Countries across the continent of Asia have implemented some of the strictest COVID-related policies for both residents and visitors. After two and a half years of closed borders or severe restrictions, three major Asian destinations are finally relaxing their entry requirements: Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Here’s what you should know if you want to visit these places soon.
Though Japan recently opened its borders allowing visitors to explore the country on government-approved group trips, the nation is loosening restrictions even further.
At a news conference in New York, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan would begin welcoming independent tourists on October 11. That means the country will no longer limit tourists to those who book an allowed group tour. The government will also do away with its cap on the number of visitors allowed to enter Japan daily.
Amidst concerns about Hong Kong’s suffering economy, the city is finally relaxing its entry requirements. But the replacement rules still come with their challenges.
On September 26, Hong Kong lifted its formal quarantine requirement for international travelers. Visitors will only be required to self-monitor their symptoms for three days. They’ll be able to do so at home or any place of their choosing. They will also be able to go outside, although certain areas and businesses—like bars and restaurants—will still be off limits.
International arrivals will no longer need to provide a negative PCR test before boarding the plane. Instead, they can provide proof of a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure. As part of the new monitoring system, they will need PCR tests on days 2, 4, and 6 after arrival and a rapid test every day for seven days after arrival.
On September 29, Taiwan resumed visa-free entry for citizens of all countries that previously enjoyed this status for the country. The government also increased its limit on weekly international arrivals from 10,000 to 60,000. PCR tests are also no longer required. Though an official announcement has not been made yet, Taiwanese officials aim to end the mandatory COVID-19 quarantine around October 13.
Jessica is a freelance journalist on a quest to see and experience everything our gorgeous planet offers and share her experiences with her fellow travelers. Jessica has written for several world-class Travel Magazines.