Covid-19 travel: where are the safest places to travel?

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The United Arab Emirates, Ireland and Saudi Arabia are the three most resistant destinations to Covid-19, according to a February study. Photo/Pexels

The borders are open to Kiwis but the question is; where are we going to travel?

Or, more specifically, which destinations are “safe” when it comes to catching or navigating Covid-19?

Bloomberg has been asking this same question since November 2020 in a monthly Covid resilience ranking.

Each month, 53 of the world’s largest economies are ranked according to 11 data indicators to see which places have contained the virus with the least social or economic disruption.

Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking uses data such as quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, virus containment, overall mortality and the number of inbound and outbound “travel routes”.

It may not be possible to calculate the exact risk of any given destination, but for travelers wondering where to start, knowing which places have handled the pandemic well is a good start.

United Arab Emirates

In February, the United Arab Emirates remained at the top of the 53 places and obtained the highest score for the doses of vaccine administered.

For 100 people, 259 doses were administered, an average of 2.6 doses per person.

Besides the low number of cases last month and limited mortality, the UAE also had a high number of inbound and outbound travel routes for vaccinated travellers.

At the time of writing, their MFAT Safe Travel rating is Level 2. Exercise extra caution.

Ireland

Ireland is in second place, having moved up eight places in Bloomberg’s rankings since January. The country recently removed all travel restrictions related to COVID-19, allowing visitors to come to the country without any testing or quarantine measures in place.

As a result, they have one of the lowest lockdown severity scores of 23/100.

At the time of writing, their MFAT Safe Travel rating is Level 2. Exercise extra caution.

Australia
After lifting the two-year travel ban and plummeting omicron cases, Australia moved up 42 places last month to fifth. According to the Australian Department of Health, 94.7% of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated while World in Data reports that 60.77% have had their booster.

At the time of writing, their MFAT Safe Travel rating is Level 2. Exercise extra caution.

Spain

Those looking for a winter getaway to a sunny destination should consider Spain, which ranks sixth with 84.1% of the population fully vaccinated and 50.9% received a booster. They also have one of the busiest routes for vaccinated travelers, 412.

At the time of writing, their MFAT Safe Travel rating is Level 2. Exercise extra caution.

UK

After moving up three places last month, the UK is ninth, with 85.5% of the population aged over 12 fully vaccinated and 66.9% boosted.

Ireland’s lockdown severity score of 42 may be higher than Ireland (23), Norway (25) and Portugal (14), but it’s still relatively low compared to Canada (69 ) or to France (64), where many restrictions are still in place.

At the time of writing, their MFAT Safe Travel rating is Level 2. Exercise extra caution.

Portugal

Rounding out the top 10, Portugal has one of the highest vaccination rates, with 91.4% fully vaccinated and 60.3% boosted.

Its lockdown severity score of 14 is also one of the lowest, and fully vaccinated travelers no longer need a pre-departure test to visit. However, they have the lowest number of travel itineraries for vaccinated travelers, 230.

As of this writing, MFAT Safe Travel has yet to provide a review.

The worst places for “Covid resilience”

At the bottom of the list is Pakistan, due to low vaccination rates, severe restrictions and poor health care.

A top spot is Hong Kong as they battle a record outbreak, followed by Russia at 51st, which also faces a rise in cases.

Countries with highest ‘Covid resilience’ score in February

1.WATER (76.2%)

2. Ireland (75.5%)

3.Saudi Arabia (74.1%)

4. Norway (72.8%)

5.Australia (71.7%)

6. Spain (69.2%)

7. Finland (67.9%)

8. Colombia (66.8%)

9. United Kingdom (66.8%)

10.Portugal (66%)

The latest Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking uses data as of February 23, 2022.

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