The vaccinated are subjected to PCR testing, antibody testing, and quarantine.

Tel Aviv Israel
[Tel Aviv, Israel]

The majority of Russians were able to "walk" abroad over the lengthy January vacations, but there are also those who choose to travel outside of the New Year's framework - both pricing and tourist crowds are notably thinner. Meanwhile, a number of nations popular with Russians recently changed their admission requirements for visitors. 

Israel implemented new entrance criteria, allowing Russian residents to travel not just to holy places and popular Israeli resorts, but also to see friends and relatives. Since January 9, 2022, the Israeli Ministry of Health has authorized Russians immunized with Sputnik V to enter the country. At first sight, the news for lovers of this nation appears to be good, but not everyone has figured out what comes next and has hurried to hunt for tours. Russian media sought clarification from specialists. The rules of admittance for Russians proved to be overly cumbersome.

The first point to mention is that there is currently no regular air service between Russia and Israel, which means that there are no tour packages to this country as well; we are only talking about independent travelers and private trips to relatives, - emphasizes Dmitry Gorin, vice-president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry. Changes in the restrictions published by the Israeli Ministry of Health allow travelers immunized with Sputnik to arrange journeys to Israel through cargo and transit aircraft.

Even vaccinated Russians, however, will have to meet a number of extremely onerous standards. To begin, all passengers, without exception, must complete a declaration to enter Israel no later than 48 hours before departure. The second regulation is that you must do a PCR test 72 hours before departure (even with "Sputnik"). Third, upon arriving at the airport, a PCR test is performed, which may be paid for by utilizing the link while filling out the declaration. The approximate cost ranges from 80 shekels (when paying by link) to 115 shekels at the airport (2700 rubles).

But it isn't all. All Sputnik vaccination recipients must additionally pass a serological test for vaccine antibodies at the airport. Gorin says, "This is a blood test that validates the presence of antibodies." - If a satisfactory amount of antibodies is identified, the traveler is transferred from the airport to his destination. If no antibodies are found, the visitor is given the option of being quarantined for 14 days or returning to their home country if the PCR results are negative. Those nationals whose antibodies are normal by Israeli standards are nonetheless subjected to a three-day quarantine at their place of residence. They will need to pass a PCR test on the third day, and if the result is negative, they will be able to go farther.

However, Russians who have recovered from the coronavirus should not be anticipated in Israel since our digital certificates are not accepted there. "Every year, or even twice a year, my husband and I take a vacation in Netanya on the Mediterranean Sea or Eilat on the Red Sea," says Alevtina, a 75-year-old retiree from Moscow. - We were vaccinated with Sputnik at the forefront in early 2021, and we were just revaccinated because we are scared that at our age, we would not survive the coronavirus. We last visited Israel just before the epidemic, and we had to skip two years because of it, but now that they are accepting our vaccination, we will surely go to Eilat in February. There should be adequate antibodies, and we will provide the analysis ahead of time. The most important thing is to reach your beloved Israel.

Two nations that are also accessible in the winter have relaxed tourist criteria. These are Cyprus and the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Middle East.

If the author of these lines travelled to Cyprus in November without any PCR testing - it was enough to produce a certificate of immunization with Sputnik - the restrictions have tightened since December, thanks to Omicron, and the Cypriot authorities have begun to require negative tests as well. For a time, the validity of the exam completed at home was restricted to 48 hours, but Cyprus has extended its validity by a day, up to 72 hours, effective January 6. At the same time, all present rules remain in place: vaccinated and unwell Russians over the age of 12 must have a paid PCR test at the Cyprus airport (15 euros at Larnaca airport and 19 euros in Paphos). Results are available after 3 hours. In addition, on the third day, a visitor undergoes a fast antigen test in the city (which is at least free). However, as Dmitry Gorin points out Bahrain is, of course, substantially less popular among Russians than Cyprus, but according to travel brokers, holidays in the kingdom are growing increasingly popular - now people fly to areas where it is open.
Meanwhile, Bahrain, according to tourism officials, is ideal for a winter vacation: the water is not too warm (+ 20... 21 degrees Celsius) at this time of year, but the kingdom is rich in ancient sites. And, starting January 9, Bahrain, with whom Russia has established air connectivity, has relaxed entrance requirements for vaccinated and unwell visitors (no more than 8 months should pass from the moment of recovery).

Previously, travelers had to pass up to three exams - upon arrival, on the fifth and tenth day - but as of January 9, they are only had to pass two (on the 5th and 10th day). There is still a necessity for the PCR test result 72 hours before the travel and upon arrival - for 32 dollars. Bahrain recognizes Sputnik V vaccination certificates and Sputnik Light revaccination certifications. If you stay in a not-so-cool hotel, although a four-star one, a week at sea in Bahrain from January 17 will cost 130 thousand rubles (including airfare and breakfast), and 260 thousand rubles in a "luxury" hotel. Upon arrival, the visa can be obtained on-site.

Mexico and the Dominican Republic have the most lenient entry criteria. PCR testing and immunization certificates are not necessary to see them, therefore you may save a lot of money on tests. And, given these nations' "permanent summer," these orientations are becoming increasingly appealing in the winter. So, 72 hours before your trip to the Dominican Republic, you must fill out a "electronic ticket," which includes a health assessment and a customs statement. Following that, the visitor is given a QR code, which must be scanned while entering and exiting the nation. Temperatures are assessed upon arrival, and COVID-19 spot tests are performed. Tourists are segregated in specific facilities if the test results are positive. But if that's OK, a week for two in a "four-star" hotel in the Dominican Republic at the end of January (with flights and "all inclusive") would cost between 150 and 200 thousand rubles. Remember that the easier entrance laws still apply in Egypt and Turkey, where you do not required to perform PCR testing provided you produce a vaccination certificate.
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