In early January 2020, a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause was detected in Wuhan City, Hubei, China. The resulting coronavirus COVID-19 has led to over 95,000 confirmed cases worldwide. Of these confirmed cases, the total number “recovered” is almost 54,000. Since mid-February, the rate of recovery has sharply increased (over 50%), while newly reported cases are clearly slowing in number. An Asia Coronavirus COVID-19 update has been issued by Destination Asia (DA).
Of the 11 destinations monitored by DA, there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Myanmar, Laos, or the island of Bali. Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia have recorded less than 110 confirmed cases collectively – of which, 70 people have made a full recovery. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 27, removed Vietnam from the list of destinations vulnerable to community transmission of COVID-19 citing Vietnam’s comprehensive actions against the epidemic.
Singapore and Hong Kong have recorded just over 100 cases each, and Japan close to 330. Advice on the Asia Coronavirus COVID-19 indicates to reconsider all non-essential travel to China until May. For all other destinations, DA is handling bookings as per usual. Life in these destinations continues as normal, and with the exception of China, travelling around the region remains easy.
With the exception of China, all travel plans can continue as normal. No travel restrictions have been issued by the WHO or national governments between other destinations in our portfolio. Rather than cancelling any planned trips, DA recommends rescheduling.
Answering questions concerning COVID-19
For the latest information and protection advice, the WHO offers a number of informative videos and printable notices for download from here.
The WHO also provides a daily situation report with specific figures on confirmed cases and distribution of COVID-19. The most recent (4 March) can be viewed here.
Update on general travel restrictions
An Asia Coronavirus COVID-19 update on current travel restrictions related to countries across the DA network has been compiled with the majority placing limits on travel from China.
All travelers regardless of nationalities coming from mainland China entering Hong Kong are required to go into mandatory quarantine for 14 days. This also applies to travelers who have visited Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy or Veneto regions in Italy or Iran in the past 14 days. Travelers who have visited South Korea within 14 days of arrival to Hong Kong will not be permitted entry. The Chief Executive has announced the suspension of immigration services at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and Ocean Terminal, thus no cruise ships will be accepted until further notice. At this point, all border crossings have been closed, except for the Shenzhen Bay joint checkpoint, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and international airport. At present, Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park, Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, and Jumbo Floating Restaurant are closed until further notice.
NOTE: World Rugby has announced the rescheduling of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. The tournament, originally on 3-5 April, will now be played at the Hong Kong Stadium from 16-18 October, 2020.
Sabah and Sarawak’s state cabinet has banned all flights from China. The ban has not been imposed by mainland Malaysia. Sarawak state also announced that anyone entering Sarawak who has been to Singapore must undergo a self-imposed 14-day home quarantine. All foreign nationals who have visited Daegu City or Cheongdo County in North Gyeonsang Province in the Republic of Korea, within 14 days of arrival to Malaysia (including Sarawak) will not be permitted entry. The KLCC Management requires all visitors including children and infants to complete a Health Declaration form before visiting Skybridge in Kuala Lumpur (effective from 29 February) until further notice.
Foreign nationals who have visited Hubei and/or Zhejiang Provinces in China; or Daegu City or Cheongdo County in North Gyeonsang Province in the Republic of Korea, within 14 days of arrival in Japan, will not be permitted entry. For the latest update on venues currently closed in Japan, please contact your Destination Asia Japan consultant.
The Indonesian government declared a ban on flights to and from mainland China from 5 February onwards and will not allow visitors who have stayed in China in the past 14 days to enter or transit. The free-visa policy for Chinese citizens has been temporarily suspended.
Vietnam’s civil aviation authority has suspended all flights between mainland China and Vietnam. Travelers on airlines from countries with reported cases of COVID-19 will have to submit a health declaration when entering Vietnam. Several border gates between Vietnam and China in the northern province of Lang Son remain closed. A number of airlines have temporarily suspended flights between South Korea and Vietnam. All foreign nationals who have visited Daegu City or Cheongdo County in North Gyeonsang Province in the Republic of Korea within 14 days will be denied entry.
Foreign nationals who have visited mainland China, Iran, northern Italy or South Korea, within 14 days of arrival in Singapore will not be permitted entry or transit.
Lao Airlines has temporarily suspended several routes to China. The Lao government has stopped issuing tourist visas at checkpoints bordering China.
A statement released by the Ministry of Health in Thailand on 3 March caused some confusion. The statement mentioned Germany, France, Italy, Iran, China, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea were classified as high risk, and that travelers coming from these areas would be quarantined. At present, this has not been imposed. For the most recent travel status reports from Thailand, please refer to the Tourism Authority of Thailand website.
CAMBODIA & MYANMAR
Currently, there are no travel restrictions between these countries and China.
For more videos and advice on basic protective measures against COVID-19, visit the WHO website.