Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Countries and territories in Northeast Asia maintaining travel restrictions as of May 19 due to COVID-19 activity. Defer travel if affected.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • China
  • Hong Kong SAR
  • Japan
  • Macau SAR / Zhuhai
  • Mongolia
  • North Korea
  • South Korea

This alert began 19 May 2020 07:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Northeast Asia (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry bans, transport disruptions, longer immigration wait times; possible quarantine

Governments in Northeast Asia continue to enforce travel restrictions to prevent the transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Measures vary throughout the region; as of May 19, the following restrictions are in place:

  • Mainland China: Authorities continue to bar all foreign nationals from entering the country; exceptions are in place for diplomatic personnel and C visa holders, which officials generally issue to members of flight and shipping crews. Most travelers, regardless of nationality, are barred from entering or exiting land border checkpoints. Officials are allowing "fast track" entry for business travelers from South Korea to 10 Chinese locations, including Shanghai and Liaoning, Shandong, Jiangsu, and Anhui provinces. Passengers must have an invitation from a Chinese business to qualify for entry. Approved travelers will have to undergo testing in South Korea within 72 hours of travel and undergo testing again during a one- or two-day quarantine in China. Reports indicate the government is also allowing executive travel for certain businesses under a similar model. Authorities in many provinces, municipalities, and ethnic autonomous regions are enforcing quarantine measures for international travelers. Officials are generally allowing nonresident passengers to stay in government-designated hotels at their own cost. While most quarantine periods are 14 days, some cities in border areas, such as Harbin and Suifenhe, Heilongjiang Province, and Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, are requiring inbound travelers to self-quarantine and undergo medical observation for an additional 14 days.
  • Hong Kong: The government is maintaining a ban on all nonresident foreign nationals, as well as residents of Hubei Province, mainland China. Travelers from Macau, Taiwan, and mainland China are exempt from restrictions provided they do not have a recent travel history to Hubei or elsewhere. Arriving passengers from these areas, as well as foreign countries, must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entry into the territory. Hong Kong continues to restrict land border crossings with mainland China to the Shenzhen Bay checkpoint and along the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
  • Japan: An entry ban remains in place for foreign nationals with a travel history to more than 100 countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the US, Canada, the UK, Schengen Area countries, China, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, within 14 days of arrival. Officials also require all passengers arriving from affected countries to undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which involves medical personnel taking a nasopharyngeal swab, upon arrival. Any inbound passenger allowed into Japan is required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, either at home or in a government-designated facility.
  • Macau: Officials have banned nonresident foreign nationals from entering the territory. Travelers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China - except Hubei Province - are exempt from the measure but will not be allowed to enter if they have traveled elsewhere in the previous two weeks. Residents and allowed travelers that have visited "high-risk" countries, including the Schengen Area, the UK, the US, Canada, Brazil, Egypt, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Iran, and New Zealand, within 14 days of arrival, will face mandatory quarantine at designated hotels. Residents and travelers who visited Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other countries may be allowed to self-isolate at home.
  • Mongolia: The government has effectively banned international travel. Border closures are ongoing with Russia and China, though some commercial transport is occurring. Commercial flights connecting Mongolia with Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey remain suspended. Authorities are placing arriving Mongolian citizens under a 14-day quarantine at their own expense.
  • North Korea: Authorities have effectively suspended inbound travel by foreign nationals. Officials are conducting increased health screenings and have imposed quarantine periods on foreign nationals, along with North Koreans arriving in Pyongyang.
  • South Korea: The government continues to ban all foreign travelers who have visited China's Hubei Province within 14 days of arrival from entering the country. South Koreans who traveled to Hubei Province will need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Officials have halted visa-free and visa-waiver programs with countries that have entry bans for South Korean citizens. The restriction impacts travelers from 90 countries, including Australia, Canada, and most European nations. Authorities have also canceled existing short-term visas issued before April 5, requiring travelers to reapply for entry documents. The government plans to limit all but essential or urgent travel for foreign nationals to the country. Officials are testing all arriving travelers from the US and Europe. Officials will send arriving passengers that exhibit COVID-19 symptoms to designated quarantine facilities for testing. All inbound passengers, regardless of nationality and testing outcomes, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Staff could send patients that test positive to designated quarantine facilities.
  • Taiwan: Authorities continue to ban nonresidents from entering Taiwan, though some exceptions are in place for diplomats and business travelers executing contracts. Officials have extended a ban on transiting passengers indefinitely. All arriving passengers, regardless of nationality or residency, must self-quarantine for 14 days. Inbound travelers from Southeast Asian countries may have to undergo a 14-day quarantine at government-designated hotels. Staff will direct arriving passengers living with people with chronic illnesses, children younger than six years old, or adults older than 65 to the facilities.

Governments could expand their response in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases or imported cases continue to rise. The measures may lead to immigration delays, especially for passengers from locations with significant numbers of COVID-19 cases. Government flight bans and airline flight reductions due to decreased demand are likely to continue in the near term. The operational status of flights can change without notice.

Postpone plans if affected by travel restrictions. Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with 2019 novel coronavirus, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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