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With quarantine rules, border bans, mandatory testing, and restrictions on regular international flights, travelling freely is still a distant dream. For Indian citizens, the wait got a little longer, especially to some of the popular destinations, such as from next-door Bhutan to distant Italy.
Although a few countries are yet to open their borders to international travellers, governments of many countries are allowing travellers from selective countries to enter, while shutting their doors to countries which have seen a significant breakout of the COVID-19 virus. And even countries that are willing to accept Indian travellers, are making medical checks and certificates mandatory.
India’s next door neighbour, Bhutan, which reported zero COVID-19 cases, is yet to open its borders to travellers. Thus one of the favourite Himalayan destinations with Indian travellers remains out of bounds.
Malaysia, which, prior to the pandemic, was wooing Indian travellers with gusto, especially in areas of wedding destination and cinema tourism, has decided to keep it borders shut for Indian travellers.Italy, one of the earliest among the European nations to be affected by the pandemic, according to reports, was also one of the first to flatten the curve and control further spread of the disease. To ensure that it is able to keep the spread in check, the nation (as of early November) has decided to allow travellers from select countries in Europe, Asia and Africa to enter Italy. India did not make it to the list.
Spain and Brazil too have decided to close its borders to travellers from India. Although Russia has been gradually opening its airports to countries such as the UK, Egypt, UAE and a few others, India is still not on their radar.
South Africa’s welcome comes with a rider. Apart from the usual rules and regulations, it is mandatory for Indian travellers to present a negative COVID test report dating not more than 72 hours before arrival. Without this certificate, travellers have to quarantine themselves on arrival, expenses of which have to be borne by the travellers themselves.
Interestingly, China, where the COVID-19 virus is said to have originated, is also not ready to open its doors to Indian travellers. Although China has allowed visitors from many Asian countries to enter, Indians are not eligible.
Although full-fledged travel is not expected to start any time soon, Indians (check the categories allowed) may travel to select destinations depending on the air-bubble agreement between India and that particular country.
According to reports, the Indian government has declared that restrictions on international flights arriving in India will remain in force till the end of this year.
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