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Coronavirus Update: Travelling Abroad

Home Image Updated as of 24th March at 10.00

COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

Updated 24th March 2020, 10.00hrs

Following the announcement of the FCO for British Citizens to avoid all but essential travel, Distant Journeys is in the process of contacting all our passengers currently travelling or due to travel in the coming weeks. We kindly ask customers not to call us unless you are due to travel within the next 48 hours. We thank you for your patience and understanding in these unprecedented times.

As a result of the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus, and in-line with the Foreign & Commonwealth Advice on avoiding all but essential travel, Distant Journeys has made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operating all our tours, with effect from 17 March 2020 until 30 April 2020.

We appreciate this is a disappointing decision for all our clients, but we hope you understand as a responsible tour operator, this decision is being made to ensure the safety and well-being of our customers and employees at this time.

We hope very much that we may be able to welcome all customers on another Distant Journeys tour in the not too distant future.

Further advice on coronavirus and what you can do to protect yourself from the virus is available from Public Health England and on the TravelHealthPro website. The government has also issued pre-travel advice, which can be found here.

Please click on the destinations below to find out more information.

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

The New Zealand Government has announced temporary restrictions on travellers in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). As of 2359 local time on 19 March 2020, most foreign travellers can no longer enter New Zealand. New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, residents with valid travel conditions, and their immediate family (partner or spouse, legal guardian, and dependent children under the age of 24) travelling with the New Zealand citizen can still come to New Zealand.

We are seeking urgent clarification from the New Zealand Government on the effect of this announcement on those passengers wishing to transit only. We will share further information on the British High Commission’s Facebook and Twitter sites when available.

Returning residents and citizens will be required isolate themselves for 14 days upon arrival.

See New Zealand Government and New Zealand Immigration websites for the latest information.

You can keep up to date on the current advice of the FCO regarding travel to New Zealand via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/new-zealand/health

The New Zealand immigration website have also produced their own advice with regards to travel to New Zealand and Coronavirus:

https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/media-centre/news-notifications/coronavirus-update-inz-response

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

If you are currently visiting Singapore and intend to return to the UK soon, you are advised to take account of the fast moving situation and make arrangements to do so as soon as possible. The number of international flights out of Singapore is likely to reduce in the coming weeks, possibly at short notice.

From 23 March at 23:59 local time, no short-term visitors from anywhere in the world will be able to enter or transit through Singapore. In addition, the Singaporean Ministry of Manpower will only allow work pass holders and/or their dependents to enter/return to Singapore if they work in essential services. Permanent Residents will be permitted to return to Singapore but will be issued with a 14-day Stay at Home Notice.

You may undergo a coronavirus swab test on arrival in Singapore. If you fail to comply, you could be denied entry. If you are exhibiting symptoms you could be required to self-isolate even if you test negative.

If you fall ill while in Singapore, including with coronavirus, you will be required to cover the costs of medical treatment yourself. Any visitors who choose to travel despite the measures outlined above should ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance.

You can keep up to date on the current advice of the FCO regarding travel to Singapore via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/singapore

If you’re returning to the UK from Singapore, consult the latest advice from the Department of Health and Social Care on actions you should take if you develop symptoms on your return.

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

Cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong SAR Government has announced a series of measures designed to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Hong Kong SAR Government have implemented a range of quarantine measures in recent weeks. The exact arrangements of quarantine vary depending on where you have been to and when. From 12.01am local time on Wednesday 25 March all travellers who are not Hong Kong residents will be denied entry to Hong Kong. Hong Kong residents entering Hong Kong will have to take a mandatory medical test for Covid-19. All Hong Kong residents will be required to undergo 14-day compulsory quarantine, this is usually taken at a residential address, but arrivals may be placed in a Hong Kong government quarantine centre.

Until 11.59pm on Tuesday 24 March, the following measures apply:

  • All travellers entering Hong Kong will be required to enter compulsory quarantine for 14 days. This includes travellers coming to Hong Kong from the United Kingdom. For Hong Kong residents, including foreign nationals who live in Hong Kong, this quarantine can take place at home. For non-Hong Kong residents, such as tourists and business visitors, this will be in a Hong Kong government quarantine centre. Those who enter Hong Kong from Macao or Taiwan, and have been in those locations for at least 14 days prior, will not be required to undertake quarantine.
  • Travellers who have been in the Hubei Province of mainland China in the 14 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong, and who are not Hong Kong residents, will be denied entry to Hong Kong.
  • All travellers who have been in the following locations 14 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong will still be required to enter compulsory quarantine at a Hong Kong government quarantine centre for 14 days: Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do regions in South Korea; Iran; and the Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy.

Health Declaration form

All inbound travellers via Hong Kong International Airport are required to submit a health declaration form.

Applicability of Hong Kong Government Measures

The Hong Kong SAR Government has implemented a range of entry restrictions in recent weeks. From 12.01am local time on Wednesday 25 March, all travellers who are not Hong Kong residents will be denied entry to Hong Kong. Transit services via Hong Kong International Airport will also be suspended. For more information, see Coronavirus

Health restrictions and Transit through Hong Kong Airport

Those transiting through Hong Kong airport will not be automatically subject to mandatory quarantine, but will be subject to advanced screening measures, including temperature checks. Those deemed to have high temperature will undergo further checks by the Port Health Office at the airport. If they meet further risk criteria, they will be transferred to Hong Kong public hospital for mandatory checks/treatment.

See the Hong Kong Government coronavirus website for further details.

All border crossings with mainland China remain closed indefinitely, with the exception of the Shenzhen Bay Checkpoint and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. All ferry crossings between Hong Kong and mainland China, and Hong Kong and Macao have ceased. Kai Tak Cruise and Ocean Terminals are also closed to passengers indefinitely.

Further information

Further information on coronavirus, including advice on preparing for foreign travel and helping reduce the spread of the virus, is available on the TravelHealthPro website.

You can find more information about cases in Hong Kong on the TravelHealthPro page for Hong Kong.

You can keep up to date on the current advice of the FCO regarding travel to Hong Kong via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/hong-kong

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all but essential travel to all of Indonesia.

There is an ongoing global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) and cases have been confirmed in Indonesia. The Indonesian Government has announced temporary restrictions on travellers in response to coronavirus. There is a temporary suspension of flights between Indonesia and mainland China. Anyone who has visited China within the previous 14 days will not be permitted to enter or transit the country.

From Western Indonesian time 00:00 on Friday 20 March the visa exemption scheme will be suspended for 1 month for all visitors to which it previously applied, including visitors from the UK. Those who have visited the UK, Iran, Italy, the Vatican, Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland in the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter into or transit through Indonesia.
From 8 March, Indonesia also introduced restrictions on all travellers who have visited South Korea within the last 14 days.

All those who wish to visit Indonesia must obtain a visa from the relevant Indonesian Mission in accordance with the purpose of their visit. Upon application, you must provide a health certificate issued by the relevant health authorities from your respective country.

All visitors will also be required to present their health certificate at check-in ahead of any scheduled travel. Failure to present a health certificate may result in you being denied entry or transit in Indonesia. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities.

Upon arrival at Indonesian airports, all visitors must also complete and submit a Health Alert certificate to the Health Quarantine Office.

Please see link to additional measures of the Indonesian Government in Relation to COVID-19.

You can keep up to date on the current advice of the FCO regarding travel to Bali via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/indonesia/health

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

Existing advice for China remains in place:

The FCO advise against all travel to:

  • Hubei Province

If you’re in China, you should follow the advice of the Chinese authorities. The situation in China continues to change. If you wish to leave, you should make arrangements to do so as soon as possible.

The Chinese authorities continue to impose various control and quarantine measures across the country, including restrictions on movement, reduced transport, entry and exit controls for towns and villages, and isolation requirements for travel between different parts of the country. A number of cities and provinces have announced mandatory centralised observation (quarantine) requirements. For more information, see Health

On 13 March, China issued a new order to ensure compliance with health and quarantine regulations at borders in order to prevent potential outbreaks from imported COVID-19 cases. Refusal to comply with procedures or testing put in place or any attempts to deliberately conceal health conditions can result in being sentenced to up to three years in prison. This applies to both Chinese and foreign nationals.

You can keep up to date on the current advice of the FCO regarding travel to China via the following link:  https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), including in Thailand.

The Thai authorities have introduced a number of screening, surveillance, prevention and control measures to limit the spread of the virus, and additional measures may be introduced. You should comply with any additional measures put in place by the local authorities.

At present there are measures in place for people travelling to Thailand from the United Kingdom, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Italy, Iran, South Korea, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America.

Effective from 21 March, Thailand will introduce additional screening measures for passengers flying to Thailand.

Before passengers check-in, airlines will be required to check whether they have recently travelled to the countries above. If a passenger has visited, or is flying from, one of those countries, then they will need to present a medical certificate signed by a medical professional confirming no evidence of the coronavirus infection in the previous 72 hours, and also present evidence of travel insurance of no less than US$100,000 which covers COVID-19. Failure to meet these requirements will mean passengers are not permitted to board their flight.

Upon arrival in Thailand, passengers will be asked to present their health certificate and insurance details to disease control officials. Passengers will also need to present a completed T8 form with their name, nationality, passport number, active mobile phone number and e-mail address, or show that they have filled out this same information on the ‘AOT Airport of Thailand’ mobile application. Disease control officials may decide that some passengers be subject to a 14 day quarantine or self-isolation period within Thailand. You are advised to keep up to date with the latest information on boarding procedures on the website of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, and the website of the Ministry of Public Health for information about quarantine and self-isolation procedures.

Thai authorities may introduce further measures. You can monitor the latest updates from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health on its website, and refer to their Q&A for travellers.

If you’re returning to the UK from Thailand, consult the latest advice from the Department of Health and Social Care on actions you should take. 

You can keep up to date on the current advice of the FCO regarding travel to Thailand via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand/health

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

The UAE authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the UAE.

The UAE authorities have suspended visa on arrival.

The UAE authorities announced on the 23 March, that all passenger flights, including transit flights, will be suspended within 48 hours. If you are in the UAE, and it is essential that you return to the UK, you should urgently contact your airline or tour operator and arrange to leave now. Local restrictions mean that only UAE citizens are currently allowed to return to UAE. With effect from 19 March only UAE Citizens are allowed to enter the UAE. All UAE Residents who are abroad will not be allowed to re-enter the UAE for a period of at least two weeks. This period could be extended. Please contact your nearest UAE Embassy for further advice.

Visitors are not allowed to enter the UAE until further notice.

Some routes to and from the United Arab Emirates by air, land and sea have been suspended. You should check with your travel provider before travelling.

We understand that passenger cruises are currently not allowed to dock in the UAE as a result of measures taken to combat coronavirus. A UAE-wide notice to mariners has issued. Vessels already in port have been allowed to disembark passengers at the end of cruises. The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) has adopted an enhanced member health policy which all CLIA ocean member cruise lines are required to follow to address the coronavirus. If you are planning to travel on an international cruise that is due to call at any port in the UAE, contact your travel company for the latest information.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) have called on all senior members of the public to remain at home and steer away from crowded places.

All schools in the UAE have been closed for four weeks from Sunday 8 March 2020. Many events and tourist and cultural destinations have been closed temporarily. If you are planning to attend a specific event in the UAE, please check with the organisers.

You can keep up to date on the current advice of the FCO regarding travel to Dubai via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/united-arab-emirates/health#health-risks

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

Cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in South Africa. The South African authorities have published coronavirus advice and have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus, which particularly affect British nationals, and those travelling from the United Kingdom and other countries deemed ‘high risk’.

President Ramaphosa announced on 23 March that any British national who arrived in South Africa after 9 March must remain quarantined in their hotel room for 14 days. He also announced that between midnight on 26 March and midnight on 19 April, everybody in South Africa must stay at home, except to buy food or medicine. Only certain categories of key workers are exempt.

Travel Restrictions

All British nationals are now required to apply for a visa to enter South Africa. Visas will not be issued for British nationals who have recently been in countries South Africa considers high risk for coronavirus, which includes the UK, China, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Spain, the USA, France and Switzerland. This list of countries could change at short notice.

The South African government has indicated that those British nationals who are currently in South Africa on a work, study, or other long-term visa may currently remain, under the terms of that visa. If they leave South Africa, they will not be permitted to return on the same visa, and will need to reapply for a new visa. British nationals with Permanent Residency in South Africa can leave and re-enter South Africa but must carry documentation with them proving their permanent residency rights. South African residents returning to South Africa from the UK or another high risk country will be placed under quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

If you entered South Africa on a 90-day stamp, which has not yet expired, you do not require a visa to leave South Africa. But the availability of flights between South Africa and the UK is reducing significantly. South African Airlines has suspended all regional and international flights until 31 May. A number of other airlines are also suspending international flights. You should speak to your airline or tour operator as soon as you can about your return flight.

The South African authorities have told us that British travellers wishing to transit South African international airports en route back to the UK may do so without a visa, as long as they stay airside, unless they have been in the UK or another ‘high-risk’ country since 15 March 2020. UK nationals are no longer able transit South African airports en route to third countries, if travelling from the UK or another ‘high risk’ country. Ask your nearest South African Embassy or High Commission if you are unsure whether this affects you.

Health screening at Ports and Airports

Screening processes have been introduced at all major ports of entry, including airports, for arrivals, departures and transit passengers. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities. Screening may include temperature measurements and checks on recent travel to affected areas.

If port health officials believe you should be tested for coronavirus, you will be taken to a nearby hospital designated for receiving and testing suspected cases. If tested positive, you may be placed into quarantine or asked to self-isolate depending on your circumstances.

If you are identified as in need of testing, or if quarantine or further treatment is required, you should contact your insurer, and speak to health officials, to understand where the quarantine or treatment should take place. Private hospitals in South Africa are prepared to treat coronavirus, and the standard of care may be higher than in government hospitals. See Local medical care

Our experience suggests that only people who are showing symptoms of coronavirus are able to get a test, at both private and public hospitals. If you need to leave South Africa and you are not experiencing coronavirus symptoms, you are free to do so.

Further information on coronavirus, including advice on preparing for foreign travel and helping reduce the spread of the virus, is available from Public Health England and on the TravelHealthPro website.

You can find more information about cases in South Africa on the TravelHealthPro website.

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all but essential travel to India.

In further restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Government of India announced that no international commercial flight would be allowed to land in India from 22 March 2020 for one week. All domestic flights will also be suspended effective from midnight 24 March 2020. The government has also announced a lockdown in up to 82 COVID-19 affected areas (including major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata) from 6am on 23 March to midnight on 31 March, which will cause disruption to transport and non-essential services. Individual states are imposing their own lockdown restrictions, including domestic airport closures in some cities. Restrictions vary by state, but only emergency and essential services are allowed to operate during this period. These include some health services, food markets and garages. We strongly encourage all British nationals to respect this lockdown wherever possible. You should continue to monitor local media for the latest information, and follow instructions of the local authorities. If you have any queries related to your Indian visa, please get in touch with the local FRRO office or visit their website.

If you are a British national in India, you should be prepared to stay in country until flights resume. You will need to be ready to comply with local isolation, testing or quarantine requirements, and to rely on the local health system. Given that many additional state level restrictions remain in place, and continue to be introduced, moving within India may be more difficult than normal for British nationals e.g. hotels in some states have been instructed to refuse entry to foreign nationals and some states have entry restrictions in place. Unless you have an urgent reason to travel within India you may have to stay where you are whilst the flight ban and lockdowns remain in place.

The situation remains fluid and we advise British nationals to continue to monitor the local advice on any state level restrictions and follow the instructions of the local authorities.

The Indian Government is monitoring the progress of coronavirus cases around the world and updating their travel restrictions regularly in response. You should check the Indian Bureau of Immigration website to see the current list of travel restrictions before making any travel arrangements.

Anyone in India seeking more information should call on +91-11-23978046 (Government of India, 24-hour helpline) or visit the Ministry of Health website.

Further advice on coronavirus is available from Public Health England and on the TravelHealthPro website.

All foreign and Indian nationals entering into India from any port are required to provide two copies of a self-declaration form of personal details, as well as travel history to health officials and immigration officials at all arrival ports.

To access the self-declaration form, please click here.

Returning travellers

Call NHS 111, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people immediately if you’ve travelled to the UK from:

  • Hubei province in China in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms
  • Iran, lockdown areas in northern Italy or special care zones in South Korea since 19 February, even if you do not have symptoms
  • other parts of mainland China or South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are mild)
  • other parts of northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam since 19 February and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are mild)

In Scotland call your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours. In Northern Ireland call 0300 200 7885.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.


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