Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Southeast Asian countries continue to enforce travel restrictions as of April 7 due to COVID-19 activity. Additional measures possible.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • Myanmar
  • Laos
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines

This alert began 07 Apr 2020 10:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 28 Apr 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

Summary
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 April 7:

  • Brunei: Authorities have banned foreigners, including long-term pass holders, from entering or transiting in the country, and suspended all travel, student, and dependent visas. The government has also banned Bruneian nationals from leaving the country, except for medical emergency or educational reasons. Authorities are requiring all travelers, including citizens and foreigners, entering the country to undergo quarantine at designated facilities for 14 days

 

  • Cambodia: Officials have barred entry for foreign nationals coming from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the US through April 17 and foreign citizens arriving from Iran through April 18. The government has stopped issuing tourist and e-visas and suspended visa exemption policies through April 30. 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. Authorities are requiring any person returning from European countries, Iran, and the US to self-isolate for 14 days. All border checkpoints with Vietnam remain closed. The government also temporarily banned cruise ships from entering through K'am Samnar International Checkpoint in Kandal Province.

 

  • Indonesia: The government has banned foreigners from entering or transiting in the country. The restriction exempts permanent residents, diplomats, and transport workers. Inbound travelers, regardless of nationality, who show COVID-19 symptoms, will need to undergo quarantine at government premises. Authorities are advising all inbound passengers to self-quarantine for two weeks.

 

  • Laos: Authorities have suspended international passenger travel through April 19, with some limited exceptions. 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. Authorities have suspended visa issuance for all countries through April 20; only persons who intend to visit Laos for non-tourism purposes can obtain visas by submitting relevant documents, including a health declaration form, to Lao diplomatic missions. Officials are requiring overseas Lao workers returning to the country to undergo self-quarantine for two weeks.

 

  • Malaysia: Authorities have prohibited foreign nationals from entering Malaysia through at least April 14, 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 facilities upon arrival. Authorities are also prohibiting Malaysian nationals from traveling abroad while the restrictions are in place.

 

  • Myanmar: The government has barred foreign visitors with travel history to China's Hubei Province and South Korea's Daegu and North Gyeongsang provinces in the previous 14 days from entering Myanmar. Authorities have also halted all international flights through April 13 and suspended visa issuance and visa-free travel through April 30. Officials have banned all foreign nationals from entering through land border checkpoints. Officials are requiring returning Myanmar citizens and incoming foreigners, with some exceptions, to undergo a 14-day quarantine at government facilities; diplomats and resident UN officials may self-quarantine at home. All arriving foreigners need to obtain certification that they are free from COVID-19 within 72 hours of boarding Myanmar-bound flights.

 

  • Philippines: The government has suspended 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 Filipino citizens and diplomatic staff and their dependents. The measure also does not affect visa holders who are already in the Philippines. The government continues to prevent Filipino citizens, except for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and uniformed personnel on official duty, from departing the country.

 

  • Singapore: Authorities are banning entry or transit of all short-term visa holders; the measure also extends to work pass holders and their dependents, with exemptions for those providing essential services. The government is also requiring all inbound passengers who arrive in Singapore to submit an online health declaration form. The government continues to issue a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) to all inbound travelers. All travelers arriving from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, France, India, Switzerland, the UK, and the US will need to serve their SHN at designated facilities. Authorities are also conducting enhanced health screenings for incoming travelers at all points of entry; officials are requiring passengers showing COVID-19 symptoms to undergo a swab test upon arrival and will transfer suspected cases to hospitals for further checks.

 

  • Thailand: The government has banned all international arrivals, including by Thai citizens, through at least 1700 April 18. Authorities have also banned foreign nationals from entering the country through at least April 30; the measure exempts foreign diplomatic officials and some transport personnel. All arriving travelers must pass several health screenings and submit a completed health form. Local officials halted ground and maritime transport to Phuket through April 30, while air transport to the city will cease April 10-30.

 

  • Vietnam: Officials have banned entry for all foreign nationals into the country, with exemptions for essential and skilled workers. All travelers allowed into the country will undergo quarantine at designated government-run facilities for 14 days. Authorities have also suspended all inbound international passenger flights. Officials have closed the country's land borders with Cambodia and Laos for passenger transit.


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.

Advice
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.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int