Malaysian authorities issued entry ban on all cruise ships, as of March 9, due to COVID-19. Other measures, such as travel bans, apply.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 09 Mar 2020 04:37 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 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

Malaysian officials have announced an entry ban for all cruise ships as of March 9 until further notice as part of the government's attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure came after local authorities in Penang State denied docking rights to a cruise ship over alleged COVID-19 risks March 7.

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 will 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.

Local authorities of Sabah and Sarawak states in east Malaysia have also implemented the following measures:

  • Sabah State: Local officials have banned foreigners and Malaysians who are non-Sabah residents with travel history to mainland China and South Korea in the past two weeks from entering the state. Sabah residents who have recently visited the two locations will also need to undergo a two-week self-quarantine upon return.
  • Sarawak State: Local 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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