Covid-related international travel restrictions continue to ease.

Covid-related international travel restrictions continue to ease.

Anguilla, a small British overseas territory in the eastern Caribbean, is preparing to ease travel restrictions linked to the pandemic, following dozens of countries that have lifted testing and vaccination requirements as they look to revive tourism and their economies, for example.

The British Virgin Islands, Belize and Australia also eased requirements for visitors this month. And most countries around the world are now open to visitors from the United States, which lifted the testing requirement for incoming travelers in June.

Some countries that closed their borders to tourists at the start of the pandemic have lifted travel requirements entirely, including the UK, Iceland and Sweden.

The shift comes even as a sub-variant of Omicron, known as BA.5, has caused an increase in cases in the US, Western Europe, Japan, Australia and other countries. However, this has largely occurred without a commensurate increase in deaths, which experts attribute to more widely available vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, as well as at least some immunity from previous infections.

Erica Richter, vice president of communications for the trade group American Society of Travel Advisors, said travel continues to grow as more countries lift restrictions. Travel in the United States is approaching pre-pandemic levels, according to Transportation Security Administration checkpoint figures.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen travelers who wanted to travel go through hoops; they would do what was necessary to travel and make that trip,” Ms. Richter said. “As more countries lift their restrictions, more people who may have been on the fence and may not have been in the ‘I’ll do whatever it takes’ category are now in the ‘Let’s go’ category.

At the beginning of the pandemic, travel restrictions increased as countries tried to contain the coronavirus and its variants. But many ended up failing the virus’s ability to spread and mutate.

“Travel restrictions make sense when there’s a big difference between the spread and the risk of going between point A and point B,” William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times last month. when the United States abolished the requirement to screen incoming air travelers. “If there’s not a big difference, then they’re not very valuable,” he said.

As the summer travel season begins, even more countries are lifting restrictions.

Anguilla’s Ministry of Health announced last week that as of August 8, vaccinated travelers to the Caribbean island will no longer be required to provide a negative pre-travel coronavirus test. Unvaccinated travelers who were not previously allowed to enter the country will be able to enter from August 8 if they show a negative coronavirus test before departure.

Last week, the British Virgin Islands waived all testing requirements and announced that arriving travelers would no longer be tested for the coronavirus. Previously, all visitors over the age of 5, regardless of their vaccination status, were required to present a negative coronavirus test within 48 hours of arrival.

Belize last week also lifted the requirement for visitors to provide a negative coronavirus test or proof of vaccination. Foreign tourists are no longer required to show proof of purchase of Belize travel insurance.

Earlier this month, Australia, which was completely closed to foreign tourists in the early years of the pandemic, lifted vaccination requirements for visitors, having already lifted the testing rule. Australian states or territories may have their own screening and quarantine requirements, and face masks are still required on flights to and within the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a four-level rating for the risk of the coronavirus in other countries, with the highest “level 4” rating for countries experiencing “special circumstances,” including the threat of health care infrastructure collapse, and extremely high. number of cases. There are currently no such countries on the CDC list.

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