We know, we know. A return to confusing and stressful Covid travel restrictions is about the last thing anyone wants. But Covid cases are back on the rise, with some experts even saying countries could be on the verge of a new surge. So could travel restrictions return? Could we soon see some sort of return to a labyrinthine system of vaccine checks, testing, masks and quarantine?
Well, in truth, it seems very, very unlikely that most countries will reintroduce restrictions. The main Covid strains swirling around at the month are the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, and although they are considered to be much more contagious than previous Covid strains, their lethality is still much lower than that previous strains. This is largely due to high levels of immunity thanks to vaccination campaigns and people who have already caught the virus.
It therefore seems unlikely that we will see a return to travel restrictions, but that does not mean that we will not see the return of some national Covid restrictions. Some countries are much more cautious than others, with many destinations still cautious about the spread of Covid. In parts of Spain, for example, masks on public transport are still compulsory – and this rule may soon be extended to include all indoor public spaces.
Amós García Rojas, a health official in the Canary Islands, said: “The pandemic has not gone away. It is necessary to continue to maintain certain restrictions and precautions, perhaps in the obligation to wear a mask at the inside, if the situation does not improve.
The Costa del Sol is also reportedly considering reintroducing similar rules, while Germany may reinstate some mask-wearing rules this fall to curb the spread of the virus during Oktoberfest. Faced with pressures on its healthcare system, Australia is also apparently considering a return to masks. The French government, on the other hand, has said it does not plan to reintroduce restrictions.
In other words, while it seems exceptionally unlikely that countries will revert to a system of travel restrictions, it is perfectly possible that national restrictions in some places will be reintroduced. Thankfully, a return to travel testing doesn’t appear to be on the cards.
Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that many countries still have restrictions in place, so it’s always a good idea to check everything carefully well in advance of your travel date.
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