Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

Coronavirus in Asia - what's the latest?

Updated 10 September, 15:00 GMT

Travel Status
 
Government advisories and your travel to Asia
 
Latest Southeast Asia coronavirus stats
 
Latest Asia News
 
What's going on in Asia?
Vietnam
Cambodia
Laos
Myanmar
Thailand
Malaysia & Borneo
Singapore
South Korea
China
Hong Kong
 
When will travel to Asia be possible again?
 
Standard Procedures

  • Travel Status

    Currently entry into all our destinations in Asia is not possible from the UK, US, Canada and Australia (on standard tourist visas and without the need for quarantine on arrival). While there are promising developments being discussed about opening up more localised international travel; between Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for example, we are unlikely to see the majority of countries fully open to international tourists before the end of November 2020 at the earliest.  

  • Government advisories and your travel to Asia

    UK
    On 4th July, the FCDO removed its blanket 'against all but essential' international travel advice and created a list of exempted countries which includes Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia and Borneo. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. However, entry into these destinations is currently not possible for any foreign national. See the latest official government information on travel to Asia from the FCDO here.

    USA
    On 6th August the US State Department lifted it's global 'Level 4: do no travel' advisory. Currently, with the exception to Thailand which is Level 1: Covid-19 risk is low, all of our other Asian destinations have been downgraded to Level 3: Covid-19 risk is high, which advises against all but essential travel. Entry into Asian destinations is currently not possible for any foreign national. See the latest official government information on travel to Asia from the CDC here.

    Canada
    The Canadian government continues to advise against all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Entry into Asian destinations is currently not possible for any foreign national. See the latest official government advice on travel to Asia here.

    Australia
    There is currently a ban on overseas travel from Australia. The official Australian government advice regarding travel to all Asian destinations is do not travel. Entry into Asian destinations is also not currently possible for any foreign national. See the latest official Australian government information on travel to Asia here.

  • Latest Southeast Asia coronavirus stats

    For a detailed breakdown on current stats and information visit pearanderson.com/coronavirus/

    Read more >
  • Latest Asia News

    Most countries across Asia have ended the majority of national restrictions put in place due to Covid-19 (however some localised social distancing guidelines and closures remain in place) and daily life is almost back to normal. Although international tourists are currently not permitted entry into Asian countries, domestic tourism has resumed, and the bulk of local businesses, bars, restaurants and tourist attractions are open again, albeit with certain restrictions and additional safety precautions in place.

  • What's going on in Asia?

    The Coronavirus first surfaced in Wuhan province in China in the final days of 2019. It caught the attention of the world as the Chinese authorities took dramatic measures to lock down the country and subsequently spread with increasing speed across the globe. What was seen originally very much as an Asia problem, has sadly escalated into the biggest worldwide public health crisis for a hundred years.
    But what of China today and the rest of our Asian destinations? 

  • Vietnam

    Vietnam has been largely praised in its response to the coronavirus which has resulted in a very limited number of cases. By June, Vietnam ended most restrictions and daily life was almost back to normal with domestic tourism and returning, domestic flights operating and opening of the majority of local businesses. However, after a flare-up of cases of Covid-19 in the city Danang in central Vietnam in late July, the government implemented a lock down of the city and closure of all non-essential services. This has been extended from 11th August for a further 14 days. As well as social distancing measures being imposed across the country, bars have been ordered to close in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other cities and gatherings of over 30 people are currently banned.

    Although Vietnam has temporarily suspended scheduled international flights, visa waivers, issuing of visas and the entry into Vietnam for the majority of foreign nationals, there is some positive news that international flights from certain countries, including Japan and South Korea, have commenced again, albeit on a chartered basis and with quarantine measures in place on arrival. The island of Phu Quoc may possibly become the test destination for a reopening to foreign tourists all the while a wider opening doesn't seem likely before October.

  • Cambodia

    Civil Aviation in Cambodia issued new rules for arriving travellers into Cambodia. Among these, proof of insurance for the amount of $50,000, as well as a $3,000 deposit on arrival for potential fees during the stay, stand out. However as of the 17th August, the government has in principle agreed to waive the $3,000 deposit on arrival introduced 6 weeks ago. Proof of insurance would be still required, however, entry to the Kingdom is in any case currently not possible except for diplomats and for some business travellers.

    Meanwhile, businesses across Cambodia have been operating mostly as usual but with safety precautions in place since mid-April. Domestic travel, including flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, has resumed and an opening towards Vietnam and Laos is being considered.

  • Laos

    Business are running as normal as they can be under the current circumstances. Domestic travel in the country has returned and there are no travel restrictions in place. A possible opening of borders to neighbouring countries with low infection rates like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand is being considered.

    Currently there are no international flights arriving into Laos, however domestic flights have resumed. Due to the logistics of getting into Laos (only via regional hubs), the opening of the country to leisure travellers will heavily depend on the opening of neighbouring countries, specifically the air links via Thailand and Vietnam.

  • Myanmar

    Myanmar has extended its measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 until at least 30 September 2020. This includes a temporary suspension of international flights, a ban on issuing all visas and visa-exemption services, as well as 21-day quarantine for Myanmar nationals returning home by relief flights.

    Domestic travel within the country has resumed with restrictions and domestic flights operating with social distancing measures in place. All public facing businesses (hotels, restaurants, bars and offices) are required to receive a certificate from the ministry of health to be able to reopen which sets out stringent policies for Covid-19 mitigation. 

    To date, officially there have been only 369 cases and 6 deaths and have been praised by the WHO for their response to the virus. However, it is not currently on the FCO exempt list due to the quarantine measures on arrival. There are currently no signs of change to the 21-day quarantine requirement, which will be necessary for international tourism to return. 

  • Thailand

    Thailand has mostly returned to normal with national parks, tourism sites, schools and businesses open again. While hotels are seeing good volumes of weekend traffic from domestic tourists, many of the natural sites across the country are regenerating as they are left untouched during the week. People in the country are wearing masks and maintain social distancing standards and this norm contributes greatly to keep infection numbers low. Only repatriated people show up as new infections in single-digit numbers.

    With the resurgence of domestic tourism being a hugely positive step in Thailand, unfortunately the reopening to international air travel for leisure tourists has been indefinitely pushed back and currently, no date has been set to allow flights again without restrictions.  

  • Malaysia & Borneo

    As part of Malaysia's Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) which will remain in place until at least 19th September, Malaysia will be relaxing restrictions on public venues, spas and wellness centres and swimming pools and cinemas and more.  According to the size of the venue, the capacity of venues is restricted to follow social distancing standard operation procedures. There has been a surge in domestic tourism in Malaysia as freedom of movement has been reinstated. Strict precautionary and sanitation measures remain in place across the destination.

  • Singapore

    While inbound leisure tourism remains closed, like with many Asian countries domestically life has returned to some form of normality. Walking, cycling and kayaking tours will be allowed to be conducted for up to 10 guests and for a maximum duration of 8 hours (up from 5 guests and 2 hours) and all tourist attractions are currently capped at 25% of their normal capacity.

    All Singapore hotels, attractions and dining outlets that are certified SG Clean are open with safe management measures in place. This includes strict hygiene standards and social distancing measures set out by the government. 

  • South Korea

    Currently all inbound travellers on short-term visas are subject to a Covid-19 test and are required to quarantine at a government-designated facility for 14 days. Foreign nationals on long-term visas are subject to self-quarantine for 14 days and are guided to install the "Self-Diagnosis" app before being and tested at a public health clinic within 14 days or their arrival. 

    South Korean hotels, restaurants, bars, museums are all mostly open and the Korean government have been relatively successful in containing the virus through track and trace programs. The Korean government have also converted "social distancing" to "distancing in daily life" on May 6, through which the public is guided to engage in economic and social activities and infection prevention/control at the same time. The government announced basic and detailed guidelines to help citizens practice eased distancing in their daily lives.

    However, due to a spike in cases in Seoul, from 19th August 12 high-risk business categories including nightclubs, karaoke bars and buffet restaurants must cease operations in Seoul, Incheon and the neighbouring Gyeonggi province. Museums in the area have also been closed and indoor gatherings of more than 50 people, and outdoor gathering of more than 100, are currently banned.

  • China

    There is a feeling that the virus has been very much contained in China with very few cases still being reported. Each region has set its own Covid-19 related precautions in terms of opening, however domestic tourism has resumed with the majority of internal flights, trains and buses operating as usual. International flights are still not operating into China and all western governments still advise against all non-essential travel. For all arrivals into China, travellers are currently subject to health checks (likely involving nucleic acid or swab tests), including during transit, followed by a centralised quarantine period of at least 14 days.

  • Hong Kong

    Initially Hong Kong was praised for its containment of Covis-19, however after relaxing restrictions the number of cases has been increasing, albeit at much lower levels than we have seen in Europe. Hong Kong is currently experiencing its 'Third Wave' of infections and increased restrictions. As a result, the government has announced an extension to social distancing measures aimed at controlling further spreading of the virus, which has seen a resurgence in the Asian financial hub since early July.

    While the number of daily cases has come down from triple digits in recent weeks, authorities have cautioned residents from becoming complacent, warning that the situation remained "severe". Restrictions including a ban on dining at restaurants from 6pm-5am and the mandating of masks in all outdoor public areas are set to remain in force until at least September 18th. 

    All public transportation is running with social distancing measures and additional safety protocols in place. 

  • When will travel to Asia be possible again?

    This is the million-dollar question. Although tourism plays a hugely significant part in local economies, especially in destinations such as Thailand and Cambodia, governments are hesitant to fully open their countries and to start allowing foreign nationals entry. When this will be and how it will work is at the top of the agenda for all destinations at the moment. In all likelihood, we won't see destinations fully open until the latter stages of 2020, and while it's still too early to travel to Asia, the one thing that is clear is that travel will return. Whatever form this takes, safety will be at the forefront of everyone's minds.

    This is why we are working with our local partners to develop and follow the robust protocols of WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) to implement new safety practices and standards. These will strengthen the current health and safety guidelines set out by local governments themselves to create a stress-free travel experience for you.

  • Standard Procedures

    Action by the traveller:

    - Our guests should plan to bring masks and pocket sanitiser with them.
    - Proof of comprehensive travel insurance (min $100,000 USD) may be a strict prerequisite by destinations.
    - Wearing a mask will be the expected norm at this stage in all our destinations, whether visiting outdoor sites or indoors in public areas. During private car transfers, it is our clients' choice of whether to wear a mask.
    - Washing hands frequently and avoiding touching face.
    - Expect regular contactless temperature screening at entrance of airports, many major tourist sites, hotels and restaurants. 
    - Clients should try to maintain social distancing at all times.
    - Personal refillable water bottle (this is optional, however recommended to minimise environmental impact).

    Common standard procedures across all our destinations

    Hotels & Cruises:
    - We will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply by local government guidelines. These measures include enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, physical distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.
    - Hotel staff will wear a mask at all times.
    - Due to possible safety risks, we will not be operating any overnight cruises in 2020. All overnight cruises are presently due to go ahead as planned in 2021.

    Guides, drivers and touring:
    - Our guides and drivers will wear masks at all times. 
    - Our guides & drivers will maintain social distancing between themselves and our clients.
    - Hand sanitiser will be available within all vehicles.
    - Spare masks will be available should our clients need them.
    - Vehicles to be disinfected at least once per day with spot cleans during the day while our clients are out on tour. Special focus will be on high touch points such as handles, windows, safety belts, steering wheel etc.
    - Before starting a tour, our clients will be provided a brief about what's expected locally - rules surrounding Covid-19, along with any associated precautionary measures which are likely to vary regionally.
    - The tours will be adapted, where possible, to avoid crowded locations. Our clients will be given full briefing on what to expect and flexibility to change their program should they not feel comfortable. 
    - No queuing by our clients where possible. Any entrance tickets will be purchased in advance where possible.

    Restaurants:
    - Any included or recommend restaurants will comply with local government COVID-19 criteria and are known to have routine disinfection policies in place. 
    - Restaurant staff will wear masks at all times.
    - No buffet food, only a la carte will be offered. 

RE