Coronavirus: An Update on Travel Restrictions

World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, resulting in new travel restrictions from countries like the United States, India, and more.

New travel restrictions have now been announced, in order to contain the coronavirus.

Kuwait

The state in Western Asia has banned all commercial flights leaving and arriving at Kuwait City International Airport starting on March 13, in order to halt the spread of the coronavirus. According to the government, “this decision does not include cargo aircraft and planes carrying Kuwaitis [evacuated from abroad].”

Thailand

The country’s interior minister said that Thailand will temporarily suspend issuing visas on arrival to visitors from 19 countries and territories, including China, so as to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

India

The government of India has suspended all tourist visas and e-visas granted on or before March 11. “All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/international organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till April 15, 2020,” it has said in the statement. Visas of all foreigners already in India remain valid and they may contact the nearest FRRO/FRO through e-FRRO module for extension/conversion etc of their visa or grant of any consular service if they choose to do so.

In addition, Indian travel advisory dictates passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain, and Germany to undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their arrival, and their employers to facilitate work-from-home for such employees during this period.

United States

President Donald Trump has announced new travel restrictions in light of the coronavirus pandemic, prohibiting travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days. The travel ban, which does not affect flights from the United Kingdom, will begin on March 13. This move is aimed at keeping new cases from entering the U.S. shores.

Singapore

All new visitors with recent travel history to Mainland China, Iran, Northern Italy, and the Republic of Korea within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or to transit through Singapore.

In addition, those who enter Singapore with recent travel history to ASEAN countries, Japan, Switzerland or the United Kingdom will be issued with a 14-day stay-home notice. According to the Ministry of Health, this will take effect from 11.59 p.m. on March 16 and apply to all travelers, including Singapore residents, long-term pass holders, and short-term visitors.

However, this will not apply to Singaporeans and Malaysians using sea and land crossings with Malaysia.

The city-state announced that it will bar all short-term visitors from entering or transiting through the city-state to reduce the risk of imported cases. The government will also limit the entry of work permit holders to those in sectors such as healthcare and transport.

Argentina, Colombia, and Peru

These three countries announced that travelers from the countries worst-affected by the new coronavirus would be isolated on arrival.

Buenos Aires

The country announced a two-week isolation period for people arriving from China, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

Vietnam

Travelers from the 26 Schengen countries and the U.K., or those who have visited or transited through these countries in the past 14 days, will not be issued visas or allowed entry into the country. This also applies to those who currently hold visas or visa letters.

In addition, Vietnam has suspended visas on arrival for all foreign nationals. This applies to all new applicants, except those traveling for diplomatic or official purposes. Those who currently hold visas to enter Vietnam will need to undergo medical checks and may be quarantined before being allowed to enter the country.

New Zealand

According to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, everyone entering the country from midnight of March 15 must self isolate for 14 days in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

The only exemption is for the people from small South Pacific island countries, which currently have no reported cases. Plus, all cruise ships will be barred from New Zealand until June 30.

Malaysia

Prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced that Malaysia will be in a nationwide lockdown from March 18 until March 31. To limit the spread of coronavirus, the government has decided to implement a “restriction of movement order” under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967. As such, all businesses will be shut down, except supermarkets and grocery stores selling daily essentials, and utilities like telecommunications, transport, banking, health, and airports.

Foreign travelers will also be banned from entering the country and Malaysian citizens will not be allowed to travel abroad.

Hong Kong

From March 19 midnight onwards, all arriving passengers to Hong Kong will be placed under a two-week quarantine and medical surveillance. These passengers will be made to wear an electronic wristband, which is liked to a smartphone app, to ensure that they stay at home.

Spain

All hotels in Spain will close from March 24 onwards, so as to curb the spread of coronavirus. Currently, Spain is one of the most badly affected European countries in the pandemic.

Canada

The United States and Canada have agreed to restrict all non-essential travel across their border. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “These measures will last in place as long as we feel they need to last.”

Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will close its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents from March 20, 9 p.m. This ban will apply to all travelers except citizens, residents, and direct family members of citizens.

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