THE novel coronavirus’s 15 minutes of fame are far from over. Areas across the world — and the US — are spiking yet again, and local and federal policies are stopping and starting like a faulty radiator. But life does what life does best: It goes on.
While travel — and international travel especially — is a definite risk, certain countries are opening back up to US citizens, with various protocols in place from temperature checks at airports to mandatory two-week quarantines. Travel to Africa is still severely limited, but the following countries are open to Americans, and the below outlines what to expect for COVID-19 restrictions. Travel, too, goes on.
1. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
All travelers 11 and older must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days of departure to the DRC. This same age group must also take a COVID-19 test at the airport upon arrival — it costs $45. Quarantine is required until negative test results are received, usually within 24 hours. Travelers must also provide a World Health Organization (WHO) card with proof of yellow fever vaccination.
To exit the DRC, travelers 11 and older must present negative COVID-19 test results taken within three days of departure — the cost of this test is $30. In certain situations, you may be required to quarantine at a government-nominated hotel for up to a week. Visit INRBCOVID.com for registering and paying for testing before you start traveling.
US citizens over the age of six must have paper copies of negative test results (not digital), taken within 96 hours of departure for Egypt. Proof of health insurance is also required. Expect health screening procedures in place at airports and at other various ports of entry. Though it has been so in the past, US citizens do not need to quarantine as of early November 2020.
Most businesses in Egypt — including restaurants and bars — are operating at 50 percent capacity. Masks are required on public transit.
US citizens must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test and pass a standard health check — temperature, flu symptoms, etc. — in order to enter the country with ease; those with symptoms will be referred for a secondary assessment by Port Health staff. Visitors from California, Florida, and Texas must quarantine for 14 days at either a government-designated facility or at their Kenyan residence, regardless of health.
Americans are allowed into Namibia with negative PCR test results taken no more than 72 hours before their flight. Those with negative test results more than three days old are asked to quarantine for a week at their hotel. Travel insurance, a completed health declaration form, and a completed health surveillance form are required.
Note: Most land borders are closed for tourism purposes.
COVID-19 restrictions are lightest in Tanzania: International visitors must complete a health surveillance form and undergo screening, usually a temperature check and a possible COVID-19 test. Masks are required in public spaces and social distancing is enforced.
To enter Rwanda, you must have a negative COVID-19 certificate from a SARS-CoV 2 Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) performed within five days prior to your flight. RDTs (Rapid Diagnostic Tests) are not accepted. You are required to take a second PCR test at the airport and quarantine at your hotel until negative results are received, usually within 24 hours.
You must have negative COVID-19 test results taken within the past 72 hours to enter any of the country’s national parks. Private test centers have been set up; the cost is $50.
For entry into Uganda, you must have negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test results from within the past 72 hours. Upon arrival, visitors undergo health screenings — those who show symptoms will be transferred to an isolation center.
To exit the country, you must have negative PCR test results from within 72 hours of departure. An additional health screening will take place prior to boarding. Masks and social distancing are enforced in all airports.
To enter the country’s national parks, travelers will undergo temperature screening and will be required to wear a face mask and wash/sanitize their hands. Social distancing will also be enforced — visitors must stay 6.5 feet away from each other and a minimum of 32 feet away from primates they may encounter in the parks.
8. South Africa
On November 11, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced via Twitter the reopening of the country’s border to all international travelers, including US tourists. Although dates and details have not been released, travelers wanting to vacation in South Africa will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to departure to the authorities upon arrival. Health screenings will be in place at the airport, including temperature checks. Those who do not present their negative test result will need to quarantine for 14 days at their own expense. Travelers will also need to download the South Africa coronavirus mobile tracing app.
International air travel will resume on December 1 at Phillip G. Matante International Airport in Francistown. All incoming travelers to Botswana will be expected to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and must undergo screening for COVID-19 symptoms on arrival at the airport. Those who show symptoms will be tested and may be required to quarantine for 14 days. All travelers are expected to remain in contact with local health authorities for 14 days and report.
A version of this article was previously published on November 5, 2020, and was updated on November 13, 2020, with more information.