Asian countries restrict travel as the pandemic continues

By Violeta Prockyte

In the Philippines, Metro Manila and its surrounding areas, including Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna have lowered their quarantine restrictions to general community quarantine (GCQ) for a few weeks until May 30; however, the capital city will remain under heightened restrictions until the end of the month.

Despite some easing of restrictions, people are encouraged not to travel unless it’s essential; indoor dining services will be allowed to offer up to 20% of seating capacity while outdoors and outdoor tourist attractions can operate at 30% capacity as long as they adhere to health and safety standards, reports the Inquirer.

However, arcades and indoor tourist attractions are to remain closed.

As Asia tries to deal with the ongoing pandemic, the travel bubbles between countries are taking a step back. Recently, Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung stated that the possible air travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong is still under review due to rising cases in Singapore.

"The assessment is: Given the rising cases in Singapore, it is very likely Singapore will not be able to meet the resumption criteria," said the minister. "What we'll do now is closely monitor the numbers next few days and critically review the start date.” He did note, though, that both regions remain committed to the implementation of the travel bubble.

Looking towards the future, the Economist Intelligence Unit reports Chinese tourists might be leaning towards travel destinations in Asia with direct flights to China; this will likely affect overseas resorts, casinos and other attractions that relied on Chinese tourists.

“China’s strained relationship with the US, Australia and Taiwan will weigh on Chinese tourism flows to those territories,” said the research. “This suggests countries which have similar tourism offerings, such as New Zealand, will benefit at their expense.”


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