COVID-19: Which Countries Are Closed Again? Updated Restrictions Due to Omicron Variant and How to Bypass Them

COVID-19: Which Countries Are Closed Again? Updated Restrictions Due to Omicron Variant and How to Bypass Them

The omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first detected in South Africa on November 24, 2021. Since its discovery, countries around the world have closed their borders to citizens, travellers, or visitors from many African countries in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus. 

Each country has its own set of rules regarding the omicron variant. If you are looking to travel to other countries at this time, you need to check with the restrictions to be sure you comply with them and if you are eligible to enter in the first place.

Here are the latest restrictions when it comes to travelling from omicron-affected countries. 

Angola

Central African country Angola has closed its borders to its neighbouring countries. They were the first African country to impose these restrictions.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements: Unknown
  • Quarantine: Unknown

Argentina

Argentina has created tight travel restrictions for any travellers arriving from Africa or travellers who have been in Africa within the last 14 days. In addition, all travellers must be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative PCR test before boarding the plane.

Upon arrival in Argentina, all travellers must take an antigen test and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. If you are not a citizen or resident of Argentina, you must also have health insurance with COVID-19 coverage.

  • Restricted countries: All countries in Africa
  • Entry requirements: Proof of vaccine or negative PCR test upon departure and antigen test upon arrival
  • Quarantine: Yes

Australia

In addition to suspending flights from the nine countries in Africa, Australia has also banned entry for travellers who have visited those countries within the past 14 days.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements:  Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family members.
  • Quarantine: Yes

Brazil

Brazil reported its first case of the omicron variant on December 2nd. The country later announced travel restrictions from six African countries.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements: Unknown
  • Quarantine: Unknown

Cambodia

Cambodia has set a travel ban for visitors arriving or transiting from 10 African countries. These restrictions also apply to anyone who has been in these affected areas in the last three weeks.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola, Zambia
  • Entry requirements: Cambodian citizens
  • Quarantine: Unknown

Canada

Canada has barred all foreign travellers from the following seven countries. However, Canadian citizens and residents can still enter, given they show a negative PCR test upon departure. Once they arrive in Canada, they must take another test and wait in a hotel until the results come back. Even if the test returns negative, citizens are still required to quarantine in their homes for 14 more days.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini
  • Entry requirements: Negative PCR test upon departure and another PCR test upon arrival
  • Quarantine: Yes

Chile

Travellers are still allowed to visit Chile unless they have been in the following African countries in the last 14 days. Chilean citizens and residents may still enter, although they will have to take a PCR test upon arrival and quarantine at home for seven days.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements: Chilean citizens and residents who have a negative PCR test upon arrival (regardless of vaccine status)
  • Quarantine: Yes

Denmark

Danish citizens and residents who have visited a select few South African countries in the past ten days must enter a 10-day quarantine upon arrival in Denmark. Foreign travellers can also enter if they show a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before entry and agree to the 10-day quarantine.

  • Restricted countries: Angola, Malawi, South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia
  • Entry requirements: Foreign travellers must show negative PCR test
  • Quarantine: Yes 

Ecuador

Ecuador is one of the latest South American countries to impose travel restrictions from Africa. Travellers who come from or have transited through the eight restricted countries are prohibited from entering Ecuador.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Egypt, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Namibia
  • Entry requirements: Unknown
  • Quarantine: Unknown

Egypt

Although Egypt has no recent reports of the omicron variant, it still has imposed restrictions on travellers who have visited the following African countries.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini
  • Entry requirements: Unknown
  • Quarantine: Unknown

Fiji

Fiji already restricted travel from African countries even before the omicron variant was detected around the world. Citizens can still return back home from Africa, although they must enter a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. 

  • Restricted countries: All African countries
  • Entry requirements: Fijian citizens and residents 
  • Quarantine: Yes

France

Travellers coming from South African countries will be allowed to enter France if they are French or European residents. A COVID-19 test is required after landing, and if positive, travellers must quarantine for 10 days. Negative test holders are also required to quarantine, but for only seven days.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini
  • Entry requirements: French or European citizens or residents 
  • Quarantine: Yes

Read more: France Omicron Travel Restriction: COVID Test Required for UK Travellers

Germany

Updated restrictions from Germany state that only German citizens or residents may enter the country from Southern Africa. Regardless of vaccine status, those travellers must also quarantine for 14 days once they arrive in Germany.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
  • Entry requirements: German citizens or residents 
  • Quarantine: Yes

Greece

Any traveller wishing to enter Greece must have special permission from the local Greek embassy. Upon arrival, they must take a PCR test and stay in quarantine for 10 days.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi
  • Entry requirements: Only essential travel with permission from the Greek embassy
  • Quarantine: Yes

Hong Kong

While China has not imposed any restrictions related to the omicron variant, Hong Kong has barred entry from travellers who have been in some African countries over the last 21 days. Residents can enter but must spend seven days in a government quarantine facility and an additional 14-day quarantine at a hotel.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements: Hong Kong citizens and residents
  • Quarantine: Yes

India

All travellers entering India must take a PCR test 72-hours before arrival and submit their 14-day travel history. Travellers from one of the specified “at-risk” countries must also take a test on arrival and quarantine for seven days.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel, the UK and European countries
  • Entry requirements: Negative PCR test upon departure and PCR test upon arrival
  • Quarantine: Yes

Indonesia

Indonesia has imposed travel restrictions from any non-Indonesian national arriving from one of the following African countries (or if they have visited in the last 14 days). Citizens and residents can enter if they quarantine for 14 days after.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini and Nigeria
  • Entry requirements: Indonesian citizens or residents
  • Quarantine: Yes

Ireland

Entering Ireland is prohibited for travellers who have been in Southern Africa in the past 14 days. However, Irish, British, and European citizens (and immediate family members), Irish residents, transport workers, and diplomats can enter if they show a negative PCR test upon departure and quarantine for 14 days.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements: Irish, British, and European citizens (and immediate family members), Irish residents, transport workers, and diplomats must show negative PCR test on departure
  • Quarantine: Yes 

Israel

As one of the countries with the strictest travel restrictions, Israel only allows its citizens to enter. However, they must quarantine upon arrival.

  • Restricted countries: All
  • Entry requirements: Israeli citizens
  • Quarantine: Yes

Italy

Travellers who have been in select African countries in the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter Italy. This does not apply to Italian citizens or residents, although they must take a test and quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini
  • Entry requirements: Italian citizens and residents
  • Quarantine: Yes

Japan

Japan has closed its borders to all foreign travellers, including students, residents, and family members. Citizens entering the country must self-quarantine for 14 days.

  • Restricted countries: All
  • Entry requirements: Japanese citizens
  • Quarantine: Yes

Kuwait

Only Kuwaiti citizens can enter the country if they have been in South African countries in the last 14 days. They must also quarantine for seven days.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi
  • Entry requirements: Kuwaiti citizens
  • Quarantine: Yes

Maldives

Any travellers who have visited the following restricted countries for more than 12 hours cannot enter the Maldives. This does not apply to citizens, residents, or long-term visa holders, who can enter if they quarantine for 14 days.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini
  • Entry requirements: Maldivian citizens, residents, or long-term visa holders
  • Quarantine: Yes

Malta

Any traveller coming from one of the restricted African countries will not be allowed to enter Malta. The only exception is for Maltese citizens or residents who have been fully vaccinated. They must quarantine for 14 days at a hotel or at their home in some special circumstances.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Nambia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements: Fully vaccinated Maltese citizens or residents
  • Quarantine: Yes

Morocco

There will be no international flights arriving in Morocco from November 29, 2021 to December 13, 2021.  

  • Restricted countries: All
  • Entry requirements: N/A
  • Quarantine: N/A

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has banned travel from a select few African countries. The travel restrictions do not apply to Dutch nationals, residents, health care workers, families (under special circumstances), or transiting EU residents. However, those travellers must show a negative PCR test upon departure and agree to quarantine.  

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa
  • Entry requirements: Dutch nationals, residents, health care workers, families (under special circumstances), or transiting EU residents with a negative PCR test
  • Quarantine: Yes

Nepal

You are not allowed to enter Nepal if you have been in one of the designated high-risk countries within the last three weeks. Nepalese nationals are still allowed to enter if they quarantine in a designated facility for seven days. 

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi and Hong Kong
  • Entry requirements: Nepalese citizens
  • Quarantine: Yes

New Zealand

Entry into New Zealand is banned for all foreign nationals arriving from restricted countries. Citizens and residents can enter if they undergo testing and 14-day isolation.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique
  • Entry requirements: New Zealand citizens and residents
  • Quarantine: Yes

Oman

All flights into Oman from the selected at-risk countries have been suspended due to the omicron variant. Travellers who have visited the countries in the last 14 days will also be barred from entering.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique
  • Entry requirements: Unknown
  • Quarantine: Unknown

Pakistan

Foreign nationals are prohibited from entering Pakistan if they are travelling from one of the restricted countries. Pakistani citizens and residents can enter if they are vaccinated and show a negative PCR test.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Hong Kong, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana
  • Entry requirements: Vaccinated Pakistani citizens and residents with a negative PCR test
  • Quarantine: Unknown

The Philippines

The Philippines has restricted travel from select African and European countries until December 15, 2021. The only exception is for Filipino nationals returning home.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland
  • Entry requirements: Filipino citizens
  • Quarantine: Unknown

Russia

All travel is banned for foreign visitors from restricted African countries. Russian nationals can return home, although they will need to take a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive the results.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements: Russian nationals 
  • Quarantine: Unknown

Rwanda

Rwanda has suspended flights to its neighbouring countries in the south. However, entering the country is still allowed for citizens and tourists, although they must quarantine in a specified hotel for seven days.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements:  None
  • Quarantine: Yes

Saudi Arabia

Not only has Saudi Arabia banned air travel from the select restricted countries, but they’ve also prohibited travellers who have visited those affected areas from entering the Kingdom. Citizens are still allowed to enter if they quarantine for five days.

  • Restricted countries South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini
  • Entry requirements:  Saudi citizens
  • Quarantine: Yes

Singapore

Foreign travellers who have visited one of the restricted countries will not be allowed to enter Singapore or even transit through the airport. However, citizens and residents may enter after a 10-day mandatory quarantine. 

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements:  Singaporean citizens and residents
  • Quarantine: Yes

Spain

While Spain hasn’t explicitly banned travel from South Africa, it has imposed stricter restrictions for travellers arriving from those countries. All passengers must quarantine for 10 days unless they are an EU citizen in transit.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements:  Fully vaccinated travellers
  • Quarantine: Yes

Read more: Spain Introduces Strict Entry Requirements for UK Travellers

South Korea

South Korea has imposed specific travel restrictions after the omicron variant was detected in the country. Not only will all incoming travellers (including citizens and residents) be tested upon arrival, but they are also subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine regardless of their vaccination status.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi
  • Entry requirements:  Negative PCR test
  • Quarantine: Yes

Sri Lanka

Only Sri Lankan citizens are allowed to enter the country from one of the restricted areas outlined below if they agree to a 14-day quarantine. 

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Eswatini
  • Entry requirements:  Sri Lankan citizens
  • Quarantine: Yes

Switzerland

Switzerland has cancelled air travel and banned entry for travellers originating in many omicron-affected countries. Swiss and EU citizens and residents are the only travellers allowed to enter.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Hong Kong, Israel, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements:  Swiss and EU citizens
  • Quarantine: No

Read more: Switzerland Drops Quarantine Rule, Opts for Stricter Testing

Thailand

Currently, travel into Thailand is suspended for people that have visited the following eight countries in Africa. Visitors from other countries in Africa can enter as long as they quarantine for 14 days and test three times during the isolation period.  

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements:  Thai citizens
  • Quarantine: Yes

Turkey

Turkey has implemented tight travel restrictions for visitors arriving from South African countries. While Turkish citizens are allowed to return home, they must spend 14 days in quarantine even if they have been fully vaccinated.

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements:  Turkish citizens
  • Quarantine: Yes

United Arab Emirates

Incoming flights to the UAE from the following restricted countries have been suspended (although outgoing flights are still operating), and travellers are not allowed to enter. Citizens and diplomats are exempt from the travel ban, although they’ll have to show a negative test before departure and agree to a 10-day quarantine.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements:  UAE citizens and diplomats with negative test 48 hours before departure and negative rapid PCR test six hours before departure.
  • Quarantine: Yes

United Kingdom

The UK has strict requirements for all travellers entering the country. Regardless of the departure country, travellers must show vaccination or negative PCR results to enter. Vaccinated travellers must take a PCR test upon arrival and quarantine until they get their results, while unvaccinated travellers must quarantine for 10 full days. 

Only British or Irish citizens are allowed to enter the country if they come from one of the restricted African countries below. They must also quarantine for 10 days in a specified hotel.

  • Restricted countries: South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia
  • Entry requirements:  UK or British citizens
  • Quarantine: Yes

United States

Non-American travellers coming from restricted countries are prohibited from entering the United States. This also applies if they have visited the country in the last 14 days. Citizens and residents can bypass covid restrictions and return home if they show a negative test (3 days prior to departure for vaccinated citizens and one day prior for unvaccinated citizens).

  • Restricted countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • Entry requirements:  US citizens or residents with a negative PCR test
  • Quarantine: No

Read more: US Tightens Restriction on International Travel

Vietnam

Tough travel restrictions to Vietnam have been in place for the last few weeks. Besides Vietnamese citizens and residents, only approved diplomats, officials, or business travellers may enter the country. With the onset of the omicron variant, Vietnam has also suspended flights from those affected countries.   

  • Restricted countries: All
  • Entry requirements:  Vietnamese citizens or approved special travellers
  • Quarantine: Yes
faq

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Bypass Covid Restrictions if I Fly from a Non-Risk Country?

Many countries have restricted entry to travellers who have visited high-risk countries in the last 14 days. However, some countries have imposed restrictions only for flights originating in high-risk countries. So, depending on where you are travelling to, you may be able to bypass covid restrictions if you first travel to a non-risk country and then to your destination.

Can I Bypass Covid Restrictions if I’m a Citizen or Resident of a Country?

Every country allows its citizens or residents to be repatriated back home, even if they’ve been in a high-risk country. Keep in mind there may be certain measurements to contain the spread of the omicron variant, such as testing or mandatory isolation.

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