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| 4 minutes read

ICYMI: the latest on how COVID-19 is impacting global mobility

The pandemic is absolutely no joke. Most of the time, it seems mind boggling. But it does sometimes take a (hopefully harmless) joke to help us to laugh, muster up a little more resilience and keep moving forward. Elle shares a number of funnies (97 to be exact) that help show that human beings will always find the funny side, even in a crisis.

But now let's catch-up on some recent changes around the world related to the Covid-19 pandemic and consider their impact on global mobility programs.

  1. United States: Let's start with some pretty big news. By the time you read this, the U.S. has lifted virus testing mandates for international air travelers coming into the country. No more need to show a negative test result before boarding the plane! The move went into effect for US-bound air travelers at midnight this past Sunday. The U.S. Travel Association, a trade group, projects that dropping the testing requirement will bring 5.4 million additional international visitors to the United States and $9 billion in additional travel spending through the end of the year. Recent reports show that Miami, Honolulu, and San Juan are seeing coronavirus spread the fastest currently. 
  2. China: Shanghai briefly locked down most of the city this past weekend for mass testing as Covid-19 cases continue to emerge there. The threat of disruptive measures also returned to Beijing, as mass testing turned up 21 new local cases as of 3 p.m. last Friday. 
  3. Japan: Japan reopened its borders to travelers on guided tours from June 10, but remains closed to individual travelers. Travelers must have spent the 14 days before arrival in Japan in a country on the "blue list", i.e. a country where the risk of catching the coronavirus is considered low (there are 98 countries on that list). It remains unknown when individual travelers will be able to enter the country again. It warns they may be sent home if they fail to abide by rules requiring them to wear masks, sanitize their hands thoroughly and buy private health insurance. 
  4. Armenia: Per Crisis24, Armenia extends existing COVID-19 measures until June 20, 2022; international entry restrictions remain in effect. International flights are permitted and land borders are open; however, international arrivals via air or land must produce proof of having tested negative for COVID-19 using a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival or evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination. Individuals arriving without the required documentation must pay for a test on arrival and self-isolate until a negative result is confirmed.
  5. Estonia: If you are coming from Europe, there are no restrictions (no vaccination or recovery certificate, no tests, no isolation).  Visitors from anywhere else must present a vaccination or recovery certificate or a negative test result. Otherwise it is mandatory to stay in isolation for 7 days. No restrictions to anybody apply in the case of transit, i.e. passing through the territory of the Republic of Estonia. 
  6. Spain: Spain will continue to keep COVID-19 entry rules in place for travelers from third countries despite allowing restriction-free entry to nationals of the EU. The Spanish Ministry of Health notes that all third country travelers continue to be required to present a valid vaccination, recovery, or test certificate upon their arrival. 
  7. Italy: From June 1, everyone can enter Italy. Arrivals no longer have to show vaccination status, meaning that the quarantine requirement for the unvaccinated no longer exists. No requirement to show proof of vaccination or recovery nor fill out a passenger locator form. Anyone flying to or from Italy must wear an FFP2 mask though.
  8. Finland: Per this from Forbes, only fully-vaccinated individuals can visit Finland, which includes having had a booster shot within 270 days of the second jab. Unvaccinated travelers are not allowed for non-essential travel. These rules might be dropped at the end of June.
  9. Europe: There are currently 30 destinations in Europe that don't have any Covid-19 restrictions in place. See the list. This means that regardless of vaccination history there is no need to show any documentation relating to a traveler's health status. Here is an updated list on where you can travel in Europe. The EU has also dropped its mask mandate for passengers on flights and in airports as of Monday, following updated guidelines from the bloc’s Aviation Safety Agency. 
  10. Barbados: Maybe now that Barbados has dropped all Covid-19 testing for vaccinated travelers Plus will consider opening and office there? Probably not, but the island nation has done away with its testing requirement for vaccinated vacationers as of May 25. Unvaccinated travelers will still have to get tested within three days of departure, and again after arriving on the island. 

As far as the rates Covid-19 cases, here are the 5 most impacted countries worldwide as of June 13, 2022: (cases per million)

The U.S. falls to 13th on this list with 260,840 cases per million. Our recent surges have some are wondering whether we are seeing a preview of the "new normal" where lots of mini waves of infections come and go. This article suggests that we'll see regional waves that are often driven by different omicron subvariants — sometimes multiple at once — making the virus additionally difficult to tamp down. The U.S. case load may eventually fall back to its early-March levels or this could be a glimpse of what Covid-19 looks like as an endemic virus. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on immigration policies and processes worldwide. In order to contain the spread of the virus, many jurisdictions implement new measures or change existing ones daily. Travel restrictions. Although wide-ranging entry restrictions have been steadily decreasing, some countries still have partial bans for some foreign nationals (sometimes excluding residents of the destination jurisdiction) based on particular outbreaks.  Exemptions for vaccinated/recovered travelers. There are entry ban, quarantine and pre- and post-arrival COVID-19 testing exemptions for vaccinated (and in some cases, recovered) travelers. We cover these exemptions in our Travel Restrictions section. Health assessments and tracing apps. On-arrival health questionnaires and health assessments are common pre-boarding requirements for international flights. Many countries require travelers to download and use tracing apps once they enter their destination country.   Fragomen continues to closely monitor these developments.


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