Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: South Pacific nations and territories continue to adjust COVID-19-related restrictions as of Sept. 2. Travel restrictions ongoing.
Alert Begins 01 Sep 2020 06:41 PM UTC
Alert Expires 15 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 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 adjust restrictions put in place to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Several governments are maintaining public health emergencies, but have eased or lifted movement and business restrictions. The measures vary across the region. As of Sep. 2, the following controls are in place:
- American Samoa: The state of emergency was due to expire on Aug. 31; however, the government may announce an extension in the coming days. Under the Code Blue threat level, which is the lowest on a three-tiered scale, authorities are permitting gatherings of up to 150 people for essential reasons, such as funerals, religious services, and cultural events, but nonessential gatherings remain restricted. Officials may prosecute individuals who violate gathering restrictions. Businesses can operate from 0500-2100 daily but must limit customers to 50-percent capacity. Public transport services are also limited to 50-percent capacity and will be available from 0500-2100. Beaches and parks have reopened. Schools remain closed. The issuance of entry permits remains suspended until further notice. Inbound travelers must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of entering American Samoa. Arrivals must quarantine for two weeks, with an exception for medical workers. Hawaiian Airlines (HA) has previously announced its intention to resume flights between Pago Pago and Honolulu by Aug. 31. All Samoa Air (OL) flights also remain suspended.
- Cook Islands: The government is allowing citizens, permanent residents, work permit holders, and resident permit holders into the country. Passengers traveling to Cook Islands must complete a COVID-19 test within 96 hours of departure. Arriving travelers must undergo supervised quarantine for 14 days. All other passengers are banned from entering the country indefinitely. Authorities have relaxed most domestic restrictions. Bars and nightclubs have reopened, but officials are restricting operating hours to 1100-1800 through March 2021.
- Federated States of Micronesia: The government has banned citizens from traveling to countries affected by COVID-19, including the US, Japan, and China. The government has also banned all inbound flights, with exemptions for cargo deliveries and flights repatriating foreign nationals. Authorities are also enforcing enhanced health precautions for cargo and tanker vessels entering Micronesian ports.
- Fiji: Most foreign nationals remain effectively banned from entering. Fiji Airways (FJ) continues to suspend all international flights. Arrivals, including those from Australia and New Zealand, are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine and to download the government's careFiji contact tracing mobile application. Authorities have called on Fijian nationals to suspend outbound travel. Restrictions remain in place nationwide, though officials have relaxed some gathering and commercial measures. Some venues, including theaters and those hosting community events like weddings, can operate at 50-percent capacity. Gyms and pools have reopened. Some classes have resumed, including for Year 12 and 13 students. Inter-island transport has resumed, and Fiji Link (FJ) has restarted limited domestic flights. Cruise ships remain banned from docking. A 2300-0400 curfew remains in effect; officers are monitoring roads during the curfew and will send home people who are without valid reasons, such as work or emergency purposes. Businesses with shift workers during curfew hours must provide employees with a letter on their work requirements and hours and an official contact number for verification. People who breach regulations could face fines or imprisonment.
- French Polynesia: The government has reopened its borders to international travelers and removed quarantine rules for arrivals. However, passengers must provide proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19 in the last 72 hours before boarding. Travelers must also present a receipt of health registration of the Electronic Travel Information System and must test for COVID-19 four days after arrival using testing kits provided upon arrival. If a passenger tests positive, they will have to report to a health center. Officials have reimposed some restrictions through Sept. 15. Authorities require all discotheques and nightclubs to close. Restaurants must place tables at least one meter (3 feet) apart. People must wear protective face coverings in open-air public spaces, including restaurants and shops, public transport, airports, and ferry terminals; violators may face fines. Gatherings are limited to 10 people at recreational places, including beaches, public parks, and picnic areas.
- Guam: A public health emergency remains in place through at least Sept. 30. Under the current Pandemic Condition of Readiness Level 1 (PCOR-1), residents must remain at home except for essential reasons. Residents are required to stay at home through at least Sept. 4. Banks have been allowed to reopen. Essential businesses, such as grocery and convenience stores, healthcare providers, pharmacies, and gas stations, continue to operate. Restaurants with drive-thru windows are also allowed to operate. Authorities have closed several government agencies and suspended customer-facing work for most agencies. Schools and public gatherings remain suspended. Officials continue to ban entry to individuals with travel history to mainland China within the past 14 days. Arrivals have to quarantine in government facilities; the duration of quarantine remains unclear, as officials previously calibrated the length and location of quarantines for arrivals based on the departure country.
- 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 Kiribati. Authorities have also increased security at all ports of entry. Nonessential businesses remain suspended.
- Marshall Islands: Inbound international travelers remain banned through at least Sept. 5. The government has also suspended nonessential outbound air travel until further notice. Some US military personnel have been allowed to enter with a three-week quarantine period. Authorities are requiring allowed citizens to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
- Nauru: Officials are allowing some essential international travel. Inbound passengers must spend 14 days in a designated safe country prior to entry; the designated countries include mostly Pacific countries, including Australia (except Victoria State), French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and New Zealand, among others. Arrivals must wear protective face coverings on inbound flights, complete a health declaration form, undergo checks for COVID-19 symptoms upon landing, and quarantine for at least five days at a designated residence under health observation before release. Aircrew members, medical workers, and transit passengers are exempt from the requirements. The government requires all commercial maritime crew to remain at sea for 14 days and provide documentation 12 hours prior to arrival; authorities will conduct COVID-19 tests onboard vessels; ships can enter the port only after test results are returned. Air cargo operations are ongoing with quarantine measures for the crew.
- New Caledonia: Most inbound international commercial flights remain suspended through at least Oct. 24; exceptions include repatriation, freight, and medical transport flights. Foreign nationals remain banned from entering. Most returning residents have to self-quarantine for 14 days; returning residents from Wallis and Futuna do not have to isolate. Officials will quarantine visitors displaying COVID-19 symptoms at a medical facility. As of Sept. 2, the government has lifted all domestic COVID-19-related restrictions. Gatherings of all sizes may occur, restaurants and bars can operate without contact tracing or capacity limits, and residents do not need to wear face coverings on public transport.
- Niue: The government issued state of emergency was due to expire Aug. 31; however, authorities may extend the measures. Officials are allowing weekly flights from Auckland, New Zealand, for repatriation and essential personnel. Nonresident essential workers require government approval. Arrivals must quarantine for 14 days. Authorities continue to extend tourist visas for stranded foreign nationals at no cost.
- Northern Mariana Islands: A state of public health emergency order remains in effect. The government continues to tighten social distancing measures through Sept. 6. Authorities are enacting a nightly 2200-0400 curfew, with exceptions for essential employees, medical care, and emergency services; violators will face fines. Most social gatherings are limited to 10 people; religious services can occur for up to 50-percent capacity. Businesses can operate from 0400-2100 daily at 50-percent capacity. Restaurants and bars must limit patrons to 5- percent capacity, ensure employees have protective equipment and maintain physical distancing, conduct temperature checks for patrons, and ensure customers wear protective face coverings, except when eating. Some entertainment venues, such as gaming facilities and casinos, remain closed. Public beaches have also reopened outside of curfew hours, but primarily for wellness and fishing activity. Inter-island travel has resumed, including to Managaha Island. Most flights to the territory remain suspended. Officials are exempting inbound travelers from quarantine if they complete an online CNMI Mandatory Declaration Form at least three days before arrival, register to the Sara Alert Symptom Monitoring System, self-quarantine for 14 days, and consent to a COVID-19 test five days after arrival. Nonresidents have to provide documentation that they have taken a PCR test within six days of arrival; passengers who cannot provide proof must spend five to seven days in government-designated quarantine sites at their own cost and undergo testing before release.
- Palau: Inbound international travel remains suspended. The government has previously announced its intention to begin essential air services by Sept. 1. The US and Taiwan are the first locations allowed. Flights will remain limited to available quarantine capabilities. Inbound travelers must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure and book a quarantine facility in advance. Travelers, except Palauan citizens, must pay for quarantine; the length of isolation will depend on the port of departure. Travelers who have been to Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China within two weeks of departure remain banned.
- Samoa: Officials have extended the state of emergency through Sept. 27. Most social gatherings are limited to five people; up to 50 couples can attend church services, weddings, funerals, and meetings, with protocols such as two-meter (6.5-foot) physical distancing in place. Restaurants can operate 0600-2200 Monday-Saturday and 1200-2200 Sunday for takeaway services. Supermarkets and other walk-in stores can open 0600-1900 Monday-Saturday and 1500-1900 on Sunday. Most businesses can operate with limits on the number of patrons. Street vendors' operations are limited to produce and cooked food. Ferry services between Savai'i and Upolu island are operating Monday-Saturday. All businesses, except restaurants and markets, public transport, and beaches, are closed on Sundays. Most foreign nationals and international flights remain banned until further notice. Returning travelers will need a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of boarding the Samoa-bound flight and must isolate for 14 days after arrival. Travel between Samoa and American Samoa is possible with protocols, such as requiring passengers to provide evidence of their presence in American Samoa for 28 days before departure and a medical exam within 72 hours of boarding the Samoa-bound flight; authorities state a COVID-19 test is "essential" for entry, but details remain unclear.
- Solomon Islands: Authorities have extended the state of public emergency through Nov. 30. Nonresident foreign nationals remain banned from entering the country. International flights and cruise ships remain banned; national carrier Solomon Airlines (IE) has suspended international flights through Oct. 24. People who can still enter the country have to quarantine for 14 days at designated sites upon arrival. The government has increased security in border areas with Papua New Guinea's Bougainville autonomous region. Honiara remains a national emergency zone, requiring nonresidents to return to their home provinces. The government has encouraged Honiara's residents to avoid nonessential events and limit travel with other provinces. Casinos, pubs, and kava bars in the capital have reopened, though nightclubs remain closed.
- Tonga: The state of emergency has been extended through Sept. 28. Indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people, while outdoor events can involve up to 100 people; exceptions are in place for educational institutions and churches. A nightly 0001-0500 curfew remains in effect, while most nonessential businesses, like bars and gyms, have reopened. Cruise ships remain banned from docking. Foreign nationals remain banned from entering; Tongan citizens and emergency personnel can enter but must quarantine for two weeks. Arrivals have to submit health declaration forms upon entry.
- Tuvalu: Inbound travelers are required to undergo 14-day quarantines before entering the country.
- Vanuatu: The state of emergency is in effect through Dec. 31. All ports of entry remain closed indefinitely. Inbound commercial international flights and cruise ships remain banned, with an exception for some international cargo flights. Domestic flights remain operational.
- Wallis and Futuna: The border remains effectively closed, as passenger flights and ships remain banned. However, officials are allowing some travel with New Caledonia. Authorities are using thermal scanners to screen arriving passengers.
Countries and territories will likely continue to adjust their response in the coming days and weeks, depending on COVID-19 activity within their borders and neighboring countries.
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.