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Planning a trip this summer? Here’s everything you have to keep in mind

Due to the on-going pandemic, many countries worldwide continue to restrict entry. However, with the vaccine roll-out, many restrictions are finally being eased, allowing for more of us travel-hungry and COVID-fatigued people to finally leave our own shores.

Here is a recap of what rules apply in the EU and all the ways in which you can tabs on all the latest relevant information.

First up: the COVID-19 passport

The situation with the passport, as it stands, is that the European Commission expects to finish work soon on a COVID-19 certificate, to allow citizens to travel more efficiently this summer, in the 27-nation bloc. The pass would allow for those who have been vaccinated, recovered from the virus, or with a negative test result to cross borders in a union where restrictions on movement have weighed heavily on the travel and tourism industry for over a year.

There is still no definitive date as to when this will be launched, but we’ll keep you in the loop.

Travelling to Spain?

Is a PCR test required? Yes. Is quarantine mandatory? No.

Entry from EU and Schengen-associated states is possible in principle. However, mandatory testing is still required for entry from many countries, including Malta.

Things are fluid, however. Last week, Spain’s tourism minister said they were aiming to welcome back British tourists, for instance, without the need for a negative test as of 20 May. It stands to be seen how or if that change will affect other countries with similar vaccination rates and cases.

Travelling to Portugal?

Is a PCR test required? Yes. Is quarantine mandatory? No.

The situation in Portugal with regards to COVID-19 has improved greatly. Only the Algarve region, the Azores and Madeira are still considered to be risk areas.

On 1 May, for the first time in over five months, the state of emergency was not extended and restaurants, cafes and bars, cinemas, theatres and other venues have since been allowed to stay open until 10:30pm on weekends.

Whether you’re arriving in the country via land or air, you must present a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours.

Travelling to France?

Is a PCR test required? Yes. Is quarantine mandatory? No.

When entering France, you must present a negative test, no older than 72 hours. You must also fill out a declaration stating, for instance, that you have no COVID-19 related symptoms. According to the Interior ministry, travellers from Europe can also enter France without any ‘compelling reasons’.

That being said, the situation remains rather tense as the country is still considered to be ‘high-risk’. However, France has relaxed some of its measures, with people now being allowed to travel more than 10 kilometres from their homes. Also, there is a night-time curfew of 7pm to 6am, which is to be pushed back to 9pm, as of 19 May. Outdoor areas, cultural institutions and stores will also be allowed to open then.

Travelling to Greece?

Is a PCR test required? Yes. Is quarantine mandatory? No.

Since 3 May, cafes, taverns and bars in Greece were allowed to open their outdoor areas for all guests, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not. However, they have to close their doors at 10:45pm and an evening curfew then applies from 11pm onwards.

Upon entry to the country, proof of a full vaccination or negative PCR test, no more than 72 hours old, must be presented. Fully vaccinated, in this case, means that you received the second jab at least 14 days prior. There is no longer a quarantine requirement.

Greece is planning on opening up the country to travellers from EU countries and some other states, such as Great Britain and Serbia, to save the domestic tourism sector.

Travelling to Cyprus?

Is a PCR test required? Yes. Is quarantine mandatory? No.

In Cyprus, unfortunately, Malta is still listed as an orange country. According to the restrictions the country has in place, though no quarantine is required, any one coming from an orange country will be required to present a negative PCR result, no older than 72 hours.

In terms of restrictions, Cyprus has an island-wide curfew from 11pm till 5am, many venues are restrictions to those with a valid ‘coronapass’, which is defined as either a negative test in the last 72 hours, proof of at least one vaccination dose three weeks prior, or proof of having contracted the virus in the last six months.

Travelling to Italy/Sicily?

Is a PCR test required? Yes. Is quarantine mandatory? Yes, five days

Italy is in the process of gradually easing restrictions within the country, where a traffic light system is in place. When Where infection numbers are moderate, restaurants and bars are allowed to serve at tables outside in the evening and a curfew is in place, from 10pm till 5am.

Entry from most of Europe is technically permitted in principle, but those arriving from these countries must provide a negative COVID-19 test result, taken 48 hours upon entry, undergo a five-day quarantine and present another negative test after the five days.

This regulation, however, runs until mid-May. Then, a national ‘green vaccination passport’ is to be introduced to be able to travel freely within the country.