Skip to content

how the Omicron variant is already disrupting global travel

While some countries have decided to close their borders to travelers, others are tightening the screws again to enter their territory, regardless of the visitor’s country of origin. Panorama.

Once again, getting around the planet is getting more and more complicated. The emergence of the worrying covid variant Omicron has forced many countries to take further restrictive measures against passengers from countries where the variant has appeared. But not only.

Indeed, other countries are once again tightening the screws to enter their territory, regardless of the visitor’s country of origin. This again greatly worries the air and tourism sectors, which thought they were done with the restrictions.

Countries that have closed their borders to all foreign travelers

• Japan

The country of the rising sun announced on Monday the closure of its borders to all foreign travelers regardless of their vaccination status. “We are taking this measure as an emergency precautionary measure to avoid the worst-case scenario in Japan”, justifies the Japanese Prime Minister.

• Morocco

The country’s authorities decided on Sunday to suspend all direct passenger flights to the country, regardless of the country of origin, for a period of two weeks from this Monday at 11:59 p.m. Special flights will be set up to repatriate travelers stranded there to France.

• Israel

The Hebrew state announced on Saturday that it would ban all foreign visitors from its territory for two weeks in order to contain the spread of the new variant. Returning Israelis, including those vaccinated, will be required to undergo quarantine.


Australia on Monday suspended plans to reopen borders to students and skilled workers, citing uncertainties that still surround the dangerousness and transmissibility of the Omicron variant. Island-mainland borders have been closed to most non-nationals for more than 20 months

Countries tightening entry restrictions for foreign travelers


From the “beginning of next week” (December 6) all foreign travelers entering the territory must present a negative test carried out in the day before departure, in addition to being vaccinated (compared to 3 days currently for vaccinated ).

Domestic flights remain exempt from these health requirements for the time being.

• UK

Antigen tests will no longer be accepted from 4am Tuesday 30 November for all travelers arriving in the UK. Travelers will be required to take a PCR test upon arrival and self-isolate until the results.

• Portugal

All travelers over the age of 12 must from December 1 present a negative test before boarding even if they have a health pass and/or a complete vaccination schedule.

The PCR test must be carried out less than 72 hours before boarding, 48 hours for an antigen test. This measure also applies to people arriving in Portugal by land, sea and river.

• Tunisia

For all travelers over the age of six, it will be necessary to produce from December 1 a negative PCR test of less than 48 hours to enter the territory.

Reunion Island

The presentation of a negative PCR test for all travelers before boarding has been compulsory since Monday, even for vaccinated people.

These tests must be carried out 24 hours before boarding for unvaccinated travellers, 72 hours before boarding for vaccinated travellers.

Countries that close their borders to travelers from southern Africa


The borders are closed to foreign visitors from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola with the exception of British residents who will have to be tested on arrival.

European Union

The EU announced that the 27 had agreed to suspend all travel between southern Africa and the EU. Member states are also asked to test the last passengers to come and quarantine them.


Eight countries are concerned: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

Olivier Chicheportiche Journalist BFM Business

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.