Local authorities in Sabah State, Malaysia, bans travelers from Iran and Italy, as of March 10, due to COVID-19. Other measures apply.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 10 Mar 2020 06:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 24 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Enhanced health screenings, travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Air and sea transport disruptions, longer immigration wait times; possible quarantine measures

Sabah State authorities have expanded an entry ban, as of March 10, to include non-Sabah Malaysian residents and foreigners with travel history to Iran and Italy within the past 14 days. The measure, which is part of the attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), follows similar restrictions for mainland China and South Korea. Sabah residents who are returning from the four locations will need to undergo a two-week self-quarantine.

Federal officials have earlier announced that foreign citizens who have been to parts of mainland China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea in the past 14 days would not be able to enter Malaysia. The affected regions are Hubei, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces in mainland China; Gilan, Qom, and Tehran in Iran; Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, and Veneto in Italy; Hokkaido in Japan; as well as Cheongdo County and Daegu in South Korea. The measures for Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea exempt Malaysian permanent residents (PRs) as well as holders of Malaysian social pass and student pass. Officials also indicated that visitors arriving from Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea would undergo enhanced screenings. Additionally, officials have announced an entry ban for all cruise ships until further notice.

Sarawak State authorities have also implemented several measures. Officials have barred foreigners with recent travel to mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Macau, South Korea, and Taiwan in the last 14 days from entering the state. Officials are also advising Malaysians from outside Sarawak against traveling to the state if they have been to the aforementioned locations in the previous two weeks. Sarawak residents who have recently visited these locations will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Authorities could expand their response in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers but may lead to immigration delays.

Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions, particularly if traveling from mainland China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, as well as other countries with significant numbers of COVID-19 cases. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying traveling 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.

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