Restrictions on Movement

Mar 13, 2020

On 12 March 2020, a number of restrictions on movement — as well as screening and prevention measures — remain in place across Asia in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Across Asia, the largest numbers of reported COVID-19 cases are in China (80,932), South Korea (7,869) and Japan (639).

On 12 March Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte announced a lockdown for the Manila metropolitan area — to include domestic air, land and sea travel to and from the city — beginning on 15 March. The lockdown will remain in effect through at least 14 April. Within Manila, public transportation services — including the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) — will continue to operate normally. Additionally, Duterte announced a nationwide ban on all large gatherings and advised the public to continue adhering to “social distancing” practices. Meanwhile, the mayor of Davao city announced via social media that all residents of the city are prohibited from leaving the municipality, while advising all non-residents or short-term visitors to depart the city. Officials did not specify further details regarding the enforcement or expected duration of the restrictions; however, officials stated that they are not imposing a formal lockdown, comparable to the measures announced for metropolitan Manila. Health officials have confirmed at least 52 case of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

On 11 March, the Indian government announced the suspension of all existing visas — except for diplomatic, U.N., employment and project visas — beginning at 1730 local time (1200 UTC) on 13 March. The measures are set to remain in place until at least 15 April. Additionally, all travelers (including Indian nationals) coming from, or who have traveled to, China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain or Germany since 15 February, will be required to remain under quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Additionally, authorities have suspended “visa-free travel” for all holders of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) status through 15 April. Authorities advised that travelers with “compelling” reasons should contact Indian diplomatic missions for additional assistance regarding their visas. The restrictions do not apply to travelers already in India. As of 13 March, health officials have confirmed at least 73 cases of COVID-19 in India.

Meanwhile in China, officials confirmed 15 new cases of COVID-19 on 12 March, a decrease from the 24 new cases reported on the previous day. In Hubei province — the initial epicenter of the outbreak — officials reported a downward trend in the number of new COVID-19 infections for the seventh consecutive day, reporting eight new cases on 12 March.

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