Arriving at Ports in Europe and Further Afield

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Mark Twain

Many patients, families and colleagues prefer to travel by boat, ship or cruise ship. Most report “the fresh air, the ocean – it is an escape, good for health”, GP, mother of 5.

Colleagues report that;

A – “face masks do not have to worn on cruises, on busy beaches or pools, in busy restaurants or shops, but in the port during embarkation and disembarkation, it makes no sense, this is the reason so many avoid cruises, ferries or boats now”,

B – however at these ports “they never ask you if you have recently tested positive, if you have symptoms, and many are sick, if you have been in contact with anyone who tested positive or who is sick, or check your temperature … and this all was necessary and clinical indicated a year or two ago, but not now, but tell me why they continue to force masks on us, when no clinical evidence ever supported masks, but the things supported by good clinical evidence, such as temperature or positive contact, are not asked about … so they do what is cheap and fast, rather than follow good evidence”, medical specialist.

We have arrived in ports in Europe in the past few months and we were surprised that masks were mandated during embarkation and disembarkation, as above, but that no authorities asked about vaccines, symptoms, positive contact or positive tests or tested core temperature. “No medical doctor in the world will understand or support an approach where this is consistently neglected, but face masks are forced”, medical director.

“Many islands, ferries, cruise ships, boats, people who rely on tourists, now suffer, unnecessarily, and not based on clinical evidence. Doctors cancel their charity work, because they refuse to wear face masks.” Medical specialist

“In the same country I don’t have to wear a mask in the airport or on an airplane, but I do have to wear one on a ferry, what is going on there?” Medical director

“I was told cruises can decide to follow Spain’s or Portugal’s rules, even if they don’t even ever stop by Spain, and that they can make their own rules with face masks and change the rules after you have boarded, all not based on good clinical evidence, that is why so many avoid cruises”, medical director.

We have liaised with many cruise lines who have been more than helpful and who have kept their word during cruises for their passengers; it does however seem that 1:10 will cause passengers or patients severe distress by decisions not based on good clinical evidence. “Unfortunately one bad apple does spoil the bunch, because even with 1:10 bad experience, many people avoid it (cruises) as a rule now”, medical director.

“Based on statistics and current clinical evidence, the only appropriate clinical decision is now to drop all mandates and to declare that there is no longer a state of emergency in most if not all countries”, medical director.

We trust that policies and mandates will soon change to follow good clinical evidence.

We have been asked to provide more information on where face masks are not mandatory; we have agreed to spend a day and liaise with colleagues to identify information.

Please know that information may change from day to day. Please see government website for up to date and detailed information.

Countries where face masks are not currently mandated in the public, indoors and outdoors, and in airports, on airplanes and ferries:

We will not include the UK and numerous EU countries we have mentioned earlier. It is our understanding, from observation and from ongoing liaison with colleagues that the UK, most countries in the EU, such as France, Italy, Greece, Sweden and Norway, and most states in the USA do not mandate face masks with good outcomes (many for a significant period of time).

We have also been asked to mention specific countries with details, even if face masks still mandated or if borders closed.

1. South Africa (very recent change – many colleagues report that they are planning a trip – ideal time for safari now to avoid, to some degree, mosquitoes and cool enough for animals to linger in the sun)

2. Canada – Vancouver (most report that face masks are still mandated in airports and on airplanes)

3. Alaska (perfect time to visit now) – Colleagues report “we visited Alaska in June (2022) and it was the best trip we have ever taken, we did not have to wear face masks”, ITU consultant.

4. Hawaii (as above – Hawaii’s weather is ideal this time of year)

5. Tahiti (ideal weather considering storm seasons to visit now)

6. New Caledonia (ideal weather, as above) – We understand that Air Vanuatu reports that no face masks are required for flights to New Zealand and Fiji, but are required for flights to New Caledonia and Australia.

7. Vanuatu (as above)

8. Solomon islands (no masks are mandated in the general public, but the borders remain closed)

9. Samoa (no mask mandate indoors or outdoors in the general public, however, masks and nasopharyngeal swabs still mandated on arrival and antigen tests are still mandated), American Samoa (quarantine still relevant, no mask mandate, but masks mandatory on flights) and Tonga (it appears as if masks are still mandated on arrival)

10. Fiji (except planes and airports masks still have to be worn – no information were identified for ferries at this stage)

11. Cook islands (masks are still mandated on public transport) and Rarotonga (masks not mandated on public transport)

12. Australia – masks continue to be mandated – we were provided with this website by colleagues with details of the “unique set of mask rules”:

13. Indonesia – “In Indonesia, mask-wearing will still apply when travelling on public transport or visiting crowded indoor areas..” We were provided with this website by colleagues

14. Philippines – face masks are still mandated in many contexts, as far as we understand.

15. Hong Kong – face masks are still mandated in many contexts, as far as we understand.

We are interested to find that medical colleagues report that in informal settlements, where individuals live up to 20 in one small room, without wearing face masks, that individuals are not presenting with symptoms or testing positive. We have also observed this pattern.

16. Japan – face masks are still mandated in many contexts, as far as we understand.

17. Reunion – no mask mandates (part of France – masks are not mandated in France in the general public)

18. Mauritius – face masks mandates in place

19. Seychelles – face mask mandates in place

20. Maldives – no mask mandates (we strongly recommend Maldives – check the weather at this time of year)

21. Mexico – no mask mandates due to “endemic” status

“Many countries, on paper or in the media, they say face masks are mandated, but you visit and you see that it is not”, medical specialist.

“Statistics, if you look at different countries and patterns with rules about face masks, certainly do not support face mask mandates or any restrictions or testing at this stage, or even asking about vaccines, most now agree that the annual flu is more dangerous, even with this or that variant, it is time to stop if we want to protect people”, medical director, 25 years of clinical experience.

“If you want people to have a healthy immune system, stop asking them to wear masks, this can hamper the immune system in so many different ways”, medical specialist.

We recently liaised with colleagues in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the East; most report that “we followed the trends of the UK and Europe or America, so we all started to make face masks compulsory, but in the beginning, when the pressure was not big, we did not make face masks compulsory, because there is not good evidence, and it worked well, but of course now after many has had a taste of the power that the fear and the masks bring, and many like to hide in life and feel more confident with it, it is now a snowball that is difficult to stop, led by anxiety in two powerful ways, but the first world is to blame in starting the face mask obsession – an interesting person who hears ‘viral respiratory infection’ and responds ‘face mask’, not a trained or educated person most would say, but we respect the decisions that people make, but we won’t believe it is due to health or protection”, GP.

Colleagues in these areas report “it will take at least 10 years before people start letting go of the face masks, not because Health or Medicine or evidence mandates it, because no acceptable degree of evidence ever supported masks, so it will take years before travel, economy or health is prioritised it seems”, medical specialist.

Colleagues agree that it is “very difficult to find information on most countries in terms of face mask mandates”, GP.

Please feel free to inform us of changes or if we have misunderstood the situation in a country. Most colleagues value accurate information.

We plan to visit Fiji and the pacific islands as soon as mandatory mask mandates discontinue. Please feel free to contact us as to arrange a meeting to discuss pro bono service development or service provision. We currently aim to be available in April 2023. Please know that we have worked with interpreters in high risk context for nearly 20 years.

Most medical colleagues report “my main way to maintain or boost my health is to travel, but (mandatory) masks will change a protective activity into a risky activity for me and most of my colleagues, so we don’t travel anywhere if we have to wear masks to get there or once there, not in any setting outside surgery or the medical circumstances that actually warrant mask wearing”, medical director.

For up to date travel and health information please see the UK website

We thank colleagues for providing us with information, and we thank countries who follow good clinical evidence to protect the general public, rather than mandating face masks.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

#Travel #Tourism #SouthAfrica #pacific