Want to boost your immunity to COVID-19? In Medical News Today, there's a great article which shares that research has shown that vaccination following natural infection produces an even more robust immune response as compared with vaccination without any prior history of COVID-19. They suggest that maybe more people who’ve had infections in the past will choose to get vaccinated. For those who have been vaccinated, it is looking like the research is suggesting that people get a different authorized vaccine booster. More info is available on mixing and matching here.

Those who are vaccinated are having an easier time navigating many of the initiatives, rules and laws that are being passed around the world. As it relates to international travel, my colleague Joe Benevides wrote about the projected rebound in the not-too-distant future. More locations are opening up, changing philosophies and reducing restrictions. Let's peek around the world a bit to see what has happened over the last couple of weeks related to various countries' COVID responses and their impact on travel and employee mobility:

  1. Australia: It looks like the world's longest lockdown will come to an end! Melbourne has decided to drop their "zero-COVID" approach as double-dose vaccinations top 70% there. As of Oct. 22, the city will have spent 262 days (nearly nine months) under stay-at-home orders. Some of the benefits of the change? Restaurants and pubs can have 20 fully vaccinated patrons indoors and 50 outdoors, while hairdressers can allow entry for five customers. For more, consider this article in the SCMP
  2. United States: Canada on Aug. 9 began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors for non-essential travel. Now the U.S. will be lifting restrictions for international travelers entering the U.S. by air or land borders on Nov. 8. The new protocols will end travel bans for more than 30 countries. Those travelling by air must provide evidence of full vaccination to be able to fly to the U.S. but must also present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel. Individuals crossing U.S. land borders only need to provide proof of full vaccination. This comes almost two years after the first ban (on travelers from China) was imposed in January of 2020. Airlines are expecting travel to the U.S. to pick up, possibly dramatically, particularly to warm weather locations like Florida and California. Additionally, per Envoy Global, the State Department has provided updates on delays related to passport services, including expedited and routine services and urgent travel appointments. To get a passport, routine passport services may take up to 14 weeks from the time the application is submitted and expedited services are taking up to 10 weeks.
  3. Mexico: Mexico is open to travelers. There is no need to provide a negative PCR test or quarantine on arrival, though most resorts ask guests to fill out health questionnaires. American travelers should remember they will need a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours or less before travel to return to the U.S. The U.S. Embassy says results for PCR and antigen tests are reliably available within 72 hours in Mexico. As of Oct. 14, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed Mexico's travel advisory rating at level 3 — "high" risk. 
  4. Singapore: Per BAL, Singapore announced expanded Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) and as of Oct 19, travelers from Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the U.S. will be able to use the VTL. Then, as of Nov. 15, fully vaccinated travelers will be able to travel between Changi Airport in Singapore and Incheon International Airport in South Korea. Expedia shared that searches for flights for all of these lanes surged right away. Travelers will likely experience increased airfares. Per Relo Network Asia, you must currently be vaccinated to dine out (anywhere) and even go to shopping malls. Shops and restaurants verify your vaccination status on the TraceTogether app. Status is populated automatically through another Singapore government health app. If you are an arriving foreigner who has been vaccinated elsewhere, the process to have your overseas vaccination record transferred into the TraceTogether app takes a minimum of two days. A serology test is required — results take 24 hours and then your app gets populated within the next day or so. This means new arrivals can't do much for their first two to three days, as they don't have the credentials to access anything until things are populated in the app! 
  5. Argentina: According to Mondaq, Argentina's borders will "remain closed until Oct. 31 inclusive for non-resident foreign nationals." Starting Nov. 1, non-resident foreigners will be authorized to travel to Argentina for any reason as long as they have been fully vaccinated and take a diagnostic test for COVID-19 72 hours prior to international travel and receive a negative result to submit with an electronic affidavit. All travelers must submit an electronic affidavit. All travelers must carry out a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport until Nov. 1. 
  6. Brazil: Almost everyone can go now. Per CNN, Brazil's government has been infamously relaxed about the pandemic — and that includes border control. Following a brief closure in 2020, the borders are now open, including to almost all tourists, for stays of up to 90 days.
    For some months in 2021, Brazil had restrictions in place on arrivals from the UK, India and South Africa, including enforcing quarantine, but these rules have since been lifted. All arrivals must present a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding, as well as a traveler's health declaration form to their airline before boarding, which can be completed online. Children under the age of 2 are exempt, as are children under 12 who are accompanied by an adult with a negative test. 
  7. European Union: Catch up on the latest EU travel situations in this Forbes article. One point shared was that, due to the new rule in France of requiring all children over the age of 12 to show a health pass (pass sanitaire) to be allowed into cinemas and restaurants, it would mean for visitors with adolescents who are not yet vaccinated, testing would be required every three days. This could add considerably to the hassle and cost of a vacation. 
  8. Sweden: There is a general entry ban for foreign EU+ citizens who are not able to present a vaccination certificate, a negative COVID-19 test result, or a certificate confirming the recovery from COVID-19. Sweden first announced its ban on travel from outside the block on March 19, 2020. The ban was first supposed to last for 30 days, but it has been extended continuously due to the COVID-19 situation. The existing ban is set to expire on Oct. 31. However, as of Oct. 19, travelers from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain can enter Sweden restriction-free, regardless of their vaccination status, the Swedish Ministry of Justice has announced.

And in an effort to continue providing great resources for your ongoing need to track and monitor country changes and updates globally, here is the EY response tracker. This tool is regularly updated to monitor developments including temporary exemptions from tax residency determinations where presence in a jurisdiction is related to a quarantine, as well as changes to the tax treatment of paid sick leave and emergency medical leave.