From St Lucia to Tahiti, many popular island nations have made it mandatory for travellers to present a negative Covid-19 test before boarding their flight. Rose Dykins reports
Travelling during the pandemic involves constantly keeping an eye out for shifting regulation when it comes to countries’ entry requirements. And as the situation develops, many island nations are now requiring travellers to present a negative Covid-19 test before they are even allowed to enter.
Globetrender has previously covered the growing trend for Immunity Passports in its report, Travel in the Age of Covid-19. A clean bill of health is becoming as essential as a passport for travellers in 2020.
Now that Covid tests have become more widely available (you can buy them from Nomad Travel, for example), it’s more possible to avoid automatic quarantines for all travellers.
Some countries are giving travellers a choice between going into quarantine when they land, or taking a test upon arrival to see if they can avoid the former. Meanwhile, some destinations are taking it a step further – including many island nations, which need to work harder to protect the health of their citizens.
By enforcing pre-testing, and insisting travellers present a negative Covid test prior to boarding their flight, destinations are ensuring contaminated passengers aren’t even setting foot on their shores.This also eliminates the uncertainty that follows after testing on arrival as passengers spend days waiting for their results. As Globetrender reported on a recent trip to Iceland, the time spent hoping for negative test result can impact the enjoyment of the first part of a trip.
Island nations have good reason to be particularly cautious about testing inbound travellers for Covid-19. If an island is home to a close-knit community with limited exposure to disease, and is a long way from appropriate healthcare facilities, an outbreak of the virus could be particularly devastating to their residents, compared with landlocked nations.
For example, recent reports reveal that Covid-19 has now reached the remote Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal – and ten members of a tribe have tested positive for the virus.
There are just 59 surviving members of the Great Andamese tribe on Strait Island, whose numbers have been falling over the past decades as they have poor immunity to certain diseases. Now, no travellers are allowed to enter the Andaman Islands until they have a negative test result.
Some island nations are only requiring Covid-19 pre-testing from certain nations experiencing a surge in cases, while others are applying the restriction to all international travellers.
Here are some of the islands around the world that require a negative Covid-19 test prior to arrival…
Travellers must complete an online pre-arrival registration form and take a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test up to seven days before their date of travel – even those arriving from a regional bubble.
Travellers must have proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test that is no more than 72 hours old before they can board their flight to the Seychelles.
As of September 10, all visitors to the Maldives must present a negative PCR test on arrival, taken no more than 72 hours before their departing flight.
Travellers to the French Polynesian islands must take a PCR test three days before boarding their flight, and present a negative result upon check-in. They must also fill in an online health commitment form, and carry out a second Covid-19 test four days after they arrive in Tahiti.
Antigua and Barbuda
Travellers must take a PCR test within seven days before departure, and also complete a health screening form, along with an electronic passenger register form.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Interestingly, travellers are allowed into the beautiful Brazilian archipelago is they can prove they have already had Covid-19. Both PCR Tests and IgC antibody tests will be accepted if they’ve been taken at least 20 days before a traveller’s arrival. Otherwise, access will be forbidden.