Travel Guidelines: In the last few years, the world has witnessed a spike in the number of people travelling every single day. Be it domestic or international travel, or for work purposes or leisure activities, everything is on the rise. People have to travel every day now for their work. However, this sector got destroyed last year and the blame goes to the spread of the COVID-19 virus across the globe. The virus was so fatal that it forced the countries to close their borders and halt international travel, thereby destroying the prospects. But you cannot blame them.
It was a very necessary step to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to save the lives of the people. Then came the COVID-19 vaccines and things started to get better. After the success of vaccines across the globe, the restrictions got less strict. The international trade and voyages started again, however with some restrictions. In our country, the vaccine drive was not that successful during the start, majorly because of lack of supply and inefficient management of the vaccine.
Now, after suffering a lot, the vaccination drive is on the path to success and therefore many countries are now opening their travel barriers for Indian travellers. In this article, we will be discussing about one such country- Turkey, which has opened up its barriers for Indians and has removed the 14-day quarantine restrictions. Why the country has done so, what will be its effects and what are the requirements, we will be discussing all of this in this article.
Travel Guidelines: Turkey
A country that is a popular travel destination for Indian either for work purposes or to enjoy their vacations had previously imposed the restriction of 14-day quarantine for anyone going to their country. Any Indian flying to Turkey had to previously face the 14-day quarantine before going out in the country. However, things have changed now. Recently, the country announced that there will be no 14-day forced quarantine for anyone travelling the country.
Why is the country is doing so?
We all know how bad the economies were hit while the COVID- 19 virus was at its peak. However, now all the countries are now trying the best they can to revive back their economies, and travel plays a very important role in giving a boost towards the revival of an economy, as it is not just about the flight and train revenue, a lot of sectors get benefitted from it. Turkey is also loosening up its restrictions to provide a boost to its ailing economy.
However, there is one catch in this no 14-day quarantine. Turkey announced that this will apply only to those who have been completely vaccinated by any of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation or by the Turkish government. Therefore, all those travellers travelling to Turkey from India will be exempted from the 14 day quarantine period as long as they are fully vaccinated. However, those who are not fully vaccinated by the vaccines approved by WHO or the Turkish government will have to undergo the 14-day quarantine. Which vaccines are approved by the Turkish government? Let us find out together.
Apart from all the vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation, the Turkish government has approved are Pfizer-Biotech, Sputnik V and Simovac. Moreover, apart from Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the traveller must have received the second dose of any approved vaccine to be eligible for the exemption from 14-day quarantine. The traveller should have received the second dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before they travel. For an individual getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he will be exempted from the quarantine even if he has been jabbed with the only first dose of the vaccine.
Which Indian vaccine is approved by WHO?
The much popular Indian vaccine Covishield is approved by the World Health Organisation. This directly means that any Indian traveller who has been fully vaccinated by the COVID-19 vaccine Covishield will be exempted from the 14-day quarantine restriction. However, there is one issue. The other Indian vaccine – Covaxin is not yet approved by the World Health Organisation and therefore it becomes an issue for those vaccinated by the Covaxin. Therefore, anyone who has been vaccinated by the Covaxin has to undergo the 14-day travel restriction before freely visiting Turkey. Everyone is currently waiting for Covaxin to get a nod from the World Health Organisation which will directly solve all the issues.
Is there any other requirement for Indian travellers? Yes, any person travelling from India to Turkey has to keep with them a negative RT-PCR test report which should be taken up to 72 hours before the departure. A negative RT-PCR test shows that a person is not COVID-19 positive and therefore it becomes a necessary protocol in order to promote the safety of the people and the country.
What if someone is not vaccinated?
Travel to Turkey from India is open for those too who have not been vaccinated yet, or cannot be vaccinated yet. For all those people travelling to Turkey who are not vaccinated, a negative RT-PCR test report has to be carried pre-departure and the test should be taken up to 72 hours before the travel. Moreover, all these people will be subjected to the 14-day quarantine at their residence or at any address that they give.
Further, a COVID-19 virus test will be taken 10 days after they have been quarantined at the place, and if they test negative, they will be able to go out after the tenth day. However, in the absence of this test, they will have to wait for the complete 14 days. Moreover, all passengers under the age of 12 are exempted from the RT-PCR and vaccine certificate requirements. They would still have to undergo the 14-day quarantine as it ensures the safety of the citizens of the country and ensures that the virus does not spread.
What about other countries?
Every country has to fight the virus and therefore every country has developed its own restrictions. India, our own country has currently banned the regular international scheduled flights as of now. However, flights are being operated by the air bubble arrangements with a number of countries. When the second wave of the COVID-19 virus hit the country, the condition was fatal.
This led to many countries closing their borders for Indian travellers in order to prevent the spread of the virus in their country. For example, in the month of May when the spread of the virus was at its peak in the country, United States issued a ban on all Indian travellers except their citizens. It caused havoc among people as students had to go back to their universities. Later, the restrictions were relaxed a bit and approval for travel was given to Student Visa holders.
Germany also previously had imposed a ban on Indian travellers by putting India under the virus variant areas category. However, it has put the country in the high incidence areas category, thereby removing the ban on Indian travellers. Other countries like France, UAE and Spain have also allowed travellers from India. With further vaccine rollout in the country, it is expected that more countries will allow Indian travellers and restrictions will be relaxed.
Edited by Sanjana Simlai.