Bhutan: Officials lift entry test and quarantine rules from September 23 amid easing of COVID-19 measures / update 48

Event

Bhutan will further ease COVID-19 restrictions from 23 September. Face masks will not be mandatory in public places, although people with respiratory illnesses or health conditions are advised to wear them. International arrivals will not require a test on arrival. The rules, in effect until September 23, require all participants to take a test on arrival and isolate for 24 hours if a negative result is returned, or five days if a positive test is returned.

However, starting September 23, officials will conduct free tests only for travelers selected at random for monitoring. Individuals experiencing symptoms at any time in their stay should also undergo a self-push test. Passengers who test positive must isolate in their places of residence for five days; Repeat testing is not required to get out of isolation. The five-day quarantine also applies to unvaccinated arrivals over the age of 12. Arrivals and international passengers who have been fully vaccinated with evidence of recovery from COVID-19 in the past six months do not need to be quarantined; Booster shots are not required to be considered fully fortified.

local measures
Business and collection limits, as well as contact tracing procedures in public facilities, commercial buildings, and public and private transportation vehicles, have been discontinued. Face masks are mandatory in public places until September 23. Inter-regional travelers must register via the Check Post Management system if they cross the designated check points in the country. Residents can call a toll-free hotline at 1010 for assistance.

Authorities no longer use the red zone designation for areas and buildings affected by COVID-19 cases; Strict measures such as stay-at-home orders, bans on non-essential movement and activity, as well as entry and exit controls typically affected red zones for at least 72 hours, followed by a phased relaxation after the mass testing. The improved controls may be replicated in the high-risk sites of Thimphu, Wangdupudrang, parts of Trachyangtze and Trachigang provinces, as well as the southern regions bordering India.

International travel restrictions
Foreigners must obtain a valid visa through approved tour operators or Bhutanese embassies to enter Bhutan. A visa or entry permit on arrival is available to specific groups such as citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives, as well as diplomatic or official passport holders of Thailand and Switzerland. Tourists must hire a licensed guide, stay in approved accommodation, pay a sustainable development fee of up to $200 per night, and carry travel insurance covering the period of their stay. Insurance by local companies is available at entry points. An insurance policy does not have to specifically cover COVID-19 treatment, although some companies may mandate COVID-19 testing.

Bhutanese citizens do not need to register to exit the country. Authorities continue to advise citizens against non-essential travel, and to fully vaccinate prior to international travel. Travelers abroad may require pre-departure testing for COVID-19, depending on the requirements of the destination country.

Land borders will remain largely closed to passenger travel until September 23; Foreigners can enter via the Phuentsholing checkpoint from September 23 while Indian nationals can also use the Gelephu, Samdrupjonkhar and Samtse checkpoints. Goods transit is running.

advice

Adhere to national health and safety procedures. Reconfirm opening times, deliverables, work, and travel arrangements. Do not go out of accommodations without confirming travel later. Consider delaying travel if you are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as it can lead to increased scrutiny and delays. Contact your trusted contacts for more updates and instructions. Stay in touch with your diplomatic representative. Ensure that contingency plans take into account further disruptive measures or extensions of existing restrictions. Review and reconfirm non-emergency health appointments. Ensure access to essential items. Carry appropriate identification documents with you, and pay attention to all security guidelines.

resources

Ministry of Health
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Bhutan Tourism Board

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