Coronavirus in Southeast Asia and Travel – A Country By Country Guide. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Coronavirus in Southeast Asia and Travel – A Country By Country Guide

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Coronavirus in Southeast Asia and travel – we’re covering the current status regarding COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, travel restrictions, visa, insurance and quarantine requirements, movement restrictions, safety measures and social distancing requirements, and plans for opening up. We’ll update this country by country guide weekly.

Update: the world is opening up! See this post for our pandemic travel tips for international travel.

We started this country by country guide to coronavirus in Southeast Asia and travel for those of you who are beginning to think about overseas holidays again, having been cooped up at home for most of the year as the coronavirus pandemic spread around the planet. So far we’ve only included the Southeast Asian destinations that we cover on Grantourismo, but we may add other destinations if there’s interest.

Southeast Asia has fared better than the rest of the world, with considerably fewer COVID-19 cases and far lower mortality rates, having responded rapidly to the news of the virus out of Wuhan early this year. Leaders quickly asked people to stay at home and self-isolate, put nations into lockdown, and, in the cases of countries such as the Philippines and Thailand, imposed states of emergency, night-time curfews, and even liquor bans to discourage socialising.

While some Southeast Asian countries with few or no COVID-19 cases are taking steps toward opening up and are on the road to recovery, with international flights soon resuming and restrictions easing (Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar), others are continuing to battle the pandemic and maintain restrictions to contain the coronavirus (Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore).

Our country by country guide to the coronavirus in Southeast Asia and travel covers the current status of COVID-19 cases, travel restrictions to the region, visa, insurance and quarantine requirements, any restrictions on movement, any social distancing and safety measures in place (as relevant), and plans for opening up to foreign tourism.

This is a dynamic page with live stats, so if you’re considering a Southeast Asian trip we encourage you to visit from time to time. We’ll update country data every weekend, removing information that is no longer relevant, and adding new announcements. Wherever possible we’ll provide links to sources we think important, so you can check the latest status yourself to help you plan your future Southeast Asia travels.

If there’s something you’d like to see us cover here in our country by country guide to the coronavirus in Southeast Asia and travel, please leave your feedback and any questions in the comments at the end of this post.

Coronavirus in Southeast Asia and Travel – A Country By Country Guide

The information in our guide to coronavirus in Southeast Asia and travel should be used as a guide only. While we’ll update it weekly we can take no responsibility. If you’re making plans to travel, it’s essential that you click through to links provided to check the most current information and official sources, and consult authorities in your country, the country you hope to travel to, and any transit countries before making plans to travel to Southeast Asia.

Tips to Post Coronavirus Travel in Southeast Asia – The First Steps

  1.  It’s essential to first check your government’s own restrictions to find out if you are even allowed to leave your country yet. Many countries currently advise their citizens against all but essential international travel. Start with your country’s department of foreign affairs website.
  2. Next check the website of the embassy or consulate of the country to which you want to travel. They should have a news section where you can find out the latest official advice. Some sites have dedicated COVID-19 pages. If it looks like they don’t update their site often, it’s best to phone or visit the embassy in person.
  3. Corroborate the advice you’re given with other official sources. Don’t always rely on the media, as reputable as the publication may be, as it might not be the latest information. Check the country’s public information websites, ministry of foreign affairs website, ministry of health website, and airport websites.
  4. Once you know that borders are definitely open, international flights have resumed, and you are able to apply for visas, then check flights. At this stage, we’d recommend purchasing air tickets directly through airlines. Airlines are also able to provide information about transit countries and documentation you might need, such as medical certificates and proof of insurance.
  5. If flights take you through other countries where you will need to transit, you should not only check what the process will be and what documents will be required with the airline, also check the country’s embassy sites, as they may have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements even for transit passengers about which the airline may not be aware.
  6. Before travelling, it’s essential to take out comprehensive travel insurance with coronavirus medical coverage. Some Southeast Asian countries require you to show proof of COVID-19 insurance coverage to the value of US$50-100,000. Note, however, that if there is a travel ban in place, there will be no travel insurance available for that country.

Country By Country Guide to the Coronavirus in Southeast Asia and Travel

We plan to update this guide to the coronavirus in Southeast Asia and travel weekly. If you check in here in between updates, click through to the links to local sources for the most recent news. However, please note that the actual covid-19 stats at the end of each country profile are live and updated daily.


As of 12 June 2020, Cambodia, which first detected the novel coronavirus in February, has had zero deaths from COVID-19. Of 126 coronavirus cases, 125 people have recovered, and one person remains in quarantine. Prior to the three cases of recent weeks, Cambodia had no new cases for nearly six weeks from 12 April to 21 May. (Check the COVID-19 Live Stats Counter below for the latest stats.)

Cambodia has not had a state of emergency, did not go into lockdown, and only closed provincial borders during Khmer New Year when Cambodians usually return to their homelands to visit family. This year the national holiday was postponed and Cambodians will get days off in lieu in the future.

Instead of imposing a state of emergency or lockdown, Prime Minister Hun Sen – who has been praised by Cambodians for his frequent updates, transparency and compassionate way of communicating – asked people to stay at home, social distance, avoid non-essential travel, sneeze or cough into elbows, wear face masks, and wash their hands regularly, and people obliged.

Even as life started to return to normal after almost six weeks of no new cases, the prime minister, ministers and officials have continued to wear face masks and on 7 June 2020, the PM urged Cambodians to remain vigilant and continue protective measures, including wearing face masks (especially at markets, restaurants and hospitals), maintaining a social distance of 1.5 metres, and avoiding weddings, parties and ceremonies.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed Cambodia’s success in preventing community transmissions. Of the five main clusters of COVID-19 cases, seven were from a cruise ship; 34 were infected at a religious event in Malaysia; and a group of tourists passed the virus on to others. Research and testing continues at the well respected Institut Pasteur du Cambodge.

Tourism has been hard hit, with the Cambodia Airports Communications and PR director Khek Norinda advising in late May that all three international airports (Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap) handled a daily average of 585 passengers in May, a drop of 98% compared to May 2019. The focus is currently on domestic tourism, although businesses are hoping it won’t be long before international tourists return.

Airports and Borders

As of 12 June 2020, visitors with visas to Cambodia can fly in to the capital, Phnom Penh. There are currently no international flights to Siem Reap or Sihanoukville. All land borders are closed to foreign travellers. Only Cambodians can return home overland.

Visas Requirements

Visas on arrival and e-Visas are currently not available at airports. Foreign visitors travelling to Cambodia need to apply for a visa in advance of their trip at the Cambodian Embassy or Consulate in their home country or country where they are based. A multiple-entry ‘Ordinary’ visa is recommended.

Banned Nationalities

Cambodia recently lifted a ban on entry of visitors from France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Spain, and the USA, all of whom had been forbidden to travel to Cambodia to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Entry Requirements

Foreign travellers heading to Cambodia need to have a stamped, signed medical certificate, confirming that they do not have COVID-19, issued by health authorities in their own country or country of residence, which should be obtained not more than 72 hours before intended arrival in Cambodia. They must also have evidence of travel insurance with a minimum of US$50,000 health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay.

Testing and Quarantine Requirements

All passengers arriving on flights, both national and foreign, will be taken to a reception centre for a COVID-19 test, where they’ll remain until results are ready. If one or more passengers test positive for COVID-19, all passengers will be quarantined for 14 days at a government-designated facility. If all passengers test negative, they can quarantine for 14 days at their home or accommodation. On day 13 they are required to have a further test at a cost of US$100 at their own expense.

Testing and Quarantine Charges

On 11 June 2020, the government announced all foreign travellers to Cambodia will be required to pay a deposit of US$3,000 in cash or by credit card on arrival at the airport to cover the costs of COVID-19 tests, quarantine and medical treatment, and will be refunded any monies not spent. Charges include US$5 for travel from the airport to waiting centre, US$100 for a COVID-19 test, US$30 for a day’s stay at the waiting centre or hotel while awaiting results and US$30 for three meals during their wait. Passengers who test negative and are quarantined for 14 days will be required to pay US$100 for one test, US$84 dollars a day for accommodation (in a government designated hotel or quarantine facility), meals, laundry, sanitary services, doctors, and security services. Passengers who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to pay US$100 per test (maximum of four tests), US$225 a day for the hospital room, medical treatment, meals, laundry, and sanitary services, and, in event of death, US$1,500 for cremation services.

Opening to Tourism

The focus has been on encouraging domestic tourism, however, with many restaurants and cafes already open and hotels starting to re-open in June and July, Cambodia and Siem Reap in particular are preparing for the return of international tourists. Angkor Archaeological Park has remained open during the pandemic with special ticket offers. The sprawling empty park is the perfect place to social distance. Some international flights have resumed to Phnom Penh, with more starting in June and July. On 13 June 2020, it was reported that Vietnam Airlines is considering resuming flights on safe routes, including Cambodia, Guangzhou, Seoul, and Tokyo. For travel inspiration, see our guides to Cambodia, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Battambang.

Local Sources of Information

See local newspapers, the Phnom Penh Post and Khmer Times, WHO’s Cambodia pages, and the Facebook pages of Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Health Minister Mam Bunheng and Health Ministry Spokesperson Or Vandine who hold regular press conferences.

Update: see this post on Cambodia opening to tourism for the latest news.

Cambodia covid-19 Live Stats


As at 11 June 2020, Indonesia recorded 979 new COVID-19 cases and 41 deaths, taking the total to 35,295 coronavirus cases and 2,000 deaths. Indonesia reported the highest increase in cases on a single day on 10 June 2020 with 1,241 new confirmed cases, according to its Health Ministry. (Check the COVID-19 Live Stats Counter below for the latest stats.)

The greatest spike in cases occurred in Jakarta, where cases had been declining until this week, followed by East Java, South Sulawesi, and South Kalimantan. The Indonesian island of Bali, on the other hand, has had one of the lowest fatality rates in Indonesia and has done well to contain the number of COVID-19 infections.

Bali has done so well compared to the rest of the country that the government announced on 27 May 2020 that the island would reopen to visitors for essential or urgent travel from 28 May, although with strict regulations managed by the Bali Provincial Task Force for the Acceleration of Handling of COVID-19. It’s a start.

For an in-depth look at the factors contributing to the success of containment on Bali, as well as local insights into what the future of tourism in Bali might look like, see this piece by Julia Winterflood published on 10 June 2020 in The Diplomat, Post-Pandemic, Will Bali Rethink Tourism?

Airports and Borders

As of 12 June 2020, Indonesian borders remain closed. The Garuda Indonesia website has detailed information relating to the categories of people that are allowed to fly to/from and within Indonesia, such as diplomats, specialists etc. For the latest on international flights, Garuda recommends checking the IATA Travel Centre.

Travel Restrictions

On 31 March 2020, foreign arrivals to Bali were temporarily suspended and on 2 April Indonesia imposed a temporary ban on most non-Indonesian nationals from entering Indonesia in an attempt to control the spread of the virus following a dramatic increase of cases. In addition, ten regions imposed travel restrictions, including the capital, Jakarta, the epicentre of the outbreak. See this page for information on travel restrictions to Indonesia and related to domestic travel.

Visas Requirements

As Indonesian borders remain closed, for those nationalities that needed tourist visas, none are being issued for now. Foreigners with visit permits, limited stay permits, or permanent stay permits that have expired will be granted automatic visa extension without the need to apply to the Immigration office.

Banned Nationalities

On 2 April 2020, the Indonesian government imposed a temporary ban on most non-Indonesian nationals from entering Indonesia in an attempt to contain the virus.

Entry Requirements

Those allowed to enter Indonesia will need to present a medical certificate issued by a health authority confirming that they are negative for COVID-19. The Garuda Indonesia website, mentioned above, has a table that clearly explains what health certificates, forms and letters are required for both international and domestic travel, exactly what you need for different airports, from medical certificates to what kind of tests are required, from the Rapid test (which has a 3-day validity) to the PCR/Swab test (which has a 7-day maximum validity).

See this link for Bali entry requirements, which include: obtaining a unique QR Code; for air travellers, providing a COVID-19 negative certificate confirming that they have been subjected to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) from a government hospital laboratory or a COVID-19 Task Force designated laboratory, valid for seven days from the time of arrival in Bali; for sea travellers, presenting COVID-19 Rapid Test negative certificate from a government hospital laboratory, the health department, or other medical authorities, valid for seven days from arrival.

Testing and Quarantine Requirements

All travellers arriving in Indonesia will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine organised by the government.

Opening Up Tourism

Check the Indonesia Tourism website, which has an excellent page with answers to Frequently Asked Questions and on 11 June 2020 published a list of newly opened tourist sites, including stupendous Borobudur. According to Bali Governor Wayan Koster, an Indonesia tourism strategy will be soon be implemented with Bali, along with Manado and Batam, being one of the first three destinations to open up. For local insights, see the piece I linked to in the intro above, Post-Pandemic, Will Bali Rethink Tourism? For inspiration, see our Bali guide.

Local Sources of Information

See the Indonesia Tourism website, which has a dedicated coronavirus section with plenty of up to date information, as well as lots of other links to local sources of information. The official Indonesian government information is accessible at and the hotline is 112 and 119.

Indonesia covid-19 Live Stats


On 11 June 2020, the Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith declared victory over COVID-19 after the discharge from hospital on Tuesday of the last patient and no new cases in 59 days. Laos had a total of 19 coronavirus cases and zero deaths. (Check the COVID-19 Live Stats Counter below for the latest stats.)

The Prime Minister attributed the success to the early introduction of measures such as closing borders, lockdown, social distancing, and cooperation from all sectors of government and society. Laos went into full lockdown on 30 March 2020 requiring everyone to stay at home and only leave home for hospital visits and essential grocery shopping.

At the end of May, lockdown measures eased with the announcement of the reopening of schools, cinemas, sports venues, and night markets, although bars and beer shops remain closed.

Restrictions are continuing to be reviewed, however, the Prime Minister urged ongoing vigilance and said protective measures such as wearing masks, washing hands, temperature checks, provision of hand gel, and social distancing have to continue to prevent a second wave.

Airports and Borders

All international border checkpoints still remain closed and it’s currently not possible to enter or exit Laos for now. While domestic flights resumed on 18 May, Laos has not yet announced a date for reopening international flights, although on 10 June Vietnam Airlines said it would soon resume flights between countries that have been free of COVID-19 cases for 30 days and that Laos, along with Cambodia, Taiwan, Seoul, Tokyo, and Guangzhou, were priority destinations.

Visas Requirements

The Government of the Lao PDR suspended the visa on arrival service at all international border points. The Lao authorities are considering granting entry permission to foreigners who are experts or technicians required for essential projects, however, no visas are being issued to people travelling from a country with COVID-19. To find out if you are eligible for a visa, contact your nearest Lao Embassy or Consulate. When Laos does opens up to international tourism, tourist visas will not be issued to people travelling from or passing through a country with COVID-19.

Entry Requirements

Foreign travellers heading to Laos must have a Certificate of Entry and a completed Health Declaration form (available from the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website) and a ‘Fit to Fly’ Certificate issued by their health authorities no more than 72 hours prior to travel. Contact your nearest Laos Embassy or Consulate for more details.

Testing and Quarantine Requirements

All passengers arriving on flights to Laos will be subject to a free COVID-19 test. Visitors with negative results will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a government-designated location at their own expense or that of their employer. Positive cases will be admitted to hospital for quarantine. If you arrive with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you will be automatically quarantined in hospital and tested.

Opening to Tourism

Since lockdown measures eased nationwide and tourist sites across the country began to reopen, domestic tourism has begun to boom in Laos, according to the Laotian Times. The riverside town of Vang Vieng has proved especially popular with local tourists due to its proximity to the capital Vientiane. For inspiration, see our guide to Luang Prabang.

Local Sources of Information

See the website of the Lao National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, local newspaper the Laotian Times, WHO’s Laos pages. If you develop symptoms after entering Laos call +856 20 5406 6777 or the free hotline numbers 155 and 166.

Laos covid-19 Live Stats


On 12 June 2020, Malaysia had 33 new COVID-19 cases and one death from the coronavirus, taking the total figures to 8,402 cases and 119 deaths, with 7,168 people having recovered. (Check the COVID-19 Live Stats Counter below for the latest stats.)

On 11 June, 31 new infections were reported. It was also the first day of the new Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period, a new phase of easing of restrictions, which saw long queues outside businesses such as barber shops and hair salons, which were packed with appointments after being closed for nearly three months.

The RMCO marks the start of Malaysia’s opening after a few months of lockdown under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) period, which ended on 9 June. This new phase, the RMCO, which is due to remain in place until 31 August, introduces more lenient measures that will result in greater freedom of movement and, hopefully, a rebound of domestic tourism in the country.

Airports and Borders

As at 12 June 2020, all Malaysian borders remain closed to foreign tourists. The only passengers currently allowed to fly into Malaysia are nationals, spouses and children of nationals, diplomats, permanent residents with a MyPR card, and residents with a Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa. Now that the CMCO phase has ended and the RMCO phase has begun, this could change soon. Malaysian low cost airline Air Asia announced on 15 June that all domestic flights would resume in July. We recommend monitoring the Malaysian Airports FAQs page. The government has also announced that the Johor Causeway and Second Link border between Malaysian and Singapore may soon re-open after a three-month closure.

Visas Requirements

As at 12 June 2020, Malaysia remained closed to foreign tourists for now. For nationalities that usually require e-visas, these are currently not being issued. If you need to travel for reasons other than tourism, check with the Malaysian Embassy or Consulate in your country or place of residence.

Entry Requirements

If you fall into one of the categories allowed to travel to Malaysia, then you must have a Coronavirus (COVID-19) negative testing result issued before departure to Malaysia, and Malaysian Immigration approval to enter the country. Again, it’s best to consult your nearest Malaysian Embassy.

Testing and Quarantine Requirements

All passengers who are allowed to enter Malaysia are subject to self-quarantine for 14 days in the destination in which they land. Transfer from an international flight to a domestic flight is not allowed.

Opening to Tourism

From 10 June 2020, with the announcement of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) phase, interstate travel is now allowed with a focus on reopening to domestic travellers and stimulating local tourism. Foreign tourists are still banned from entering Malaysia under the current phase.

Museums and zoos can now open. Recreational fishing, cycling and motorcycle convoys are allowed. Restaurants, food stalls and food outlets which have had restricted opening hours, are now allowed to operate until midnight. However, pubs, night clubs, entertainment, karaoke centres and theme parks cannot yet open.

From 15 June 2020, forest activities such as hiking and jungle trekking will be allowed, however, no overnight camping stays will be allowed yet, and one day trips are only permissible in groups of less than 20 people.

Hotels and resorts can open but have to follow health safety and cleanliness guidelines. Open markets, night markets, bazaars, food courts, hawker centres, and food trucks have also been given the green light. For inspiration, see our guides to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Borneo.

Local Sources of Information

Start with Tourism Malaysia’s COVID-19 page. See the Malaysian Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Portal, the Prime Minister’s Office website and the Ministry of Health site and Facebook page. Also check newspapers such as The Straits Times and The Star, which have dedicated pages on COVID-19. The Straits Times covers news in both Malaysia and Singapore and this is the link to their coronavirus page.

Malaysia covid-19 Live Stats


As at 12 June 2020, Myanmar has had 261 coronavirus cases, of which 165 patients have recovered, and six deaths reported. The Ministry of Health and Sports reported one new COVID-19 case today and 12 new cases the day before. (Check the COVID-19 Live Stats Counter below for the latest stats.)

Some 45,926 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus since 31 January 2020. Myanmar’s capital Yangon had 200 of all COVID-19 cases in the country, while Kayah State remains the only part of Myanmar without a reported case.

While life appears to be returning to normal, on 8 June the Minister for Health and Sports, U Myint Htwe warned the public not to be complacent, urging people to continue to follow the Ministry’s safety guidelines despite the spread of infection slowing and low number of cases.

The Minister cautioned that the coronavirus “may cause a gradual rise of infections or hover, then gradually decline and suddenly rise again”. His concern, like many Southeast Asia leaders, is about preventing a second wave.

Airports and Borders

On 13 June 2020, Myanmar’s National Central Committee for Prevention, Control, and Treatment of COVID-19 announced that the suspension of international commercial passenger flights until 15 June would be extended until 30 June 2020. Domestic flights resumed mid-May. If you need to travel before our next update, check the Yangon International Airport site for the latest news. Land borders have been closed to foreign tourists since 19 March 2020.

Visas Requirements

A temporary suspension of all e-Visa applications, which took effect on 20 March 2020 remains in place until 15 June 2020. If you are hoping to apply for a Myanmar e-Visa before our next update, check the official Myanmar e-Visa website for the latest news.

Entry Requirements

On 25 March 2020, the Myanmar government announced that all foreign nationals arriving in Myanmar must present laboratory evidence of absence of COVID-19 infection issued no more than 72 hours prior to the date of travel to Myanmar.

Testing and Quarantine Requirements

On 25 March 2020, the Myanmar government announced that all foreign nationals arriving in Myanmar must undergo a 14-day quarantine in a facility.

Opening to Tourism

In April 2020, Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism announced a COVID-19 Tourism Relief Plan to help troubled operators. Phase 2 of the plan, which involves the reopening of Myanmar tourism, is due to take place from June through to August. At a forum on 1 June, Deputy Minister of Hotels and Tourism, U Tin Latt, said the Myanmar government would work with neighbouring Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to boost tourism in the region.

The first phase, which just ended, focused on funding and loans to help operators survive the pandemic, while Phase 3, which will run from August to January 2021 will focus on international tourism promotion, easing travel restrictions, implementing visa exemptions, and boosting local travel and tourism infrastructure. For inspiration, see our posts on Myanmar.

Local Sources of Information

Start with the official Myanmar Tourism website’s COVID-19 page and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Facebook page. Local newspaper, the Myanmar Times, also has a designated COVID-19 section.

Myanmar covid-19 Live Stats


As at 16 June 2020, the Straits Times reported 151 new cases, which is the lowest since 142 cases were reported on 8 April. The total number of coronavirus cases in Singapore is 40,969 as confirmed  by the Ministry of Health (MOH). On the MOH site on 12 June, the department had recorded 11,785 active cases, 28,040 discharged, 2 critical and just 25 deaths. Some 488,695 swabs had been taken from 284,963 people. The MOH confirmed that the vast majority of cases were migrant workers living in dormitories. (Check the COVID-19 Live Stats Counter below for the latest stats.)

In late January 2020, Singapore was praised for taking rapid, aggressive measures to tackle the novel coronavirus, restricting entry, ordering strict quarantines, launching extensive contact-tracing, and working closely with the community and private sector to introduce additional screening measures, all of which helped avoid a major outbreak. By mid-March, there were only 178 confirmed cases and no deaths.

On 17 March 2020, a second wave hit when confirmed coronavirus cases rose from 266 to over 5,900. An island state with only one land border with Malaysia, quarantine and contact tracing measures in place, and a world-class health system with experience with the SARS epidemic, Singapore responded swiftly again. Contagious patients were isolated, medical staff protected, and wide testing introduced.

In April, there were new clusters of cases in Singapore’s migrant worker population, which appeared to have been overlooked during the first wave of testing. Multiple dormitories, where social distancing and self-isolating was impossible, were quarantined and testing increased for all workers. Singapore introduced a tough package of COVID-19 ‘circuit breaker’ restrictions to get the outbreak under control.

On 1 June, Singapore ended the eight-week circuit breaker shutdown and began the first phase of a programme that will progressively ease restrictions in three phases. A review of Phase 1 is due in mid-June and will determine when Phase 2 will begin, so we should have more news for you next week.

Phase 1 restrictions require people to work from home if they can and forbid visits or meetings with anyone living in a different household with fines and possible prosecution for repeat offenders. Talking on or using mobile phones on public transport is banned and wearing masks is compulsory outside the home, with fines of S$300 for first offenders, S$1,000 for second offenders, and potential jail time of up to six months and fines up to S$10,000 for repeat offenders.

Other Phase 1 restrictions include no eating in hawker centres, restaurants and canteens (only takeaway and delivery allowed); continued closure of arts facilities, galleries, museums, performance venues, concert halls, department stores, malls, cafés, tea shops, bars, pubs, nightclubs, theatres, and cinemas.

Many public beaches, all public swimming pools, games courts, golf courses, fitness areas, gyms, stadiums, and pools and fitness facilities in condominiums remained closed. Pharmacies, smaller shops, bakeries, wet markets, and supermarkets were allowed to open as long as safe distancing measures were applied, including SafeEntry digital check-in systems and floors marked to show queue lines.

On 15 June, Singapore announced that Phase 2 will begin on 19 June when a wide range of restrictions will be eased and most activities allowed to resume. It looks like leisure travel will still be disallowed, but business travel may be possible between Singapore and specific destinations with certain conditions. More businesses and services will open, including restaurants and hawker centres (with each table limited to five people) but while people will be able to gather in small groups of up to five and within the home receive up to five visitors, social distancing of one metre will be required.

Airports and Borders

All borders are currently closed to foreign travellers. See Changi Airport’s COVID-19 Information Hub for an abundance of information and see these measures Changi Airport has taken to keep transit passengers safe.

Travel Restrictions

Go directly to the Singapore Government’s Travel Restrictions for Foreign Tourists page as there is plenty of detail there, too.

Visas and Other Entry Requirements

There is no entry allowed for leisure travellers during Phase 1 and not during Phase 2. Business travellers may be allowed entry during Phase 2-3. We’ll provide details and links when they’re available.

Testing and Quarantine Requirements and Charges

On 15 June 2020, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced new charges for tests and accommodation for travellers entering Singapore from 18 June 2020. Singaporeans and permanent residents returning to Singapore from selected countries (Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, mainland China, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam) may serve their 14-day quarantine or ‘stay-home notices’ (SHN) at home, instead of dedicated facilities, after a compulsory COVID-19 test, for which they will have to pay. Other travellers entering Singapore must pay up to S$200 for a compulsory COVID-19 test and S$2,000 for their SHN at dedicated facilities, such as hotels. Before the end of their SNH, travellers will be notified of an appointment slot and venue via SMS for a COVID-19 test at a designated community testing facility. They will be able to travel in their own private vehicle or by designated transport to the testing facility and return immediately after the test. They will not be able to take public transport until they have their results.

Opening to Tourism

Leisure travel, including staycations in local hotels, is not allowed under Phase 2, so stay tuned and we’ll share more information here for foreign leisure travellers as it becomes available.

Local Sources of Information

Start with the Singapore Government’s Travel Restrictions for Foreign Tourists (link above) then check out Changi Airport’s COVID-19 Information Hub (link above) and the Ministry of Health’s site. The Singapore Straits Times also has a COVID-19 mini-site.

Singapore covid-19 Live Stats


On 17 June 2020, Thailand reported no new coronavirus cases and the country had been free of local infections for 23 days, and no new deaths, leaving the total number of infections in Thailand at 3,135 with 58 deaths. On 15 June, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin said and some 2,987 people have recovered and 80 remain in hospital.(Check the COVID-19 Live Stats Counter below for the latest stats.)

In a media briefing last week, Thai health officials confirmed there were no new cases, that recent infections among those in state quarantine arrived from abroad, and advised people to remain vigilant and to continue wearing face masks, maintain social distancing and keep washing hands.

Thailand was the first country to record a coronavirus infection outside China. The first local transmission was detected on 31 January 2020, then two clusters of cases on 13 March, and on 17 March high risk businesses were closed and the country went into lockdown.

On 12 June it was announced that the ban on liquor sales and night-time curfew would be lifted on 15 June, although the state of emergency would continue. A state of emergency declared 24 March 2020, which Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha recently extended until 30 June 2020, although it has been announced that the night-time curfew (11pm-3am) will be lifted, allowing most businesses to resume, except entertainment venues and ‘wet massage parlours’. The ban on liquor has also been partially lifted.

Thailand recently entered the third phase of easing lockdown restrictions, which allowed for 17 business and leisure activities to resume in June including the opening of food shops (tables must be one metre apart), shopping and community malls, barber shops and beauty salons, fitness clubs, school buildings, massage venues, boxing camps and gyms, bowling alleys, skating/rollerblading rinks, dance halls (five-metre social distancing for each dancer), water sports, cinemas, and zoos.

The April Songkran celebrations were postponed and it’s expected that the Government will announce extra days off in lieu of the April holiday in July.

Thailand’s tourism has been badly hit. In 2019, almost 40 million tourists visited Thailand. This year, it has been estimated that number will fall by more than 10 million. Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said during the first five months of 2020, there had been 690,000 tourist arrivals, a drop of 59.97%, or 10 million less than the same period last year. Domestic journeys during the same period were recorded at 40.1 million, a drop of 58.19%.

Airports and Borders

On 17 June 2020, The Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), Chula Sukmanop announced that the lifting of the ban on international flights might not go ahead on 1 July as planned. He confirmed when the ban is lifted, business people will be the first to be allowed through Thailand’s but a ‘travel bubble’ scheme still needs to be negotiated where travel will resume progressively between Thailand and countries deemed safe from Covid-19 transmission. Passengers will be required to wear masks during flights. It was confirmed that Thai Airways International is prepared to restart commercial flights on 1 August on lucrative routes.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) banned all international flights to Thailand until 30 June 2020. Flights to Thailand remain suspended to all but military aircraft, emergency landings, humanitarian aid, medical, relief and repatriation flights, although on 11 June, it was announced that Thai Airways will resume flights on 37 international routes starting 1 August. See ‘Opening Up’, below, for more details.

Visas Requirements

In the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s new strategy (link below), it says that after Thailand opens to foreign tourism, visitors may be exempted from “the visa application fee at embassies or consulates, including visa-on-arrival application fee”.

On 13 March 2020 Thailand announced that it will temporarily suspend the issue of visas on arrival until 30 September 2020 for citizens of 19 countries to contain the spread of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19). The countries are Bulgaria, Bhutan, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, and Vanuatu. Passport holders of these countries, will be able to apply for a visa at a Thai Embassy/Consulate in their country of residence prior to traveling to Thailand and are advised to allow at least one month before travel for approval. Medical certificates prove that they are not infected with the virus are required.

Other Entry Requirements

Visitors to Thailand need to have a fit-to-fly medical certificate and medical insurance that includes COVID-19 coverage valued at $100,000. All inbound foreign tourists will be required to install on their smartphone and use a mobile tracking app, managed by Airports of Thailand, for their safety and protection “travelling in and out of sealed areas”.

Testing and Quarantine Requirements

All passengers arriving on flights to Thailand are subject to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival while airline crew must self-quarantine during their stay until the next flight schedule. The recently released Tourism Authority of Thailand strategy (see below) states that after Thailand opens to tourists, on arrival in the country visitors will be required to undergo a COVID-19 rapid test screening process and then depart for quarantining to a sealed area – probably a resort location, most likely on islands – without any stops.

Opening to Tourism

On 15 June 2020, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha indicated that when international tourism resumes, it would be “travel-bubble tourism” and that the Thai government was considering limits on destinations tourists could visit, visitor numbers, where tourists came from, and where they would be allowed to go to when the tourism ban is lifted.

The Prime Minister said that the areas that tourists could go would have “disease control measures in place, including social distancing”, that “permitted areas could be closed if problems occurred” and that “tourists will not be able to roam at will, but to go only to places that are opened to them and have disease control capabilities.” He said “I think it is safe and better than liberalised tourism”.

The Thai PM also confirmed that travellers would continue “to face strict examination at border entry checkpoints” and must also have health certificates.

On 10 June, Deputy Director General of the Department of Disease Control, Dr Tanarak Plipat indicated that Thailand would create travel bubbles with other low-risk countries, although the first foreigners to be allowed back into Thailand would probably be business travellers based in the country, who will be subject to testing and quarantine.

On 11 June, it was announced that Thai Airways will resume flights on 37 international routes starting 1 August on 26 routes, including Paris, New Delhi, Guangzhou and Frankfurt, and on 2 August, to Beijing, Brisbane and Brussels, followed by Auckland and Jakarta the day after. Sister company, Lion Air, is set to resume flights on all domestic routes from 19 June 2020.

On 2 June, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) released a ‘new normal’ tourism recovery strategy which describes a future for tourism in Thailand that includes less travelling, smaller gatherings, avoiding crowds and touching, and a focus “on high-end international tourists who can afford to take out expensive medical insurance cover and are prepared to be transported in a bubble to a beach resort experience”.

On Phuket, which had 227 coronavirus cases in total, and no new cases since near the end of May, beaches were recently reopened, after being closed for two months. Operators renting deckchairs and providing massages must observe social distancing guidelines, arrange sanitiser gel for customers, and note customers’ names and phone numbers. Most souvenir shops remain closed due to a lack of tourists. For inspiration, see our guides to Thailand, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Isaan region.

Local Sources of Information

For news, see Thai PBS World, the online English news website of the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS), Thailand’s public service broadcaster, which has a dedicated Coronavirus section and local newspapers, the Bangkok Post and The Nation. For travel updates, see the TAT news site.

Thailand covid-19 Live Stats


On 13 June 2020, there were 334 cases of COVID-19, with 321 recovered patients, zero deaths, and the one new case was the first in 57 days. For a country of 95 million, this is quite an achievement, and Vietnam has been widely praised for containing the pandemic. As of 12 May, there were some 275,000 COVID-19 tests or 2,000 daily tests. (Check the COVID-19 Live Stats Counter below for the latest stats.)

As a result, life seems to have returned to normal in Vietnam. The government has allowed all non-essential services to resume (except for clubs and karaoke joints) with some measures.

On 22 April, Vietnam lifted social isolation restrictions and enabled restaurants and eateries to operate, but with strict guidelines, and allowed Grab services, taxis, buses, and inter-provincial transport to resume with some restrictions.

From 6 May, social distancing guidelines were relaxed on planes, buses, taxis, and ships, and from 8 May, religious activities were allowed to resume, with measures for large groups.

Vietnam has also announced that citizens from 80 countries can apply for e-visas from 1 July 2020 and Vietnam is planning to start international flights with similarly successful countries, and is exploring ways to open up to tourism.

Airports and Borders

On 28 May 2020, the Vietnamese Government announced that from 1 July 2020, foreigners from 80 countries can apply for e-visas to enter and exit Vietnam at international border gates, including eight airports, 16 land border gates, and 13 sea border gates. The eight international airports are Noi Bai in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, Cam Ranh in Khanh Hoa Province, Da Nang in the Da Nang city, Cat Bi in Hai Phong City, Can Tho in Can Tho City, Phu Quoc in Kien Giang Province, and Phu Bai in Thua Thien-Hue Province. Details for land and sea borders on the link above.

On 9 June, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said international flights will soon resume to/from priority ‘safe’ destinations. Domestic flights resumed at the end of April. See the Vietnam Airports websites for more information, and also take a look at the airport mobile disinfection chambers.

Visas Requirements

On 28 May 2020, the Vietnamese Government announced that from 1 July 2020 citizens from 80 countries can apply for electronic visas (e-visas) to enter and exit Vietnam, including nationals from Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, China (including Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR passport holders, not apply to Chinese e-passport holders), Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Fiji, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia, Solomon Islands Western Samoa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor Leste, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela.

Entry, Testing and Quarantine Requirements

On 20 March, it was announced that all passengers arriving on flights to Vietnam had to submit health declarations at the airport. Those arriving from COVID-19 hit areas will be transported for testing at quarantine facilities and placed in quarantine at a government designated facility for 14 days.

The remaining passengers not from COVID-19 hit areas will be moved to a quarantine place to complete a medical declaration, submitted to health workers for examination, before proceeding through an entry clearance that includes having body temperature monitored. Any passengers with fever symptoms will be temporarily quarantined and have comprehensive health assessments and be transferred to hospital for treatment. Passengers who are cleared will receive their checked luggage and pass through customs inspection before moving to the public areas and be allowed to leave the airport.

On 10 June 2020, the Prime Minister asked the Ministry of National Defence to “continue arranging centralised quarantine facilities for new incoming entrants”. We’ll add more details when they’re available.

Opening to Tourism

On 11 June, Vietnam’s Prime Minister indicated that Vietnam is looking to resume international flights with countries with no new COVID-19 cases in 30 days. The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control is drafting a list of safe destinations that could include Guangzhou, Tokyo, Seoul, Taiwan, Laos, and Cambodia. See link above.

On 15 June 2020, Vietnam News reported that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has identified Phú Quốc as the best place to reboot international tourism after Vietnam contains the pandemic. Tourists to the island get a 30-day visa-free stay, which Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc announced would resume from 1 July 2020. Visitors will more than likely have to have a PCR swab test at the island’s international airport and may have to undergo 14 days quarantine. More details to be announced soon.

Beaches have been opened in many cities and provinces, including Da Nang, Nha Trang, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, with some social distancing restrictions, and from 1 May, tourism activities resumed in Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, including Halong Bay Cruises.

Local Sources of Information

Start with the Vietnam Government’s Online Newspaper for official news. and Vietnam’s Ministry of Health site for health-specific information. For inspiration, see our guides to Vietnam, Hanoi, Hoi An, Saigon, and Sapa.

Vietnam covid-19 Live Stats


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

4 thoughts on “Coronavirus in Southeast Asia and Travel – A Country By Country Guide”

  1. Thanks, guys! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I would never have thought to check airport websites, but makes sense. Will be checking back again. Dying to return to your part of the world.

  2. Hi Christine, that’s what I love to hear! Well, you might be able to return to Vietnam soon – as long as your own country allows you travel for leisure – and if you have enough time to quarantine, you might be able to add a second country. Thailand is considering allowing people to quarantine at their accommodation on islands. Two weeks in a private villa with pool wouldn’t be such a bad quarantine! :)

  3. Hi Lara, brilliant post! I know you say above that Vietnam is opening international borders and giving e-visas from 1st July but people on Cambodia FB groups are saying they contacted their embassies and that’s not happening. Can you confirm? Thank you.

  4. Hi Caroline, thanks! I’m only using government sources – websites/FB pages of PMs, Ministries of Health, Transport, etc, government news and public information sites, as well as airport websites, and government-friendly media, as they’re the mouthpieces of the government essentially and the first to communicate announcements, so if they’re saying people should be apply to apply from 1st July onwards, they should be able to apply. It may be a case of the government announcing it before communicating it to embassies and travel agents etc. But the 1st is still two weeks away and a lot can happen in two weeks. Maybe embassies will start to communicate the news over coming days. Maybe they’ll clarify the announcement – or postpone the date. We’ll just have to wait and see, but I’ll update it here when there’s more information. Thanks for dropping by!

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