID-19 and its variants in Canada related to international travel. From now on, all fully vaccinated travelers arriving by air from departure points other than the United States will be subject to arrival testing. Fully vaccinated travelers will be required to quarantine while they await the results of their arrival test. Unvaccinated travelers, with right of entry to Canada, will continue to be tested on arrival and day 8 and quarantine for 14 days.
Australia remains closed and will not open its borders to international students and skilled workers on December 1 as planned. The border opening has so far been delayed to December 15.
Anyone arriving in Germany must present either a negative test result, proof of vaccination, or documentation proving their recovery from COVID-19. Those arriving from designated high-risk and dangerous virus variant regions must meet additional criteria. Arrivals from high-risk areas without proof of full vaccination or recovery must quarantine for 10 days. Germany classifies several regions as high risk, among them the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, Austria, Croatia and Ukraine.
According to a decree that has been published by the French Government, non-EU travelers over the age of 12 will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours before arrival to be permitted entry to France. The testing requirement applies even to those non-EU nationals who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from the virus. In contrast, all European Union citizens can continue to enter France restriction-free as long as they hold a valid vaccination or recover certificate.
Travelers arriving from the European Union or Schengen zone must present a passenger locator form and proof of either full vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative PCR or antigenic test result from the past 48 hours. For everyone else, there is a complicated system consisting of five different levels, which comes with various testing and quarantining obligations.
Most European countries, such as France, Germany and Sweden, are currently deemed by Spain to pose an infection risk. Arrivals from these areas must show either a certificate of full vaccination, proof of recovery from COVID-19, or negative PCR or antigen test. In early December, Spain also closed to unvaccinated arrivals from the United Kingdom.
With constant updates and rule changes from country to country, it can be confusing to keep up with the most recent information on travel restrictions. This is especially true for international students, who have had to navigate online learning while staying on top of the latest travel announcements. We will post updates as the rules change, so check VERBALISTS EDUCATION News regularly.
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