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COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Health & Travel Advisory

Last updated: 11 February, 2020

Please find below an update on travel restrictions to countries in Asia, the majority of which only place controls on people traveling from China. There has been minimal change to travel limitations over the past seven days, with new advisories coming from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos. Our operations outside of China continue to function as usual with actions implemented in accordance with the WHO’s guidelines on preventive measures against the new coronavirus.

HONG KONG:
All border crossings have been closed, except for the Shenzhen Bay joint checkpoint, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and Hong Kong International Airport.

MALAYSIA:
Sabah and Sarawak’s state cabinet announced a ban on all flights from China. Sabah and Sarawak have autonomy over immigration in their territory. The ban has not been imposed by mainland Malaysia. Sarawak state also announced that from 10 Feb, anyone entering Sarawak who has been to Singapore must undergo a self-imposed 14 day home quarantine.

LAOS:
Lao Airlines is temporarily suspending several routes to China. The Lao government has also suspended the issuing of tourist visas at checkpoints bordering China.

INDONESIA:
The Indonesian government has declared a ban on flights to and from mainland China from February 5th onwards and will not allow visitors who have stayed in China in the past 14 days to enter or transit.

VIETNAM:
Vietnam’s civil aviation authority has suspended all flights between mainland China and Vietnam. The Vietnamese government has stopped issuing visas to foreign visitors who have been to China in the past 14 days, while also closing several checkpoints in the border province of Lang Son.

SINGAPORE:
The Singaporean Prime Minister moved to bar entry into Singapore to all travelers arriving from mainland China, including foreigners who have been there in the last 14 days. Visitors are restricted from entering or transiting through the island nation since midnight on Saturday 01 February.

JAPAN:
The Japanese government is now refusing foreign nationals entry to Japan if they have stayed in Hubei within the previous 14 days. 

THAILAND, CAMBODIA & MYANMAR:
Currently, there are no travel restrictions between these countries and China.

If you want to know more about the new virus and suggested measures to protect health and prevent the spread, then please watch this video provided by the WHO: https://youtu.be/mOV1aBVYKGA 

The WHO has a dedicated page for Q&A on coronavirus:
https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

Update: 7 February, 2020

A number of governments and airlines in Asia have announced travel restrictions to mainland China, as well as for those recently returning from the country. As these vary by country, we are providing an overview of the changes to entry restrictions below. At present, none of the governments have officially said when the below restrictions will be lifted.

INDONESIA:
The Indonesian government has declared a ban on flights to and from mainland China from February 5th onwards and will not allow visitors who have stayed in China in the past 14 days to enter or transit.

VIETNAM:
The national carrier Vietnam Airlines and the airline Jetstar Pacific said they would stop flying to mainland China. The Vietnamese government also announced it would stop issuing visas for foreign visitors who had been to China in the past 14 days. 

SINGAPORE:
The Singaporean Prime Minister moved to bar entry into Singapore to all travellers arriving from mainland China, including foreigners who have been there in the last 14 days. Visitors are restricted from entering or transiting through the island nation since midnight on Saturday 01 February.

MALAYSIA:
Sabah and Sarawak’s state cabinet announced a ban on all flights from China. Sabah and Sarawak have autonomy over immigration in their territory. The ban has not been imposed by mainland Malaysia.

HONG KONG:
All border crossings have been closed, except for the Shenzhen Bay joint checkpoint, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and Hong Kong International Airport.

JAPAN:
The Japanese government is now refusing foreign nationals entry to Japan if they have stayed in Hubei within the previous 14 days. 

THAILAND, CAMBODIA, MYANMAR & LAOS:
Currently, there are no travel restrictions between these countries and China.

Destination Asia advises its clients to reconsider all non-essential travel to China until the end of February. We will provide regular updates to assist with making decisions for trips arriving in March 2020 and beyond. 


Update: 31 January, 2020

Following the second meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019 in China, the committee agreed the outbreak meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The statement was not directed at efforts in China, but to ensure the same high level of response is practiced by all countries affected by the virus.

What is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern? The term PHEIC is a public health event that may endanger public health beyond the affected state’s national border. 

The declaration of a PHEIC and the spread of the virus outside China is not an unexpected development. This will allow for a global coordinated effort, enabling other countries to provide effective diagnostic tools and contain the current outbreak.

Destination Asia advises its clients to reconsider all non-essential travel to China until the end of February. We will provide regular updates to assist with making decisions for trips arriving in March 2020 and beyond. Travel to other destinations in Asia remains unaffected. Regarding the change/ or cancellation of travel to China, please contact our office directly using the details below.

All Destination Asia operational teams have been briefed on how to update your clients on any questions related to the outbreak. Meanwhile, our operations will be adhering to the following guidelines:

  • We are avoiding wet market visits and replacing these with suitable alternatives. 
  • Destination Asia guides will advise guests against visiting areas where large crowds gather and shall manage alternative arrangements on a case by case basis. 
  • Destination Asia guides can assist in purchasing masks and hand sanitizer gels for protection. However, stock levels are running low in many areas so we recommend guests bring their own where possible. 

Destination Asia takes your client’s health and safety extremely seriously. It is already standard practice, but please be assured we are thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all hard surfaces within our vehicles used to transport guests. Where appropriate, we also clean and disinfect the air filter systems.

DESTINATION ASIA CHINA CONTACT DETAILS

Operations (Steven Wang): + (86) 139 1185 7037
steven@destination-asia.com.cn
Reservations (Grace Zhang):+ (86) 135 0125 0269
grace@destination-asia.com.cn 
Travel/Leisure (Roger Xu): + (86) 134 8870 8286
roger@destination-asia.com.cn 
M&I, Shanghai Office (Karen Cheng): + (86) 138 1700 0532
karen@destination-asia.com.cn


Update: 28 January, 2020

In early January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified a new type of coronavirus: 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China. The source was linked to a wet market in Wuhan, where tight containment measures have been put in place. The WHO’s current position is that the event does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The WHO has recommended no unnecessary restrictions on international travel, while a number of embassies recently updated their health alerts, recommending against all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China due to an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness. There are no restrictions regarding travel around all other Destination Asia operating countries.

In line with a WHO health advisory, we suggest travellers follow basic steps to reduce the general risk of respiratory infections. Take the usual precautions to prevent disease or infections being spread, including:

  • avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections
  • washing your hands frequently, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment
  • avoiding close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals
  • practising good etiquette (maintain your distance when coughing, cover your mouth, and sneeze into a disposable tissue which you should throw into the trash after use)
  • wearing masks and/or gloves if you choose to do so

As a precaution, Destination Asia has removed all visits to wet markets selling fresh meat or live animals across all its destinations.

What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of respiratory viruses. The source of this new virus is not yet known.

What are the symptoms?
In this particular case, the virus can cause pneumonia and respiratory problems. Typical respiratory symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. These can progress to pneumonia symptoms including difficulty in breathing.

What is the risk of infection?
The risk of infection still remains very low.

What should I do?
Don’t panic. We recommend taking basic actions to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while travelling as mentioned above.

In response to this outbreak, several countries and territories in the region are preparing to or have implemented health screening of travellers.

The most trusted information and advice can be found on the World Health Organisation website.

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