Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Countries and territories in Northeast Asia maintaining travel restrictions as of July 21 due to COVID-19.

  • Alert Begins: 21 Jul 2020 11:30 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 04 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Northeast Asia (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry bans, transport disruptions, longer immigration wait times; possible quarantine

Summary
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 July 21, the following restrictions are in place:

 

  • Mainland China: Authorities continue to bar most 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; however, Guangdong Province has lifted quarantine requirements for travelers from Macau, provided they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and have not traveled outside the territory in the previous two weeks. Macau residents must complete a nucleic acid test, convert to a Guangdong health code, and complete a health declaration form before entry. Guangdong authorities are requiring a negative COVID-19 test result for travelers from Hong Kong, as well as quarantine for 14 days, unless exempted. 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, undergo testing in South Korea within 72 hours of travel, and undergo testing again during a one- or two-day quarantine in China. Authorities are also allowing "fast track" entry for essential business travelers from Singapore to Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces and Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin municipalities. Travelers must receive a special pass from an inviting institution, test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of their departure, and obtain a visa. Passengers will undergo COVID-19 testing again upon arrival in China and isolate at designated facilities until their results are available. Business travelers testing negative will adhere to a pre-agreed itinerary and refrain from using public transport, except for private hire vehicles, for the first 14 days. The travelers will also have to download and use a health pass while in the country. Reports indicate the government is also allowing executive travel for some individual businesses under a similar model. Officials in many areas are enforcing quarantine measures for international travelers. Authorities 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 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. Travelers from Macau, Taiwan, and mainland China are exempt from restrictions provided they do not have a recent travel history elsewhere. Arriving passengers must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entry into the territory. Authorities have permitted some mainland Chinese teachers and students, as well as businesspeople whose activities officials deem economically beneficial to the territory, to enter without having to undergo quarantine. 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 on foreign nationals with a travel history to 129 countries, including Russia, the US, China, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and all of Europe, within 14 days of arrival remains in place. Officials also require all passengers 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 must undergo a 14-day quarantine period, either at home or in a government-designated facility.

 

  • Macau: Authorities continue to ban nonresident foreign nationals from entering the territory. Travelers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China are exempt from the measure but will not be allowed to enter if they have traveled elsewhere in the previous two weeks. Travelers from mainland China can enter Macau without quarantine or medical certificates proving negative COVID-19 status. 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 other countries or Hong Kong and Taiwan and 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. Authorities are limiting visas for foreign nationals from Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan; diplomats and people on urgent business travel are exempt from the restriction. The government is also requiring inbound foreign nationals to provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test upon entry and restricting flight capacity from these countries. 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.

 


Governments could expand or extend travel restrictions 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 COVID-19 activity. Government flight bans and airline flight reductions are likely to continue in the near term due to decreased demand. The operational status of flights can change without notice.

Advice
Consider deferring travel if affected by the restrictions. Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, 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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