BY MAGDALENA OSUMI
As more countries continue to open up for tourism, Japan has added 10 regions and countries, including Germany and Hong Kong, to its list of places where residents who have obtained vaccine passports will be met with eased entry restrictions.
On July 26, local governments started accepting applications for the vaccine passport, an official document used as proof of vaccination for overseas travel, from people who have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine in Japan.
The following countries and regions were newly added to the list on Friday:
Germany: Vaccine passport holders will be exempt from submitting negative COVID-19 test results upon entry.
Honduras: Holders will be exempt from submitting negative COVID-19 test results conducted within 72 hours before arrival.
Hong Kong: Mandatory quarantine for holders will be 14 days at a designated hotel, shorter than the 21 days for those who have not been fully vaccinated.
Lithuania: Holders will be exempt from PCR testing within 72 hours before arrival and a 10-day quarantine upon entry.
St. Kitts and Nevis: Only vaccine passport holders are allowed entry, with a nine-day quarantine still necessary.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: The quarantine period for holders will be reduced to 48 hours.
Thailand’s islands of Phuket, Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao: Holders will be exempt from a 14-day quarantine.
The vaccine passports can also be used in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey and Poland. Travelers to South Korea will be exempt from a 14-day quarantine if they have proof of vaccination and are visiting for specific business, academic or humanitarian reasons.
The government is still negotiating with other nations and will add the countries to the list once they come to an agreement.
However, Japan is not allowing arrivals unrelated to the Tokyo Games to skip its own border control measures, which require all incoming travelers to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry, undergo tests for COVID-19 on arrival and avoid using public transportation.
A blanket entry ban also remains in place for new visa applicants, with some exceptions mainly based on humanitarian grounds — for families of Japanese nationals and permanent residents, for example.