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Assist Alert – Countries Re-Open as COVID Practices Linger

 
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Assist Alert: Countries Re-Open as COVID Practices Linger
October 18, 2022
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UPDATE

Nearly three years of COVID later, countries with more stringent health policies are finally opening for tourism.

 

On October 11, Japan opened its doors for travelers. According to the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, the country was simultaneously downgraded to a Level 1 Security Risk. The designation signals that travelers should exercise normal safety precautions. Despite easing travel requirements, visitors still need to either obtain a certificate confirming you have received at least three shots of a vaccine recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO); or provide a certificate confirming the negative status of a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure for Japan from your country of origin.

 

Much like China and other countries heavily impacted by the pandemic with strict health policies, Japan spent most of the time classified as a Level 3 Risk during the pandemic, since April 2020. Level 3 has been reserved for discouraging non-essential travelers from entering and for above average infection and transmission rates. The country also briefly held a Level 4 Risk designation, reserved for those with an unprecedented danger to health and safety.

 

Two days after Japan welcomed tourism, Taiwan lifted its COVID entry restrictions for travelers along with its exclusionary list of specific nationalities allowed to enter. Though the U.S. State Department still lists Taiwan with a Level 3 designation, visitors to the self-governed island are not required to quarantine upon entry or take any Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.

 

Alternatively, tourists will need to examine their health for a week after arriving and obtain a negative result on a rapid antigen test the day they arrive. For those who want to explore during the weeklong monitoring cycle, they must produce a negative test from either that day or the day before.

 

In Hong Kong, a Level 3 designate by the U.S., vaccinated visitors from the U.S. can enter with a negative COVID-19 test result and are not required to quarantine upon arrival. However, visitors are required in open spaces and public transportation to wear face masks, regardless of your vaccination status.

 

Before Hong Kong and Taiwan considered reopening, South Korea, a Level 1 designate, travelers are no longer required to show proof of a negative pre-departure and post-arrival PCR test and regardless of their vaccination status. However, South Korea enforces a health questionnaire be submitted prior to arrival.

 

Even though both countries have varying policies, customary measures such as face masks are still heavily encouraged and are the new normal post-pandemic. Industry experts in Japan say that the majority of people in the East Asian country continue to wear masks while outside their homes, even in situations where foreigners might consider it not essential.

 

While U.S.-bound travelers are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test to get home from international destinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends testing before boarding flights back to the U.S. and not traveling if you are sick or have any symptoms.

 

Travelers with symptoms or who test positive for COVID-19 should follow the CDC's isolation guidelines and click here for travel-specific health situations not related to COVID-19. Also, if you are traveling internationally, check the State Department’s Travel Advisories web page for detailed updates.

 

TIPS

  • Contact Assist America for any travel-related advice.
  • Check government websites and publications for updated information on travel guidelines.
  • Research customs and practices from the country you’re planning to visit.
  • Allocate extra time for travelling through airports.
  • Cooperate with transportation authorities and follow health instructions.
     
       

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