Is it Safe to Travel to Asia During the COVID-19 Outbreak?
The deadly coronavirus COVID-19 has been spreading globally in the past month. You may wonder whether it is still safe to travel in Asia.
Here are our latest updates on the COVID-19 situation in Asia and how it may affect your travel plans as of May 6, 2020.
Asia’s Coronavirus Situation: May 6 2020
Except for in China, Iran, Japan, and South Korea, Asian countries have relatively few cases of COVID-19 or no cases at all. China’s new cases per day rate is now below 100, as has South Korea’s been in the last few days, and Japan’s has remained at that rate for over a month. [May 6, 2020]
This table shows the COVID-19 situation in Asian countries covered by Asia Highlights tours on May 6, 2020:
|Country||Confirmed Cases||Deaths||Recovered||Current Cases|
Should I Still Travel to Asia?
You might wonder if it is safe to visit Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the rest of Asia now?
Our recommendation is to follow the advice of local authorities and your government and make your decision based on your personal situation.
Asian Countries with CDC Warning/Alert Levels
For all countries: Warning-Level 4, Do Not Travel
Further Asia Travel Coronavirus Considerations
The WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
What Can I Expect Now When Traveling in Asia?
Countries covered by Asia Highlights tours have imposed the following restrictions:
All countries have health questionnaires and temperature screenings at entry points. All passengers will be tested further if they have flu-like symptoms. Those who are suspected to have COVID-19 or at risk to spread it will be quarantined or denied entry. The detailed policy for each country are as below (Mid-March 2020)
all visitors to show a certificate of health (no COVID) 72 hours before entry. All visitors are required to show proof of health insurance, with a minimum coverage of US$100.000 and covering COVID-19, effective from 00:00 of 18th of March 2020 for the next 30 days.
Vietnam has stopped issuing visas for foreigners entering Vietnam from the 18th of March 2020 for 30 days. All travelers (ANY NATIONALITY) entering Vietnam from another ASEAN country are subject to a health check and mandatory 14-day quarantine effective 18 March 2020 for 30 days. Many tourist sites are closed. Vietnam Airlines has stopped all international flights until the end of April.
Cambodia has announced a 30-day entry ban on nationals from Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and the US; and a ban on cruise ships and riverboats entering its territory. Entertainment venues such as Phare circus, many bars, and some tourist sites have been closed.
China is imposing a 14-day quarantining of all travelers, as well as screening and registration at most major entrances to monitor its residents and visitors.
India requires all passengers arriving in the country to self-quarantine for 14 days if they have visited China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain or Germany.
Indonesia has suspended its visa exemption and visa-on-arrival for ALL countries, effective 20 March until April 10, 202. All visitors wanting to visit Indonesia must apply for a visa in advance.
Japan has canceled at least two cherry blossom festivals so far.
Laos has stopped issuing Visa on Arrival and e-Visa for all countries effective March 20 until April 20, 2020.
Malaysia has banned passengers from the Westerdam cruise ship from entering and Sarawak requires a 14-day home quarantine for travelers coming from Singapore.
Myanmar has announced all visitors arriving from or having visited Italy, Iran, France, Spain, and Germany in the past 14 days shall be subjected to 14-day medical quarantine upon arrival, effective from 16 March 2020 until further notice.
Nepal will cancel all climbing permits for Mt. Everest from 14 March until April 30. It has also announced a suspension of VOAs for all foreigners till 30 April.
North Korea will impose a 30-day quarantine on any foreign visitors.
The Philippines has announced a halt to domestic land, sea, and air travel to and from Manila, together with community quarantine measures, as well as a ban on people traveling from South Korea’s North Gyeongsang province.
Singapore will block entry or transit for visitors who have traveled to or come from China, Iran, the Republic of Korea, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany.
From 23:59 of 16 March 2020, all visitors entering Singapore with recent travel history to ASEAN countries, Japan, Switzerland or the UK within the last 14 days will be issued with a 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN). They will be required to provide proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day SHN - a hotel booking covering the entire period or a place of residence they or their family members own. They may also be swabbed for testing for COVID-19, even without any symptoms.
South Korea is applying special screening measures to arrivals from all European countries.
Check with your tour operator and transport and accommodation providers if you’re concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your upcoming trip.
What Can I Expect at the Airport?
In Southeast Asia, many countries have introduced entry restrictions at airports. If you have recently been in China or other affected countries such as South Korea and Italy, you may not be allowed to enter or transit, or you may be required to enter a period of quarantine after entry.
Screening measures on arrival may include temperature checks, and you could be asked about your general health or recent travel history.
There are fewer people at the airports, and you will spend less time standing in line.
What Precautions Should I Take?
If you are traveling to Southeast Asia soon, follow the advice from the World Health Organization to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19:
- Wash your hands frequently. Wash your hands for 20+ seconds with soap or a 60–75% alcohol solution (hand sanitizer), especially after contact with potential carriers (including animals) or surfaces they or their breath could have touched.
- Do not touch your nose/mouth/eyes etc. with unwashed hands.
- Maintain social distancing. Maintain at least 3 ft (1m) distance between yourself and others, further if anyone is coughing or sneezing.
- Practice respiratory hygiene. Use tissues for clearing your nose/throat, bagging/binning hygienically, and sanitizing hands afterwards. If you don’t have a tissue or hand sanitizer to hand, cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze.
- If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
10 Travel Tips to Make Your Trip Safer
Here are some travel tips to make your trip safer amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
- Stay up to date with local news and media to be prepared for changes to transport schedules.
- Arrange your trip with some flexibility in case your travel plans get disrupted due to flight cancellations.
- Get travel insurance when you book a trip so that you can change or cancel your plans should you need or want to.
- Try to avoid crowded transport. A private tour with a private car and guide is safer than a big group tour.
- Skip crowded places where you'll be in close contact with other people.
- Try to book refundable flights and hotel rooms.
- Try to book a window seat for your air/train travel if possible, to try to have fewer interactions and moments of exposure with other passengers and crew members.
- Stay aware of your surroundings in areas where large numbers of people congregate, such as shopping malls, markets, tourist sites, and monuments.
- Pack a surplus of hand sanitizer and tissues.
- Optimize your immunity: get plenty of sleep and vitamin C and avoid stress.
Asia Highlights Cares for Your Health and Safety
We have been in the travel industry for over 20 years and we have lots of experience with handling situations such as viral outbreaks and natural disasters.
It is important to us that you feel comfortable and safe during your visit and we will respect any requests or decisions you make regarding your travels. Any customer that has booked a trip with us can cancel or reschedule it with our support during the time of the coronavirus outbreak.
Visit Southeast Asia Your Way with Us
Want to explore this incredible region? Contact one of our local experts for a more authentic experience to enrich your once-in-a-lifetime Southeast Asia tour.
Our specialists have explored the region’s facets and can help plan your vacation as a unique tailor-made trip to match your preferences.