Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Southeast Asian countries continue to enforce travel restrictions as of June 2 due to COVID-19 activity. Additional measures are possible.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • Myanmar
  • Laos
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malaysia
  • Timor-Leste (East Timor)
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines

This alert began 02 Jun 2020 04:18 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Southeast Asia (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Flight disruptions, longer immigration wait times, entry bans; possible quarantine measures

Countries in Southeast Asia continue to enforce travel restrictions and enhanced health screenings to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measures vary across the region; the following restrictions are in effect as of June 2:

  • Brunei: Authorities have banned foreigners, including long-term pass holders, from entering or transiting the country, and suspended all travel, student, and dependent visas. The government has also banned locals, permanent residents, and foreigners holding Bruneian identification cards from leaving the country. Only foreigners undergoing a medical emergency or resuming studies overseas can depart with approval from the Prime Minister's Office. Arrivals will undergo quarantine at designated facilities for 14 days.
  • Cambodia: Issuance of tourist visas and e-visas, visa-on-arrival services, and visa exemption remain suspended. Foreign visitors will need to obtain a visa from Cambodian diplomatic missions and provide proof of medical insurance worth at least USD 50,000 and a medical certificate from local health authorities stating they have not tested positive for COVID-19. Officials will test all arriving passengers for COVID-19 and require all travelers to quarantine for 14 days if any passenger tests positive for the disease. Authorities will permit travelers who test negative to self-quarantine. Most border checkpoints with Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam remain closed.
  • Indonesia: The government has banned foreigners from entering or transiting the country. The restriction exempts permanent residents, diplomats, and transport workers. Inbound travelers who show COVID-19 symptoms will undergo quarantine at government-designated premises. Authorities are advising all incoming passengers to self-quarantine for two weeks.
  • Laos: Authorities continue to ban international travel and suspend visa issuance, with exceptions for resident diplomats and essential workers, among others. The government is allowing foreigners already in the country to depart, while citizens can travel overseas for urgent reasons, such as essential government duties or medical purposes. People wishing to enter Laos must test negative for COVID-19 at a medical institution in the country where they come from within 72 hours before the trip. Officials will require symptomatic arrivals to undergo tests and quarantine at selected hospitals. Other incoming passengers are required to isolate for two weeks at government-designated facilities; authorities may allow diplomats, employees of international organizations, and their family members to self-quarantine at their residence.
  • Malaysia: Authorities have prohibited foreign nationals from entering Malaysia through at least June 9, with some limited exemptions such as foreign spouses and dependents of Malaysian citizens. All inbound passengers will have to undergo 14 days of quarantine at government-designated facilities. Malaysian nationals remain banned from traveling abroad while the restrictions are in place.
  • Myanmar: Officials have suspended all international flights, except for relief or cargo flights, and banned foreign nationals from entering through land border checkpoints. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also suspended visa issuance and visa-free travel to the country, with exemptions for diplomats, UN officials, and aircraft and ship crew. Returning Myanmar citizens and incoming foreigners, with some exceptions, will need to undergo a 21-day quarantine at government facilities and subsequent one-week self-isolation. Diplomats and resident UN officials can self-quarantine at their residence.
  • Philippines: The government continues to suspend all visas, including visas that the government has already issued, and visa-free privileges, effectively banning foreigners from entering the country. The restriction exempts foreign spouses and children of Philippine citizens and diplomatic staff and their dependents. All arriving travelers will undergo a two-week quarantine at government-designated facilities. Philippine citizens, except for Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and uniformed personnel on official duty, remain banned from departing the country.
  • Singapore: Officials have banned entry or transit of all short-term visa holders; the measure extends to work pass holders and their dependents, with exemptions for those providing essential services like healthcare and transport. All long-term visit pass and student pass holders will need to apply for government approval before traveling to Singapore. Officials are allowing foreign nationals to transit at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) with precautions in place. Authorities are requiring all arriving passengers to submit an online health declaration up to three days before entering the country. Officials are also continuing to conduct enhanced health screenings for incoming travelers at all points of entry; passengers who show COVID-19 symptoms must undergo a swab test. Authorities will transfer suspected cases to hospitals for further checks. All inbound travelers will undergo quarantine at government-designated facilities for 14 days.
  • Thailand: Authorities have extended a ban on inbound passenger flights through June 30. The government has also banned foreigners from entering the country, with limited exemptions, including for diplomats.
  • Timor-Leste: Officials have closed the country's borders to all travelers, including East Timorese citizens; exemptions from the travel restrictions require approval from the Prime Minister's Office. People who can enter the country will undergo a 14-day quarantine at government facilities.
  • Vietnam: Foreign nationals remain banned from entering the country, with exceptions for essential and skilled workers. Individuals who can enter Vietnam will undergo quarantine for 14 days at government-run facilities. Land borders with Cambodia and Laos remain closed for passenger travel. Authorities plan to resume issuing electronic visas to foreign nationals from 80 countries, including Australia, mainland China, Japan, and the US, from July 1.

Governments could expand their response in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country. The measures may lead to immigration delays, especially for passengers from locations with significant numbers of COVID-19 cases. Government flight bans and airline flight reductions due to decreased demand are likely to continue in the near term. The operational status of flights can change without notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures correspond with similar actions taken by other governments worldwide in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

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.

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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