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South Korea, eight more countries open boarders to tourists starting April 1

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There is finally some good news for those who have been waiting since the pandemic began to get a visa stamp in their passport.

Countries are finally relaxing strict pandemic-prevention protocols for tourists as cases of COVID-19 decline worldwide and the number of vaccinated people rises. Take a look at some of the countries that are finally opening up.

South Korea

South Korea is ditching quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated visitors beginning April 1. International tourists will be able to visit without being quarantined if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

South Korea’s new rule requires tourists to show proof of a booster shot in order to avoid quarantine if more than 180 days have passed since the last recommended dose of a primary vaccine schedule.

According to the tourism board, travelers will also be required to apply for a QR code, which will be scanned at immigration. To create your own QR code, you must use South Korea’s Q-Code system and enter specific information.

Malaysia & Singapore

Tourists are now welcome on the two neighboring island nations’ shores. Last week, Malaysian Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted that he and Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung are working on reviving the tourism industry after containing the pandemic.

After two years of COVID restrictions, Malaysia will reopen its borders on April 1. It should be noted, however, that the rules have been relaxed for only fully-vaccinated travelers.

Meanwhile, Singapore is gearing up to reopen to vaccinated visitors from all countries on April 1. There are a few exceptions, but most fully vaccinated guests will not be required to undergo a post-arrival PCR test or quarantine.

Thailand & Indonesia

Many countries in Asia are now embracing the “living with the virus” approach. In Thailand, visitors will no longer need a COVID-free certificate issued within 72 hours of boarding a flight beginning April 1. Tourists must, however, undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival and a self-administered antigen test on the fifth day after arrival.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has dropped its quarantine rules for international guests following a successful trial on the popular island of Bali.

Hong Kong

As of April 1, passengers will be able to transit through Hong Kong’s airport, making it easier to travel to Asia. The city remains largely off-limits to tourists, but it serves as a major airport hub for destinations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

As per reports, Hong Kong will resume international flight operations from nine countries beginning April 1, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and India.

Furthermore, the mandatory hotel quarantine period for incoming travelers would be reduced from 14 days to seven days. The negative COVID test required for entry into Hong Kong, travelers would be subjected to a COVID test at the airport before proceeding to hotel quarantine.

Italy

For non-essential travel, the European country has opened its borders to non-EU (European Union) countries. In a statement earlier this month, Italy’s Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, stated that visitors from non-EU countries would be subject to the same entry rules as visitors from EU countries when arriving in Italy. Vaccinated travelers will not be required to undergo pre-arrival testing.

Canada

Per an official statement released by the Canadian government, tourists visiting the North American country will no longer be required to present pre-entry tests if they are fully vaccinated.

Tourists entering Canada from any country who are fully vaccinated must still undergo a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival if they are chosen for mandatory random testing. The chosen tourists will not be subjected to quarantine while waiting for the results of their tests.

The Philippines, on the other hand, will open its doors to more foreign tourists by relaxing entry requirements.

Travelers entering the country now have the option of presenting a negative, laboratory-based antigen test taken within 24 hours of their departure date.

Previously, these passengers had to provide a negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test taken within 48 hours of departure.

Visa issuance by Philippine embassies and consulates will resume on April 1st, coinciding with the removal of arrival quotas.

The IATF has also approved visa-free entry for Hong Kong and Macau passport holders for a maximum stay of two weeks.

Furthermore, the task force has agreed to recognize COVID-19 vaccination certificates from Croatia, Cyprus, and Nepal.

These countries, however, were already among the 157 visa-free states whose nationals the IATF had allowed to visit the Philippines as of February, provided they had proof of vaccination.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat stated in a statement that “our top foreign markets [include] these visa-free countries.”

Visitors from South Korea, the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Vietnam, and Japan were among the country’s top markets prior to the pandemic, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

“[The] move to further ease our borders and recognize other countries’ vaccination certificates is very important,” Puyat said.

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