Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: South Pacific nations and territories continue to adjust measures amid reduced COVID-19 activity as of May 21. Travel restrictions ongoing.
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 21 May 2020 07:57 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 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 adjust restrictions to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Several governments are maintaining public health emergencies, but have eased movement and business restrictions. The severity of screening measures and travel restrictions vary across the region. As of May 21, 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 the country's outer islands. 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: The government has lifted almost all COVID-19 restrictions as of May 21. Gatherings of all sizes are now permitted, and sporting and religious services can resume. Schools will reopen May 25. However, officials will continue to restrict the sale of alcohol Friday-Sunday weekly. Air Tahiti Nui (TN) will resume full domestic flights from May 22. Authorities will require passengers to wear face masks after receiving boarding passes, and TN will deny travel to passengers without masks. Officials plan to restrict access to the departure areas to two flights at a time and enforce physical distancing in terminals. Inbound international commercial flights remain suspended, though TN plans to resume international service in July. The government has suspended all but critical travel to countries with COVID-19 activity and banned all cruise ships from docking. 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. All arriving passengers must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival but can choose between self-quarantine and staying at government-designated facilities.
- 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. 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 Mondays-Fridays and 0001-0600 Saturdays and Sundays. 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 are open. Officials are allowing larger gatherings but continue to limit capacity to 500 people. Nightclubs have reopened, but owners must collect contact information for all attendees. Officials no longer require patrons to wear masks at larger gatherings, provided establishments maintain contact information, and enforce a 1-meter (3-foot) physical distance requirement. Mass sports and cultural events remain banned.
- Niue: The government has extended travel restrictions through Aug. 31; however, officials are allowing weekly flights from Auckland, New Zealand, for repatriation purposes and for essential personnel. Nonresident essential workers require an invitation from the government. All arriving passengers must quarantine for 14 days. Authorities continue to extend tourist visas for stranded foreign nationals at no cost.
- Northern Mariana Islands: Most flights to the territory remain suspended. Officials are no longer requiring arriving passengers to submit a health screening showing a negative test result for COVID-19. Authorities will quarantine all arriving travelers at designated facilities for five-seven days and undergo testing before release. Officials continue to enforce a nightly 2200-0500 curfew. Inter-island travel has resumed; while the government is not requiring health declarations for passengers who have not left the commonwealth, local carrier Star Marianas Air (US Airline Code: 1SQ) continues to require the measure as of May 21. Passengers can obtain a health clearance at Saipan International Airport (SPN) before departure.
- Palau: Inbound movement from abroad to remain suspended until further notice.
- Samoa: The border remains closed and inbound international travel is banned; however, officials are allowing four Air New Zealand (NZ) flights through May to repatriate citizens. Returning travelers will need a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure and must quarantine for 14 days after arrival. 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: All nonresident foreign nationals remain banned from entering the country. International flights and cruise ships are banned indefinitely. The government has extended the national state of emergency until July 25. Any returning citizens and residents are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a quarantine center upon entry to the country. Honiara remains a national emergency zone, requiring nonresidents of the city to return to their home provinces. The government has encouraged residents to reduce attendance at nonessential events and limit travel between Honiara and other provinces. The government has reopened casinos, pubs, and kava bars in the capital, though night clubs remain closed.
- Tonga: Authorities have extended an existing state of emergency until 2000 June 11; 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. Gatherings of up to 40 people can take place indoors, while up to 80 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 from Wednesdays through Saturdays. Officials have also imposed a 2200-0500 curfew.
- Tuvalu: Inbound travelers are required to undergo 14-day quarantines before entering the country.
- Vanuatu: Officials have extended an ongoing state of emergency through at least June 11. All ports of entry remain closed indefinitely. Inbound commercial international flights and cruise ships remain banned, though some international cargo flights have also occurred amid the ongoing response to Tropical Cyclone Harold. Domestic flights are operating.
- Wallis and Futuna: The border remains effectively closed, with an ongoing ban on passenger flights and ships. However, officials are allowing two yacht charters to repatriate residents; passengers will quarantine on the vessel for 14 days before entry. Authorities are using thermal scanners to screen arriving passengers.
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.