COVID-19 Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur (March 24, 2020)

Health Alert –  U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (March 24, 2020)

Location:  Malaysia 

Event:  COVID-19

The Malaysian Ministry of Health has confirmed 1,624 cases of COVID-19 in the country as of March 24, 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 – Avoid Non-Essential Travel – Notice for Malaysia.

On March 19, 2020, the State Department issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel.  The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.

Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Any U.S. citizen returning home should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.  Travelers should closely monitor the situation in Malaysia and other transit countries before travel.

While commercial flights remain an option for U.S. citizens wishing to depart Malaysia at this time, airlines have cancelled many international flights and several transit countries have set up new quarantine restrictions or have barred international transit. Commercial flight options are likely to become increasingly limited over the coming days or weeks.

Under travel restrictions announced by the Malaysia government on March 16, all foreign nationals, with very limited exceptions, are restricted from entry or transit through Malaysia until March 31, though this end date may be extended at the discretion of the Malaysian government. All those arriving in the country from international destinations, including Malaysian citizens, are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine and health inspection. Foreign nationals are permitted to depart Malaysia.

Additional travel restrictions apply for travel to the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak which have local autonomy over immigration at domestic and international ports of entry.

From March 18 to March 31 the Malaysian government has begun enforcing a Movement Control Order, which prohibits movement and mass assembly within Malaysia including religious, sports, social and cultural activities.  All houses of worship and business premises will be closed, except for supermarkets, public markets, grocery stores and stores, department stores selling everyday necessities.  All schools and universities, both private and public, will also be closed.  All government and private services except those involved in essential services such as water, electricity, power, telecommunications, postal, transportation, fuel, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire, port, airport, security, retail and food supply will also be closed.

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