A quick insight into the current state of domestic and international travel in the Asia Pacific, and how it's being affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This travel advisory will help you to make the right decisions regarding your leisure travel or business trips during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
We are updating the data as it becomes released by governments, airlines, and airports.
For general COVID-19-related health advice please visit the WHO website.
We strongly advise ensuring your eligibility to travel before booking a flight. Review the entry restrictions, visa suspensions, and quarantine requirements for your destination – especially if you intend to fly in July, July or August 2020.
Asia Pacific countries have taken drastic measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on their homefront. Most governments have placed bans on incoming travelers, and almost all have restrictions of some kind.
At the moment we are in a phase of caution, slow process of reopening travel, with every country introducing its own regulations.
Domestic travel is first to come back to life, and you can fly between selected destinations in countries like Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Precisely defined regulations apply, so always check the official websites for the latest government’s announcements.
International travel is still on hold, with a handful of exceptions. Even the eligible travelers must expect a 14 days quarantine to ensure they are free of the virus.
In Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan authorities are experimenting with country-to-country travel bubbles to jumpstart aviation, tourism, and business travel. Safe air travel corridors are being established between carefully selected airports, where the quarantine-free travel is allowed (with temperature and symptom-checks still in place). We should expect a gradual addition of new “low-risk” countries to these travel bubbles, with the coronavirus-free situation being the main condition for inclusion.
Visitors from “moderate-risk” or “high-risk” countries – those with large numbers of new cases like India or Indonesia – will most likely be subject to quarantines and stricter entry restrictions (or even travel bans) for a prolonged time.
It’s worth observing how air travel will be adapting to the “new normal”. It will define how we travel for the next months or longer.
All travelers entering Cambodia must present a COVID-19 medical certificate, indicating a negative status, issued no more than 72 hours prior to the travel. Proof of medical insurance coverage of at least $50,000 is also required.
Visa-free entry is suspended. Foreign visitors are required to obtain a visa in advance.
Mandatory 14 days of quarantine for all travelers entering Cambodia. Upon arrival, travelers must undergo a COVID-19 test and wait to receive laboratory results. If one or more travelers test positive for COVID-19, all accompanying passengers will be subject to quarantine at a location designated by Cambodian authorities. In case of negative COVID-19 test results for all passengers, they are allowed to self-quarantine at their own home or hotel (under control of local authority).
China’s borders are closed to almost all foreigners.
Only owners of diplomatic visa, service visa, courtesy visa, C visa, and new visa successfully applied for from Chinese embassies or consulates overseas, are allowed to enter.
Limit of about 20 international flights that are allowed to land in China each day.
Transit through Beijing Capital International Airport and Xiamen Airport is not permitted.
All passengers, regardless of nationality, will be subject to the latest quarantine policies.
International flights are on hold, with only a few exceptions.
Denied entry for all foreign nationals. Limited access is allowed for specific travel purposes and for authorized personnel only. Negative PCR COVID-19 test result required for all foreign arrivals. All eligible foreign nationals will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry.
Domestic flights are gradually resuming from June 2020. All passengers need to provide a letter proving the negative result of a PCR test (valid for 7 days) or COVID-19 rapid test (valid for 3 days) to be allowed to travel. The test can be ordered (scheduled) online.
Visa exemptions for 90 nationalities are temporarily suspended (with some exceptions).
Self-Isolation Exemption Certificate issued by the Embassy of Korea is required for entry from all foreign nationals. Alternatively, a passenger will be quarantined at a government facility at a cost of KRW1,400,000 (A$ 1750 / $1150) - paid before the flight.
International flights are presently very limited although Vietnam is considering opening its borders to foreign visitors from countries that have not reported new coronavirus cases for 30 days. Vietnam considers opening reciprocal travel bubbles with China, South Korea and Japan.
All travelers on domestic and international flights must wear face masks during the flight and while at the airport.
Entry is denied for all foreigners.
All visa issuances are suspended.
Only Vietnamese nationals, foreigners on diplomatic or official business, and highly skilled workers are allowed to enter the country at this time. Everyone entering Vietnam must undergo medical checks and 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
Most of Vietnam’s tourist destinations are closed.
UAE is open to tourists. All travelers must have travel insurance with COVID-19 cover or declare that they will bear the costs for treatment and isolation if necessary.
Evidence of a negative Covid-19 test is required. The PCR test is also available on arrival in Dubai.
The UAE citizens and residents are allowed to travel abroad once they have tested negative for Covid-19.
Travel bubbles in Asia Pacific
3 July 2020
Travel bubble (also: air bridge, corona corridor, green lane, COVID-safe travel zone) is a bilateral arrangement between countries to ease border restrictions and allow quarantine-free travel during the coronavirus outbreak.
In the times of pandemic international travel typically requires two weeks of quarantine or self-isolation – to see if any COVID-19 symptoms appear. While it may work for people returning home or with plans of long-term staying at a destination, 14 days of isolation is not acceptable for most travelers and it basically kills the tourism at the destination.
First travel bubbles were opened between Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in the EU, followed by Australia – New Zealand and Singapore – China. More countries are expected to join these international circles of trust in the near future.
Travel bridges seem to be the future of travel. They provide hope for a resumption of travel in the post-pandemic world, allowing international commerce and tourism to return. Reciprocal green lane agreements take time though, as it means that there must be mutual assurances of each other’s test protocols, standards, and coronavirus-related regulations. This confidence in each other’s safeguards allows for simplified procedures for travelers, including one-time-only tests and health checks.
The result may ricochet though in a form of new divisions along epidemiological lines, with the countries where the coronavirus has not been fully contained, left behind.
Asia’s 'travel bubbles' could change travelling post-pandemic (Al Jazeera)
Travel bubbles in Asia Pacific
Australia plans to reopen borders with New Zealand with first trial flights taking off by September. Travelers will only be able to travel between Canberra and Wellington initially, with other destinations like Sydney and Auckland to be added later.
This "trans-Tasman travel bubble" may later expand to other coronavirus-free South Pacific nations.
Travel to other countries (as long as they are considered "safe") may also be allowed - with Israel aiming to join a travel corridor with Australia by December. The direct flights to Tel-Aviv would allow Australian residents to transit to European countries deemed safe without having to quarantine for 14 days.
The air corridor exists between China and South Korea for business and official travel. It requires to undergo a short quarantine and at least one negative coronavirus test in each country.
Essential travel for business and official purposes are allowed between China and Singapore starting June. "Travel bubble" routes include Singapore and Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang.
Four weekly flights between China and United States.
Planned travel bubbles with Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
New Zealand plans to reopen borders with Australia with first trial flights taking off by September. Travelers will only be able to travel between Wellington and Canberra initially, with other destinations like Auckland and Sydney to be added later.
This "trans-Tasman travel bubble" may later expand to other coronavirus-free South Pacific nations.
Essential travel for business and official purposes are allowed between Singapore and China starting June. "Travel bubble" routes include Singapore and Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang.
Talks are underway with South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Canada to establish covid-safe corridors for air travel.
Green lane with Malaysia has a target date of August 10 (cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes only).
Flights availability and COVID-19 airlines regulations
3 July 2020
The airlines cut their flight capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic. The situation is dynamic, routes and destinations are restored as governments ease their travel restrictions and demand increases. Also, the airlines are introducing new regulations and requirements for passengers during the boarding process and on a plane.
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Starting April 2020 domestic flights are gradually resuming for AirAsia and its regional subsidiaries.
– AirAsia Malaysia restarted flights on 29 April.
– AirAsia Thailand restarted flights on 1 May.
– AirAsia India resumed flights to all 21 domestic destinations in India on 25 May.
– AirAsia Indonesia and AirAsia Philippines reopen domestic routes from 1 June 2020.
Flights to international destinations will resume once governments have opened borders and lifted travel restrictions.
Gradual increase in the number of flights in June and July 2020. Reinstated destinations include Adelaide, Amsterdam, Auckland, Barcelona, Brisbane, Cebu, Christchurch, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Medan, Melbourne and Osaka.
All flights are subject to regulatory approvals, and flight schedules may be subject to changes.
The airports keep introducing key measures to limit the contact that passengers may have with others as they check-in and then proceed to the departure gates.
COVID-19 related procedures include contactless self-checkin kiosks, self-service baggage drop, self-scanning of boarding passes, changes to food and drink services, regular cleaning of highly frequented areas, etc. As you make your way to your designated departure gate, expect social distancing measures in waiting areas and when boarding to minimize crowding.
Google is adding new features on its Maps service to alert users about COVID-19-related travel restrictions. You can now plan your trips better, by checking how crowded a train station or an airport might be at a particular time, or if public transport on a certain route is running on a limited schedule. The new features also include details on COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions on crossing national borders.
Entry denied for all non-Hong Kong residents coming from overseas.
Transit services at the airport are partly resuming starting June 2020.
14-day compulsory quarantine for residents and non-residents coming from Mainland China, Macao and Taiwan. Entry will be denied if non-Hong Kong resident visited overseas countries in the 14 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong.
All departing passengers are required to wear face masks in the restricted area of the departure area.
Arriving passengers are recommended to wear face masks upon their arrival.
Limited service for some airport shops and restaurants. Only essential services are opened for shortened operating hours, including food and beverage, pharmacy, convenience store, money exchange and duty-free shops.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), Kuala Lumpur
International and domestic flights are allowed to depart and arrive.
KLIA Express train service in Kuala Lumpur is suspended.
It is advised to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before departure.
Only passengers with a valid flight ticket or boarding pass are allowed to enter the airport.
Transit and connecting flight passengers who do not require immigration clearance are allowed to enter the airport. No access to the baggage collection area - the check-in baggage must be transferred to the connecting flight by the airline.
Inter-terminal transit (KLIA to KLIA2, KLIA2 to KLIA) is not possible.
Thermal screening for arriving passengers and flight crews.
Medical bays for quarantine purposes located at the arrival gates. Passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be brought to the nearest hospital upon arrival.
Face mask required at all times.
Most airport shops, services are closed, excluding pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience stores selling essential items. Since eat-in is not allowed at the airport restaurants, the passengers can order take-aways.
Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), Denpasar (Bali)
Bali provincial government requires that all travelers visiting the island must present a valid document that shows a negative result for COVID-19 from a swab PCR test. This should be done before flying to Bali, and the document should be checked at the departure airport.
Additional documents may be required:
– a statement of purpose of the visit
– a statement from a sponsor (who is expected to be responsible for the traveler during his stay in the province).
– an application form filled up on the website prepared by the provincial government
These entry requirements are expected to be lifted later this year.
Can airplane HEPA filters protect passengers from coronavirus?
Yes. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are used on the planes to keep temperature, humidity, and air cleanliness in the cabin at the correct levels. HEPA filters can also capture 99.97% of airborne small particles (of the size of Covid-19) and the air is renewed every four to six minutes.
The flow of the HEPA-filtered air itself is designed to minimize infection risks. The air in the cabin is collected from outside the aircraft (normally through the engine) and mixed with recycled air from inside. The air blows down on passengers from vents above the seats and escapes through vents under the seats. This reduces the likelihood that viruses can travel throughout a cabin - a passenger from row 10, for example, cannot contaminate someone in row 20.
These sophisticated, hospital-grade HEPA air ventilation systems make physical distancing onboard flights unnecessary - as long as increased cleaning protocols, mask-wearing, and reduced interaction with the crew and other passengers are in place.
Should I wear a face mask on a plane?
Yes. You’re allowed (and often required) to wear a face mask during a flight.
Many airlines provide face masks and sanitizing wipes to passengers, but you would be better to make sure that you have your own when traveling.
The air in the cabin is renewed every four to six minutes as most commercial flights are using planes equipped with HEPA filtration systems. Still, if a person seated within 2 rows around you have COVID-19, there is a chance he would spread coronavirus particles towards you. A face mask will prevent you to catch the disease in such cases.
Also, if you are contagious but unaware, wearing a mask will prevent you from spreading the virus to your fellow passengers.
What is travel bubble?
Travel bubble (also: air bridge, corona corridor, green zone) is a bilateral arrangement between countries to ease border restrictions and allow quarantine-free travel during the coronavirus outbreak.
In the times of pandemic international travel typically requires two weeks of quarantine or self-isolation - to see if any COVID-19 symptoms appear. While it may work for people returning home or with plans of long-term staying at a destination, 14 days of isolation is not acceptable for most travelers and it basically kills the tourism at the destination.
Travel bridges seem to be the future of travel. They provide hope for a resumption of travel in the post-pandemic world, allowing international commerce and tourism to return. The result though could be also new divisions along epidemiological lines, with the countries where the coronavirus has not been fully contained, left behind.
Should I bring food to the airport and on flight?
As onboard meals are often limited these days, airlines are encouraging travelers to bring food with them. No two airlines have an identical food option during the pandemic. Some airlines still offer complimentary meals, others just pass you a snack bag while some have completely suspended food services.
You should check this with your airlines first, but as a general rule passengers are now welcome to bring food on flights. A little snack and water bottle are a minimum.
We highly recommend putting all carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag for X-ray screening. It not only helps protect food from contamination but also reduces the need for an airport agent to scour through your belongings.