COVID-19 Travel Update & Guidance

19 March, 2020

As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 has affected 157 countries and led to over 219,000 confirmed cases worldwide. Of these confirmed cases, the total number of ‘recovered’ has now reached over 84,000.

Within our destinations, national governments have introduced a number of new measures to prevent further spread of COVID-19. We have compiled an update on current travel restrictions related to countries across our network. Our travel consultants are contacting those agents with affected bookings to work on alternative solutions as swiftly as possible.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand now requires all inbound air passengers, Thai and foreign, to show COVID-19-free health certificates and COVID-19 insurance before boarding their flights to Thailand. The health certificates, which must be issued no more than 72 hours before the flight departs, must guarantee that the passengers are free of COVID-19 regardless of where they board while the insurance must cover COVID-19 treatment in Thailand up to at least US$100,000. The government announced on 17 March that bars, night clubs and entertainment venues in Bangkok and its periphery must temporarily close from 18-31 March. All concerts, fairs, parties and religious events must also be cancelled, while boxing rings and stadiums must remain closed until further notice.

With effect from Wednesday, 18 March at 00:00 hrs, Vietnam will suspend the granting of visas to all foreigners for 30 days to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Those who are exempt from visas or possess visa exemption certificates are required to have certificates of testing negative to SARS-CoV-2 issued by an authorized agency in order to enter Vietnam. Visitors arriving from the USA, European and ASEAN countries are now also required to be quarantined in concentrated facilities. Citizens of ASEAN countries or those who have stayed or transited in ASEAN member states within 14 days before the date of their entry into Vietnam will be subject to compulsory concentrated quarantine for 14 days since the date of arrival.  

From our recent experience on the ground, visitors of any nationality with or without an approved visa will experience difficulties when arriving in Vietnam from now on until 18 April. They may be required to be quarantined for 14 days or be sent back to their flight departure point. We strongly recommend postponing any travel to Vietnam prior to 18 April to later in the year. Our team will work on rebooking with your advisors.

Travel to China is currently strongly discouraged. As the situation is very fluid, relevant policies are constantly changing. As of 16 March, all international arrivals in Beijing are required to be isolated at designated facilities even if they do not have coronavirus symptoms. On very special occasions and after assessment, some may be quarantined at home. The decision was made as the number of confirmed case accelerates internationally. Other regions across the country are expected to tighten quarantine rules for travellers from abroad to contain the outbreak as imported cases have become the main risk to the efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of popular venues that are currently closed until further notice: the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs & Juyongguan Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall, Lama Temple, Silk Street Market, Kung Fu Show at Red Theatre, Simatai Great Wall, and Gubei Water Town in Beijng; Yuyuan Garden, Zhujiajiao Ancient Town and Shanghai Disneyland in Shanghai; Terracotta Warriors and Hanyang Tombs in Xi’an; and the Panda Research Base in Chengdu.

Foreign nationals who have visited Hubei and/or Zhejiang Provinces in China; North Gyeongsang Province in South Korea; Kom, Tehran, Gilan, Guilan, Alborz, Esfahan, Qazvin, Golestan, Semnan, Mazandaran, Markazi, and/or Lorestan in Iran; or Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piemonte, Marche, and/or San Marino in Italy, within 14 days of arrival in Japan, are prohibited from entering except under special circumstances. Visitors arriving in Japan from China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Iran, and Italy (excluding the prohibited high-risk zones) are required to first stay at designated facilities for 14 days, and to avoid using any public transportation. For more details, click here. Arrival aircraft from mainland China and South Korea to Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Osaka Kansai (KIX) international airports have been limited, while ship transportation of passengers from China and South Korea Korea has also been suspended.

Please note, temples and shrines remain open to visitors. Shopping centres and supermarkets also remain open but are operating under shortened trading hours. At present Disneyland, DisneySea, Universal Studios, and museums are closed until further notice. Sporting events including baseball games are cancelled until further notice, while sumo matches are being held with no audiences. For the latest update on venues currently closed in Japan, please contact your Destination Asia Japan consultant.

Anyone who has travelled to Iran; the Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, or Veneto regions of Italy; or the Daegu or Gyeongsangbuk-do areas in South Korea in the past 14 days, will be required to stay in a Hong Kong quarantine centre upon entering. Non-Hong Kong residents who have visited Hubei Province in China or South Korea in the previous 14 days are not permitted to enter. Effective of 19 March, all visitors to Hong Kong (excluding passport holders from China, Macau, and Taiwan) will also be subject to compulsory home quarantine upon arrival. Please note, hotels will not be eligible for home quarantine. Anyone who does not have a home address will be refused entry.

With effect from 20 March, at 00:00 hrs West Indonesian Time, the Indonesian Government is introducing a new travel policy with the following implications. Visa-Free Arrival, Visa on Arrival and Free Diplomatic / Service Visa policies for foreign visitors from all countries are suspended for one month. Every foreigner visiting Indonesia is required to obtain a visa from an Indonesian embassy. When applying for a visa, you must attach a health certificate issued by the health authority in each country. Travellers who visited the following countries within the previous 14 days are not permitted to enter / transit to Indonesia; Iran, Italy, Vatican, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

All arriving travellers must fill out and submit a Health Alert Card to the Port Health Office prior to arrival at the entrance of the Indonesian International Airport. If travel history shows that in the last 14 days they have visited one of these countries, then they may be refused entry to Indonesia. For Indonesian citizens returning from one of the aforementioned countries, an additional inspection will be carried out by the Port Health Office upon arrival to Indonesia. If investigations discover initial symptoms of COVID-19, there will be an observation period at a government facility for 14 days. If no initial symptoms are found, an independent quarantine of 14 days is recommended.

The Indonesian government declared a ban on flights from 5 February to and from mainland China, and will not allow visitors who have stayed in China in the past 14 days to enter or transit. The free-visa policy for Chinese citizens has been temporarily suspended. Since 8 March, Indonesia has restricted access to all travellers that visited Iran, Italy and South Korea within the last 14 days. Visitors from the following regions: Tehran, Qom and Gilan in Iran; Lombardi, Venetto, Emilia-Romagna, Marche and Piedmont regions in Italy; as well as Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do in South Korea will not be permitted entry into Indonesia. If you travel from other areas in Iran, Italy, and South Korea you will be required to present a health certificate issued by the respective health authority at check-in. Failure to present a health certificate may result in you being denied entry or transit in Indonesia.

Effective of 23:59 pm on 16 March, all new visitors with recent travel history to China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, France, Spain, or Germany within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore or transit through Singapore. A 14-day Stay-Home-Notice will now also be issued for all arrivals from Japan, Switzerland, the UK, as well as all ASEAN countries.

The Cambodian government has issued a temporary ban on entry of citizens from Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and the USA, commencing 17 March and lasting a period of 30 days. All international river cruises are prevented from entering Cambodia from 13 March until further notice. Please note that there are currently no restrictions on travel within Cambodia and all tourist sites remain open as normal.

The Malaysian government has announced a two-week partial lockdown, or restricted movement order, effective from 18 – 31 March. This includes the general prohibition of mass movements and gatherings across the country. As a result, all houses of worship, schools, universities, government offices, and business premises will be closed, with the exception of those involved in essential services (including hotels and accommodation). Entry into the country will also be prohibited until 1 April.

With effect from 15 March, all travellers arriving from or having visited China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany in the past 14 days shall be subjected to a 14-day quarantine on their arrival in Myanmar. Foreign nationals who have visited Hubei Province in China and the regions of Daegu and Gyeongbuk in South Korea in the past 14 days will not be permitted to enter Myanmar. Those who have travelled to South Korea, outside of the high-risk zones, within the past 14 days will also be required to present a medical certificate issued before boarding any flight destined for Myanmar. Please note, all venues, hotels, and main tourist attractions in Myanmar remain open.

Lao Airlines has suspended all flights to South Korea and almost all flights from/to China. Flights from Vientiane and Luang Prabang to Changsha are still operational. On 18 March the Lao Government also announced the temporary closure of all local and traditional border check-points; suspension of visa-on-arrival throughout the country from 19 March – 21 April (30 days); and the temporary closure of entertainment venues. All visa on arrival services for entry into Laos has been suspended, including the issuance of electronic visas and those issued at border checkpoints. Those already holding an entry visa will be required to present a medical certificate of good health and declare their movement history.

Our operations outside of China and Malaysia continue to function as usual with actions implemented in accordance with the WHO’s guidelines on preventive measures against COVID-19.

For more videos and advice on basic protective measures against COVID-19, visit the WHO website.

The WHO also provides a daily situation report with specific figures on confirmed cases and distribution of COVID-19. The most recent can be viewed here.

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