Asia Minute: Tighter Travel Restrictions for Asia

Mar 19, 2020

Hawaii Governor David Ige has asked tourists to stay away from the islands for at least the next month. Elsewhere, travel restrictions are going into effect that are much more specific and strict. And that includes in the Asia Pacific.

Starting today, Taiwan is barring all foreigners. The only exceptions will be diplomats, businesspeople with special entry permits and registered alien residents of Taiwan.

And any resident returning to Taiwan must immediately undergo a 14-day quarantine at home.

So far, the island has had a relatively low number of cases of coronavirus — fewer than 80 as of mid-week. According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, nearly two-thirds of those cases were contracted outside Taiwan.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong reported 14 new cases — its biggest number in a single day. Authorities say nearly all of them were people coming from overseas — including ten coming from Europe.

Starting today, Hong Kong is also requiring anyone entering the territory to self-quarantine for 14 days. That practice will continue for at least three months, and anyone breaking quarantine could be subject to a fine of more than 3,000 U.S. dollars and a jail term of six months.

In Singapore, starting tomorrow, everyone coming into the country will need to self-isolate for 14 days — and that includes citizens and full-time residents. Earlier this week, the government declared that any visitors with a recent travel history to several European countries would not be allowed to enter or even transit through Singapore.