Countries around the world continued to impose new entry and travel restrictions amid an outbreak of a new, more virulent form of the COVID-19 virus. Among the countries that have added new restrictions are the following:

  • Germany. Effective Dec. 21, Germany banned incoming flights from South Africa.
  • Israel. All foreign nationals will be banned from entering Israel two weeks beginning Dec. 23. Israeli citizens returning from abroad will be required to be tested for COVID-19 and enter into mandatory isolation in state-run facilities for at least 10 days when they enter the country.
  • Kuwait. Effective immediately, all commercial flights are suspended and land and sea borders are closed. Only Saudi nationals will be allowed to exit Kuwait using the border crossing. These restrictions will remain in place until Jan. 1 and are subject to review.
  • Oman. Effective Dec. 22, all air, land and sea borders will be closed for seven days. This decision is subject to review.
  • Saudi Arabia. International air travel to Saudi Arabia was suspended for seven days beginning Dec. 20. Exemptions may be granted in “exceptional cases,” but few details about these exemptions are available. Land crossings and seaports are also closed. The suspensions may be extended by another week.
  • Switzerland. Effective Dec. 21, a travel ban was implemented for all foreign nationals who want to enter Switzerland from the United Kingdom and South Africa. All people who entered Switzerland from the United Kingdom or South Africa since Dec. 14 are required to go into quarantine for 10 days.

Background: Dozens of countries moved to suspend travel from the United Kingdom this past weekend after the U.K. imposed a strict lockdown in London and the South East in light of a newly identified strain of COVID-19. For more information on the U.K. restrictions, visit the UK government travel advice website. Some countries are now going a step further by halting travel altogether or halting travel from other countries, such as South Africa, where the new variant has been detected.

Analysis & Comments: The response to the new form of the COVID-19 virus will make travel to and from the above countries listed above significantly more difficult in the coming days, if not longer. Additional countries may add restrictions and the restrictions that are in place may be extended or broadened with little notice. Those with urgent travel needs are encouraged to work closely with Deloitte.

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