Travellers hoping to visit the Seychelles can do so again if they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The tropical archipelago in East Africa has announced it is reopening borders. The island nation has dropped quarantine requirements for international travellers from any country so long as tourists have been inoculated against Covid-19.
It's a change from previous regulations that only welcomed visitors coming via private jet, or from approved countries dictated by Seychellois authorities. Only tourists from seven countries could previously travel to the islands including France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Austria and the UAE.
These travellers had to show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or self-isolate for 10 days. The new rules will still ask for a negative Covid-19 test result, even for travellers who have been vaccinated.
Travellers must have received two doses of the vaccine
A certificate of vaccination attesting that travellers have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine is also required and needs to be uploaded to the country's Travel Authorisation application portal before travel.
People planning a visit to the Indian Ocean country must wait two weeks until after their second dose of the vaccine to travel. Children may not need to be vaccinated, but will need to show a negative PCR test result.
By mid-March, it is planned that visitors to the islands will only need to produce a negative PCR test as the country is hoping to have vaccinated enough of its local population by then to achieve herd immunity.
The move hopes to restart the country's travel industry. As a nation of 115 islands with a reputation for idyllic beaches, lush jungles and unique wildlife, tourism accounts for about 65 per cent of the Seychelles' annual GDP.
Donations from the UAE and India
The archipelago became the first country in Africa to roll out vaccines to all citizens. It launched its national Covid-19 immunisation campaign on January 10 and aims to be the first country in the world to vaccinate 70 per cent of its adult population, which in 2020 was estimated to be just more than 98,000.
President Wavel Ramkalawan took the vaccine on the first day of the drive at Seychelles Hospital. In a media statement, he paid thanks to Abu Dhabi and the UAE for its donation of 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine.
The head of state also said that the UAE government would be donating another batch of vaccines to the country, and that the Indian government is set to donate vaccine doses in January.
Emirates is currently operating flights from Dubai to the Seychelles while Abu Dhabi's Etihad flights are currently suspended, but with a review due on Tuesday, February 1.