UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS

COVID-19 UPDATES

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GENERAL OVERVIEW

-Updated 10th of February 2021-

Leaving 2020 behind, we have entered the new year 2021 with more optimism and a realistic dose of anticipation that things will get better. We are not there yet, but the rollout of vaccinations in many countries  (albeit slower than hoped for) and the approval of more vaccines will be the way out of this situation and make travel worldwide and to Asia possible again.|
When to expect an opening?
We expect a limited opening for some of our countries from Q3 2021. If all stays on track we see a solid Q4 with a peak of demand for rooms, airplane seats, and long chairs by the pool/beach for year-end and the Christmas and NY period.
Can I book now?
We are welcoming all bookings from July 2021 onward, even if no official opening dates have been announced. Our flexible Covid terms require no deposit and bookings can be changed and canceled up to 14 days before arrival to make it easier to plan travel. Come early if you want to see fewer tourists, otherwise, wait a bit to see how things go. We do expect the Nov-Dec 2021 and Feb-Mar 2022 periods to pick up in demand fast.
What will be the entry requirements?
As a guideline, it will be easier to enter our countries for travelers who are vaccinated and have the passport /paperwork to document this. Additional points will be a valid visa, a valid passport (with an expiry date more than 6 months away), proof of insurance (and very probably still a negative test 72 hrs before travel).
Below see the most recent recap of the status of our 9 destinations.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the current situation, many of our staff are working remotely from home or are on part-time leave. While we try to still respond very quickly, there could be moments where replies come a bit slower than usual. Please send us a mail to [email protected] to let us know.  Thank you for understanding!

HEALTH & HYGIENE PREPARATIONS

Hygiene and security (next to flexibility) will be major factors for our clients for travel going forward.

We have set up  Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with and across our supply chain, in accordance with SAFE TRAVEL guidelines set out by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). This starts with measures that will be taken by our staff, ground teams, guides, and drivers and we are working with all our suppliers (hotels, restaurants, sites, airlines) regarding their best practices as well as participating in panels of tourism companies in our countries focused on preparing corona-safe travel.

The measures will certainly change and evolve as the situation evolves. For now, please see the details of our safe travel efforts HERE.

STATUS PER COUNTRY

COVID-19 UPDATES 1

MYANMAR:

On Monday 1st February 2021, the civilian government was abruptly ousted and a military government put in place. Please see the section on Myanmar News in this blog for the latest update on the situation. We pray for a peaceful resolution in Myanmar and a return to democracy.

Regarding covid, Myanmar had recovered from an October to December surge and daily cases had come down from 1,500 to 250. A special Covid status has been extended again until 28 February 2021 for now, although the lockdown status has been lifted at the end of December in the capital Yangon.
VACCINE PLANS: Myanmar’s efforts to source vaccines are focused on China and India as well as assistance from the Covax initiative. It is starting to inoculate its population in February and looks to reach a goal of 30% by mid-2021.

JAPAN:
Despite progress in recent months, Japan is still in a declared state of emergency to help tackle a third wave of COVID until 7 March 2021. People are asked to stay and work from home as much as possible. Entertainment venues and other areas of high personal density are encouraged to remain closed. Daily cases dropped from a peak of 7000 new infections mid-January to around 2500 now.
OLYMPICSIn spite of recent setbacks, the central government and Tokyo 2020 organizers say that the postponed games will continue as planned to take place in August as ‘proof of mankind’s victory over the virus’. We do hope they will prevail as the Olympic torch relay is set to begin March 25 and the state of emergency is likely to last into February.
VACCINE PLANS: Japan’s vaccination plans see a start towards the end of January with health and frontline workers, and then as next stage elderly above 65 yrs from mid-February, reaching 60 million by end of the year 2021. The vaccine of choice is from Pfizer.

LAOS:
Laos is enjoying a quiet time with no local infections reported.  Domestic travel in the country is possible and there are no travel restrictions in place. A possible opening of borders to neighboring countries with low infection rates like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand will be considered and the opening of the country is still heavily dependent on the opening of neighboring countries and the air links via Thailand and Vietnam especially.
VACCINE PLANS: Laos’ vaccination plans are not yet fully scaled and currently only very small batches of Russian and Chinese vaccines have been used for frontline personnel. The current plan is looking at covering 20% of the population by mid-2021. Vaccines will be procured via the Covax program.

THAILAND:
After a long period of calm, Thailand is battling a recent surge of local infections after a first cluster appeared in a seafood market mid-December. The number of daily cases now hovers around 800 while more testing is being proactively conducted.  Lockdown measures in Bangkok have been relaxed from 1st February and restaurants can stay open again until 11 am.  Domestic travel is possible again with very few restrictions. Mask-wearing and social distancing are the norm.
VACCINE PLANS: The Thai government has ramped up the purchase of vaccines having now purchased quotas from China as well as the Oxford/Astra Zeneca and the Pfizer vaccines. Inoculations start in February and up to 30 Million people should be vaccinated by June.

VIETNAM:
Vietnam has seen local clusters appear mostly in the North of the country at the end of January and some local lockdowns have been re-introduced while schools in Hanoi have been ordered to close.   The lunar new year Tet holiday celebrations are coming up on the 12th of February and some worries that the extensive travel during that period may help the spread of the virus again.
VACCINE PLANSVietnam’s goal is to develop a local vaccine Nanocovax, relying on local skills and making it more cost-effective. The vaccine is entering its 2nd trial stage and a rollout is planned for H2 2021. As a backup, the government is also in talks with the US, UK, Russia, and China to purchase tested vaccines.

INDONESIA:
Indonesia is still facing just under 10,000 new infections per day. Entry for foreign nationals has been stopped until 8th of February 2021 and will resume only for the following: 1. limited and permanent stay permits 2. diplomatic and working visas 3. business stay permits (single entry) 4. medical and food assistance 5. transportation crew 6. foreign nationals working on national strategic projects.
VACCINE PLANS: Indonesia has received the first batch of doses from China and has also purchased 50 million each from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Vietnam (Novavax). The current plan sees 180 million people vaccinated by Q3 2021.

CAMBODIA:
Cambodia is now seeing some cases emerge mainly from migrant workers having crossed the border illegally from neighboring Thailand.  The government has stepped up efforts to keep people in quarantine while assisting with food and money. Otherwise, businesses across Cambodia are operating almost as normal with safety precautions in place. Domestic travel including flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are operating. The temples of Angkor are having a break from the crowds!
VACCINE PLANS: Cambodia has received its first shipment of 600,000 Sinopharm vaccines from China. It is also looking to source vaccines from the Covax initiative and has plans to have 20% of its population protected by mid-2021.

SINGAPORE:
The situation is under control with no local infections. The lockdown easing for businesses has reached Phase 3. A travel bubble with Hong Kong has been put on indefinite hold after a surge of cases in HKG and talks about travel channels with other countries are currently also suspended.  The reciprocal green lanes with Malaysia and Taiwan have also been halted for now.
VACCINE PLANS: The vaccination plan sees a broad rollout from February 2021 starting with the above 70 years old. Singapore has stocks of Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Pfizer vaccines and will also use the Moderna one. Aiming at vaccinating 80% of the population by mid-2021, on a voluntary basis.

MALAYSIA:
Malaysia’s case numbers are around 2,500 per day as of the end of January 2021.  States in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo are under 3 different levels of movement restrictions, depending on the severity of the local infections. The King of Malaysia has re-issued an emergency notice on 12 January with strict precautionary movement and sanitation measures and the first lockdown phase is set for 14 days and reviewed periodically. Domestic travel is discouraged to prevent further spread of COVID.
VACCINE PLANS: Malaysia has sourced vaccines from multiple sources including China, COVAX, the US (Pfizer and Moderna), and the UK (Oxford/AstraZeneca). It aims to cover 60% of the population by mid-2021

 

Q&A

With all of the uncertainty going around, we know there are a lot of questions. Here are answers to some of the more common ones and please do contact us directly if you have other questions.

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LINKS TO CURRENT TRAVEL ADVISORIES BY SELECTED COUNTRY

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