New Zealand, Laos, Myanmar: Countries continue to relax COVID-19 restrictions for globetrotters

·4 min read

Countries across the globe are continuing to relax international travel restrictions related to COVID-19 with the European Union dropping its mask mandate for air travelers starting next week.

And COVID-19 travel warnings are being dropped, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month removed all the remaining countries on its "Do Not Travel" list.

"More and more people are once again traveling to destinations around the world and enjoying all that comes with travel," the agency said Thursday in a statement shared by spokesperson Tom Skinner.

While many warnings and restrictions around the world have been relaxed, the CDC said that traveling can still increase the risk of exposure to the virus.

"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC are working with the White House and other federal partners to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the American public while returning to more normal routines safely," the CDC continued. "Travel requirements are made using the best available science."

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Canada: Is easing entry requirements for some international travelers

Sunrise on Kohimarama beach on August 13, 2020, in Auckland, New Zealand.
Sunrise on Kohimarama beach on August 13, 2020, in Auckland, New Zealand.

New Zealand opening up to all tourists by July

New Zealand will reopen its borders to tourists from all countries by July, allow back cruise ships and make it easier for skilled workers to immigrate as it looks outward to the world again following the COVID-19 pandemic, the government said Wednesday.

New Zealand has been slowly reopening, first to Australians last month and then to tourists from the U.S., Britain and more than 50 other countries earlier this month. Wednesday's announcement will allow tourists from China, India and other countries to come starting July 31.

The government said it also planned to end the need for people to get predeparture COVID-19 tests by the end of July.

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The European Union: Is dropping its mask mandate for airplanes, airports starting next week

Israel to drop arrival testing requirement for US visitors

Starting May 20, all U.S. travelers arriving to Israel by plane will no longer have to take a PCR test upon arrival and will not have to quarantine. That said, testing before flying to Israel will remain a requirement.

Laos reopens to international visitors after more than 2 years

The landlocked Southeast Asian nation of Laos reopened to tourists and other visitors Monday, more than two years after it imposed tight restrictions to fight the coronavirus.

Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, head of the government’s agency for controlling COVID-19, announced on Saturday the reopening date, the last in a three-phase plan, state news agency KPL reported. She said vaccination certificates or virus tests will still be required for Lao citizens and foreigners entering the country.

Travelers 12 years of age or older without vaccination certificates must be able to show negative ATK tests taken within 48 hours of departure for Laos.

As part of the easing of restrictions, entertainment venues including karaoke parlors will be able to reopen, but must comply with COVID-19 control regulations. All border crossings were reopened.

Myanmar issuing tourist visas

Myanmar announced Thursday it will resume issuing visas for visitors in an effort to help its moribund tourism industry, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and violent political unrest.

Starting on Sunday, tourist “eVisas” will be provided online in a move also intended to harmonize tourism with neighboring countries, according to a government notice in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Visitors need a certificate of vaccination, negative results from a COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken shortly before their flight and a travel insurance policy. They must also take an ATK rapid test after arrival.

Myanmar on April 1 had already resumed issuing business visas, and on April 17 dropped a ban on international commercial flights. It had stopped issuing visas and suspended flight arrivals in March 2020.

Czech Republic eases all travel restrictions, too

Last month, the Czech Republic's Ministry of Health eased travel protocols for international visitors and Czech citizens.

"There are no longer any coronavirus restrictions for entry into the Czech Republic," CzechTourism said on its website April 14.

Jamaica relaxed some restrictions in April

Jamaica rolled back its COVID-19 entry restrictions in April with hoping that easier entry would attract more tourists.

The Jamaica Tourist Board announced last month that the Caribbean island would drop its indoor mask mandate and its pre-departure PCR COVID-19 testing requirement starting.

Dreaming of a Caribbean getaway? Here are the COVID entry restrictions for popular islands

As you consider travel, consider any restrictions and recommendations

While you plan travel, even as restrictions easel the CDC recommends all travelers stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and "follow all domestic and international travel requirements and recommendations."

And, each week, the health agency updates its Travel Health Notices to alert travelers.

In addition, CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Health Notices are updated each week to alert travelers of the COVID-19 situation in international destinations and advise them on how to protect themselves before, during, and after travel.

Contributing: Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Israel, Myanmar, Laos: Countries relaxing COVID-19 travel restrictions

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