You’ll need a clean bill of health to enter these countries

Mar 10, 2020

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If it seems like all anyone can talk about these days is the novel coronavirus from China, well, you’re not wrong. The infectious disease is spreading around the world at a rapid speed — and nations are doing whatever they can to stop it in its tracks.

As of Monday, you’ll need a clean bill of health to visit French Polynesia (including Bora Bora and Tahiti). The measure will be in effect through at least 31 March, when the government will reevaluate the situation and potentially extend the requirement to a later date.

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But French Polynesia isn’t the only country where you’ll need to be “fit to fly.” Thailand, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Italy and the Maldives have all enacted similar measures.

Even the U.S. has taken comparable precautions. The CDC recommends U.S. citizens do not travel to major centres of the outbreak, such as Italy, China, Iran and South Korea. And, if you’ve travelled to any of these countries recently, you’ll be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left the area, according to CDC guidelines.

If you still have upcoming international travel plans, here are eight destinations where you’ll need a clean bill of health to get in — or where you may have difficulty entering at all.

The Maldives

The Maldives, a popular spot for honeymooners and points and miles enthusiasts, is banning travellers originating from or connecting to China, Iran, South Korea (North and South Gyeongsang Provinces), Italy and Bangladesh. Anyone with a recent history of travelling to these destinations will also be barred from entering, though the ban does not explicitly define the travel history period. These measures will be in place indefinitely.


Thailand issued a similar statement. The country passed a measure saying, “Air operators providing services from the airport of embarkation in the disease infected zone are required to perform the screening of the passengers at the time of check in. The passengers need to present a health certificate certifying that they have no risk of COVID-19. If any passenger is unable to present such certificate, boarding shall be denied and the boarding pass shall not be issued”.

The disease infected zones, in this case, include South Korea, Italy, Iran and China (including Hong Kong and Macau).

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has also banned travel to the United Arab Emirates, as well as Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, South Korea, Egypt, Italy and Iraq. The Kingdom is also closing all schools and universities indefinitely.


Israel announced on Monday it would quarantine all travellers for 14 days.

“This is a tough decision”, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a tweet, “but it is essential to maintain public health — and public health precedes everything. This decision will be valid for two weeks. At the same time we are making decisions to maintain the Israeli economy”.


India-bound travellers should know that, if you’ve travelled through Italy or South Korea with a visa issued after 5 March, you’ll only be able to enter if you have a health certificate that states you tested negative for COVID-19.


Indonesia is barring passengers and airline crew who have been in China; Tehran, Qom or Gilan in Iran; Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do Province in South Korea; and Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Marche or Piedmont in Italy in the past 14 days. If you’re arriving from destinations in Iran, Italy or South Korea other than the aforementioned areas, you’ll need to provide a valid health certificate to enter the country.


In a bold move to protect its citizens, the entire country of Italy is now on lockdown, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced at a press conference on Monday. The airports, however, are still operational as of the time of publication.


To enter Bangladesh, you’ll now need to have a valid medical certificate saying you’re not affected by COVID-19 if you’re arriving from China, Iran, Italy or South Korea.

For more on the coronavirus outbreak, see:

Featured photo by nodrama_llama/Shutterstock.

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