ASIA: Travel restrictions, border shutdowns

Singapore – Countries around the world have taken drastic measures, including border closures, in an attempt to curb COVID-19. We have listed a number of Asian countries, indicating the current tourist policies implimented by the individual countries:


Non-resident foreigners are not allowed to transit or enter Brunei. All visa exemptions and visa-on-arrival are temporarily suspended.


Effective from March 30, all visa exemptions, visas on arrival and e-visas are suspended until April 30.

Also from March 30, all foreigners must have a medical certificate issued no more than 72 hours prior to the date of travel, certifying that they have not tested positive for COVID-19 and have proof of insurance policy with minimum medical coverage of $50,000.

Foreigners, excluding residents, travelling from France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Spain or the US are banned from entering Cambodia.

Excluding airline crew, nationals and residents of Cambodia, diplomats and officials of foreign embassies and international organisations and their family members who have a Diplomatic Visa Type A and Official Visa Type B who live or have been in France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Spain or the US in the past 14 days will be quarantined for 14 days. 


On March 26, China announced that it was temporarily banning the entry of most foreign nationals, excluding diplomatic workers, in an effort to curb the number of imported cases of the coronavirus.

The foreign ministry said that even foreign citizens with residence permits will be prevented from entering starting on March 28.

It said foreign citizens coming to China for “necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs” can still apply for visas.

In January, China stepped up measures to deal with cases from overseas, with Beijing and other regions forcing international arrivals to go into a 14-day quarantine.

The civil aviation ministry also limited passenger numbers on inbound international flights.


India banned all international flights, except cargo, until April 14.

On March 18, India said it would suspend the vast majority of visas to the country. Millions of foreign nationals of Indian origin, who are traditionally granted visa-free access, will now also need to apply.

It urged Indian nationals to avoid all non-essential travel abroad.

On March 17, India had suspended issuing visas to citizens of France, Spain and Germany until further notice. Such restrictions were already in place for citizens of China, Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea – the five countries worst hit by the outbreak.

It closed a border with neighbouring Myanmar.


Effective April 2, non-resident foreigners are not allowed to transit or enter Indonesia.

All visa exemptions and visa on arrival to foreigners are suspended till April 20.

Visitors and airline crew who have been in France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or Vatican City in the past 14 days are not allowed to transit or enter Indonesia.

This does not apply to nationals of Indonesia. 

People with a Permanent Staying Permit (KITAP) or a Temporary Staying Permit (KITAS) are only allowed to enter Indonesia if they have a valid health certification issued by local health authorities in English stating they are fit for travel and free from respiratory disease. The certification must have been issued at latest 7 days prior to departure.

Passengers and airline crew who have been in China or Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do Province in South Korea in the past 14 days are not allowed to transit or enter Indonesia.


The country initially imposed an entry ban to travellers who have been in China, Iran or Italy in the 14 days before arrival. On April 3, it extended that ban to 73 countries, including the US, UK and Canada.

The ban includes at least 44 European countries, 12 Asian countries, four countries in the Middle East, five African countries, six Latin American countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand.


Non-resident foreign nationals are not allowed to enter Malaysia. The country’s nationals and residents will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.

Effective April 3, transfers from an international flight to a domestic flight is now allowed.


The government banned entry to travellers from China, Italy, Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia and the UK, as well as to those coming from specific regions in Germany, France and South Korea.

All direct flights to China, South Korea and Italy have also been suspended.


All visa issuances are suspended until April 30. All international flights to Myanmar are suspended until April 13.


As of March 14, all foreign nationals who enter Nepal must remain in self-quarantine for 14 days, according to the country’s Department of Immigration.

Nepali nationals and residents must stay in home quarantine for 14 days from their arrival date. All these measures are in place until April 30.

The country has stopped issuing on-arrival visas to foreigners from March 14 through April 30.

All international flights to Nepal are suspended until 15 April 2020.

North Korea

Tourists are not allowed to enter. Business travellers must spend 14 days in quarantine upon arrival.


A month-long lockdown on Luzon – the largest Philippine island home to nearly 60 million people – is in place, while domestic and international flights have been cancelled until April 14.


All short-term visitors are banned from transiting or entering Singapore. 

Singapore residents and pass-holders will be quarantined or asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

South Korea

On March 17, South Korea said it would tighten border checks for all overseas arrivals. The government had already imposed strict border checks on visitors from China, Italy and Iran, requiring them to sign up by a smartphone application to track whether they have any symptoms, such as fever.

The government also issued a “special travel advisory” on March 23, calling on its citizens to cancel or postpone their trips abroad over the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Foreign Ministry said that the special travel advisory applies to all countries except those that are already under higher alerts that call for the withdrawal of citizens or are subject to a travel ban.

South Korea has also enforced a two-week quarantine period and virus tests for all long-term arrivals from Europe, regardless of symptoms, to contain imported virus cases.

Sri Lanka

On March 22, the Sri Lankan government imposed a ban on all passenger flights and ships until March 31. The order was later extended until at least April 7. 

A government had previously said in a statement that all passenger flights and ships will not be allowed to enter the Indian Ocean island until the situation returns to normalcy.


The international airport in Seychelles is closed to all international flights.


Foreigners, except those with a work permit, diplomats or their family members, are not allowed to enter or transit Thailand. 

The country’s aviation agency announced on April 6 the extension of a ban on all passenger flights from landing in Thailand until April 18.


Vietnam announced on March 21 that it will suspend all inbound international flights to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, without giving a time frame.

The government also announced it would bar entry for all foreigners from March 22, except for special cases.

Source: Al Jazeera