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Thursday travel bans: Thailand closes borders

written by Dylan Nicholson | March 26, 2020

Thailand has become the latest in a long list of countries closing its borders for international travel.

Commencing midnight on 25 March, foreigners are no longer be allowed to enter the country. It has yet to restrict movement inside the nation but will set up inter-provincial checkpoints. 

The emergency decree issued by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha early on Wednesday bans all non-citizens from entry at all points. This comes with exceptions for shippers, diplomats, drivers and pilots, as well as foreigners with work permits for employment in the country.

A Thai Airways International Airbus A380. (Rob Finlayson)
A Thai Airways International Airbus A380. (Rob Finlayson)

The move is an escalation in travel measures imposed over the past weeks. Thailand had already stopped approving visas on arrival.

It also required arriving passengers to have a medical certificate no older than 72 hours, showing that they were not infected with coronavirus, and proof that they had travel insurance with a minimum of $100,000 in coverage.

The move means Thai Airways is preparing to suspend and shut down most of its capacity on 1 April, as the world goes under lockdown to combat the deadly coronavirus.

Existing travel bans around the world now include:

  • Australia: From 9pm AEDT on 20 March, all travellers will be stopped from entering the country except for Australian citizens, permanent residents, or their direct family members. Australians will still be able to enter the country freely, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that he is working with national airline Qantas to ensure flights are available to allow those abroad to return. Everyone, however, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Australia has now banned international travel for its citizens.
  • Canada: entry to be denied to almost all travellers who are not citizens or permanent residents in an escalated effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The ban will not apply to diplomats, aircrew and immediate family members of Canadian citizens. As of 20 March, the Canada-US border is closed.
  • China: Beijing has announced a 14-day mandatory quarantine on all international travellers arriving in the Chinese capital. Meanwhile, international business travellers will be required to stay at a select number of designated hotels in Beijing where they will be tested for the virus. They will not be allowed to leave until their test results have been returned.
  • Germany: (Updated) Starting 16 March, Germany will close its borders with Austria, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland, the country’s interior minister said on 15 March.
  • Hong Kong: Passengers who have been in or through South Korea or China’s Hubei province in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter Hong Kong, and neither are Chinese nationals with a passport issued in Hubei. Hong Kong nationals and residents are exempt. From 19 March 2020, all travellers to Hong Kong, including Hong Kong residents (with the exception of those who have only been to Macau or Taiwan in the past fortnight) will be subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days.
  • India is now suspending all tourist visas and enforcing a 14-day quarantine on all travellers, including returning Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Spain. India is now banning all domestic flights after international flights banned last week.
  • Italy: Passengers arriving as tourists are not allowed to enter via airports in the following areas: Alessandria, Asti, Lombardy, Modena, Novara, Padova, Parma, Pesaro and Urbino, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Treviso-Venice, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli. Most airports have closed, including Rome Ciampino and Milan Linate. The country has now banned all internal travel.
  • Japan: From 12:01am on 21 March (JST), Japan will suspend the visa waiver system that allows most Western travellers to enter. This provision will be in place until the end of April. Single and multiple entry visas will also be suspended. All passengers departing for Japan after this point will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. Entry continues to be restricted for passengers who have been in affected regions of China, South Korea or Italy within the last 14 days.
  • New Zealand: As of 20 March, all passengers travelling to New Zealand will be required to present evidence of citizenship or permanent residency. New Zealanders or local residents returning to the country will still be subject to the “self-isolation” requirement announced on 14 March, which lasts a period of 14 days.
  • Russia: Nationals of China, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran and Italy are not allowed in Russia, but exemptions are made for airline crew and foreign nationals resident in Russia.
  • Saudi Arabia: Umrah pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina are under a temporary ban unless the pilgrims are nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates who have obtained permits.
  • Spain: A state of emergency has already been declared in Spain and strict lockdown policies including restrictions on travel in and out of the country are expected. On Saturday, at least five Spain-bound aeroplanes belonging to low-cost carrier Jet2 turned back to the UK mid-air. The company said it was acting in response to measures introduced by the Spanish government.
  • Singapore: All passengers to be subject to a self-isolation period of 14 days. All transit now stopped.
  • Turkey: Turkey has halted travel to and from nine European countries: Germany, Spain, France, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands. Nationals of those countries are not allowed to enter the country. On March 16, the Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a news briefing the country would also suspend flights to and from the UK, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.
  • UAE:  The United Arab Emirates has suspended all passenger flights into and out of the country.
  • UK: Officials in the UK are monitoring direct flights into the country from certain areas, according to the US embassy, and informing incoming passengers about how to report any symptoms.
  • US: The US has banned travel from the China, Europe, Iran and the UK and Ireland. The US-Canada border is now closed.


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