VTL: The Covid-19 Situation — And Social Distancing Measures — In VTL Countries Right Now
Are you still deciding which VTL destination to go to?
With more Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) set to take off on Oct 19, the vacay-starved can now plan that long-awaited trip and travel quarantine-free to one of the 11 countries that Singapore has implemented VTLs with.
But travelling for leisure as countries around the world learn to live with Covid-19 isn’t quite the same as travelling in pre-pandemic times. There’s no such thing as booking a flight and just taking off anymore. Meticulous planning is involved, from learning about the Covid-19 situation in various countries to planning pre-departure tests.
If you’re still unsure of where to go for your VTL vacay, we've rounded up the Covid-19 situations and social distancing measures happening in the VTL countries right now.
The Covid-19 situation: Daily cases increased following a national holiday, leading to Level 4 restrictions in Seoul and Level 3 in the rest of the country. However, there are plans to ease restrictions in November with vaccination rates expected to hit 80 per cent. South Korea’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Singapore, which starts Nov 15, is its second travel arrangement (its first was a travel bubble with Saipan in June). Read more about what to expect when you travel to South Korea on the VTL here.
Masks: Mandatory in public.
Vaccination rate: 68 per cent fully inoculated.
Check for latest updates in South Korea here.
The Covid-19 situation: Germany was among the first countries that Singapore had established a VTL with. The country has been reopening since March, and travellers from 14 non-EU countries are allowed to enter without restrictions. People travelling from countries not on that list are allowed entry if they’re fully-vaxxed. Fully inoculated folks are also exempt from most Covid-19 restrictions in Germany (note that the restrictions vary from state to state).
Masks: Required on public transport, airports, shops and indoor settings. Only surgical masks or FFP2 (or similar) masks allowed.
Vaccination rate: 65.7 per cent fully vaccinated.
Check for latest updates in Germany here.
The Covid-19 situation: UK has just introduced a new international travel classification system — 47 countries were removed from the red list which disallows travellers, except for citizens and residents, from entering the UK. Now, most countries, including Singapore, are on the green list. Across the UK, most Covid-19 curbs have been lifted, albeit with slight differences.
- England: Lifted all Covid-19 restrictions in July, with no restrictions on group sizes indoors or outdoors, and capacity limits at events have also been lifted.
- Scotland: Social distancing rules and gathering size limits have been lifted as well, but social distancing still applies in healthcare institutions.
- Wales: Social distancing rules were lifted in August. A Covid pass showing a fully-vaxxed status or a negative test result is required for entry into nightclubs and large events.
- Northern Ireland: There’s a cap of 30 people gathering at home, but social distancing rules have been lifted in shops and visitor attractions, and a proof of vaccination is required in some settings like theatres and cinemas.
Masks: In England, masks are not required by law but are recommended in crowded enclosed spaces. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, masks are mandatory indoors on public transport and in most indoor settings.
Vaccination rate: 78.7 per cent are fully vaccinated in the UK.
Check for latest updates in UK here.
The Covid-19 situation: Fully vaccinated travellers from any country can enter France without a pre-departure PCR test since July. Vaccine passports that show a proof of vaccination or a negative test result are required for entry into bars, restaurants, shopping centres, attractions, and other public settings.
Masks: Required indoors and on public transport, and outdoors if social distancing is not possible (eg. in queues, railway stations, open-air markets).
Vaccination rate: 72 per cent fully vaccinated.
Check for latest updates in France here.
The Covid-19 situation: Spain is now classified as being at a low-risk level, with cases dipping to below 50 per 100,000. Bars and nightclubs are allowed to open without curfews in most regions. Pre-departure tests or vaccination certs are not necessary for travelling in Spain. Travellers are recommended to download the RadarCOVID app when travelling to Spain (it’s mandatory in the Canary Islands). Some regions in Spain are offering tourists free Covid-19 travel insurance coverage (read more here).
Masks: Required indoors, on public transport, and outdoors only in places where social distancing is not possible.
Vaccination rates: About 79 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated.
Check for latest updates in Spain here.
The Covid-19 situation: The Covid-19 risk in all regions in Italy are now classified in the ‘white’ zone (it goes from white, the lowest risk, to yellow, amber and red, which is the highest risk). Most restrictions at entertainment venues and indoor restaurants have been relaxed if you have a vaccine pass that shows proof of vaccination or negative test results. Cultural venues are running at full capacity, while capacity limits have been raised for stadiums and nightclubs.
Masks: Masks required at all times indoors and on public transport, and outdoors in instances when safe distancing cannot be maintained.
Vaccination rate: About 80 per cent fully vaccinated.
Check for latest updates in Italy here.
The Covid-19 situation: With a high vaccination rate and low Covid-19 hospitalisation rates, Denmark has almost returned to pre-pandemic living. All Covid-19 curbs were lifted in September, and people no longer need to show vaccine passports to go out. Most places, including nightclubs, are open; and events and concerts are ongoing.
Masks: Required in-flight and at airports only.
Vaccination rate: About 85 per cent per cent of population fully-vaxxed.
Check for latest updates in Denmark here.
The Covid-19 situation: With infection rates falling, almost all shops, restaurants, attractions and cultural venues are open and running at full capacity. Most Covid-19 restrictions — including a 1.5m social distancing rule — were lifted in September. However, travellers aged 13 and above must present a Covid-19 access pass to enter restaurants, bars concerts, cinemas and more (more info here).
Masks: Required in public transport and airports for people 12 and older.
Vaccination rate: 83 per cent fully vaccinated.
Check for latest updates in Netherlands here.
The Covid-19 situation: With decreasing infection rates, Canada began cautiously reopening. Vaccinated international travellers have been allowed to enter the country since September. Pre-departure tests are still required and travellers must have proof of vaccination. Social distancing limits vary from province to province, though rules on group sizes in public settings, dining and travel have been eased over the months. In British Columbia, there are no caps on gatherings and dining, but there are limits for events like weddings and funerals. Alberta and Ontario require proof of vaccinations for entry into many venues.
Masks: Required at all airports and in-flight, as well as in public in some cities and provinces.
Vaccination rate: 72 per cent fully vaccinated.
Check for latest updates in Canada here.
The Covid-19 situation: Community transmission is classified as ‘high’, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, infection and hospitalisation rates are falling, and some states have relaxed rules despite the case numbers. Travellers from some countries, including China, India and Britain, are banned from entering the US.
Masks: Mandatory on public transportation. Masks requirements in other settings vary from state to state. In New York, only unvaxxed have to wear masks on public transport and at gyms and restaurants. In California, masks are required indoors for both the vaxxed and unvaxxed.
Vaccination rate: 57.1 per cent fully vaccinated.
Check for latest updates in United States here.
Photos: Unsplash/The Paris Photographer