COVID-19 Update: Asia-Pacific

Despite other countries easing restrictions, the Asia-Pacific region has remained tightly restricted due to the surge in the Delta variant.

The Asia-Pacific region has remained tightly restricted due to the surge in the Delta variant. These restrictions can include outright bans of citizens who live in or have visited a restricted country and mandated 14-to-21-day quarantines for those allowed to travel. And although vaccine rollouts are happening rapidly in places such as Singapore, there is still uncertainty as to when restrictions will ease. 

We recommend reviewing each country on the trip route before starting the setup of the flight, as well as before the actual departure. The World Fuel Trip Support Team is available 24/7 to check the latest restrictions to support your trip requirements.
For all country updates, visit the COVID-19 resource page.

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Regional Overview

China has vowed to keep border restrictions in place until at least mid-2022. Currently, the travel of inbound passengers on GA aircraft is suspended unless the approval can be secured from the Foreign Affairs Office of the State Council.

While there was positive news in July regarding certain travelers being allowed to visit Phuket in Thailand, the rest of the country has remained restricted to most foreign nationals. Some requirements for those permitted entry to Phuket are that they must be fully vaccinated, must have spent 21 days or more in countries designated low-to-medium risk, and undergo periodic COVID testing while in Phuket.

While approximately 70% of the population has been fully vaccinated in Singapore, border restrictions are also still in full force. Inbound travel into Singapore is still largely only permitted for Singaporean citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders. 

While tech stops are generally allowed in many Asia/Pacific countries, checking the latest restrictions and rules is necessary. For example, countries like Indonesia allow tech stops but still require a PCR/swab test for all crew taken within 72 hours of arrival. Meanwhile, other countries have specific restrictions for tech stops in place. One such country is Malaysia, where they have temporary rules for all aircraft arriving from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,

Countries such as Indonesia, South Korea, and Vietnam have recently put stricter measures for their citizens due to rising infection rates. Due to these tighter domestic measures, it is unlikely that border restrictions will ease in these locations in the short term. The restrictions for these countries are similar in that most foreign travelers are not allowed entry without government permission or are subjected to lengthy quarantine requirements.

A very notable example of strict border measures in the Asia/Pacific region was on display during the recent Tokyo Olympic Games. In the event usually attended by visitors throughout the world, the Tokyo Olympics were unprecedented in that foreign spectators were banned from attending, and most events were staged with no spectators at all. Japan has also seen a rise in COVID cases of the Delta variant, and their borders are quite tightly restricted as it pertains to foreign travelers.

In some positive news, New Zealand has announced plans to open its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries in early 2022. New Zealand has had some of the strictest restrictions since the beginning of the outbreak, so there is optimism that this will lead to a similar easing of restrictions around the region. That optimism is tempered somewhat by what is happening at their across-the-straits neighbor, Australia, which has yet to announce formal plans to reopen its borders to foreign travelers. On the contrary, they seem to be tightening restrictions, including controversial new travel laws that require permission for Australian citizens who live abroad to leave the country.

Like New Zealand, Hong Kong has had some of the strictest border restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. They have quarantine requirements of up to 21-days with multiple COVID tests required while in quarantine.

As vaccine rollouts gain steam and continue throughout the region, there is hope that restrictions will begin to ease. However, with the rapid spread of the Delta variant in many countries, the optimism is somewhat tempered. While there still are special circumstances that will allow for travel to many countries, for the most part, the region is lagging behind much of the rest of the world when it comes to showing signs of relaxing the border restrictions. 


About the Author

Pete Bennett - Manager, Global Trip Support, Singapore

As Manager, Global Trip Support, Singapore for World Fuel Services, Pete Bennett oversees the day-to-day operations of the Singapore, Shanghai, and Mumbai Trip Support teams. Since joining World Fuel Services in 2004, he has been instrumental in the development of the International Trip Support department, having held positions as Operations Team Supervisor and Operations Floor Supervisor before being promoted to Trip Support management in 2009. He is currently based in the World Fuel Services Singapore office where he has been since July 2016. Pete holds an FAA Dispatch License and a Private Pilot Certificate.

Contact World Fuel Trip Support

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