Severity: Warning Alert
Transportation: Several Pacific nations, territories maintaining travel restrictions as of March 13 due to COVID-19 activity. Confirm reservations.
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 13 Mar 2020 20:08 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Increased health screenings, transport restrictions
- Location(s): South Pacific (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Transport disruptions, longer immigration wait times; possible quarantine measures
Several countries and territories in the Pacific region continue to implement enhanced health screenings or travel restrictions for passengers from some countries with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. The severity of screening measures varies across the region. As of March 13, the following restrictions are in place:
- American Samoa: The government is maintaining a state emergency to include measures to combat the potential spread of COVID-19, as of March 6. Officials have reduced flights to Samoa and Tonga, and halted charter flights indefinitely. Authorities have also intensified travel requirements for passengers from the US and foreign countries since March 5. The government has suspended entry permits for passengers from exempt countries, except residents. Officials require most foreign nationals to transit in Hawaii before traveling to the territory but have also begun requiring passengers to acquire health clearances within three days prior to departure. Travelers from Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Fiji must remain in Samoa for 14 days and receive a health clearance before arrival.
- Cook Islands: Authorities have banned foreign travelers who have visited mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Italy, and Iran within 14 days of arrival from entering the country. The government has canceled at least 11 planned cruise ship port visits through April.
- Federated States of Micronesia: The central government lifted most international travel restrictions as of March 13. Travelers from Hubei Province, China, remain banned. The nation's four states maintain locally mandated controls. Authorities in Pohnpei State are requiring all incoming travelers to undergo 14-day quarantines upon arrival.
- Fiji: The government has expanded an entry ban to include persons who have traveled to Iran, Italy, mainland China, and Daegu and Cheongdo County in South Korea within 14 days of arrival. Officials have also been requiring all travelers to obtain health clearances before flying to the country since March 2, when they began using thermal scanners at all ports of entry. Cruise ships must dock in Suva or Lautoka to allow for medical checks of passengers.
- French Polynesia: As of March 13, authorities are requiring that passengers obtain a health clearance within five days of arrival. The measure applies to passengers on all inbound flights; travelers 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. Officials continue to require ships to dock in Papeete before traveling to other areas and are intensifying screening measures for passengers on board.
- Guam: Officials continue to ban entry by individuals who traveled in mainland China within 14 days of arrival.
- Kiribati: Officials require foreigners with a travel history to mainland China, South Korea, or Japan within 14 days prior to entry to 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. Cruise ships and fishing boat passengers must undergo health inspections upon arrival; vessels that have previously visited a country with COVID-19 activity must remain anchored for 14 days before entry.
- Marshall Islands: As of March 13, all inbound international travel is banned. The travel ban, which is set to continue through at least March 22, applies regardless of nationality.
- Nauru: Officials have banned foreign travelers who visited South Korea, China, Italy, Iran, and Japan as of March 3.
- New Caledonia: Authorities have designated China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, and the Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy as at-risk locations. Passengers who have traveled to the affected areas are required to provide a health declaration form upon entry. Officials may require passengers to self-quarantine for 14 days if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. Cruise ships have been denied docking rights.
- Northern Mariana Islands: Authorities have banned passengers who traveled in mainland China within 14 days of arrival.
- Palau: Charter flights from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, are suspended.
- Samoa: Passengers from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, mainland China, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Italy, Iran, and Kuwait must visit a country with no COVID-19 activity for 14 days before entry. Travelers must obtain a health clearance within three days of arrival. Health screenings are occurring at all points of entry. Reports indicate that officials denied entry to a cargo ship in early March, but it is unclear if further cargo shipping disruptions are likely. Officials have banned cruise ships from docking in the country indefinitely.
- Solomon Islands: Travelers from South Korea, mainland China, Japan, Singapore, Italy, Hong Kong, Thailand, Iran, Taiwan, and Macau must visit a country with no COVID-19 activity for 14 days before arrival to the country.
- Tonga: Officials require health declaration forms upon entry. Ministry of Health officials are approving cruise ship visits on a case-by-case basis.
- Tuvalu: Authorities preventing foreign passengers who have visited South Korea, Japan, or China within 14 days of arrival from entering the country.
- Vanuatu: Authorities are requiring international passengers that have traveled to South Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore since Dec. 31, 2019, to stay in a third country for 14 days before entry. Passengers must also acquire a health clearance; travelers without the declaration could face quarantine or must return to their point of origin at their own expense. Officials are also conducting health checks on passengers arriving on cruise ships before they disembark.
- Wallis and Futuna: Authorities are using thermal scanners to screen arriving passengers. Officials have also banned at least one cruise ship from docking as of March 6; additional disruptions are possible.
Countries and territories could further expand their response in the coming days, particularly to include countries where COVID-19 cases increase.
Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions, particularly if traveling from countries with COVID-19 activity. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. 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. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.