Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Nations and territories in the Pacific continue to adjust measures to limit spread of COVID-19 as of May 12. Travel restrictions in place.
The locations affected by this alert are:
- American Samoa
- Cook Islands
- French Polynesia
- Marshall Islands
- Federated States of Micronesia
- New Caledonia
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Solomon Islands
- Wallis and Futuna
This alert began 12 May 2020 15:40 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 May 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): South Pacific (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Entry bans, transport and business disruptions, longer immigration wait times; possible quarantine measures
Countries and territories in the South Pacific region continue to enforce revised transport and business restrictions to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Several governments have declared public health emergencies; however, the severity of screening measures and travel restrictions vary across the region. The following restrictions are in place:
- American Samoa: The territory remains under a state of emergency through at least June 1. The government has maintained a Code Blue threat level, which includes provisions such as requiring businesses to operate 0600-1800 only, quarantining arriving passengers, closing public and private schools, and suspending all public gatherings until further notice. Officials may prosecute individuals ignoring the restriction on gatherings. Travelers from outside the US must spend 14 days in Hawaii before arrival. Inbound passengers must acquire health clearances within three days before departure. Officials have reduced commercial passenger flights.
- Cook Islands: The government requires all incoming passengers to quarantine in New Zealand for 14 days before travel. A 14-day quarantine is also in place for all arriving passengers before travelers can proceed to outer islands in the country. Foreigners remain banned from entering the country until further notice, except for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents and Australians living in New Zealand. Flights from other destinations remain suspended. Authorities have relaxed most domestic restrictions, such as a ban on social gatherings, the closure of educational and religious sites, and limitations on alcohol availability. However, some bars and nightclubs remain closed.
- Federated States of Micronesia: A public health emergency remains in effect. The government has banned citizens from traveling to countries affected by COVID-19, including the US, Japan, and China, among others. The government has also banned all inbound flights, with an exemption for cargo deliveries; occasional flights may operate but are for departing foreign nationals. Authorities are also enforcing enhanced health precautions for cargo and tanker vessels entering Micronesian ports. Authorities in Yap State lifted a daily curfew from May 1.
- Fiji: Most foreign nationals have been effectively banned from entering the country. All arrivals, regardless of nationality, must undergo 28-day self-quarantine. Authorities have reduced the nationwide curfew to 2200-0500 daily. Officers are monitoring roads during the curfew and will send people home except for work or life-threatening reasons. Businesses with shift workers during curfew hours are required to provide employees with a letter of their work requirements and hours, as well as an official contact number in the event officials want to verify the information. Officials have banned public gatherings of 20 or more people. Police are enforcing nationwide social distancing measures, and people ignoring government orders could face fines or imprisonment. Authorities have called on Fijian nationals to suspend outbound travel. Inter-island transport has resumed, and Fiji Link (FJ) has restarted limited domestic flights. The government continues to ban all cruise ships from docking.
- French Polynesia: Inbound international commercial flights are suspended through at least early May. Authorities are relaxing some restrictions through May 13. Officials will shorten an ongoing curfew to 2100-0500 daily. Police will no longer require people to carry travel certificates outside of or during curfew. Authorities will also permit travel between Tahiti and Moorea islands and will allow shops to reopen. The government is permitting beaches and parks to reopen, though people must continue to practice social distancing. Meetings of up to 20 are possible for funerals and up to 50 people for religious services. Officials have authorized food production to begin in several areas, including during curfew hours, and allowed takeaway alcohol sales to resume with restrictions on quantity and types of beverages. Authorities continue to require all arriving passengers to self-isolate for 14 days. Authorities may still require passengers to obtain health clearance within five days of arrival; the measure applies to all inbound passengers, who must present the clearance at check-in counters before boarding aircraft. The government has suspended all but critical travel to countries with COVID-19 activity and banned all cruise ships from docking.
- Guam: Officials have extended the public health emergency through at least June 5.Authorities continue to ban entry by individuals who traveled in mainland China within 14 days of arrival. All arriving visitors, regardless of their country of origin, are required to quarantine for up to 14 days. Nonresidents will have to pay for their quarantine measures. The government has closed public offices, restricted public gatherings, and suspended school. The government has allowed some commercial establishments to reopen as of May 12, including shopping malls and retail stores, although other entertainment venues remain closed. Public transport, healthcare, grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies, banks, and other essential services are exempt from the measures. Police are enforcing a curfew for all minors; the measure is in effect 2200-0600 Monday-Friday and 0001-0600 Saturday and Sunday. However, authorities have lifted roadblocks in most areas, including on Route 1 and Route 8.
- Kiribati: Officials require all passengers to spend 14 days in a COVID-19-free country before entry. Passengers must also produce a health clearance for COVID-19. Travelers who do not have the required health clearance will not be allowed to enter the country. Authorities have also increased security at all ports of entry. Nonessential businesses have been suspended.
- Marshall Islands: Authorities have extended a ban on all inbound international travel through at least June 5. The travel ban also applies to residents and citizens. The government has also advised residents against traveling abroad. Leaders have warned people living or working on outlying islands that the government would shut down all transport to population centers upon the discovery of COVID-19 cases.
- Nauru: Officials have banned all international flights except one biweekly flight to Brisbane Airport (BNE). Inbound passengers are required to remain in a quarantine facility for two weeks. Air cargo operations are ongoing but face quarantine measures.
- New Caledonia: Inbound international commercial flights remain suspended indefinitely, though repatriation, freight, and medical transport are continuing. Officials are stopping all foreign nationals from entering the territory. Returning residents will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. Officials will quarantine visitors displaying COVID-19 symptoms at a medical facility. Authorities have suspended passenger transport to Wallis and Futuna. Officials have eased most domestic business, movement, and travel restrictions, and public and private transport - including ships and domestic flights - have resumed. Educational institutions, religious sites, and public spaces, and entertainment venues, except nightclubs, are open. Gatherings with identified participants are allowed, though large-scale sports and cultural events remain banned.
- Northern Mariana Islands: Most flights to the territory remain suspended. Any arriving passengers are required to submit a health screening showing a negative test result for COVID-19. Authorities have relaxed an ongoing curfew to 2200-0500 daily.
- Palau: Inbound movement from abroad to remain suspended until further notice.
- Samoa: Inbound international travel remains banned. Authorities are allowing ferry travel between Upolu and Savai'i islands on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Most businesses continue to operate, but with limits on the number of patrons.
- Solomon Islands: The government has extended the national state of emergency to July 25. Honiara remains a national emergency zone, requiring nonresidents of the city to return to their home provinces. All non-resident foreign nationals remain banned from entering the country. International flights are banned indefinitely. Any returning citizens and residents are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a quarantine center upon entry to the country. The government has encouraged residents to reduce attendance at nonessential events and limit travel between Honiara and other provinces. Schools, casinos, nightclubs, and kava bars are closed in Honoraria. Cruise ships remain banned.
- Tonga: Authorities have extended an existing state of emergency until May 15; the government will maintain a border closure and related flight ban through June 12. A ban on all foreign nationals remains in effect. Tongan citizens and emergency personnel are allowed to enter the country but must quarantine for two weeks. Officials will quarantine any symptomatic passengers at a military facility in Tongatapu. Authorities continue to require health declaration forms upon entry for all passengers. The government has banned cruise ships from docking indefinitely. Officials have eased most restrictions as of May 12. Gatherings of up to 20 people can take place indoors, while up to 40 people can meet outside; the measures do not apply to churches or educational institutions. Gyms have reopened, and sporting events have resumed. Entertainment venues, such as nightclubs and bars, are allowed to operate 0500-2100 Fridays and Saturdays.
- Tuvalu: Inbound travelers are required to undergo 14-day quarantines before entering the country.
- Vanuatu: The indefinite closure of all ports of entry into Vanuatu continues. Inbound commercial international flights are banned, though domestic flights continue. Some international cargo flights have also occurred. Authorities have also banned cruise ships. Authorities have lifted movement restrictions on Malekula island as of April 30.
- Wallis and Futuna: Authorities are using thermal scanners to screen arriving passengers. Officials have also banned cruise ships from docking; additional disruptions are possible.
Countries and territories could further adjust their response in the coming days, depending on the severity of COVID-19 cases.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize 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.