Malaysian officials to impose entry ban on citizens of Iran, Italy, and South Korea, from March 13, due to COVID-19. Other measures apply.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 12 Mar 2020 08:08 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 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

Authorities in Malaysia announced that citizens of Iran, Italy, and South Korea, as well as foreign nationals with travel history to the aforementioned countries, will be denied entry starting March 13. The measure is part of the government's attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Additionally, Malaysian nationals, permanent residents, and pass holders who are returning from the affected nations will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the country.

Authorities had also banned foreign nationals who have been to mainland China's Hubei, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces, as well as Hokkaido in Japan, in the past 14 days, from entering Malaysia. Additionally, officials had earlier announced an entry ban for all cruise ships until further notice.

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

  • Sabah State authorities have banned non-residents and foreigners with travel history to mainland China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea within the past 14 days, from entering the state. Sabah residents who are returning from the four locations will need to undergo a two-week self-quarantine.
  • Sarawak State officials have barred foreigners with recent travel to mainland China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea in the previous 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-isolate 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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