Travel Restrictions on China due to COVID-19
Migration

Travel Restrictions on China due to COVID-19

A new global tracker mapping the impact of the new coronavirus on movement around the world

An aviation security officer wearing a protective mask stands guard at Halim Perdanakusuma airport, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 15, 2020. Photo shows a uniformed officer behind some bars wearing a mask.
REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Based on government statements, official state media stories, and reporting from mainstream independent journalism outlets, Think Global Health has identified ninety-six countries and territories that have imposed some form of travel restriction against China as of April 3. Restrictions include:

  • Border closures, defined as a partial or total closure of a land border with China;
  • Entry or exit bans, which generally restrict the ability of nationals to depart from their country for travel to China or the ability of foreign travelers, nationals, or both from entering a country after traveling from or transiting through China;
  • Visa restrictions, which include total or partial visa suspensions or restrictions, such as halting visa-on-arrival programs, for travelers originating from or traveling through China; and
  • Flight suspensions, which include government bans on flights to or from China and suspension of flights to and from China by state-owned airlines.

In the map below, countries imposing travel restrictions are identified by color according to their most stringent ban. The countries and territories included in this count are limited to World Health Organization (WHO) member states, Taiwan, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Some smaller countries may not appear on the map. Each country’s restrictions are described in detail below. The information provided in this article will be updated periodically to reflect changes in countries' responses to COVID-19.

The image is a map of the world showing different countries colored different hues based on four levels of travel restrictions.
Think Global Health has identified ninety-six countries and territories that have imposed some form of travel restriction against China as of April 3, 2020 CFR/Jason Socrates Bardi

Article 43 of the International Health Regulations (IHR), a binding international treaty, legally restricts the measures countries can implement when addressing public health risks to those measures that are supported by science, commensurate with the risks involved, and comply with any specific WHO guidance. States that implement additional measures that “significantly interfere with international traffic” are required to report those restrictions to WHO. As defined by the International Health Regulations, significant interference may include refusal of entry or departure of international travelers or their delay for more than 24 hours.

‘Think Global Health has identified a total of eighty WHO member states imposing travel restrictions of varying severity on China due to COVID-19’

On January 30, WHO declared the outbreak of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus originating in China in 2019, a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). In doing so, the WHO did not recommend any travel or trade restrictions against China or other affected regions, and in updated guidelines on managing ill travelers and considerations for quarantine has yet to recommend any restrictions on trade or travel. As of March 12, the WHO reports that only forty-five states had reported imposing travel restrictions against China, Chinese nationals, or travelers originating from or transiting through China to WHO. Think Global Health has identified a total of ninety-six WHO member states and territories imposing travel restrictions of varying severity on China due to COVID-19.

Detailed List of Travel Bans by Country

AFGHANISTAN closed its border with China to travelers, effective January 30 (Newsweek).

ALGERIA’s state-owned airline, Air Algerie, suspended flights between China and Algeria, effective February 3 (Algerie Press Service).

ANGOLA imposed an entry ban on all citizens from China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Nigeria, Egypt, and Algeria if they travel directly from those countries, effective March 3 (Reuters, Guardiao).

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA imposed an entry ban on all travelers from the People’s Republic of China, effective January 31 (Office of the Prime Minister). 

ARMENIA suspended its visa-free travel regime for Chinese citizens, effective February 1 (Armenpress). Armenia imposed an entry ban on citizens from sixteen countries including China, effective March 16 (Public Radio of Armenia, Reuters).

AUSTRALIA imposed an entry ban on all foreign nationals, except for permanent residents or immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents, that have left or transited through mainland China, effective February 1. Australia also suspended temporary visas for visa holders ineligible for entry into Australia (Australia Border Force).

AZERBAIJAN suspended electronic visas and visa applications for ordinary Chinese citizens, effective February 1 (Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Azerbaijan).

BAHAMAS imposed an entry ban on any non-resident, regardless of nationality, who has visited China in the past twenty days, effective January 30 (Government of the Bahamas).

BAHRAIN imposed an entry ban on any foreign nationals who have visited the People’s Republic of China within fourteen days prior to their date of arrival in Bahrain, effective February 13 (Gulf News, Gulf Insider).

BANGLADESH suspended the issuance of visas-on-arrival to Chinese nationals, effective February 2 (India Times).

BELIZE imposed an entry ban on all travelers who have been in China within fourteen days immediately prior to arrival in Belize, effective February 8 (Government of Belize).

BOLIVIA imposed an entry ban on travelers from China, South Korea, Italy, and Spain, effective March 14 (Reuters).

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA imposed an entry ban on foreign nationals who have resided in the countries most affected by coronavirus, including China, effective March 10 (Bulgaria Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Reuters).

BOTSWANA imposed an entry ban on all individuals coming from eighteen countries, including China, effective March 16 (Xinhua).

BRUNEI imposed an entry ban on any visitor who has visited Hubei within the past fourteen days and anyone holding a passport from the People’s Republic of China issued in Hubei, effective January 31 (Brunei Ministry of Health).

COLOMBIA imposed an entry ban on foreign nationals who have been in Europe or Asia in the past fourteen days, effective March 14 (President Iván Duque).

COMOROS imposed an entry ban on travelers coming from China or any other country affected by the coronavirus unless they observe a fourteen-day quarantine in an unaffected third country before entering Comoros, effective February 10 (France TV).

COOK ISLANDS imposed an entry ban on persons who have been in China within the past fourteen days, effective January 31 (Cook Islands Ministry of Health).

CZECH REPUBLIC suspended all direct flights from China to the Czech Republic, effective February 9 (Czech Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO imposed an exit ban on all Congolese citizens to prevent them from traveling to China (Al Jazeera).

Image shows a worker fully garbed in protective gear head to toe holding a thermometer. Everything in the picture strikingly white or blue.
Salvadoran citizens are being examined at the Salvador International Airport in San Salvador, El Salvador, on Feb. 3, 2020 before moving to quarantine upon arrival from China due novel coronavirus. REUTERS/Press Secretariat of El Salvador Government Handout

EGYPT’s state-owned airline, Egyptair, suspended all flights to China, effective February 1 (Egyptair).

EL SALVADOR imposed an entry ban on all travelers from China and suspended all flights from China, effective January 31 (CNN Español, El Salvador).

FIJI imposed an entry ban on all foreign nationals that have been to mainland China within fourteen days of their intended travel to Fiji, effective February 2 (Fiji Department of Immigration).

GABON imposed an entry ban on all travelers coming from China, effective February 7 (Government of Gabon).

GRENADA imposed an entry ban on any non-national with a travel history within the past fourteen days from mainland China, whether in transit or originating, effective February 2 (Grenada Ministry of Health).

GUATEMALA imposed an entry ban on anyone who has been to China within the past fifteen days, effective January 31 (Government of Guatemala).

GUYANA imposed an entry ban on persons traveling from China, warning persons in China who plan to travel to Guyana are likely to be denied entry, effective January 31 (Guyana Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

HONG KONG imposed an entry ban on residents of or visitors from Hubei Province in the past fourteen days, effective January 27 (Chief Executive of Hong Kong).

INDIA suspended existing visas, including electronic visas already issued, for any foreign national traveling from China, effective February 2 (India Press Information Bureau).

 This is a fun photo of a large extended family standing in a parking lot holding a sign that reade welcome home.
People at Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 15, 2020 wait for relatives who were quarantined on Natuna island after being evacuated from Wuhan due to coronavirus. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

INDONESIA imposed an entry ban all visitors who traveled from or transited through China in the past fourteen days, suspended the issuance of visas-on-arrival, and suspended all flights between Indonesia and China, all effective February 2 (Reuters).

IRAN suspended all flights to and from China, effective January 31 (Iran Minister of Health and Medical Education).

IRAQ imposed an entry ban on all arrivals from the People’s Republic of China entering directly or indirectly for one month, effective February 2 (Iraq Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

ISRAEL imposed an entry ban on foreign nationals who stayed in China within fourteen days of arrival to Israel, effective February 2 (Israel Ministry of Health).

ITALY suspended all flights to and from China, including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, effective January 31 (Italian Civil Aviation Authority).

JAMAICA imposed an entry ban on passengers arriving from China and an exit ban on traveling to China, effective January 31 (Jamaica Ministry of Health).

JAPAN imposed an entry ban on all foreign nationals who have stayed in Hubei province in the past fourteen days or who possess Chinese passports issued by Hubei province, effective February 1 (Prime Minister of Japan). Japan imposed an entry ban on foreign nationals who have stayed in Zhejiang province or who hold passports from Zhejiang, effective February 13 (Prime Minister of Japan). Japan imposed an entry ban on foreign nationals who have been to China within the past fourteen days, effective April 3 (Japan National Tourism Organization).

JORDAN imposed an entry ban on any foreigner who was in China fourteen days prior to arriving in Jordan, effective February 5 (U.S. Embassy Jordan, Roya News).

The woman is seen in the distance with the notice in the foreground. It issues a stern warning in many languages.
A woman wearing a mask walks past a quarantine notice about the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China at an arrival hall of Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan on January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

KAZAKHSTAN suspended the issuance of visas to Chinese citizens, effective January 29, and regular air traffic to the People’s Republic of China, effective February 3 (Prime Minister of Kazakhstan). Kazakhstan closed its borders, including its border with China, effective March 15 (Reuters). 

KENYA suspended all flights between Kenya and China, effective February 28 (New York Times, Strait Times).

KIRIBATI imposed an entry ban on all travelers from countries with ongoing local transmission of COVID-19, requiring them to spend at least fourteen days in a country free of COVID-19 prior to their arrival in Kiribati, effective January 31. Currently, Kiribati’s entry restrictions currently apply to China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam (Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services).

KUWAIT imposed an entry ban on all passport holders from mainland China or Hong Kong, all those with a residence permit or visa issued by mainland China who have been in mainland China in the past fourteen days, and all those with a residence permit or visa issued by Hong Kong who have been in Hong Kong in the past fourteen days, effective February 6 (Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the State of Kuwait, Fortune).

KYRGYZSTAN closed its border with China and suspended all flights between China and Kyrgyzstan, effective February 1 (Government of Kyrgyzstan).

LAOS closed its borders with China and Myanmar in the Golden Triangle region, effective January 28 (Laotian Times), and suspended the issuance of visas-on-arrival for Chinese travelers, effective February 2 (Laotian Times).

LEBANON imposed an entry ban on all non-residents and foreign nationals from China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea, effective February 28 (Reuters, Anadolu Agency).  

MACAU suspended the issuance of visas to Chinese nationals under the individual visit scheme at the directive of China’s central authorities, effective January 28 (Reuters, GGR Asia).

MADAGASCAR suspended all flights between Madagascar and China, effective February 11 (Midi Madagasikara).

MALAYSIA imposed an entry ban on all travelers, regardless of their nationalities, who had visited Hubei, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu provinces within a period of fourteen days prior to entering Malaysia, effective February 9 (Immigration Department of Malaysia). Malaysia suspended the issuance of visas-on-arrival to Chinese nationals from Hubei and Wuhan, effective January 27 (Malaysia Office of Prime Minister).

MALDIVES imposed an entry ban on any foreign national who have visited or transited through mainland China, effective February 3 (Maldives Office of the President). Maldives suspended all inbound flights from China, effective January 30 (Maldives Office of the President).

MARSHALL ISLANDS imposed an entry ban on anyone from China or who has transited through China, requiring that those individuals spend at least fourteen days in a country not affected by the coronavirus prior to arriving in the Marshall Islands, effective January 24 (Marshall Islands Ministry of Health and Human Services).

MAURITIUS imposed an entry ban on any foreign national having resided in China or with a history of travel to and from China within the past fourteen days, effective February 2 (Mauritius Ministry of Health and Wellness). Mauritius suspended the issuance of work permits for workers traveling from China and will only entertain applications for renewal of work permit if the holder of the permit has not traveled to China during the past fifteen days, effective January 28 (Government of Mauritius).

This is a striking photo showing a woman in a small shop selling hats and masks. She is herself wearing a mask.
A woman wearing a protective face mask browses a shop, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

MICRONESIA imposed an exit ban on all citizens of Micronesia for traveling to mainland China and other countries with confirmed cases, effective January 31. Micronesia imposed an entry ban on all persons traveling directly or indirectly from anywhere in mainland China since January 6, 2020, and on all persons traveling from countries, states, or territories with confirmed cases of the coronavirus (other than mainland China) unless they have stayed in a country, state, or territory with no confirmed cases of the virus for a period of at least fourteen days prior to their entry into Micronesia, effective January 31 (The President of Micronesia).

MOLDOVA imposed an entry ban on all foreign nationals from any country affected by coronavirus, including China, effective March 10 (New York Times).

MONGOLIA closed its border with China, effective February 6. Mongolia imposed an entry ban on all Chinese citizens and third-country nationals coming to Mongolia through or from China, effective February 1. Mongolia imposed an exit ban on Mongolian citizens, effective January 31 (Monstame).

MOROCCO’s state-owned airline, Royal Air Morocco, suspended all flights to China, effective January 31 (Reuters, Morocco World News). 

MOZAMBIQUE suspended the issuance of visas to Chinese nationals, effective January 28 (Washington Post, Agence de Presse Africaine).

MYANMAR suspended visa-free travel from China, effective February 2 (Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

NAURU imposed an entry ban on all personnel having traveled from or transited through China within the past twenty-one days, effective February 4 (Taiwan Republic of China Embassy Nauru).

NEPAL suspended the issuance of visas-on-arrival for Chinese nationals, effective March 10 (Cathay Pacific).

NEW ZEALAND imposed an entry ban on any foreign nationals who have left or transited through mainland China after February 2, effective February 2 (Government of New Zealand).

NIGERIA imposed an entry ban on all travelers from China, effective March 18 (Nigeria CDC).

NIUE imposed an entry ban on all travelers who have been in or traveled to China in the past thirty days, requiring those travelers to spend no less than fourteen days in a country free from COVID-19 prior to arrival in Niue, effective February 3 (Government of Niue).

NORTH KOREA closed its borders with Russia and China, effective January 30 and imposed an entry ban on all foreign tourists and all North Koreans in China, reportedly including defectors, effective January 30 (38 North). North Korea suspended all flights to China, effective January 25 (Reuters). North Korea imposed an exit ban on officials going to China (Wall Street Journal).

OMAN suspended all flights between airports in Oman and airports in mainland China, effective February 3 (Oman Air).

The photo shows people sacked out in airport chairs, some asleep, some on their cell phones, almost all wearing masks.
Passengers wait at the departure area while wearing masks, following confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, in Manila, Philippines on February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

PALAU imposed an entry ban on all travelers with travel history originating from or transiting through mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau within fourteen days of their arrival in Palau, effective February 1 (Office of the President). Palau suspended all flights from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, effective February 1 (France 24).

PAPUA NEW GUINEA imposed an entry ban on anyone having been to Wuhan regardless of medical checks and anyone having been to China in the past fourteen days unless they've undergone medical checks prior to entering Papua New Guinea, effective January 29 (Papua New Guinea Ministry for Immigration and Border Security)

PARAGUAY suspended visas for those from mainland China, effective January 31 (Paraguay Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

PHILIPPINES imposed an entry ban on all foreign nationals coming from China and its special administrative regions and imposed an exit ban on citizens of the Philippines for traveling to China, effective February 2. The Philippines suspended visa-free travel from China, effective January 27 (Philippines Bureau of Immigration).

QATAR’s state-owned airline, Qatar Airways, suspended all flights to mainland China, effective February 3 (Qatar Airways).

RUSSIA closed its direct border crossing with China and limited crossing of Chinese nationals from Mongolia to Russia, effective January 31 (Government of Russia). Russia suspended the passage of all citizens of the People’s Republic of China into Russia, effective February 20 (Government of Russia). Russia suspended visa-free travel from China, effective February 1 (Government of Russia). Russia suspended all flights from Russia to China except by Aeroflot and all flights from China except for four airlines’ flights to Moscow, effective February 1 (Government of Russia).

The photo shows several workers in blue protective suits standing outside their ambulances in what appears to be freezing weather.
Medical staff at the Roshchino International Airport outside Tyumen, Russia on February 5, 2020, preparing equipment for evacuated citizens of Russia and other ex-Soviet countries from Wuhan, China. REUTERS/Yuri Shestak/Handout via Vsluh.ru

RWANDA’s state-owned airline, RwandAir, suspended all flights to China, effective January 30 (RwandAir).

SAMOA imposed an entry ban on all travelers originating from or transiting through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand, requiring that they must spend fourteen days of self-quarantine in a country that is free of COVID-19 and must undergo a medical clearance three days prior to arrival in Samoa, effective February 4. Samoa imposed an entry ban on all travelers originating from or transiting through South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, Vietnam, the United States, France, Germany, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates if they do not undergo medical examination within three days before arrival in Samoa, effective February 4 (Government of Samoa).

SAUDI ARABIA imposed an exit ban on its citizens and permanent residents for traveling to China and an entry ban on travelers returning to Saudi Arabia, including Saudi nationals, effective February 6 (AP). Saudi Arabia’s state-owned airline, Saudia, suspended all flights to China, effective February 2 (Saudia).

SEYCHELLES imposed an entry ban on any person that has been to China in the past fourteen days, effective February 3 (Seychelles Department of Health). Seychelles imposed an exit ban on anyone in Seychelles from traveling to China, except returning Chinese residents, effective January 29 (AP).

SINGAPORE imposed an entry ban on all foreign nationals who traveled to mainland China in the last fourteen days, effective January 29. Singapore suspended visas, including previously issued visas, for passport holders from the People’s Republic of China, effective January 29 (Government of Singapore).

SOLOMON ISLANDS imposed an entry ban on anyone who had visited a country with a confirmed case in the past fourteen days, effective January 31 (Solomon Times, Radio New Zealand).

SOUTH AFRICA imposed an entry ban on all foreign nations who have visited high-risk countries in the past twenty days, including China, effective March 18 (Anadolu Agency, Reuters).

SOUTH KOREA imposed an entry ban on foreigners who have been to Hubei Province in past fourteen days, effective February 4 (Prime Minister of Korea). 

SRI LANKA suspended the issuance of visas-on-arrival to Chinese nationals, effective January 28 (India Times).

This is a stunning photo showing the Singapore skyline at dusk from across the water.
A man wearing a mask in precaution of the coronavirus looks on along the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade in Singapore February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su

ST. KITTS AND NEVIS imposed an entry ban on persons traveling from China or who have traveled to another country from China within the past fourteen days, effective February 1 (St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Health).

ST. LUCIA imposed an entry ban on any foreign national with a travel history to mainland China within the past fourteen days, effective February 4 (St. Lucia Ministry of Health).

SURINAME imposed an entry ban on foreigners who have been to China in the past fourteen days, effective February 5 (De Telegraaf).

TAIWAN imposed an entry ban on foreign nationals who have visited the People’s Republic of China in the past fourteen days and suspended visa services for foreign nationals who have visited the People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong and Macau, in the past seven days, effective February 7 (Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

TAJIKISTAN closed its border with China, effective January 30 (Reuters, Asia News TJ). Tajikistan imposed an entry ban on all citizens from China, effective March 3 (Reuters).

TANZANIA’s state-owned airline, Air Tanzania, suspended its maiden flights to China, effective January 29 (Reuters).

THAILAND suspended the issuance of visas-upon-arrival for eighteen countries, including China, effective March 11 (New York Times, Bangkok Post).

TIMOR-LESTE imposed an entry ban on foreign citizens who have been to the People's Republic of China in the past four weeks, effective February 4 (Government of Timor-Leste). 

TONGA imposed an entry ban on all international travelers, originating from or transiting through China, requiring them to spend at least fourteen days in self-quarantine in a port that is free of COVID-19 and receive a medical clearance within three days prior to arrival in Tonga, effective February 3 (Government of Tonga).

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO imposed an entry ban on anyone who has lived in or visited China in the past fourteen days, effective January 30 (Ministry of Health).

TURKEY suspended all flights from China, effective February 5 (Anadolu Agency).

Photo is striking, capturing the plane from behind, its tail foils high above the heads of the people like a whale’s tail.
People gather at an airport in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on February 12, 2020 near an Uzbek military cargo plane readying to transport protective equipment to China during the novel coronavirus outbreak. REUTERS/Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulo

TURKMENISTAN suspended all flights from China, effective January 31 (Reuters).

TUVALU imposed an entry ban on all those who have stayed in China within the past thirty days, effective February 3. Tuvalu imposed an entry ban on all travelers from other high-risk countries, including Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong, unless they undergo a medical examination three days before entering Tuvalu, effective February 3 (Embassy of Japan in Tuvalu).

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES suspended all flights to and from China, with the exception of to Beijing (WAM).

UNITED STATES imposed an entry ban on all foreign nationals who were in the People’s Republic of China, excluding Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, in the past fourteen days, effective February 2 (U.S. White House).

UZBEKISTAN suspended all flights by its state airline to and from China, effective February 1 (Reuters). 

VANUATU imposed an entry ban on all foreigners who have stayed, lived in, or transited through China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau in the past fourteen days, effective February 9 (Embassy of Japan in Vanuatu).

VIETNAM suspended the issuance of visas to foreign visitors who have been to China in past two weeks, effective February 1 (Vietnam Government). Vietnam suspended all flights to and from China, effective February 1, but lifted suspensions for Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau on February 2 (US News).

The picture shows two rows of soldiers clad in grey fatigues marching double time away from a cargo transport jet.
Medical personnel arrive in transport aircraft of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport on February 17, 2020 following the new coronavirus outbreak. REUTERS/China Daily

Samantha Kiernan is a research associate on global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).


Madeleine DeVita is an intern with the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior studying biology of global health at Georgetown University.

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