With the coronavirus cases rising significantly every day around the world, many travellers can’t help but worry about their holiday plans. Some of their concerns include if the destination they’re traveling to may be affected and unsafe to travel, or if the situation will turn for the better a month or two down the road.
Countries with a significant number of confirmed cases at the time of writing include mainland China, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. Recently, countries in Europe began to bear the brunt of the outbreak, with Italy, Spain and France recording a high number of cases. Therefore, we’ve decided to write a coronavirus travel advice — which is essentially a compilation of travel advisories and local updates — for travelers to take note and decide for themselves if it’s safe to hop on a plane to the other side during this trying times.
COVID-19 TRAVEL ADVISORY (SUSPENDED FLIGHTS)
Check out our compilation of airlines who are temporarily suspending their flights due to #COVID19.
Total Cases and Deaths by Country (10 or more) - 24th March 2020
Countries in bold indicate those with 1,000 or more cases.
- Check worldometer for the latest daily number updates.
|Countries||Total Cases||Total Deaths||Total Recovered|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||136||1||2|
|Trinidad and Tobago||51||-||-|
|World Total Cases:||378,910||16,515||102,069|
As of March 13, 2020, The Star reports that the peak in China’s COVID-19 cases is over with the number of confirmed cases in Wuhan Province itself dropping to a single digit, and only eight new cases since Wednesday, 11 March 2020. Mi Feng, the spokesperson for the National Health Commission, said that the COVID-19 situation in China could be brought under control by June.
The number of new cases in China saw a gradual drop over the recent days since then, with no new local transmission cases being reported so far. However, the rise of imported cases meant that China is still not free from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last March 23, the first epicenter of the pandemic, Wuhan City, has relaxed its stringent restrictions as the city reported no new cases. Some residents are able to go out of their residential compounds ever since the outbreak began. Some of the citizens are also returning to their work as businesses began reopening once again.
Stay updated with China's happenings:
Local newspaper: China Daily’s Facebook page
Travellers are advised to postpone all travel to China until further notice. Travelers who have returned from China should monitor their health for two weeks and minimize contact with other people. Travelers who develop symptoms of a cough, fever or shortness of breath should seek medical attention immediately.
2. South Korea
As of March 17, 2020, more than 80 new deaths from COVID-19 have been announced, with Gyeongsan — a city not far from Seoul — declared as a “special care zone” by the health ministry. With South Korea’s advanced medical system, the country has extended the necessary measures to screen arrivals from Europe. Prime Minister Chung ye-Kyun directed the Ministry of Health and Welfare, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to go through necessary action and precautions to determine where the “imported new virus” stemmed from, Channel News Asia reports.
In the latest report by Reuters, the number of new COVID-19 cases has reached its lowest ever since the pandemic peaked in the country last February 29. The number of new cases has been decreasing over the past few days, which is a positive development for the East Asian country battling the pandemic. The drop in new cases has been widely attributed to the rapid and systematic testing of people who are suspected to have contracted the disease.
However, the outbreak is not yet over for the country. As of March 23, the total number of people infected is at a staggering 8,961.
Stay updated with South Korea's happenings:
Local newspaper: Korea Times
Tourism Board: Korea Tourism Organization
Travelers who have returned from South Korea should monitor their health for two weeks and minimize contact with other people. Travelers who develop symptoms of a cough, fever or shortness of breath should seek medical attention immediately.
Italy is confirmed to be the worst country hit by the virus in Europe. The government, along with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, announced on the 9th of March 2020 that the influx of funds is to be used to mitigate the impact of the outbreak. With all 20 regions of Italy having confirmed cases of COVID-19, it is a must to contain the outbreak at the highest possible level with an official lockdown on the country as of 10 March 2020, according to the Telegraph. All travel is prohibited all over Italy, as well as public events and gatherings throughout the country.
As of 17 March 2020, COVID-19 has left Italy with more than 27,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths in just the last few days — prompting the World Health Organization to escalate the epidemic into a pandemic. Italy has been on lockdown for days now, with locals being forced to stay indoors, singing patriotic songs in balconies in support of the trying times the country is in, according to the Guardian.
To further stem the COVID-19 cases within the country, the government has banned all non-essential movement across the country. Supermarkets, banks, and pharmacies will stay open. Travel between municipalities will be strictly monitored by the police, and will only be allowed for urgent matters and health reasons.
Stay updated with Italy's happenings:
Local newspaper: BBC News
Travel advisories: Read more
COVID-19 Information: Read more
Travelers who have returned from Italy should monitor their health for two weeks and minimize contact with other people. Travelers who develop symptoms of a cough, fever or shortness of breath should seek medical attention immediately.
Travel is still prohibited all over Italy.
Currently, Iran has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the Middle East. In late February 2020, Al Jazeera has reported that Iran has one of the highest numbers of infected civilians outside of China. This has prompted the country to close its borders — as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) — to lessen the risk of spreading the virus. An official advisory from the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, was released stating the need for people to seriously consider avoiding travel as well as the need to take the government’s warnings seriously amidst the outbreak and health crisis.
As of March 18, 2020, Channel News Asia reports that the death rate from COVID-19 has escalated to more than 1,000 cases, which has prompted the health minister to close down schools and universities until early April. The escalating outbreak has also led to the postponement of the Abadan oil field until mid-April. China, along with the World Health Organization, has sent out more test kits and medical supplies to help support the country’s efforts to contain the outbreak.
As the number of cases escalates, the Iranian government has made sure to contain the virus from spreading by banning public events and gatherings. Pharmaceutical-Technology reports that the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced that all film and TV shootings will be cancelled until further notice. Along with this comes other art and culture programs across Iran to close temporarily, suspending a ton of social and cultural activities that will have a bearing on Iran’s tourism and economy.
However, unlike other countries suffering a very high case of COVID-19, there is no nationwide lockdown for the whole country yet. Many Iranians are expecting a lockdown in light of the rising cases of people who have the disease. However, last March 15, the Iranian president declared that no city will be put under quarantine. The country is also facing a hard time with sanctions that were put in place by the US due to strife last January. Iranian officials have called for an endto the sanctions, but the US is adamant in lifting it. Instead, aid was offered — but Iranian officials declined the aid.
Stay updated with Iran's happenings:
Local news: Al Jazeera
Travel advisories: Read more
Travellers who have returned from Iran should monitor their health for two weeks and minimize contact with other people.Travel advisories have also been issued against travelling to or remaining in Iran due to rising tensions in the Middle East.
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, announced the implementation of a new law that would broaden the emergency legal powers of the government in handling the COVID-19 crisis that could extend until 2022, Japan Times reports.
Tourist destinations like Tokyo Disneyland will remain close until mid-April, while Abe reassures the country that the G7 countries will show support in their time of need to make sure the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will push through, according to Channel News Asia. Still, there’s a growing pressure from several countries to cancel the Olympics. Canada has already withdrawn its athletes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The cancellation of the 2020 Olympics will have a severe effect on the country’s economy, Japan Times reported.
Stay updated with Japan's happenings:
Japan Safe Travel by JNTO: Twitter page
Travel advisories: Read more
COVID-19 information: Read more
France is the first country in Europe to report COVID-19 cases. According to The Sun, the French authorities have closed down a number of tourist spots like the Louvre and cancelled several huge events by March 2. The cases confirmed in France has reached past 5,000 cases, with Haute-Savoie and Oise having the most cases from the outbreak.
As of March 12, the French president Emmanuel Macron closed down several schools and universities. He advised people 70 years old and above to reside at home and avoid going out. France 24 reports that despite the viral outbreak causing more than 60 deaths and more than 2,000 infected people, the upcoming national elections will not be cancelled. On March 17, France announced the possible closure of its borders but only in coordination with other EU nations. Aljazeera reports that the government will also be deploying 100,000 police to further enforce the lockdown, while fixed checkpoints that will be scattered across the country’s borders.
Last March 22, the French parliament voted in favour of giving the French president expanded powers after it was agreed to declare a state of emergency for the whole country. The state of emergency will remain for two months after its adoption and would allow the government to support the struggling economy, as well as delay municipal elections scheduled for June.
There’s also an online advice site for people who suspect that they have contracted the disease, The Local reports. The online advice site guides and assesses people and advise them if they likely have the disease. The site was set up in response to the lack of widespread testing due to a newer testing policy where a person can only be tested if s/he fits a specific criteria.
Stay updated with France's happenings:
Local news: France 24
Online advice site: Maladie Coronavirus
COVID-19 information: Read more
As of March 17th, the number of confirmed cases doubled to more than 7,000, according to the Robert Koch Institute for Disease Control. DW reports that Germany’s largest airport, Frankfurt International Airport has had several flight cancellations and has had quite an impact on the country’s tourism. With an increasing number of cases daily, there aren’t many concrete figures in the next two weeks.
Channel News Asia reports that the German government is will be taking bigger steps to alleviate the spread of COVID-19. Jens Spahn, the German Health Minister, officially cancels all events that gather more than 1,000 attendees all over the country — some of which include Berlin’s travel fest ITB, and The Hannover Messe, to name a few.
To soften the impact of COVID-19 pandemic to the country’s economy, chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a plan to increase borrowing by as much as 150 million EUR this year. There’s also a 500 billion EUR bailout fund for companies affected by the lockdown and outbreak. Meanwhile, the chancellor herself is on quarantine after interacting with her doctor who was later diagnosed with the disease.
Stay updated with Germany's happenings:
Ministry of health: Federal Ministry of Health
COVID-19 Information: Read more
As of 17 March 2020, there are more than 9,000 cases of COVID-19 infections in Spain, which were mainly probed from the regions of Madrid, northeast Catalan, Valencia, Castilla-Leon, Extremadura, and Castilla-La Mancha. Thus far, 16 out of 17 communities in Spain have been confirmed positive for COVID-19.
The largest number of infected people came from a trip to Italy, where 15 cases went from active to confirmed in the city of Valencia. In terms of prevention and health management, the director of the Coordination Center of Health Alerts at the Spanish Ministry of Health, Fernando Simon, has mentioned that while there will not be any specific cancellations for public events, extra precautions will be set in place to deter any possible outbreaks.
More than 10 staff members from the Valdemoro Seniors’ Center were infected with the COVID-19, with at least three who were infected and passed away from the virus in the same facility. This prompted health officials to close down 213 senior facilities in Madrid for one month, according to Channel News Asia. However, the ongoing crisis in the country has also resulted in the abandonment of some elderly people, with soldiers finding dead and abandoned bodiesin some centres.
The country has also announced that it will be extending its lockdown until April 11. People are only allowed outdoors if they need to buy food or medicines, seek medical help, or travel to and from work. To deal with the stress of being confined indoors, some have turned to renting their own dogs so that others can take a walk outside — after all, talking a pet for a walk is one of the allowed outdoor activities, The Local reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suspended entry to the United States for foreign nationals who have visited China within the past 14 days. Travel restrictions have been officially implemented by the Trump administration which took into effect beginning the 29th of February.
According to CNBC, The State Department sent a warning against cruise ship travel as 21 people were declared to have been positive for COVID-19 from the Grand Princess cruise ship.
New York City is topping the most cases with an estimate of at least 100 who tested positive for COVID-10. New York governor Andrew Cuomo immediately acted on this and deployed National Guard troops to the health department command post in New Rochelle, a suburb of the Big Apple. However, despite their best efforts to contain the pandemic, the city is seeing an increase in the number of new cases. It now has 5% of all the total cases in the world, according to The New York Times’ latest report.
As of 16 March 2020, the US has reached over 3,500 confirmed cases of the notorious coronavirus, according to NBC News. This has spurred President Trump to implement a travel ban on Europe and any foreign nationals coming from or transferring from a European country. The Congress is also on a deadlock as they fight over a stimulus package aimed at saving the US economy.
The New York Times reports that big events and big names in Hollywood have been directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak as well. Actor Tom Hanks, along with his wife, Rita Wilson, were reported to have the coronavirus, while the much anticipated NBA season sporting events will be canceled, according to CBS Sports. Politicians are not spared from the pandemic too, as senator Rand Paul announced that he was infected by the disease.
As of 4 March 2020, the Singapore Tourism Board announced that travellers who will be arriving the country with exhibiting fever and symptoms of COVID-19 will be asked to do a swab test at the checkpoint as heightened precautionary measures. All other travellers should monitor their health closely for two weeks through a home quarantine rule upon entering or arriving from Singapore.
Singapore officially attains more than 200 cases of the COVID-19, with more than 100 more recently confirmed in recovery as of 17 March 2020. Despite the rise in Singapore’s COVID-19 cases, the government has still not yet implemented a nationwide lockdown. However, by March 22, the country had closed its borders to tourists and short-term visitors to stem the number of imported cases. In a worrying development, the country also saw its highest single-day spike last March 23, with up to 54 new cases alone.
Stay updated with Singapore's happenings:
Travel advisories: Read more
Local news: The Straits Times
COVID-19 information: Read more
11. Hong Kong
Similar to China, Hong Kong, and Macau have had delayed and canceled flights for months now. With a hundred cases intact, travel to the country has been banned in the Philippines, with the exception of Filipino domestic workers who are allowed to go back to their jobs.
Flights from Vietnam and Taiwan to Hong Kong are still operational as of March 2nd, according to Asean Briefing. It’s also been reported as of 9 March 2020 that Cathay Pacific Airlines will be closing its Vancouver, Canada base come June due to the increasing pressure the COVID-19 outbreak brings.
As for the US, the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, they have put up a level 2, exercise increased caution, advisory to Hong Kong on 20 February 2020.
While the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom has directed attention for travelers to expect increased health screening measures like temperature checks on entry to and departure from Hong Kong.
South China Morning Post reports the arrival of Hong Kong residents in the city who arrived from Wuhan province. They will be immediately transferred to an isolated location then quarantined for 14 days for precaution.
With more than 150 confirmed infections in Hong Kong as of 17 March 2020, a travel warning has been raised to the entire country of Italy as it is reportedly on lockdown, as of the 9th of March, as well as a few parts of France, Germany, Spain, and Japan. There is also the issuance of a ‘Red Outbound Travel Alert’ that shall be imposed on the UK, Ireland, and the US.
Follow the Hong Kong English-language newspaper, South China Morning Post’s Facebook page for up to date news.
Stay updated with Hong Kong's happenings:
Local news: South China Morning Post’s Facebook page
Daily Updates: Asean Briefing
Tourism website: Singapore Tourism Board
Unlike other European countries, the approach of the United Kingdom to COVID-19 pandemic is a bit different. While the cases there have now reached the 3,000-people mark, the government of the UK has still not declared a nationwide lockdown. However, the prime minister of the country, Boris Johnson, has already ordered public places to close down last March 20.
Public establishments like parks and pubs are already closed following a surge in the number of cases on the capital city of UK, London. However, the city is still not yet on complete lockdown. Most shops that sell non-essential goods and services have been told to shut down as hospitals around the city are being inundated with new patients with the disease.
As a precaution, the government is urging the practice of proper handwashing and other precautionary measures. The country is also deviating a bit from the standard guidelines posed by the World Health Organisation, reserving only the tests for patients with respiratory problems.
The specific guidelines laid out by the prime minister also includes restricting travel to essential ones. Those who are experiencing serious medical conditions are required to quarantine themselves at home. To manage the outbreak, the country has dedicated 12 billion GBP to support UK’s economy through drastic measures such as helping the struggling aviation industry.
Stay updated with UK's happenings:
Local news: The Telegraph
NHS website: National Health Service
Travel advisories: Read more
COVID-19 updates: Read more
The Netherlands has reportedly more than 250 confirmed cases of COVID-19. According to the Dutch government, the Dutch Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that travelers from Hubei, China will not be allowed in or through the country. As of 8 March 2020, non-essential travel to the rest of China is also advised by the MFA, the same applies to those who have plans on heading to Northern-Italy.
According to this website, the ongoing outbreak has not prompted the Dutch government to place any enhanced screening quarantine measures to further reduce the risks of the outbreak from spreading.
Stay updated with the Netherlands' COVID-19 updates:
Ministry of Health: The Netherlands’ Ministry of Health
COVID-19 Information: Read more
As of March 4th, India has implemented a health screening of the coronavirus symptoms for all international passengers, according to the Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan. The Hindu reports that fourteen tourists from Italy have caught the COVID-19 and were previously with the Italian man who first caught the bug in Rajasthan. Mass gatherings are also advised by Indian authorities to be avoided, which include temple visits.
There are reportedly more than sixty cases in India, with an official advisory urging Indian citizens to avoid non-essential and tourist travel to countries with high cases of COVID-19 cases, some of which are strictly advised not to travel to include China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. Asean Briefing reports that as of 9 March 2020, the state of Arunachal Pradesh announced that it will be denying entry to all foreign nationals as a heightened precaution to prevent the outbreak from spreading further.
As of 12 March 2020, the Indian government has announced a travel ban on all foreign tourists, including OCI cardholders and those who hold a valid visa, until 15 April 2020.
The Union Health Ministry revised their travel advisory last 3rd March 2020, stating that new travelers from said COVID-19 infected countries must apply for a new visa if travel is utmost necessary, according to Khaleej Times. However, visa restrictions apply to foreign nationals who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan on or after February 1st, as well as those who have not yet gone to India.
17 March 2020 has India closing tourist spots in the country, specifically the Taj Mahal to visitors. However, there will be a travel ban on all European travelers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK as the number of cases testing positive reaches more than 100.
Sporting events have also been postponed, including the IPL Twenty20 Cricket Tournament, and domestic football until further notice. Other establishments that have been shut down include schools, theatres, and cinemas, and a couple of dining establishments, which may extend up to one month amidst the outbreak in Delhi.
In a joint statement released last 11th of February 2020 by the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP), it has stated that the Philippines remains a safe destination for travel. However, there is a temporary entry ban for tourists coming from China, it’s Special Administrative Regions (SARs), Hong Kong and Macau, Taiwan.
The most number of cases probed is in Metro Manila, followed by Central Luzon area, and then Central Visayas. As of 9 March 2020, the DOH reports cases. More than 50 cases are presently active in the country which prompted Philippine Airlines to cancel flights to and from South Korea and Taipei.
Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte declared a public health emergency due to the COVID-19. The Star reports that the DOH raised the crisis to a Code Red Sublevel. The president himself, along with a few other senatorial staff will be testing for the COVID-19 as three of his cabinet members made contact with someone infected during a committee meeting, according to Asean Briefing.
As of 17 March 2020, 12 new cases were reported to have developed in Metro Manila, bumping up the total number of positive cases to more than 100. Despite school suspensions, Duterte has announced a “total lockdown” in the Luzon region, according to CNN Philippines, which will require militarization of entry and exit points within and outside of Metro Manila. This will also mean the suspension of transportation, and stricter work from home policies to be implemented by the private business sector. Residents will only be able to leave their households to buy food and stock up on medicine from supermarkets and pharmacies. Malls, bars, and other establishments are to be ordered closed in an effort to contain the outbreak.
Cebu Pacific Airlines have also declared the suspension of all domestic flights to and from Metro Manila. International flights will be unaffected and will push through but with extended self-quarantine precautions upon arrival of the passengers’ home country. As of 17 March 2020, Philippine Airlines announced the cancelation of all domestic flights, while stocks, bonds, and currency trading are in stoppage until further notice.
Stay updated with The Philippine's happenings:
Local news: Philstar
Ministry of Health: Department of Health
COVID-19 Information: Read more
There is currently no official travel advisory from Cambodia. The Westerdam cruise ship was given a green light to dock in Cambodia after three other countries refused access due to the Diamond Princess cruise ship that has docked in Japan.
However, passengers were only allowed off after thorough health checks have been made on every single person in the 2,000 person-capacity ships. According to Asean Briefing, more than 700 passengers on the Westerdam vessel tested negative for the virus after getting off.
As of 13 March 2020, three British nationals were found on a tourist boat situated on the Mekong River. Aljazeera, all of which are above sixty years of age. The rest of the 61 passengers reportedly tested negative for the virus and will be isolated and promptly monitored upon docking.
Cambodia, as of 18 March 2020 has more than 30 positive cases of the COVID-19 prompting the imposed travel ban on foreigners from Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and the US for a month. Schools are suspended, while popular tourist destinations in Phnom Penh will be closed until further notice.
Stay updated with Cambodia's happenings:
Local news: Khmer Times
COVID-19 Information: Read more
The travel advisory that was issued by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 11 February 2020 has stated citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to countries with widespread transmissions like Hubei, China, Iran, South Korea, Northern Italy, and Tyrol, Austria. NIPH advises travelers arriving from such countries and other infected countries to quarantine themselves for 14 days and monitor their health for symptoms of COVID-19.
In the northern part of Scandinavia, Norway officially hits more than 400 confirmed cases of the COVID-19, with one death resulting from the virus. It was also reported that Norway’s Ministry of Health and Care Services (HOD) that patients have been confined to a medical facility for the first time as of the 10th of March. Life in Norway states that several schools and universities have been shut down until further notice, followed by several big businesses suspending functions and work. The Oslo Stock Exchange and major airlines have suffered a lot since the outbreak started, with Norwegian making a decision to scrap 3,000 flight cancelations from March until mid-June.
The most cases have been found in the cities of Bergen, Oslo, Viken, and Trondelag. The Institute of Public Health was said to have issued a new advisory as of 10 March 2020, by canceling big events and mass gatherings with more than 500 attendees. They also reiterated the need to practice utmost cleanliness and for companies to adhere to a work-from-home arrangement with employees, which many Norwegian companies have abided by.
13 March 2020 brings the country of Norway to a much more severe peak of the COVID-19 outbreak with more than 800 who tested positive for the notorious virus. Forbes reports that the Norwegian government has declared the country on lockdown and began highly cautious and preventive measures to contain the virus at 6:00 pm CET on 12 March 2020. Establishments like restaurants, public gathering spaces, cultural events, sporting fixtures, resorts, and museums among others will be closed. Travelers who will be arriving in the country will have to go through a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
In the provinces of Ticino, Zurich, Geneva, Vaud, and Aaragu, Switzerland has reportedly confirmed new cases of the coronavirus as of 18th February 2020. The Local has reported the statement from Swiss health authorities, affirming that all infected patients are currently being treated in hospital isolation units and are reportedly in good health.
The Swiss government has also suspended all major events with more than 1,000 participants in the country until March 15th, 2020, to further heighten preventive measures during the outbreak.
As of 9 March 2020, over 300 cases have been confirmed in Switzerland which led to the Swiss government declaring the outbreak “special” under the terms of the Epidemics Act. Travel bans and cancelation of events fall under this special extension of legal power to further contain the COVID-19 from spreading in other parts of Switzerland.
The Swiss canton of Ticino is officially under a state of emergency due to the outbreak, with many schools, public and private establishments shutting down to further contain the situation. Some universities will still remain open at this stage, while limited border crossings available for certain occupations. The city of Geneva has declared several cancelations of events of over 100 attendees, as of 12 March 2020.
Following the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, the Australian Government has also put up a level 4, do not travel, advisory to China and Iran. All travelers who are arriving from Iran will be quarantined for 14 days.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison announced the activation of the protocol coined as the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19.) The Guardian reports last 7 March 2020 that a Melbourne based doctor who returned to Australia was infected by COVID-19 from a trip to the USA. Said doctor then came in contact with about 70 patients which left health minister Jenny Mikakos shocked for the blatant lack of responsibility seen in the hospital.
Qantas Airlines along with Jetstar has canceled almost 25 percent of their flights in the next six months. This will include routes to Asia and the US that are placed on public health emergency alerts, according to the Telegraph.
As of 19 March 2020, there are more than 600 positive cases of the coronavirus in Australia. This website reports that Queensland has more than 100 new cases, while Western Australia has more than 30 new cases, prompting the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison to pursue a ban on all non-residents heading back to Australia. He also declared the closure of borders to non-residents and non-citizens in order to contain the outbreak in many parts of Australia.
Stay updated with Australia's happenings:
Ministry of Health: Australian Government’s Department of Health
COVID-19 Information: Read more
As of February 19th, the Malaysian government declared a temporary travel restriction to visitors who have a passport under the People’s Republic of China. Unwell travelers who have been to China or exposed to someone who was in China in the last six weeks should seek medical experts promptly.
More than 30 active cases of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Malaysia as of 5 March 2020. The Malaysian government will be implementing a travel ban on passengers from the Westerdam ship as they also continue to repatriate Malays from Hubei, according to the Asean Briefing.
Malaysia Airlines also announced the continuous reduction of flights that will fly out to and from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong among others. Malaysia Airlines says that the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee implemented the rule for passengers to fill up a Health Declaration Form upon entry, as well other precautionary guidelines from those who are coming from Singapore, Italy, Iran, and Japan. It’s been announced that Malaysia will be closing its borders with Singapore on a trial period of 14 days, as of 18 March 2020.
As of 9 March 2020, the government of Malaysia officially barred the entry and dockage of Costa Fortuna cruise ship which is reportedly inhabited by 2,000 people, majority of whom are Italian descent. With more than 700 cases active in the country, the Malaysian government is taking extra precautions to further prevent the outbreak from spreading, starting with travel bans via airline and cruise ship per se.
Stay updated with Malaysia's happenings:
Local news: The Star Online
COVID-19 Information: Read more
Travelers who have traveled to or pass through the affected areas might be subject to a health screening upon entry to Thailand. In severe cases, they might be isolated in a designated hospital as four new locals are probed by the deadly virus. Bangkok Post reports that those who will be successfully returned to Thailand from South Korea will be heavily screened and quarantined upon arrival.
According to an article published on 21 February 2020, Thailand will classify the coronavirus as a “dangerous” communicable disease, with more than 200 cases up to date. It’s also been reported that the Thai government has been making an effort to repatriate and identify the illegal Thai workers stuck in South Korea, at an estimate of 150,000 Thai locals.
Another cruise ship called the MS Westerdam who have infected passengers which led to denied access to five different countries, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Thailand among others. As of March 2nd, the total cases in Thailand are past forty. Another one bites the dust at Costa Fortuna has been denied access to docking their 2,000-capacity ship on Malaysian territory as it is said to have been filled with Italian tourists, according to 9 March 2020 update from Asean Briefing.
Issuance of visas to arriving visitors from all countries will not be allowed until further notice Thailand will also revoke visa exemptions from visitors flying from South Korea, Italy, and Hong Kong. Travelers who will be coming from China, Macau, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, and South Korea will need to present a medical certificate to be able to get access.
Hong Kong has announced as of 19 March 2020 that with more than 180 cases of COVID-19 in the country, there will be a red travel alert requiring foreigners entering the country to go on self-quarantine for at least two weeks.
Stay updated with Thailand's happenings:
Local news: Bangkok Post’s Facebook page
Travel advisories: Read more
COVID-19 Information: Read more
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom has highlighted the measures taken by Taiwan for travelers during entry. With effect from 7 February 2020, foreign nationals who have been in China, including Hong Kong and Macao, during the 14-day period before they arrive in Taiwan will not be allowed to enter. All airline passengers entering Taiwan are also required to fill in a health declaration of their travel history for the preceding 14 days.
As of February 29th, the Taiwanese government’s CentralEpidemic Command Centre raised the epidemic level to the highest and also postponed certain religious events to next month in order to lessen the risk of catching the virus in a highly-populated area.
Flights from Taiwan have been canceled and a travel ban from the Philippines persists as five new cases arise as of 5 March 2020, according to Straits Times. With more than 100 positive cases of COVID-19 in the country, as of 18 March 2020, Taiwanese authorities have placed a travel ban on non-residents attempting to enter the country.
Stay updated with Taiwan's happenings:
Local news: Taiwan News
Austria currently has more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 which first came from two German tourists and two Vienna locals. Xinuanet.com says that the spokesman for the Vienna City Councilor, Peter Hacker confirmed that the local Vienna resident just returned from a trip to Milan, Italy.
This article states that the Austrian Embassy in the US will not be canceling any events and that close monitoring of the event will be conducted.
As of 9 March 2020, positive cases of the COVID-19 have been confirmed in 9 federal states of Alpine. The Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz urges the public not to panic and to stick to basic hygiene protocol when in public spaces filled with people. Most cases are from Lower Austria area, followed by Vienna, then the least in Vorarlberg and Carinthia to name a few.
As of 18 March 2020, strict travel precautions will be placed on individuals who come from high-risk COVID-19 countries, some of which include France, Iran, Italy, and South Korea, Spain, and Switzerland, as well as as a few parts of China. A medical certificate with confirmation of a negative test result from the coronavirus must be presented upon entry to Austria.
All public events and gatherings are suspended until further notice upon the announcement of the Austrian Embassy and the Austrian Cultural Forum in Washington DC, USA.
The coronavirus has also reached Canada in North America, with most cases confirmed in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported the low risk of the virus for Canada but PHAC continues to monitor the outbreak from Canadian travelers and tourists alike.
PHAC also advised the general public, as well as travelers who have returned to the country, to monitor their health for 14 days, and to promptly report any developing symptoms such as coughing and difficulties in breathing. As of 5 March 2020, the government of Canada reports more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, as of 18 March 2020.
The majority of the cases hail from Ontario, followed by British Columbia, Quebec, and Alberta. This prompted the official formulation of the Cabinet Committee established by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau last 4th March who will be the pinpointed body to take charge of the outbreak in the country.
According to the National Post, 3 of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 hailed from passengers that boarded the Grand Princess cruise ship which sailed to and from San Francisco from the 11th of February to the 21st. More than 200 Canadian passengers were on that ship which was then advised to isolate and quarantine themselves for 14 days after.
Get the latest updates from Canada’s Public Health Agency.
Stay updated with Canada's happenings:
Ministry of Health: Public Health Agency
Travel advisories: Read more
COVID-19 Information: Read more
COVID-19 hits the Middle East hard with Iraq being no exception with more than 70 confirmed cases as of 10 March 2020. According to Asean Briefing, schools, have been closed shut all over the country, as well as other parts of the Middle East. Public gatherings have also been banned, dining establishments have been closed, while authorities have placed a travel ban on voyagers arriving from China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
With intense political issues going on in the country, the COVID-19 outbreak has become quite an international scare that the country is seemingly ill-equipt to handle. Numerous shortages of basic hygiene products, medical supplies, and drugs continue to take place in several parts of Iraq. DW also declared the need to shut down borders between Iraq and Iran.
Stay updated with Iraq's happenings:
Local news: DW
COVID-19 Information: Asean Brieifing
On a press release last 30th January 2020, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has issued a temporary ban of visa processing and the entrance of tourists to Vietnam from areas in China affected by the coronavirus.
It was announced last Friday, February 28th, that suspension of visas issued by South Korean nationals have been approved. With Vietnam having more than fifteen cases now, the health ministry told Aljazeera, that the Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc, just 40 km (25 miles) from Hanoi province, was quarantined for two weeks by authorities, and isolate the epidemic area for an estimate of twenty days.
As of 17 March 2020, there are more than 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Vietnam. Local low-cost airline Vietjet Air has announced the suspension of their flights to and from Vietnam and South Korea according to Vietam Briefing.
Those coming from Italy will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days, according to Asean Briefing. The ministry of health in Vietnam announced that there will be a need to implement compulsory quarantining and testing for those coming from China, South Korea, the UK, and other Schengen countries.
Travelers within Vietnam are also advised to follow hygienic guidelines listed by the World Health Organization. Those who have visited the virus outbreak areas and are experiencing flu symptoms should report to the Ministry of Health by calling 19003228.
Stay updated with Vietnam's happenings:
Tourism website: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism
Russia is not exempted from the notorious COVID-19, with more than 100 confirmed cases of the virus. The government of the Russian Federation has taken necessary measures to prevent the outbreak. According to this website, diagnostic and protective measures are being practiced in international airports, such as temperature checks and proper quarantine sectors for those who may be possible carriers. The Russian government has also declared the banning of foreign nationals making their way into the country, along with stateless people until the 1st of May. Diplomatic representatives, airplane crewmembers among others will be exempted from the nation-wide ban, according to Aljazeera.
Since 20 February 2020, the Russian government has banned the entry of Chinese nationals, apart from those with transit purposes, followed by Iranian and South Iranian citizens. Channel News Asia reports as of 8th March 2020, the implementation of COVID-19 self-isolation rules within the country. Locals or foreigners alike who do not self-isolate upon having symptoms of the virus may be subject to prison sentences of up to five years, due to the government’s commitment to staying a “high alert regime.”
Stay updated with Russia's happenings:
Pandemic progression: Statista
COVID-19 Information: Channel News Asia
As of 17 March 2020, there are more than 1,100 positive of the COVID-19 in Sweden. This has prompted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to advise the public to avoid non-essential travel back in the 14th f March, according to this website. The Swedish Government also extended as much as 4.1 million USD to the World Health Organization’s emergency fund.
Euroactiv reports that on March 11th, the country’s health officials have declared Sweden to be under the epidemic status. The following day, 12th March, the banning of public events with more than 500 people was implemented.
The Public Health Agency ensures the Swedish people that they are closely monitoring the progression of COVID-19 in the country while conducting microbiological analyses and placing a strict risk assessment throughout the outbreak’s development. Sweden Abroad reports that proper dissemination of information based on science and disease control experts are constantly providing the public advisory on what needs to be practiced beyond basic hygiene and sanitation.
Belgium has been named part of the 15 most-affected countries by the notorious COVID-19, Pharmaceutical -Technology reports. As of 16 March 2020, there is currently a 30-day travel restriction imposed by the Belgian government for all non-essential travel, according to KPMG. There is also a 14-day quarantine period for those returning from countries infected with the virus.
Big gatherings and social events are canceled until further notice, while social distancing measures have been implemented. The Belgian National Security has communicated to the public the necessary work from home arrangements private companies and businesses should enforce to their employees. Class suspensions in the primary and secondary levels have been suspended, while social establishments like bars and restaurants have been closed.
Shopping has been limited to weekdays, apart from grocery stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies which will be running normal operational hours. Public transportation will be continuing normal operations but with conditional restrictions, and fewer trains to be set for travel as a precaution.
As of 17 March 2020, there’s been more than 1,200 positive cases of the coronavirus in Belgium, prompting Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes’ government to provide special powers to increase the necessary precations to further deal with the massive impact of COVID-19 on the country’s healthcare system and economy, according to the Guardian.
Denmark has developed more than 1,000 positive cases of the COVID-19, as of 19 March 2020. The Danish government announced the closure of its borders to all foreigners apart from the Danes, Danish residents and green card holders extended until mid-April, according to We Forum. Military personnel will also be scattered throughout the country to help implement the new policies and regulations in the country’s efforts to contain the outbreak.
Bloomber reports that Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced in a press conference in Copenhagen that only essentials like food, medicines, and other basic imports people rely on on the daily will be allowed through the border.
Frederiksen also confirmed that the Danish government made the decision with neighboring countries like Brussels. The Schengen terms that allow passport-free travel throughout Europe will be put on hold in terms of its validity, which will be suspended in order to heighten precautions in light of COVID-19 spreading arduously in Europe.
The latest update from Portugal’s health department tallies the cases at 785 people. While the total cases are lower as compared to its neighboring European countries, experts are also bracing for an exponential rise. The president of the country, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has already declared a state of emergency on the whole country. A Forbes report has also said that the president is declaring a “war” on the virus and asking all of its citizens to contribute to the nation’s effort to fight the outbreak.
With the declaration of a state of emergency, citizens are urged to stay at home. The government has announced a multi-billion euro stimulus package to keep the country’s economy afloat. Non-essential commercial activities are now suspended, as well as public gatherings.
On March 19, the country’s prime minister laid out the specifics for the state of emergency. Essential services that provide the necessary good to citizens will remain open — that includes bakeries, supermarkets, banks, and pharmacies. With regards to international flights, the country’s flagship carrier — TAP Air Portugal — will only operate up to 25 flights per week, as reported by Simple Flying.
Stay updated with Portugal's happenings
COVID-19 updates: Portugal’s COVID-19 tracker
Health department: Portugal’s health department
Local news: The Portugal News
32. New Zealand
One of the latest country to implement a nationwide lockdown due to the threat of COVID-19 is New Zealand. Last March 23, the prime minister of the country, Jacinda Ardern, announced a four-week nationwide lockdown following a heightened alert level. The country is now facing a heightened alert level 3 that will then be superseded by the highest alert level 4 within 48 hours. The lockdown comes after an increase in COVID-19 cases within the country.
With the rest of the country on lockdown, all citizens in the country are expected to stay at home. Schools and businesses will close during the nationwide lockdown, but essential services will stay open. Supermarkets and pharmacies are considered essential services. These places will remain open, but the government of New Zealand is encouraging its citizens to practice social distancing.
The government is also preparing a wage subsidy for businesses that will be affected by the lockdown. This economic measure will ensure that businesses in the country can provide for its employees while the lockdown ensues. Working capital for businesses is also on the cards as some of these have raised concerns over the possibility of insolvency due to zero profits resulting from closures.
Stay updated with New Zealand's happenings:
COVID-19 updates: Unite against COVID-19
Local news: New Zealand Herald
33. South Africa
South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in all of Africa, with the total amounting to 402 cases as of March 24.
As such, the South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a 21-day lockdown in a televised address to the nation. The lockdown comes after a sixfold increase in COVID-19 cases all over the country. With the lockdown in effect, many citizens will be forced to stay in their own homes. They will only be allowed to go out to buy food, seek medical attention, do financial transactions, or seek medical attention.
As such, only supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, and healthcare-related facilities will be opened after the lockdown commence. Military and police forces will also be deployed to help with the lockdown. With the lockdown in place, several South African airline companies have also suspended their flights, as per IOL’s report.
Stay updated with South Africa's happenings:
COVID-19 updates: South African Tourism update
Local news: News24
Check back for latest happenings
To keep constantly afresh with the recent news and occurrences, click through the links provided in our article or do a search of your preferred destination. Stay prepared and ready to receive information on unforeseen circumstances.
If you’re going ahead with traveling, follow basic protective measures recommended by the World Health Organization like washing your hands frequently with soap, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and maintaining social distancing where possible.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.