Asia was influenced by Covid-19 earlier than other regions and also peaked earlier, facilitating faster reconnection of international routes.
The rapid and easy spread of Covid-19 caused almost every country in the world to apply a series of limited measures to prevent epidemics, including tightening borders, disrupting movement. international. In the context of the pandemic gradually cooling down in many places, some countries have resumed overseas flights.
Across Asia, however, the state of international reopening varies widely from country to country. While India still struggles with the number of new infections growing faster than any other country, the Maldives started welcoming foreign passengers starting July 15. The borders in East Asia remain largely closed, while the restrictions in Southeast Asian countries differ.
Passengers at Singapore Changi International Airport, on September 11. Photo: AFP.
China, where Covid-19 started in December 2019, cautiously resumed business from May after quickly successfully curbing the pandemic. On August 12, the government allowed people from 36 European countries with residency permits to reapply for a visa. Earlier this month, the ban on foreign visitors to Beijing was also relaxed. The number of passengers on direct international flights to Beijing is limited to 500 per day during the test period.
Chinese aviation officials allow entry for passengers from countries that are believed to be at low risk of cross-border COV transmission, such as Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan, Greece, Denmark, Austria, and Sweden. Passengers arriving in China are required to present a negative Covid-19 test paper prior to boarding, concentrated quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and undergo two other tests.
Hong Kong, which initially controlled Covid-19 well but then faced a new outbreak, is beginning to reopen gradually. All entries are required to present nCoV negative results tested within 72 hours of departure. Passengers from some countries such as the US are required to be on quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Taiwan is seen as a successful model of the Covid-19 response. From June 29, foreign passengers with reasons to travel to Taiwan other than the normal travel purpose can apply for entry. Passengers are required to present negative nCoV results, tested within three days of departure, and self-contained 14 days after arrival.
Japan’s border is still closed to passengers from more than 100 countries and territories, as the government is considering various measures to loosen the travel ban to prevent the spread of nCoV. The 14-day after-arrival quarantine has been removed for passengers from some countries.
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said prerequisites for foreign passengers still apply, such as nCoV testing before and after the flight, and presentation of travel plans in Japan. Passengers must also notify authorities of their place of residence and workplace, and avoid using public transport.
In East Asia, Korea is the only country that has fully opened its borders thanks to its rapid and effective anti-epidemic efforts. Short-term foreign residents after arrival are subject to 14-day quarantine at a government-designated facility, costing an average of 100 to 150 USD per night. Self-quarantined passengers must download an application on their mobile phones to report their health every day.
Violators of the rules can be fined, arrested or deported. Passengers transferring through Seoul’s Incheon Airport are not required to comply with the above requirements, but may be asked to complete a health questionnaire and a temperature check.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore is reopening its borders at a slow pace, through a bilateral agreement with neighboring countries. Only a few countries have reached agreements with Singapore, including China, Brunei, Malaysia, South Korea and New Zealand. Changi Airport also allows transfers for Australian and New Zealand citizens, and there are plans to expand the audience.
Malaysia is banning entry to foreigners and there are very few exceptions. Any passenger permitted to enter is subject to a CoV quick test and mandatory quarantine for 14 days. However, foreign nationals are still allowed to transit at international airport terminals, as long as immigration is not cleared.
Thailand, which banned all international flights from May to the end of June, is in the process of reopening. On 1 July, a limited number of international flights have been resumed, but most serve Thai nationals and most foreign passengers are still prohibited from entering.
Some of the exceptions that allow foreign passengers to enter Thailand include humanitarian work or medical aid, but everyone is quarantined for 14 days after arrival.
Cambodia has suspended e-visa and airport visa programs, but still issues visas to international passengers arriving for diplomatic, official or other business reasons. However, the provisions are for