Fact Check: Misleading Post Viral As Countries Considering Corona ‘Just Seasonal Flu’ And Lifting COVID-19 Curbs

A post is widely being shared on social media claiming that many countries have lifted COVID-19 curbs as these nations are considering COVID-19 as ‘just seasonal flu’.

The post reads, “The following countries announced the cancellation of all quarantine procedures, Corona tests, and compulsory vaccination, considering Corona just a seasonal flu: 1) Turkey 2) Brazil 3) Britain 4) Sweden 5) Spain 6) Czech Republic 7) Mexico 8) El Salvador 9) Japan 10) Singapore.”

The link to the post can be seen here.

FACT CHECK

NewsMobile did a fact-check and found the claim to be misleading.

We independently checked for COVID-19 protocols in each of the mentioned countries.

1. Turkey:

On searching with the keywords, we found a link to a post by the Turkish Embassy in London. 

According to the site, here are the documents one needs to carry while travelling to Turkey;

– Document certifying that the passenger completed the full course of vaccinations approved by the Turkish Ministry of Health or World Health Organization and the final dose was applied more than 14 days before arrival to Turkey.

– Proof of recovery from the COVID-19 infection within the last 6 months before arrival in Turkey.

– Proof of negative result of a PCR test taken within the last 72 hours or negative result of a rapid antigen test (lateral flow test) taken within the last 48 hours prior to arrival in Turkey.

Also, a report by CNN travel dated January 7, 2022,  mentions that “All arrivals must submit a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure unless they have a certificate showing they were vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival. Visitors from some countries may also be able to show proof of a negative rapid antigen test. Those who have been in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Nepal or Sri Lanka in the 14 days prior to travel will be quarantined for 14 days on arrival in a government-listed hotel at their own expense.”

2. Brazil:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are travel guidelines to visit Brazil:

  • Make sure you are fully vaccinated before travelling to Brazil.
  • Unvaccinated travellers should avoid nonessential travel to Brazil.
  • Travellers should follow recommendations or requirements in Brazil, including wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.

3. Britain:

If the traveller is fully vaccinated then one does not need to quarantine when he/she arrives in England. However, one needs a COVID-19 test before travel or after one arrives and before the end of day 2 at the latest. If the result is positive then one must self-isolate.

In case the person is not fully vaccinated, then one must take the COIVD-19 test in the 2 days before one travels to England. Also, one needs to quarantine for 10 full days if one is not vaccinated.

4. Sweden:

According to the Swedish government, there is a ban on non-essential travel to Sweden from countries outside the EU/EEA. This ban applies to foreign nationals and remains in effect until 31 January 2022. Also, those aged 18 or more travelling to Sweden from countries within the EU/EEA or the Nordic countries must present the EU COVID Certificate or proof of vaccination against COVID-19 from certain other countries. Foreign nationals travelling to Sweden from other countries must be exempted from the travel ban and show evidence of a negative COVID-19 report based on a test conducted in the last 72 hours.

5. Spain:

According to the Spanish Ministry of Health, if one is travelling from a country/areas considered of risk, he or she must bring with you one of the certifying certificates/documents, listed below:

EU Digital COVID Certificate issued by a member state of the European Union, or a COVID-19 certificate issued by a country with which the EU has established equivalence with the EU COVID Digital Certificate. These countries can be consulted on the website of the European Union (EU). The certificate may contain one or more of the following documents attesting to the fact that a person:

  • has been vaccinated against COVID-19, with full vaccination schedule, at least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain.
  • a diagnostic test  has been performed within 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain for NAAT (nucleic acid amplification tests, e.g. RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, TMA) / 48 hours for RAT (rapid antigen test), the result of which has been negative.
  • has recovered from COVID-19, after the disease has passed, provided that more than 11 days have elapsed since the first positive NAAT test was performed, and shall be valid for up to 180 days thereafter.

6. Czech Republic:

According to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, “Foreign nationals (who are entitled to enter) travelling to the Czech Republic will have to present a negative PCR test result before the travel. This obligation applies also to vaccinated persons and persons who recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months. It applies to travellers from all countries regardless of the level of risk of the COVID-19 transmission. Persons who are not vaccinated or who did not recover from COVID-19 in the last six months, have to undergo a PCR test between the 5th and 7th day after arrival. This requirement does not apply to persons vaccinated with the COVID booster shot, children under 12 and children in the age group 12-18 years who are fully vaccinated (booster shot not required). Other exceptions are specified in the protective measure.”

7. Mexico:

According to the Mexican government, the borders of Mexico is open through air travel with no need to quarantine. However, people are expected to follow COVID-19 protocols like social distancing measures, washing their hands and coughing or sneezing in the inner part of the elbow to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A report by CNN suggests, “There is no need to take a test before departure or undertake any form of quarantine. Those concerned they may have symptoms should ask for the Sanidad Internacional health organization. Some Mexican states or cities might have tighter restrictions.”

8. El Salvador:

The government of El Salvador has completely eliminated the sanitary requirements to enter the country, which means that it is not necessary to present a vaccination card or PCR tests for those wishing to travel to the country.

9. Japan:

The Japanese government has reinforced quarantine measures in the wake of Omicron variant spread. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “For all cross-border travellers and returnees from countries/regions where the B.1.1.529 Omicron variant becomes dominant (all countries/regions except for those where COVID-19 variants other than the Omicron variant become dominant), the length of period when they are required to self-quarantine in places such as their own residence or accommodations after their entry into Japan, to follow-up checks conducted by the Health Monitoring Center for Overseas Entrants (HCO) and to refrain from using public transportation is changed from 14 days to 10 days.”

10. Singapore

According to the Safe Travel website of Singapore government, fully vaccinated travellers will only be required to undergo daily unsupervised self-administered ARTs from Day 2 to Day 7 of their arrival if they need to leave their place of accommodation, in addition to fulfilling pre-departure and on-arrival testing requirements.
Fully vaccinated recovered travellers may qualify for exemption from COVID-19 tests and are also allowed quarantine-free travel to Singapore via air.

Hence, we can evidently conclude that different countries have different COVID-19 related protocols but the COVID-19 vaccine and requirement of a negative RT-PCR test is a must in many nations. Thus, we can ascertain that the viral post is misleading.

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