Ecuador Joins List of Countries Open to Vaccinated Travelers


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Ecuador Joins List of Countries Open to Vaccinated Travelers


Photo by Shutterstock Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands opened to all vaccinated travelers on March 22.

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Effective March 22, anyone who presents a COVID-19 vaccine certificate can enter Ecuador, according to a March 17 decree from the Ecuadorian government. You can also enter with a negative COVID test result or if you have recovered from COVID-19 (more details below).

The move is the latest in a series of updated government policies—issued by countries ranging from Belize to Seychelles—that have in recent weeks given permission to vaccinated travelers to visit. The new protocols typically allow vaccinated travelers to bypass otherwise mandatory quarantine and testing measures. There is an ongoing debate about whether vaccinations should be a passport to entry for travelers—in many cases countries also have alternative protocols for unvaccinated travelers, such as the option to submit to a COVID-19 testing requirement.

Whether or not you’re vaccinated, you can, of course, still travel. You can drive or fly to countless destinations across the U.S. and you can even venture farther afield to the Caribbean, Mexico, and countries where Americans are allowed to enter (regardless of vaccination status), typically when armed with negative COVID test results.

These are the countries that at press time were giving travelers vaccinated for COVID-19 a pass of some kind.

Belize

In order to be permitted to travel to the Central American country of Belize, travelers must present a COVID-19 vaccine card that shows proof of complete vaccination at least two weeks prior to arrival. Those who have not been vaccinated must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 96 hours prior to travel or a negative rapid antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to travel. Children under the age of five are exempt.

Ecuador


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Vaccinated travelers can sail around San Cristóbal Island in the Galápagos.


Photo by Shutterstock Vaccinated travelers can sail around San Cristóbal Island in the Galápagos.

On March 17, Ecuador issued new guidelines for entering the country that went into effect on March 22: Anyone can enter Ecuador as long as they have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate, can present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than three days prior to arrival in Ecuador, or were diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 and are symptom-free. Children under two years of age are exempt.

Visitors will be asked about and screened for symptoms (such as fever, cough, general malaise, loss of smell, loss of taste) upon arrival in Ecuador and will be evaluated by health ministry personnel. If there’s cause for concern, travelers will be required to take a rapid antigen test and, if it comes back positive, isolate for 10 days at their own expense. If the rapid antigen test is negative, the visitor can continue on their trip and will not need to isolate.

Travelers in Ecuador must abide by safety protocols including mandatory mask wearing, maintaining a social distance, and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people.

Estonia

Effective February 2, the northern European country of Estonia has declared that those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can enter the country without having to submit to an otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements. The Estonian government has said that vaccinated travelers must still adhere to any public health measures that are in place in Estonia.

Georgia

As of February 1, 2021, any fully vaccinated traveler from any country is allowed to enter Georgia as long as they present documentation confirming their COVID-19 vaccination status (if the vaccine required two doses, proof of both doses must be provided).

Unvaccinated travelers arriving from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, the European Union, Israel, Kazakhstan, Norway, Northern Ireland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, or the United States must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result conducted within 72 hours prior to travel at the Georgian border. On their third day in Georgia, travelers must submit to a second PCR test.

Guatemala

Effective February 24, anyone entering Guatemala must present either a COVID-19 vaccine certificate with vaccination completed at least two weeks prior to arrival, a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or proof or having tested positive and recovered from COVID-19 within three months of arrival, according to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala. Children under 10 are exempt.

Iceland

Effective March 18, any travelers—including those from the United States—who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can enter Iceland and will not be subject to COVID-19 testing or quarantine measures. Previously Iceland’s policy stated that proof of vaccines simply allowed those who were already authorized to travel to Iceland (namely Icelandic and EU citizens and residents) to skip the country’s quarantine and testing requirements.

Travelers must provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated (so two doses if two doses are required) with a vaccine that has been certified for use by the European Medicines Agency, which includes the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

“Our experience and data so far indicate very strongly that there is very little risk of infection stemming from individuals who have acquired immunity against the disease, either by vaccination or by prior infection,” stated Iceland’s chief epidemiologist Thórólfur Gudnason. Iceland also allows travelers who have been previously infected with COVID-19 to enter the country without quarantine and testing.

Poland

The only travelers currently allowed to enter Poland are Polish citizens and residents and their family members, diplomats and their families, essential workers, students, and EU citizens and residents. That doesn’t change for the vaccinated. Being vaccinated means the above travelers can bypass an otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine. They can also bypass the quarantine by providing a negative COVID-19 PCR test result procured within 48 hours of departure to Poland.

Seychelles

On January 14, 2021, the island nation of Seychelles announced that it will welcome vaccinated visitors from anywhere in the world.

International arrivals must provide proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine and must have been administered the second dose (if two doses are required) at least two weeks prior to arrival in Seychelles. Vaccinated visitors will also need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test result obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel.

Infants and children are not required to be vaccinated but will still need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from within 72 hours of travel.

Those who are not vaccinated can only enter if they are coming from one of these countries: Australia, Bahrain, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Gabon, Ghana, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Travelers from this list must still provide a negative COVID-19 test from within 72 hours of travel.

The United States is not on the list, so currently only vaccinated travelers from the U.S. with a negative COVID test can travel to Seychelles.

“Once the majority of the adult population in Seychelles is vaccinated, the country will open up to all visitors, vaccinated or not. At that point, visitors will only need a negative PCR obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel,” according to the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism. The estimated time frame for when that is expected to be is around mid-March.

Whether travelers are vaccinated or not, they must adhere to public health measures, such as wearing face masks and social distancing.

Slovenia

The central European country of Slovenia currently has a long list of European countries on its so-called red list, or list of countries with an unstable epidemiological situation. The “red list” countries currently does not include the United States (the U.S. is on the list of “third countries,” which generally cannot enter the country).

Those who enter Slovenia from a“red list” country must quarantine for 10 days, unless they provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test procured within 48 hours of departure, or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before departure.

Another way to bypass the quarantine is providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. (You won’t be allowed entry until at least 7 days after having the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine administered, at least 14 days after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, or 21 days after the AstraZeneca vaccine.)

Coming soon . . . 

Cyprus

There have been numerous reports that the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is working on a plan to allow vaccinated travelers to bypass quarantine requirements. But on March 1, 2021, the Cypriot government stated that it will provide information about travel requirements for those who are vaccinated for COVID-19 at a later date. “Until then, the same travel procedures will apply as for non-vaccinated persons,” the government advised.

Greece

On March 9, 2021, Greece tourism minister Harry Theocharis said that those who are vaccinated against COVID-19, have antibodies, or test negative for COVID will be able to travel to Greece this summer, Reuters reported. “Greece is ready with a complete protocol for summer 2021,” Theocharis said at the global tourism trade fair ITB Berlin. He added that Greece wants to be ready to start its summer travel season by May 14.

Hawaii

Last month, Hawaii News Now reported that the state of Hawaii is considering implementing a system that would allow vaccinated travelers to bypass quarantine requirements, something travelers can do now if they submit to COVID testing. According to the Hawaiian news network, the program could start as early as March and could encompass travel from the U.S. mainland by May.

This story was originally published on March 8, 2021, and was updated on March 23, 2021, to include current information.

>> Next: Europe Could Have COVID-19 Vaccine Passports by Summer

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