Novel coronavirus outbreak: Where Filipinos can and can’t travel
Novel coronavirus outbreak: Where Filipinos can and can’t travel
(UPDATED) Planning a trip? Make sure you know the travel restrictions of your destination

(Editor’s note: This story is updated as of March 10, 2020) 

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the world, travelers need to make additional considerations when it comes to making their travel plans. At this point, it goes without saying that it’s best to avoid passing through China, where the virus originated, as well as countries where cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, are on the rise: Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan.

As of March 3, the Philippine government has imposed a travel ban on either the entire area or parts of:

This means that travel to these areas are out of the question for Filipinos, with the exemption of OFWs, permanent resident card holders, and students. Travelers from these countries are also banned from entering the country.

Travel bans

Several countries have since imposed entry bans on travelers coming from the Philippines. 

Saudi Arabia

On March 4, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that the government of Saudi Arabia banned entry for travelers with tourist or pilgrimage visas from several countries, including the Philippines.

Exempted from the ban are those who hold visas for the following purposes:

  • Employment
  • Work visit
  • Business visit
  • Family visit

Saudi has also indefinitely suspended the issuance of tourist and pilgrimage visas.


The government of Kuwait suspended all flights to and from the following countries:

  • Philippines
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Lebanon
  • Egypt

The measures took effect on March 7. Kuwait also banned the arrival of non-citizens who have travelled to any of the above countries in the past two weeks.


On March 9, the government of Qatar has prohibited the entry of all travelers from the following 14 countries:

  • Philippines
  • Bangladesh
  • China 
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • South Korea
  • Lebanon
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Thailand

The ban covers all individuals from these countries, including those with residence and work permits, temporary visas, and visas on arrival.

Cook Islands

On March 9, Cook Islands banned entry for passengers with recent travel history from the following countries:

  • Philippines
  • China, including its administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau
  • Taiwan
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Italy
  • Iran


On March 9, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte put their entire country on lockdown, telling the country’s over 60 million citizens to “stay at home” as public gatherings and travel between areas is banned unless absolutely necessary. 

It’s still unclear whether the country has already enforced an outright ban on arriving travelers.

Travel restrictions

As cases continue to rise, countries have banned entry depending on the recent travel history of visitors. Those who have visited certain areas within 14 days of their arrival to a country are restricted from entering.

Here are the inbound travel restrictions of several countries as of March 3:

South Korea

According to Korean Immigration, the following are not allowed to enter South Korea: 

  • Those with passports issued in Hubei, China
  • Foreign nationals who visited Hubei province, China within 14 days

At the same time, the country imposed the following visa restrictions:

  • Korean Visas issued in Hubei, China are temporarily suspended
  • Visa-free entry to Jeju island is temporarily suspended for foreign nationals
  • Visa-free entry to South Korea is temporarily suspended for Chinese and foreign nationals


According to Taiwan’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, entry to the territory is banned for foreign nationals who have entered or resided in China, Hong Kong, or Macau within 14 days, even if they are eligible for visa-free entry or hold a valid e-visa or visa.

At the same time the following will be subject to home quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Taiwan, under the supervision of Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC):

  • Taiwan residents and foreign nationals who hold a Taiwan Resident Certificate
  • Travelers arriving from South Korea, Italy, and Iran


According to the Japan Embassy in the Philippines, the following are not allowed to enter Japan:

  • Foreign nationals who have recent travel history (within 14 days) to Hubei or Zheijang, China
  • Foreign nationals who have recent travel history to Daegu, Chengdo-gun, or Gyeongsanbuk-do, South Korea
  • Foreign nationals with passports issued in Hubei or Zheijang
  • Foreign nationals who have recent travel history to Iran

Japan also restricted entry to “foreign nationals aboard a passenger ship which sails for the purpose of entering Japanese port and carries a risk of being afflicted by an outbreak of Novel Coronavirus infectious disease.”

Visas issued to foreign nationals that fall in the above categories will be suspended.

Additionally, visa applications for any of those who fall in the above categories will not be accepted. Visa applicants are required to submit questionnaires detailing their travel history to the abovementioned places.


According to the Singapore’s Immigration and Security Checkpoint Authority (ICA), visitors with recent travel history to the following countries are not allowed to enter Singapore:

  • Iran
  • Northern Italy
  • South Korea
  • Mainland China

Additionally, issuance of new visas are suspended for holders of People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Iranian passports. Previously issued visas for these passports are suspended. Visa-free transit to holders of PRC pasports have also been suspended.

Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders who have a travel history from the above areas will be placed on home quaratnine for 14 days from the date of their return. 

Hong Kong

According to the Hong Kong government, the following are not allowed to enter Hong Kong:

  • Non-Hong Kong residents with recent travel history (within 14 days) to Hubei, China
  • Non-Hong Kong residents with recent travel history (within 14 days) to South Korea
  • Travelers with a visa validity of less than 14 days

The following are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine (in a quarantine center, home, or other accommodation) upon arrival:

  • Hong Kong residents, Mainland China residents, and other foreign nationals with recent travel history (within 14 days) to Mainland China, even if they enter the territory from other places, provided they do not show symptoms and pass temperature checks at entry. Those with symptoms will be referred to the Hong Kong Department of Health.
  • Hong Kong residents and other foreign nationals who have been to Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, or Veneto regions in Italy within 14 days of their arrival. They will be required to stay in a quarantine center.