Eight countries that are off-limits to unvaccinated travellers

As France bans US visitors without inoculation, we explore other destinations around the world where no vaccine means no entry

FILE PHOTO: A woman, wearing a mask, rides her bicycle near the Eiffel tower at Trocadero square in Paris during the nationwide curfew, from 7 p.m to 6 a.m, due to tighter measures against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, April 26, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

A romantic trip to Paris is no longer an option for unvaccinated travellers from the US this autumn, after France became the latest country to remove the US from its safe travel list.

Following recommendations from the European Council, French authorities updated Covid-19 regulations to state that travellers from America who are not fully immunised can no longer visit unless they have an essential reason to do so.

Unfortunately for any US tourists hoping for a French holiday, essential reasons do not include drinking hot chocolate in a Parisian cafe or admiring an autumnal forest in the Bois de Boulogne.

But it's not only tourists from America that need to worry about being vaccinated before travelling. Several destinations around the world are only welcoming visitors who have received a complete dose of an approved Covid-19 vaccine.

If you’re not yet vaccinated, here are eight places that you’ll have to scratch off your travel bucket list for now.

Switzerland

If you want to take a cable car to the Matterhorn, go boating on Lake Geneva or explore the medieval city of Lucerne any time soon, then you’ll have to make sure you’re vaccinated first. That’s because only fully immunised tourists can travel to Switzerland for tourism purposes. An exemption exists for unvaccinated children, who can enter the country when accompanied by fully inoculated adults.

Switzerland is accepting travellers who have vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), namely Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. The country is also recognising vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation for emergency use, including Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Iceland

A man takes a picture of blue icebergs in Jokulsarlon, the largest glacier lagoon in Iceland, on July 8, 2014.   AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET / AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET

The land of fire and ice thrills with its lagoons, hot springs, glacier peaks, Northern Lights and untouched wilderness, but it's only worth putting on your bucket list if you have had your Covid-19 vaccine.

One of the first countries to reopen to tourists, Iceland has strict entry requirements in place since the outset and remains open only to travellers who are fully vaccinated.

There are eight accepted vaccines, including Sinopharm, but tourists must ensure they've had the last jab at least 14 days before flying to Iceland.

Saudi Arabia

The last frontier for travel has reopened to tourists after being closed for 17 months. Saudi Arabia is welcoming tourists who have been immunised against Covid-19 and who come from countries that are eligible to travel visa-free, or get a visa on arrival.

The bustling cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, endless sand dunes, mountain peaks and desert oases, not to mention Saudi Arabia’s thriving Red Sea coastline, await travellers who meet entry requirements.

Four Covid-19 vaccinations are approved for entry: AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Visitors are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their final dose. Any tourists vaccinated with Sinovac or Sinopharm can also travel to the kingdom but only if they have taken a booster shot from one of the recognised vaccines.

However, travellers from 10 countries, namely Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, India, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Vietnam, cannot yet travel to the kingdom even if they are fully vaccinated.

St Kitts and Nevis

The two-nation Caribbean destination of St Kitts and Nevis is welcoming back tourists to its pristine beaches, but only if they're fully inoculated.

Travellers who want to explore the islands which are known for their cloud-shrouded, rainforest-topped mountains need to have been administered the final dose at least two weeks before travelling.

A negative Covid-19 test result is also required for entry to the island destination and, upon arrival, the first five days of all holidays need to be spent at an approved hotel. Unvaccinated children up to the age of 18 can fly with their fully immunised parents.

Malta

02 Dec 2014, Valletta, Malta Island, Malta --- Valletta skyline with the dome of the Carmelite Church and St. Pauls Anglican Cathedral, Valletta, Malta, Mediterranean, Europe --- Image by © Neale Clark/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis *** Local Caption ***  ut21ma-malta01.jpg

The island nation of Malta is welcoming travellers too, but only those who are vaccinated against Covid-19. The island – part of an archipelago that consists of Malta, Gozo and Comino – is famed for its ocean landscapes, ancient archaeological sites and sunshine-laced climes.

All tourists aged 12 years and above must be vaccinated to be allowed entry to the country, which is fewer than 100 kilometres south of the Italian island of Sicily.

All vaccines approved by the EMA are recognised in Malta and anyone aged 12 and above must have taken the final dose at least 14 days before travel.

Canada

Having opened its borders to international tourists last week, Canada is only rolling out the welcome mat to visitors who are fully vaccinated. Other than Canadian citizens and residents, only double-jabbed tourists can get set to explore the Canadian Rockies, scale Toronto’s CN Tower or explore Montreal’s cultural scene.

Tourists must have received the last dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 full days before the day they fly to Canada. Currently, only four vaccines are accepted for entry, including Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. There are also PCR test requirements in place, with tourists having to show a negative result taken no more than 72 hours before travel.

Germany

Germany is a great destination for travel at this time of the year, thanks to an ever-changing landscape and a plethora of festivals celebrating everything from pumpkins to paper lanterns. But unless you’re a European Union citizen, you’ll have to be fully vaccinated before you can travel to Deutschland.

Travellers who want to visit Germany from outside the EU for tourism reasons can only do so if 14 days have passed since they received the final dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Anyone keen to explore the Old City of Heidelberg or marvel at the autumnal colours of the Black Forest must have been immunised by one of four accepted vaccinations, all of which are listed on the Paul Ehrlich Institute’s website. Sinopharm is not included. Children under 12 can travel to Germany without a jab, but only if they are travelling with a fully vaccinated adult.

Mauritius

The tropical island of Mauritius has also reopened to tourists, but only travellers who are fully vaccinated are currently welcome to travel to the holiday hot spot.

Famed for its sapphire waters, powder-white beaches and luxury resorts, Mauritius holidays are on the cards for anyone who has completed their vaccination at least 14 days before travel, or 28 days for anyone jabbed with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If you’re recently recovered from the virus, you can visit Mauritius after one dose of any approved vaccine.

Take care when booking accommodation, as for the first seven days of any holiday, travellers need to stay in their resort where they are free to use the pool, beaches, spa facilities and more. After a negative PCR test on the seventh day, tourists keen to explore the island's mountains, hiking trails, world-class diving and near-perfect islets can venture out of their hotel.

These rules will ease on Friday, October 1, when vaccinated travellers will be allowed to leave their hotel so long as they have a negative Covid-19 test result take no more than 72 hours before travel.

Updated: September 13th 2021, 7:57 AM
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