Multiple countries close borders . . .
In the last few days, countries around the world have imposed travel restrictions and local shutdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many Asian economies have implemented restrictions to last until the end of March or longer, including: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Canada has also announced that it will prohibit entry for non-citizens and non-permanent residents, with some exemptions such as for immediate family members of Canadians, and diplomats.
Restriction and isolation . . .
The majority of measures implemented across the Asia Pacific have three elements: suspension of entry for non-citizens, a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for new arrivals, and restricted travel for individuals arriving from China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and other European countries. Myanmar, Nepal, and Thailand will also require travellers to present a health certificate confirming that they either do not have symptoms or have received a negative test for the virus. India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have stopped issuing visas for foreigners, while South Korea has cancelled visas issued to travellers from Hubei Province, China.
Lockdowns in Southeast Asia . . .
Some countries have also taken more serious measures beyond instituting travel restrictions. On Sunday, the Philippines imposed an “enhanced community quarantine” over the northern island of Luzon, which includes the capital of Manila, until April 12. Checkpoints have been set up around the national capital region, where military and police are conducting temperature checks of travellers. In Malaysia, a nationwide lockdown was announced on Monday. Non-essential businesses have been closed, including houses of worship. Residents are required to stay at home until the end of March, unless they are getting essential goods, seeking health care, or performing official duties.
- Al Jazeera: Coronavirus: Philippines quarantines island of 57 million people
- New York Times: Coronavirus travel restrictions, across the globe
- South China Morning Post: Coronavirus: Malaysia warns of ‘tsunami-like’ third wave of infections if lockdown not respected