Travel bans implemented in effort to contain spread of coronavirus

3 Feb 20

GLOBAL

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? Following the World Health Organization’s declaration of an international public health emergency last week, and with the number of reported cases of positive coronavirus increasing daily, governments around the world have started implementing travel bans. This, along with several airlines canceling flights to and from mainland China, will undoubtedly cause delay and uncertainty for thousands of travelers and businesses.

Since Friday, the United States, Singapore, New Zealand and Japan, among other countries, have escalated their response to safeguard against the spread of the coronavirus by implementing travel bans, which are effective immediately, as follows:

United States

Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) during the 14 days before their attempted entry into the U.S. will be denied. Lawful permanent residents, their immediate family members and a limited number of other travelers will be exempt.U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. from Hubei Province will be quarantined for up to 14 days upon arrival in the U.S. Those returning from other parts of mainland China will be subject to self-screening measures.

Singapore

Since Feb. 1, 11:59 p.m., all new visitors who have been in mainland China within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or to transit through Singapore.In the same context, with immediate effect, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority will suspend the issuance of all forms of new visas to those with passports from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Singapore’s status as a visa-free transit facility will also be suspended for those with PRC passports. Previously issued short-term and multiple-visit visas for those with PRC passports will also be suspended. During this period of suspension they will not be allowed entry into Singapore.

With immediate effect, the following returning groups will be issued an advisory for them to be placed on a 14-day leave of absence from the day of their return from China:

  • Residents (Singaporean citizens/permanent residents) who have been in mainland China within the last 14 days.
  • Long-term pass holders (including Work Passes and Permits, Student Pass, Dependent Pass and Long term Visit Pass) who have been in mainland China within the last 14 days.

New Zealand

Any foreign traveler who leaves or transits through mainland China after Feb. 2 New Zealand time will be refused entry to New Zealand. Immigration New Zealand’s Beijing office is temporarily closed in line with the Chinese government’s decision to close schools and businesses as part of their ongoing management of coronavirus.

Indonesia

The president held a meeting following evacuation of Indonesians from China. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a press conference following the meeting that the Indonesian government will temporarily ban direct flights to and from mainland China. The policy will take effect at 12 a.m. local time on Feb. 5.

All visitors coming from mainland China, who had been there for 14 days are also temporarily banned from entering or transiting in Indonesia. The government is also suspending the visa-free policy and issuance of visas-on-arrival to Chinese nationals residing in mainland China for the time being. Indonesian nationals are asked not to travel to mainland China.

Japan

Entry will be denied to any foreign migrants who have visited Hubei Province within the past two weeks or obtained visas there.

Analysis & Comments: Those planning travel to and from mainland China are urged to reconsider their plans amid growing concern about the virus and new travel restrictions. Employers and visa applicants should expect travel and visa processing delays as more countries implement similar measures and visa processing centers remain closed. Employers must be prepared to be flexible with employee schedules and start dates.

We anticipate that more countries will follow suit and implement similar travel bans until this international public health emergency is resolved. We understand that the U.K. government will shortly be announcing short-term guidance to help individuals and employers plan ahead and expect that other governments will do the same. Response to the coronavirus is evolving rapidly, and we will alert clients to additional changes or restrictions as information becomes available.

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