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March 19, 2020

COVID-19 Status Update for Southeast Asia – March 18, 2020

The effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on Southeast Asia are a deep concern shared by all with connections to the region. To encourage clear understanding of the facts on the ground, Tilleke & Gibbins has prepared this high-level snapshot of the legal situation as it currently stands in each of our jurisdictions.

Administrative and Judicial Functions

Travel Restrictions

The government has imposed the following:

  • Ban on incoming foreign nationals traveling from France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Spain, and the USA for 30 days, effective from March 17, 2020 (or from March 18 for Iran only).
  • Mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for Cambodian citizens traveling from European countries, Iran, or the USA required.
  • Restriction on Cambodian public officials attending meetings in European countries, Iran, or the USA.
  • Ban on entry of cruise ships via Kaam Samnor International Border.

The government has imposed the following:

  • Cancellation of all direct flights to and from China.
  • Suspensions of all visa-on-arrival allowances for one month starting March 20, 2020.
  • Restrictions on incoming travelers who have been in any of the following countries within 14 days of arrival: China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and Vatican City.

Various border checkpoints have been closed. Further recommendations for travelers from certain affected areas have been issued by the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on March 16. However, prohibitions, restrictions, and mandatory actions are not formally in place.

An announcement made on March 15, 2020, applies requirements to travelers coming from the following countries:

Incoming travelers with a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher, and with any symptom associated with COVID-19, will be taken to a hospital approved by the Ministry of Public Health for testing, diagnosis, isolation, and quarantine as necessary.
For all other incoming travelers, the following measures apply:

  • Mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for travelers arriving from China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, Italy, and South Korea.
  • Mandatory self-monitoring and reporting of symptoms in the Ministry of Public Health system for travelers arriving from Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA. In addition, travelers from these countries must notify a disease control officer of their location and itinerary so their movements and contacts can be monitored.
  • All of the above incoming travelers must inform a disease control officer immediately upon the onset of any symptom associated with COVID-19.

As for outbound travelers, no blanket restriction has been issued for government employees, but many individual agencies have issued such prohibitions.

As of March 18, 2020, the following measures are in effect:

  • Visas on arrival suspended for all foreign nationals.
  • Travelers entering with visa exemption certificates granted to overseas Vietnamese (Viet Kieu), their relatives, and some other special cases (such as experts, business managers, and skilled workers) must have a certificate proving they have tested negative for the COVID-19 virus. The certificate must be issued by the relevant authority of the host country and also approved by Vietnam, except for those on official or diplomatic trips.
  • All travelers from outside of Vietnam entering with a visa will be subject to health checks and a mandatory 14-day quarantine.


Our primary professional concern, in all things, is for the wellbeing and commerciality of our clients. For that reason, we are implementing practical social distancing measures designed to ensure that we work together safely, effectively, and without change to the quality and efficiency of the services you receive. If you have any queries about these measures, or about any of the information given above, please contact [email protected].