With Omicron spreading rapidly, many countries around the world are tightening their rules both for locals and tourists.
Initial findings suggest Omicron is more transmissible and governments are starting to mandate vaccinations and instate pricier fines in a bid to curb the disease.
As the country went into its fourth lockdown in late 2021, Austria will become the first European country to make Covid vaccinations mandatory. The ruling is set to come into effect on February 1 and attracts a €3600 ($5686) fine every three months for Austrians (aged 14 and over) who fail to get jabbed. Roughly 68% of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated – one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.
United Arab Emirates
Failing to wear a mask in public, either indoors or outdoors, attracts a $1,100 fine and you can cop $3,700 for leaving isolation after testing positive for Covid. Spreading rumours or false information relating to the pandemic and vaccinations can lead to a fine of $37,000 or more. Those who poke fun at pandemic rules and mock measures in place will be met with even heftier fines and potentially jail.
Greece is the first European country to make vaccinations mandatory by age group. It’s doing so for people aged 60 and over with a monthly fine of €100 ($150) for those who refuse. The money will go towards the Greek health system to help with a surge in hospital admissions. Unvaccinated sexagenarians have till January 16 to book their first dose before incurring a fine.
Singaporeans who are unvaccinated by choice and contract Covid will have to foot their own medical bill. The local government has been covering Covid medical bills throughout the entire pandemic and says the nation’s health care system is under strain by unvaccinated patients.
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, the government has held in place a social gathering rule of 5 people in a public place or five guests per day. A cap of one distinct gathering applies and unvaccinated individuals must take a PCR test before visiting another household. Failing to meet these rules incurs a $300 and repeat offenders will need to cough up more.
With Omicron spreading through its islands, Fiji’s Commerce and Tourism Minister has introduced fines for those who fail to comply with health protocols. If you forget to wear your mask in a required setting you’ll face $160. Failing to do a temperature check will also cost $160 for the individual and $650 for the business.
Travellers from a select list of countries can enter Spain without proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test – Australia is among them as well as New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong, Argentina, Qatar and Peru. The list is refreshed weekly and subject to change. Fully vaccinated travellers from anywhere in the world can enter Spain without a negative Covid test for their ‘risk’ list. The country has a ‘high risk’ list with a total ban on visitors from these countries.
As of January 10, Taiwan has implemented a rule specifically for long-haul flights (technically a 6-12 flight). Travellers visiting Taiwan on flights from Europe, the United States, the Middle East, New Zealand, and Australia will need to take a PCR test once they land and wait till they receive a result which is expected to take 40 minutes. Once a negative result is produced, visitors will pass through immigration and collect their luggage. Those with a positive result will be taken to hospital by ambulance.