I had to abandon all of my plans to continue east (from Istanbul) after being denied boarding at the airport twice in Aug/Sept (to St. Petersburg and Tashkent). Both destinations had restarted some international flights weeks before and statements on the Web indicated that anyone could take the flights (with testing/quarantine upon arrival). Don't trust anything you read these days! Only citizens of countries involved could board.
I ended up going to West Africa, instead, much of which is open to anyone, with theses policies:
- no test before departure from home required
- PCR Test given at airport upon arrival, $US 92, results in 72 hours. Testing center at airport was surprisingly well-organized and efficient, picking up results--not so much, and online status of results not really working.
- no quarantine, but you are supposed to wait around until (negative) results are back, however, in reality you could move around a little if desired.
- Everything is open, masks are being worn, and lots of fairly pointless hand-washing stations.
- A second PCR test required 72 hours before departure, same cost, but slower at test center in the capital.
Land borders throughout the region are all closed, I had to take an 18-minute flight to get to Togo (!!!!), surprisingly costly.
- PCR test required before (72 hrs) boarding flight to Togo, exit test I took in Benin was acceptable.
- PCR test given upon arrival $US 70, results in 24 hours, test center efficient, results e-mailed on schedule
- no quarantine, but you are required to use a mobile tracking app at all times while in the country. I was able to use a workaround to get that working, even though my tablet doesn't have cellular capabilities. However, I needed to do a factory reset yesterday, and haven't been able to reinitialize the app--hope that doesn't lead to problems later...
- Everything is open, same as Benin
- Another PCR test required before departure.
- Process sounds similar, but I haven't gotten there yet, so I don't know all the details yet.
- Land borders closed, so another short flight will be needed.
- I didn't think I would be able to go to Ghana, because all information on the Web states that you are still required to apply for a Visa in your home country. However, the Ghana Embassy in Lomé assured me that they are now doing visa-on-arrival at the airport in Accra. I hope that's correct!
So, not a great number of WHSs to be seen in this region, but it's nice to be somewhere different for a while.
I hope that I will be able to get to a few more African countries by the end of the year, which seems like it should be possible unless the policies change again.