COVID-19 ASEAN Digital Dashboard

Understanding COVID-19's Impact on Business

The US-ASEAN Business Council is closely tracking the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic  This interactive report provides a resource for our members and the public on the national responses of ASEAN Member States and timely analysis on the consequences of these measures on business.

Situation by Country

Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
251 3 239
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Current Status:

No restrictions on cross-border delivery of goods. Discussions to reopen the borders to Singapore, China and Malaysia are ongoing. No decision has been reached at the moment. Brunei bans all non-essential travel to and from its borders.

Known Closures:

N/A

Cross Border Issues:

N/A

Known Exceptions:

Special exemptions for work and family related non-essential travel to and from the borders is to be evaluated by the government through an application.

Additional Information:

Operating hours of Temburong Bridge revised to 6:00am to 6:00pm

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

Effective September 15, 2020, foreign citizens who meet certain requirements may enter Brunei for essential travel only.  All other foreign citizens are barred from entering or transiting Brunei by air, land, or sea.

Citizens, permanent residents, and other residents of Brunei, including foreign citizens who hold a green identity card, require approval from the Prime Minister’s Office in order to leave the country. This policy does not apply to tourists or other visitors who do not hold Bruneian government-issued identity cards.  Residents may apply for permission to leave the country.

The government requires all passengers arriving in Brunei to undergo immediate isolation for up to 14 days at a designated monitoring center, as well as a COVID-19 test.

Brunei International Airport implemented temperature screening requirements for all visitors. Temperature screening is also required at all land and sea-based points of entry into Brunei.

RBA has suspended most of its routes until October 30, 2021, with limited scheduled service continuing to Hong Kong, Jakarta, Huangzhou, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, Melbourne, and Singapore only.

Restricted Locations:

N/A

Gatherings of People:

Brunei continues to enforce restrictions as of April 7 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Public facilities, such as educational, recreational, and religious venues and food establishments, can operate at full capacity, though authorities continue to encourage health protocols, such as workers wearing facemasks and visitors sanitizing their hands frequently. Mass gatherings with up to 1,000 people can occur.

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Security/Safety Issues:

Organizers of large events (like trade fairs and bazaars) must submit an application to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Business owners and customers have to download the BruHealth application. Violators could face a BND 10,000 (USD 7,100) fine and six months’ imprisonment. Officials could reintroduce or expand restrictions in the coming weeks if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Additional Information:

On May 20, the government announced that BruHealth contact tracing app will be mandatory in the near future.  On March 24, government launched COVID-19 app that provides information and resources for reporting symptoms for citizens of Brunei.  On April 2, the government announced that the app will now include SMS authentication, a direct reporting tool, a health education tool and FAQs, government press statements and COVID-19 hotspot tracing.  On April 15, government announced tracking bracelets for discharged patients and those under quarantine to monitor movement during self-isolation. 

Fiscal spending:

Government will pay wage subsidies (25%) for employees of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who earn $1500 and below. Six-month deferment of Employees Trust Fund and Supplementary Contributory Pension contributions for SMEs in all sectors. On April 18, government announced $300 monthly payments over three months for over 2,000 market vendors, small business owners, taxi drivers, and tour guides.

Tax measures:

SMEs in tourism, hospitality, food and beverage, and air and water transport will receive up to 50% corporate tax discount. SMES in these sectors will also receive 15% discount on water and electricity bills and 30% discount on rental fees in government buildings. On May 7, the government announced cuts of up to 50% on annual building tax for landlords who cut or waive their commercial tenants’ rent. Landlords who reduce their monthly rent by at least 10% will have their building tax lowered by 20%. Those who decreased their rent by 20% and above will receive a 50% tax cut.

Financial measures:

Effective April 1, businesses in the tourism, hospitality/event management, restaurants/cafes, air transport sectors, and importers of food and medical supplies will receive six-month deferment on principal repayments of financing/loans. These sectors will also not be required to pay bank fees/charges (except for third party charges) for trade and transaction payments for six months. Banks encouraged to review lending rate, all customers will not have to pay online interbank transfer fees for six months.

Trade measures:

Temporary exemption of customs and duties on personal hygiene products

Additional Measures:

Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) providing online business courses to SMEs via Industry Business Academy program, also launched Co-Matching Scheme of up to BND20,000 focused on assisting business; DARe contributes 70% of funding required for business. On April 15, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced special monthly B$400 allowance for healthcare workers.

Intelligence & Analysis

Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
42052 414 36868
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Current Status:

On May 14, 2021, the ban on the sale of alcohol in Preah Sihanouk Province was extended to May 28. This is intended to reduce the movement and gathering of people in order to combat the spread of COVID-19. Outlets selling various types of alcohol must adhere to this directive, be it in the public and private markets, marts, alcohol distribution depots, and supermarkets. Restaurants, cafeterias, food stalls, cafes, beverage outlets, food and beverage businesses, and vendors should also not serve or sell liquor to customers during this period.

Known Closures:

On May 14, 2021, Kandal Province (located adjacent to Phnom Penh) extend its lockdown restrictions in Takhmao City to May 19. The authorities have closed off cultural buildings in the Yellow Zone of Takhmao 2 Village, Takhmao commune and Orange Zone of Doeum Mien commune and Takhmao commune. The Kandal provincial administration said during the closure that only those with official letters of permission will be allowed to leave Orange Zones for work in ministries, government institutions or the private sector. Businesses selling groceries and essential items, including pharmacies, will also be allowed to operate. Journalists can also travel with documents proving their identity and permission from the Ministry of Information.

Cross Border Issues:

N/A

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Additional Information:

N/A

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

As of May 17, 2021, travel to Cambodia from the United States is permitted; however, only for diplomatic, official, and sponsored business-linked visas. Cambodian embassies will not issue tourist or other visas to enter Cambodia at this time. Travelers who are permitted to enter Cambodia must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. Cambodian authorities have also introduced the following requirements for prevention, containment, and response to the spread of COVID-19 for all travelers entering Cambodia by air, land, and water: all arriving foreigners must fully abide by locally enforced quarantine measures for 14 days at a hotel designated by the Government of Cambodia; pay a deposit of $2,000 upon arrival at airports for mandatory COVID-19 testing and potential treatment services (the money will be used to pay for an accommodation during the quarantine, testing and transportation from an airport to a hotel); possess a COVID-19 negative medical certificate issued no more than 72 hours prior to the date of arrival; purchase a local health insurance package for COVID-19 treatment from Forte Insurance Company (the cost is $90 for a $50,000 policy valid for 20 days); and undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival and wait in official facilities/designated hotels to receive laboratory results.  Health authorities will then oversee another COVID-19 test on the 13th day of quarantine. Please visit the US Embassy in Cambodia’s COVID-19 information page for more details: https://kh.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

 

Authorities will ease inter-provincial travel restrictions in Phnom Penh and Kandal Province’s Takhmao from May 6. However, the government will continue to classify specific localities within Phnom Penh and Takhmao into three groups, with red being the strictest, followed by dark yellow and yellow.  In red zones, which have the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission, residents must remain in their residences, except when seeking medical assistance, among others. In dark yellow zones, a 20:00-05:00 nightly curfew is in effect. Locals can leave their residences if they show a permit issued by authorities. In yellow zones, people can leave their homes as long as they adhere to health protocols. Essential businesses, such as food establishments and medical facilities, can likely still operate on-site across the three categories. The central government allows local officials discretion in classifying specific areas into the three groups. Officials may further amend or reintroduce the measures at short notice, particularly if there is an increase in local COVID-19 activity. Authorities will likely maintain security protocols, like checkpoints, to enforce continued restrictions in specific areas, especially the red zones. Some business disruptions will likely continue due to continued measures in some localities.

Restricted Locations:

N/A

Gatherings of People:

As of May 17, 2021, massage parlors, sports arenas, fitness centers, and public transports have been closed since last March. Public events and gathering (including religious gathering and concerts) have been banned. Since June, casinos, cinemas, museums and theaters varyingly reopened. Entertainment venues (e.g. karaoke and clubs) reopened as restaurants since July; schools reopened in phases starting from last September.

On December 31, 2020, the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts announced the reopening of museums and movie theaters. On December 29 and 31, 2020, the Cambodian Ministry of Education announced the reopening of all public and private schools and the resumption of all sport activities.  On December 21, 2020, the Ministry of Health announced specific safety guidelines that are in place indefinitely, which include the following: commercial areas are required to mandate the use of masks and practice of social distancing, gatherings of more than 20 people should be limited, and the general public is directed to wear masks and maintain social distancing procedures. Health officials in Cambodia are maintaining international travel controls aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity, while easing domestic businesses restrictions. Most schools have reopened from Jan. 11. Authorities have also lifted previous requirements closing several categories of nonessential businesses and venues, including cinemas and museums.

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Cambodia team.

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Security/Safety Issues:

N/A

Additional Information:

N/A

Fiscal Spending: 

As of May 17, 2021, a package worth US$60 million has been allocated for virus testing, containment, and treatment. Social assistance of more than US$760 million is being implemented, including US$502 million for a new monthly cash transfer program for poor and vulnerable households and US$260 million cash for a work program. Measures to target poorer households are being scaled up with more frequent updates of IDPoor, especially because of the extent of informal work and returned migrant workers. US$123 million has been allocated for wage subsidies and skill training program for suspended workers/employees in the garments and tourism industries.

Other spending rationalized in FY2020, yielding savings of roughly US$900 million, of which around US$500 million was from capital spending. Several tax-relief measures, worth around US$120 million, were introduced, plus other foregone revenue of almost US$13 million. The government allocated US$200 million to provide credit guarantee for business under the Business Recovery Guarantee Scheme, in addition to packages issued to SMEs in manufacturing sector (US$50 million) and SMEs in agricultural sector (US$80million). US$270 million has been reserved as additional financing facility for these financing schemes. In March 2021, the government has extended until the end of June this year for: i) allowance subsidy for garment and tourism sectors; ii) tax exemption for tourism and aviation sector; and iii) cash relief program for poor and vulnerable families.

Monetary Policy

As of May 17, 2021, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) implemented four measures to improve liquidity in the banking system early in the crisis: (i) delaying additional increases in the Capital Conservation Buffer; (ii) cutting the interest rate in its Liquidity Providing Collateralized Operations, decreasing banks’ funding costs in domestic currency; (iii) cutting the interest rate on Negotiable Certificates of Deposit (the collateral for LPCOs), to encourage banks to disburse loans; and (iv) lowering required reserves that banking and financial institutions must maintain at NBC both for local (Riel) and foreign currency (USD). In February 2021, NBC announced to keep the reserve requirement on hold at 7 percent both for Riel and USD until the end of June 2021. NBC has also issued guidelines to allow financial institutions for loan restructuring for borrowers experiencing financial difficulties (but still performing) in priority sectors (tourism, garments, construction, transportation and logistics) temporarily by the end of this year. In November 2020, NBC announced to extend the forbearance by another 6 months to the end-June 2021, taking account of the adverse impacts from the recent nation-wide flooding in addition to the COVID-19 shock. In February 2021, NBC called for banks and financial institutions to suspend dividend payments for 2020.

Tax Policy

Tax relief for impacted businesses: monthly exemptions for hospitality businesses from February to May, tax holiday lasting from 6 months to a year for garment factories, suspension of stamp duty tax worth less than US$70k, minimum tax exemptions to airline companies to provide support from March to May.

Trade Policy

As of May 17, 2021, Cambodia continues to maintain managed floating system. Suspension of white rice, paddy and fish exports have been lifted.

Government Resources:

  • http://www.cdcmoh.gov.kh/

Intelligence & Analysis

Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
1976172 54291 1786143
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Current Status:

A national public health emergency was declared by President Jokowi on March 31, 2020, whereby the Ministry of Health coordinates with regional leaders to implement appropriate health and safety protocols including social distancing measures.

Known Closures:

A temporary ban on all live animal imports from China is effective on February 7, 2020. The ban remains in place as of February 2021.

Cross Border Issues:

N/A

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Additional Information:

N./A

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

As of May 2021, all foreigners (except those with a valid residence permit [KITAS or KITAP], as well as those who receive special permission from an Indonesian government ministry) are prohibited from entering Indonesia. For those currently residing in Indonesia, domestic air travel is allowed; however, COVID-19 negative test results are required for all domestic flights. The negative COVID-19 test must have been conducted within 24 or 72 hours prior to departure, depending on the province to which one is travelling, as each has its own set of testing protocols.

Domestic flight passengers are required to present the following prior to departure:

– personal identification

– health certificate showing no flu-like symptoms/a negative RT-PCR result/ health certificate proving non-reactive Covid 19 Rapid Test Results. Certificates must be valid for 14 days on the day of departure.

– download & activate ‘Peduli Lindungi’ app on smartphone

– complete the electronic health awareness card (e-HAC) available for download on smartphone

– if Jakarta is final destination, passengers must fill out Corona Likelihood Metric (CLM) on the JAKI app.

Restricted Locations:

N/A

Gatherings of People:

Public activity restrictions (PPKM) have been extended in Java and Bali through February 8.  Although less stringent than the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) implemented in Jakarta and elsewhere throughout the country, PPKM restrictions nevertheless require 75% of employees in many businesses to work from home, while restaurants and retail stores can only operate at 25% capacity and must be closed by 7:00PM each night.  Jakarta re-implemented large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) between September 14 and October 11. The measures included the shutting down of “non-essential” workplaces, limitations on the services offered by public transport, and a ban on public activities. The measures were intended to halt the city’s growing rate of COVID-19 infections. On December 7, Jakarta extended PSBB restrictions for another 14 days.

After officially declaring COVID-19 a public health emergency on March 31, President Jokowi issued Government Regulation No. 21/2020 on large-scale social distancing (PSBB). Local governments will be able to implement PSBB subject to the approval from Ministry of Health. The minimum requirements comprise closure of schools and offices, as well as limitation of religious and public activities.

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Indonesia team.

Known Exceptions:

Beginning January 1, 2021, travel through the Indonesia-Singapore “green lane” corridor will be temporarily halted, after the Indonesian government issued a regulation temporarily barring all non-essential foreign travel into Indonesia.

Indonesia and Singapore established a reciprocal “green lane” travel corridor, allowing for a resumption of cross-border business and official travel between the two countries. Applications to use the corridor opened on October 26, 2020 and approved travelers will need to abide by strict health protocols, such as receiving COVID-19 tests both prior to and after arriving at their destinations.

Travel exemptions are given to VIPs from government institutions and international organizations, Indonesian repatriates, as well as for law enforcement and emergency services – all subject to permits from Ministry of Transport.

Security/Safety Issues:

President Jokowi ordered the national police “to take proportionate law enforcement steps” for violators on social restriction.

Additional Information:

The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) on January 11, 2021 authorized the emergency use of the Chinese-made Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine, which late-stage trials demonstrate has a 65.3% effectiveness rate. The government aims to vaccinate 1.3 million health workers and 17.4 million other public workers by April 2021. On February 7, 2021, BPOM authorized the Sinovac vaccine for use for those 60 and above, as well.

On December 6, 2020 Indonesia received a shipment of 1.2 million doses of the Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine from China. The Indonesian government expects that another 1.8 million doses will arrive in the country by early January. Penny Lukito, head of the Food and Drug Control Agency, estimated that the Sinovac vaccine would obtain emergency use authorization from the agency by the third or fourth week of January, after the agency evaluates interim results from the third-stage clinical trial.

Stimulus:

In the 2021 state budget, the government has budgeted for a fiscal deficit of Rp 1 quadrillion (5.7 percent of GDP) after a deficit of Rp 1.04 quadrillion (6.3 percent of GDP) in 2020. Of the total state spending of Rp 2.75 quadrillion, Rp 1.95 quadrillion has been allocated to central government expenditure. Of this figure, a large portion amounting to Rp 1.68 quadrillion (86.3 percent) in the 2021 state budget has been allocated for strategic policies to accelerate economic recovery and economic transformation.

Fiscal spending:

As of November 2020, the total amount of state spending that had been dedicated to offsetting the effects of the COVID-19 recession was Rp 744 trillion. This adds up to a fiscal deficit of 3.49% of GDP in Q3 of 2020. The relaxation of the state budget deficit above 3% will only be allowed through 2022. Beginning in 2023, the government is expected to impose greater fiscal disciplinary measures, and will bring the budget deficit below 3% of GDP.

Tax measures:

  • GoI has started to implement Digital taxation. This took effect on March 31st under the Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) No. 1 of 2020. A ministerial regulation is being drafted by the Ministry of Finance
  • Gave tax breaks and allowances for tourism, airline, and property sectors. Exempted six month of income tax for manufacturing workers with incomes below Rp 200 million/year Waived Import taxes for raw materials for six months for 19 manufacturing industries. Cut corporate tax rate by 30 percent for six months for 19 manufacturing industries. Sped up repayment of overpaid tax without initial audits with Rp 5 billion limit, but no limit for exporters 

Financial measures:

As of February 2021, Bank Indonesia’s (BI) interest rate was 3.75%. This is the lowest the rate has ever been in the country’s history. In December 2020, BI’s governor, Perry Warjiyo, stated that BI would keep interest rates low throughout 2021 to continue supporting the economic recovery.

BI has extended monetary stimulus through quantitative easing to a large number of banks. As of November 20, 2020, BI had injected Rp 682 trillion (4% of GDP) through reducing the statutory reserve requirement. Monetary operations were expanded through the provision of Rp 345 trillion in term repos to banks with underlying SBN (government securities) and foreign exchange swaps. Monetary expansion was also conducted through the purchase of Rp 166.2 trillion in SBNs from the secondary market as part of the central bank’s rupiah exchange rate stabilization policy. In addition, BI cut the rupiah reserve requirement three times by a total of 300 bps this year, thereby increasing liquidity to around Rp 155 trillion.

On March 31, 2021, the Financial Services Authority’s (OJK) one-year postponement of credit or leasing payments for loans up to Rp 10 billion for micro, small, and medium enterprises and informal workers is set to expire. Additionally, the OJK’s one-year postponement of credit or leasing payments without ceiling limits in accordance with the debtors’ ability to pay the credit and the agreement with banks or leasing companies (for SMEs and non-SMEs) will also expire on the same date.

Trade measures:

As of November 2020, imports of Covid-19 vaccines are exempted from import tariffs and VAT.

The government of Indonesia sped up import recommendations for food products to maintain supply and stabilize prices.

Reduced import restrictions for fisheries and forestry goods (749 HS code). No Health certificate and V-legal documents required.

Relaxed import restrictions for raw materials, e.g. steel, alloy steel, animal, medicine and food.

Export-import processes to be sped up for reputable traders.

National logistics ecosystem development to be improved.

Intelligence & Analysis

Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
2050 3 1935
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Current Status:

As of February 25, Laos has only 3 active cases and 42 recovered cases.  Although approximately a few thousand people enter Laos through international checkpoints per week, Laos maintains a low caseload by remaining vigilant with COVID-19 testing and enforcing a 14-day quarantine period at a quarantine center for all arrivals.

(March 26) Imports of consumer goods remain normal.

Known Closures:

On May 15, Laos’ National Taskforce for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced that more restrictions will be eased, effective from May 18. Restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, massage parlors and spas, fresh markets, beauty salons, barbershops, shopping centers, and malls have been permitted to resume services. Construction projects, plants, and factories have been authorized to resume operations.

Cross Border Issues:

Known Exceptions:

Additional Information:

Prevention measures and guideline issues by the National Taskforce must be strictly followed. COVID-19 prevention measures remain in place until January 31. The easing of restrictions remains temporary. If an infected case is found in more than two or more provinces, stricter lockdown measures may be reimposed.

.

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

Following the easing of restrictions effective on May 18, inter-provincial travel is now permitted for all people throughout Laos. Inter-provincial transportation via land, water, or air is permitted. There are no national travel restrictions within Laos and taxis, public transport and domestic flights have resumed services. Mask wearing is required. Temperature checks are in operation in some locations. On 4 December a localized travel restriction was introduced on entering or leaving Luang Namtha Province

International charter flights from places where the outbreak is contained have been approved on principle. Officials continue to bar Laotian citizens and residents from nonessential international travel. Laos citizens departing the country must obtain approval from their employer and the authorities; foreign nationals leaving Laos have to notify their country’s embassy in Laos to get permission from the local authorities on their behalf.

Restricted Locations:

Since May 18, tourism sites have been permitted to reopen while prevention measures and guidelines issued by the taskforce must be strictly implemented. On May 29, the Prime Minister’s Office of Laos released a notice detailing lockdown measures. All types of sporting events and competitions may now be held while spectators are still prohibited to attend. Night markets may now be allowed to reopen and a ban on bars and karaoke venues will be eased. Cinemas may resume operations while social distancing and prevention measures must be strictly followed.

Gatherings of People:

Weddings and traditional events of up to 50 people have been permitted.

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Laos team for more information.

Known Exceptions:

Authorities have lifted entry and exit restrictions at Bokeo Province’s Ton Pheung District due to lower COVID-19 activity in the region.

Security/Safety Issues:

Minister of Labor and Social Welfare has ordered local and health authorities to monitor the self-quarantine of workers returning to Laos.

Additional Information:

Fiscal Spending:

(March 23) Government adopted a 13 measure stimulus package, not all details disclosed. Acceleration of fiscal spending projects such as Laos-China railway and expressway construction.

Tax Measures:

Tax exemption for all Laotian citizens for three months, from April to June. SMEs across all business sectors will also be exempt from income tax for three months, three-month salary tax exemption for monthly salaries below US$550, deferment of payments for affected firms.

Financial Measures:

On March 20, Bank of Lao PDR lowered reserve requirements to 8% (a 2% decrease) for foreign currencies and to 4% (a 1% decrease) for domestic currency. On March 26, BOL released guidelines that encourage lenders to restructure financing of affected debtors, provide one-year grace periods for such affected debtors, and lower interest rates as needed.

Trade Measures:

Tax and tarriff exemptions for all imported products used to combat COVID-19, proposed lowering of electricity tariffs.

Intelligence & Analysis

Laos prepares to vaccinate population

In late December 2020, Laos received 2,000 doses of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine from China, and has already begun vaccinating front-line medical employees and volunteers. Around 20% of

Members Only
Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
691115 4348 622244
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Government Resources:

  • http://www.moh.gov.my/index.php/pages/view/2019-ncov-wuhan
  • https://www.pmo.gov.my/special-contents/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/

Intelligence & Analysis

Malaysia’s MCO 3.0

The Government of Malaysia has announced the implementation of MCO 3.0 in six districts in Selangor (Hulu Langat, Petaling, Gombak, Klang, Kuala Langat and Sepang) from May

Read More (Members Only)

Current Status:

As of April 29, 2020, imports and exports of both essential and non-essential goods are permitted.  Previously, only imports of essential goods were allowed – food and beverage items, agriculture and fisheries, household products, personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, packaging materials, medical and surgical devices, medical device parts, oil and gas, petrochemicals, fertilizer and pesticide, electrical and electronics (including semiconductors). On April 10, 2020, MITI announced reopening of various sectors following economic consultations: automotive industry, aerospace industry, machinery and equipment industry, construction industry, science, professional, and technical services, social health services including registered traditional medicine, full-service laundry, and hardware store services, electrical and electronic stores, and spectacles stores. Non-essential goods were moved from Port Klang, Port of Penang, and Johor Port to increase port capacity for essential goods the weekend of March 27, 2020.  Non-essential goods will be transported from Port Klang and ports in Johor, Penang, Kuantan, Melaka, Bintulu, Sarawak, and Padang Besar bordering Thailand over the weekend of April 3, 2020, to reduce port congestion for essential goods.  Non-essential goods to be removed between April 13 and April 15 from ports at Port Klang, Johor, Penang, Kuantan, Melaka, Bintulu, and Padang Besar bordering Thailand. The fourth round of port clearing exercise on April 20-April 23, 2020, was communicated to ports operators in Port Klang, Johor, Penang, Kuantan, Melaka, Bintulu, and Padang Besar, also communicated to government-owned ports.

Known Closures:

N/A

Cross Border Issues:

Issues reported at beginning of Movement Control Order regarding supplies coming into and out of Malaysia at borders with Singapore and Thailand

Known Exceptions:

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture extended the relaxation of regulatory requirements for tourism operators licensed under the Tourism Industry Act 1992 (Act 482) until the middle of 2021. The extension is from January 1 to June 30, 2021, and it will include the relaxations in the size of premises of licensed tourism operators and permission to conduct other businesses in their premises.The new CMCO introduced on October 14, 2020, has varying restrictions for the different location it is implemented in. In regard to economic activities, in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, restaurants, food stalls, food trucks, and more are allowed to be open from 6AM to 10PM. In Sabah, restaurants, arteries, and convenience stores are open from 6AM to 8PM. Pharmacies and shops selling medicine in Selangor and KL, are open from 8AM to 11PM; in Sabah they are open from 6AM to 8PM.

Additional Information:

N/A

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

On February 02, the government announced that the current Movement Control Order will be extended until February 18 for all states and Federal Territories, except Sarawak which will remain under the Conditional Movement Control Order. Interstate travel is prohibited all over the country and a ban on inter-district travel is in effect in MCO states. Exception applies to federal and state lawmakers who are on official business or visiting their constituencies and married couples and families separated by the travel ban subjected to police approval. Roadblocks will be mounted at all districts and state borders and movements are limited to a 10-km radius for people in vehicles. Only two people are allowed per vehicle. Only two people per household are allowed out to purchase groceries. All residents in MCO areas are not allowed to leave their homes.

On September 10, 2020, it was announced that expatriates and professional visit pass-holders from the 23 countries that were previously under the enforced entry ban were now allowed to enter the country. Expatriates and professional visit pass-holders must obtain approval from the Immigration Department before they can enter the country. Their application must also have a support letter from the Malaysian Investment Development Authorities or related agencies. Furthermore, permanent residents, as well as spouses of Malaysian citizens may enter Malaysia, under the regulation that it is a one-way trip and they will remain in Malaysia. Student pass holders are now also allowed to enter Malaysia as long as they have approval from Immigration. Also, on September 14, 2020, it was announced that foreign spouses and children of Malaysian citizens who do not have a long-term visit pass can apply for permission to enter the country. Beginning January 1, 2021, international students will be allow to enter Malaysia. On August 17, 2020, Malaysia and Singapore have opened their cross-border travel under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) schemes. 400 people per week (RGL) and 2,000 people per day (PCA) are allowed to travel between Malaysia and Singapore for essential business or official purposes. PCA and RGL between the two countries remain in place. As of June 24, expatriates in EP I, RP-T, and PVP pass categories from the Green Zone countries are permitted to enter Malaysia without an advance entry permission from the Immigration Department. Discussions are underway with the Green Zone countries (Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea) to reopen the borders. Outside of these exceptions, foreign tourists are still barred from entering Malaysia. 

Movement in and out of MCO areas are permitted for emergency issues after obtaining permission from the police. They are also allowed in case of natural disasters. Inter-district travel is permitted in CMCO and RMCO areas but interstate travel is banned. Tourism activity in and out of MCO and EMCO areas are not allowed.

Restricted Locations:

During this MCO starting on January 13, 2021, the MCOs are in effect in all Federal Territories, as well as in the states of Penang, Johor, Melaka, Selangor, and Sabah. Kelantan and Sibu District in Sarawak are also placed under MCO as of January 16. On January 19, Seremban and Port Dickson Districts in Negri Sembilan are placed under the MCO as well until February 1. Pahang, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu, and Perlis are added to the list of states under the MCO starting January 22. The Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) is implemented in Sarawak.

Gatherings of People:

In preparation for the Lunar New Year celebration, the government is only allowing reunion dinners and celebration to be held among the members of the family living in the same house. Temple prayers are also prohibited with the exception of five temple committee members. Since January 13, 2021, all social gatherings across the country religious, social and cultural activities including, wedding receptions, conferences, religious processions (including Thaipusam), meetings, seminars, and courses are prohibited under the MCO. States under MCO only allow a maximum of five mosques/houses of worship committee members at these premises. Students due to sit for SPM, Malaysian Vocational Certificate (SVM), Malaysian Skills Certificate (SKM), STPM, the Malaysian Higher Religious Certificate (STAM) and Malaysian Vocational Diploma (DVM) for the years 2020 and 2021, as well as equivalent international examinations, are allowed to attend school in person while adhering to strict SOPs. Primary and lower secondary students must remain at home and continue with online learning. Outdoor recreational activities are allowed among people within the same household. Group sports are still prohibited. Eateries and hawkers are allowed to operate but they are only allowing take-aways from 6am to 10pm. Supermarkets, healthcare services, and financial institutions are allowed to operate with strict SOP compliance. Daily essential shops and pharmacy can operate from 6am to 10pm. Daily markets can operate between 7am and 2pm.   Spas, dance classes, arts, tuition, music classes, Quran classes, nightlife, entertainment, theme parks, and live events are all prohibited under the MCO. Night Markets, late night bazaars, clothing ships, barbers, salon, and car wash outlets are now allowed to operate until 10pm. All face-to-face meetings involving government and private agencies are not allowed.

In areas with CMCOs and RMCOs, social and religious activities are permitted with strict requirements on social distancing and SOPs. Eateries and hawkers are allowed to operate in accordance with strict SOPs in place.

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Malaysia team.

Known Exceptions:

Private vehicle, government vehicles, and company vehicles for travel to and from the workplace/official government business allowed. Taxis are allowed with a maximum of two passengers and food delivery is available from 6AM to 12AM. Public transportation is currently allowed; however, police approval is needed for flights through KLIA, KLIA2, and Subang airport. Police approval is also required to travel past Selangor KL, and Putrajaya to go to other states and to return to areas under the CMCO.  Movement in and out or across districts is not allowed in MCO states. Only workers with work passes or with an employers’ letter are allowed to work. In Sabah, taxis with the maximum of two passengers and food delivery is available from 6AM to 8PM. Entry to Sabah is currently not allowed except for Sabahans, holders of passes issued by Sabah’s immigration department, spouses providing essential services, or those who obtained special permission from Sabah government. Negative RT-PCR test results three day before entry required. Movement in and out or across districts not allowed, except for workers with work pass or employers’ letters. Vehicles with essential goods allowed to cross districts, number of persons allowed depends on business vehicle’s registration. (Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Putatan considered one same district).

Security/Safety Issues:

Under MCO4 regulations and before, commuting employees in approved sectors must carry an employer’s authorization letter should they be stopped by authorities.  In addition, approved employers are encouraged to provide additional authorization documents for employees such as the company’s name and address, as well as the names, IC/passport numbers, position/job designations, contact information, work schedules, and necessity justifications of employees.  Firms should also provide supporting documents that include the list of essential services approved by the National Security Council and evidence of the company as included in that list.  Should an approved company’s employee be stopped from commuting even after providing these documents or an approved company in essential services be forced to cease operations by law enforcement despite compliance to Ministry of Health guidelines, employees and employers are encouraged to contact the 24-hour National Security Council Command Center Hotline at 03-88882010. Over 4,000 people have been arrested for violation of MCO and 1,500 have been charged in court.

Additional Information:

N/A

Current efforts:

On January 18, 2021, Prime Minister Muhyiddin announced the RM15 billion PERMAI Stimulus Package to aid the general public and support business continuity. In December 2020, the government passed its 2021 budget. Two of the four key areas of the budget targets support for economically vulnerable groups and industries during the COVID-10 pandemic. In June 5, 2020, the government announced a RM35 billion stimulus package. Known as the short-term Economic Recovery Plan (ERP), the plan was is in effect until the end of 2020.

Fiscal spending:

It is estimated that about RM2 billion of the PERMAI Stimulus package are in the form of a direct fiscal injection. Most of the other direct fiscal injection exist from the previous stimulus pacakges and the 2021 budget allocation. Most funds are reallocated based on the need and effectiveness of programs under these plans. As part of Malaysia’s 2021 budget, Budget has allocated RM 150 million in grants for supporting SME digitization and automatization. Further, the Budget has provided RM 2 billion in targeted aid and help with recovery under Bank Negara for SMEs. The government additionally allocated RM 510 million to finance Bumiputera SMEs and micro SMEs through TEKUN Nasional and PUNB (Perbadanan Ushawan Nasional Berhad). The 2021 Budget has allocated RM 50 million towards retraining programs for 8,000 airline staff, RM 50 million for the maintenance and restoration of tourism facilities, and RM 35 million for the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council. In 2020, RM 10 billion of the ERP to be injected as direct fiscal injection. ERP aims to support SMEs and workers over the remaining second half of 2020. RM9 billion is budgeted to help three million workers. RM2 billion is allocated to fund the upskilling programs for the youth and unemployed. RM50 million is allocated for supporting the gig-economy platforms. To help businesses, RM700 million is allocated to assist SMEs’ vitalizing efforts. RM225 million budgeted to support creative industries and RM350 million in loans for the farming industry.

Price Ceilings:

Between April 15 and April 28, government implementing price control measures for 12 goods including chicken, eggs, cooking oil, wheat flour, cabbages, and tomatoes.

Tax measures:

Under the PERMAI Package, sales tax exemptions for domestically assembled cars (100%) and imported cars (50%) from the PENJANA Plan are extended until June 30, 2021. The Government has reduced the vehicle ownership requirement of seven years to five years to be exempted from excise duty and sales tax for the purpose of transfer, disposal and for private use of taxis. A special tax relief of up to RM2,500 on the purchase of mobile phones, computers and tablets which expired on 31 December 2020, will be extended for another year until the end of 2021.  The scope for tax relief relating to full health screening expenses, which was increased from RM500 to RM1,000 in Budget 2021, has now been expanded to also cover COVID-19 screening under PERMAI Package. As part of 2021 budget, the government introduced a tax exemption of RM 1,000 for any medical treatments with vaccination involved, RM 500 for health screenings, RM 5,000 for treatments of serious diseases, and RM 5,000 – RM 8,000 for the medical treatment and care of parents. The government has also allocated RM 2.2. billion for monthly welfare aid, which will benefit over 400,000 Malaysian citizens. In 2020, Income tax exemptions of up to RM5,000 are to be provided to employers who provide technology capabilities to enable their employees to work from home. The government is also granting income tax refunds of up to RM20,000 for three years for businesses set up between July 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021. Foreign businesses with an investment between RM300 million and RM500 million invested within the three year period will be exempted from tax for ten years. Tourism tax and service tax will also be exempted starting July 1 and September 1 respectively until June 2021.  There is a 100% export duty exemption on the export of crude palm oil, crude palm kernel oil and refined bleached deodorised palm kernel oil, from July 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Personal income tax relief of up to RM1,000 for domestic tourism expenses has been extended to December 31, 2021. Businesses in the tourism industry are allowed a deferment of corporate income installment payments for three months from October 1, 2020 till the end of 2020.

Financial measures:

With the announcement of PERMAI Package on January 18, 2021, the government announced that the extension of the moratorium and restructuring of loan repayment will continue to be offered by banks. PTPTN borrowers can apply for a three-month loan repayment moratorium until March 31, 2021. Additionally, the government is allowing MARA borrowers to reschedule the repayment of MARA education loan facilities or for business loan moratorium until March 31, 2021.

On July 29, 2020, the government announced a three-month extension to the loan repayment moratorium for those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

On July 7, 2020, Bank Negara Malaysia lowered the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 25 basis points to a record low of 1.75 percent from the previous 2.00 percent. This marked the fourth OPR cut this year to combat the negative economic impacts of the pandemic.

On May 5, 2020 Bank Negara Malaysia lowered the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 50 basis points to 2%, its lowest level since 2010. Previously, on March 3, BNM lowered the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 25 basis points to 2.50 percent. 

BNM lowered the Statutory Reserve Requirement (SRR) Ratio by 100 basis points to 2 percent effective 20 March 2020.

On March 23, 2020, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and Bursa Malaysia suspended short-selling until April 30 to mitigate risks arising from heightened volatility and global uncertainties. The SC also waived annual licensing fees for capital market licensed entities.

On March 25, 2020, BNM announced measures temporarily easing regulatory and supervisory compliance on banks to enable them to support loan deferment and restructuring. On April 16, Securities Commission Malaysia announced relaxation of PN17 and G3 classifications for publicly traded companies, raised equity crowdfunding limits from 5 million to 10 million, stated Malaysia Co-Investment Fund will raise funding ratio from 1:4 to 1:2. The Covid-19 Fund managed by the National Disaster Management Agency has been extended until December 31, 2020. This fund aids Covid-19 victims and assists with preparing the necessities to control the impact of the pandemic.

Trade measures:

N/A

Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
147615 3258 133527
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Intelligence & Analysis

Current Status:

No restrictions on goods and services.

Known Closures:

Exit and entry of people from neighboring China, India, Thailand, Laos and Bangladesh have been temporarily banned.

Cross Border Issues:

N/A

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Additional Information:

As a result of the recent military coup in Burma, COVID-19 restrictions and policies may change.  At the moment, the military regime has not announced new COVID-19 policies.  Previous COVID-19 orders should be followed until otherwise notified.

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

1) The following precautionary restriction measures have been extended until November 30, 2020.

– Temporary suspension of issuance of visa-on-arrival and e-Visa.

– Temporary suspension of all international flights operating to and from Myanmar.

Before arriving to Myanmar, all foreign nationals are to undergo self-quarantine in their countries of origin for 7 days. Upon arrival, travelers will quarantine at a government facility for 7 days followed by self-quarantine at home for additional 7 days.  Travelers are also required to present a proof of negative COVID-19 test issues within 72 hours before boarding. Travelers who arrived without test results will undergo 14-day government facility quarantine.

2) As of September 10, all domestic flights within Myanmar have been suspended until October 31

3) A nationwide curfew is set from 12am – 4am.

4) Due to the recent outbreak in Rakhine State, travelers from Rakhine State to Yangon and other locations may be required to conduct 14 day quarantine upon arrival (14 days quarantine in government facility and to undergo two PCR nasal swab tests).

5) Since September 21, the Government of Myanmar announced stay-at- home orders for all of Yangon Region.

6) Nay Pyi Daw: (September 21) All visitors to Nay Pyi Daw are required to quarantine and undergo COVID-19 testing, at the visitor’s expense. Visitors will be asked to present a proof of residency letter issues by their respective wards or townships. Visitors coming in from the township currently placed under stay-at-home order will be subjected to 2 day quarantine and one nasal swab test on the second day). Business Travels to Nay Pyi Daw: The foreign travelers must present a recommendation letter from the relevant Union Ministry. The letter needs to have the purpose of the visit, names and positions of travelers, name of vehicle driver, vehicle license plate number, office and residential address. Myanmar citizens are also mandatory to provide a recommendation letter from their ward administrator.

7) Mandalay: All travelers to Mandalay region must obtain a recommendation letter from their ward administrator. Myanmar has extended it COVID-19 preventive measures till November 15th, 2020. Pagoda festivals, meditation camps, praying ceremonies, donation ceremonies, wedding receptions and other festivals and events, social works and religious gathering have been prohibited. Pilgrimage to famous pagodas and temples in the region is still under the ban. Mandalay Region Government has extended the prevention measures till November 30 as the number of cases have increased since the election. Starting from November 20th, people who have come to contact with COVID-19 positive patients will be going into home quarantine instead of facility quarantine.

8) The government of Myanmar continues to impose travel restrictions until January 31, 2021.  Domestic travel has resumed since mid-December, but travel restrictions and mandatory public health measures remain in force in most parts of the country.  Several travel and tourism operators in Ngapali and Bagan are planning to submit proposals to regional governments to resume operations and start to reopen on a small scale.

9) In regard to travel information, in addition to international relief flights, some commercial relief flights have resumed, departing Yangon.

Gatherings of People:

Gatherings of 30 or more are banned, till further notice.

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Myanmar team for more information.

Known Exceptions:

1) Stay-at-home orders have been reestablished for residents of Yangon Region.

2) Employees of private organizations and businesses are required to telework except for employees of banks and financially related tasks, food and refrigeration services, production and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products, medical equipment production, distribution of drinking water and personal hygiene and gas stations. These businesses must register online to obtain a QR code which allow to different Yangon townships.

3) Diplomats accredited to Myanmar, UN officials with resident in Myanmar, or foreign nationals requiring visiting on urgent matters can contact Myanmar missions abroad for possible exceptions.

4) Relief flights, medical evacuation flights, cargo flights, and special flights which have received approval from the Department of Civil Aviation will not be affected.

5) Myanmar Airways International continues to operate limited relief flights to and from Seoul.

6) (July 10) The Ministry of Health and Sports’ National Health Laboratory (NHL) in Yangon has started COVID-19 tests to provide travel-fit certificates for urgent overseas travel with a cost of Ks 200,000 (USD $147).

7) (July 19) Making “fast lanes” through which essential businesses and officials can enter Myanmar upon request.  Currently, the plan has started with China and Japan and eventually will be extended to other countries. Quarantine Requirements: Take RT-PCR test and obtain COVID free health certificate 36 hours before boarding to Myanmar. Require 5-day quarantine at pre-arranged facility or hotel after tests given negative. Medical expenses to be borne by returnee in which the health check costs $US$140.

8) There are significant developments in the financial services sector where Myanmar technology companies are adapting better to the new COVID-19 environment.  More people have actively started utilizing digital tools for financial platforms rather than using traditional cash payments.  There is also a surge in video conferencing data traffic in 2020 as businesses moved operations online amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Security/Safety Issues:

N/A

Additional Information:

1) Due to surge of local transmissions, the Burmese government has reestablished stay-at-home orders, curfews, and bans on public gatherings, closure of and public events as well as closures of, entertainment venues, and religious institutions.

2) Only one person per household is allowed to go grocery shopping.

3)Two people per household is allowed to go out for medical treatment.  

4) Masks must be worn at all times when outside of home.

5) Only vehicles that are transporting people of above permitted activities are allowed to go and pass through other townships. (October 7) Taxis in Yangon are allowed to operate between townships without the need for a QR pass, following proper health and safety guidelines.

6) Approval from the respective ward administration is needed ahead of time for any activity necessary to be done outside of permitted activities.

7) Some of the factories and small businesses have started resuming operations since October 12.

8) Construction works were halted since the third week of September, however the government has recently allowed projects to resume if the sites are compliant with safety measures.

9) Most of the mass election campaigns are currently suspended in virus-stricken areas of Myanmar, but the Union Election Commission stated that the November 8 elections will continue as scheduled while taking health and safety measures. The Union Election Commission is also devising a plan (Advance Voting Scheme) that would allow elderly people over 60 years old, to be able to vote advance and from home, especially those from areas where COVID-19 infection rate is high.

10) To ease the burden on government hospitals overloaded with patients, the government has allowed private hospitals and clinics to treat the virus.

11) (November 4) Myanmar is also planning to adopt a new community-based containment strategy on the idea of “Know Early, Report Early, Benefit early”.

12) Highway bus services are to be resumed after travel restrictions are lifted between townships. The passengers will be permitted to travel if they have a health check and quarantine on arrival.

Vaccination:

Due to the ongoing political turmoil, Myanmar has been struggling to control COVID-19 and has not been fully transparent with it testing and vaccination processes. The number of daily testing rates and confirmed new cases kept plummeting, from as many as 25,000 a day before the coup to 2,000 the most in the past weeks. With continuing Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), the public health system is slightly paralyzed and so is the public’s awareness on the pandemic. However, COVID-19 vaccination processes are slowly carried out by military government and some private programs. According to the states-owned news media, more than 1 million people have received their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and about 4,000 have scheduled for the second dose.

Current Efforts:

April 28- The  Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry published a comprehensive stimulus plan called “Overcoming as One: COVID-19 Relief Plan”, outlining budget allocation, stronger ties between government and businesses via public-private partnerships, and cooperation with international financial institutions.

June 10-the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has announced a Covid-19 Tourism Relief Plan to help troubled tourism businesses navigate the repercussions of the pandemic. The plan is set to implement in three phases and aims to rebuild Myanmar’s tourism industry.

August-  The COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) Committee launched an additional Kyat 100 billion fund on July 29 which is said to give out to agricultural and livestock businesses, export/import, manufacturing, supply chain, F&B, foreign job agencies and vocational schools.

October-The Ministry for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (MIFER) has approved more COVID-19 funds totally Ks 21 billion and distributed to 1200 businesses.

(October 18) Myanmar government is drafting a new Myanmar Economic Recovery and Reform Plan (MERRP).” The new plan will focus on macroeconomic and financial stability and prioritizse growth strategies that are sustainable for the economy in the long run, such as investments in energy sources that are renewable. It will also include support for agriculture, infrastructure that boots connectivity as well as human capital and innovation.” (Myanmar Times)

(November 20) The government gives out the third round of COVID-19 loans to nearly 700 businesses at a total of over Ks. 22 billion.

(January 2021) On the economic side, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the second emergency financial assistance in a total of US$ 372 million to help minimize the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(March 2021) The economic recovery efforts have been minimal, however, the CRPH, acting in the capacity of Union Parliament, approved the amendment to the 2020 Union Taxation Law to suspend any and all tax collection until September 30. The statement specifically called on Customs officials and respective ministerial departments involved in tax collection to suspend all activities. This move is reportedly intended to support the general public amidst financial hardships due to COVID-19 and to deter the military-led State Administration Council (SAC) from misappropriating public funds.

Fiscal Spending:

April 28- The Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry published a comprehensive stimulus plan called “Overcoming as One: COVID-19 Relief Plan”, outlining budget allocation, stronger ties between government and businesses via public-private partnerships, and cooperation with international financial institutions.                      

June 10- the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has announced a Covid-19 Tourism Relief Plan to help troubled tourism businesses navigate the repercussions of the pandemic. The plan is set to implement in three phases and aims to rebuild Myanmar’s tourism industry.

Reallocation of up to 10% of 2019-2020 budget directed to government entities.

Tax Measures:

1) Defer corporate income tax to Q2 and Q3 to September 30, 2020.

2) Defer commercial tax to September 30, 2020.

3) Waive 2% Withholding Tax on exports.

4) Waive Special Goods Tax on medical supplies and products required to prevent, control and treat Covid-19.

5) Waive Customs Duty and Commercial Tax related to import of medical supplies.

Financial Measures:

Soft loans are disbursed at 1% interest for a one-year period for SMEs, and businesses in the garment and tourism sectors. The Central Bank of Myanmar will reduce policy interest rates from 9.5 to 8.5 effective April 1. Bank deposit rates stand at 6.5%, and lending rates have an 11.5% ceiling for collateralized loans and 14.5% for unsecured loans. Ministry of Investment reduces investment application fees by half for both national and foreign investors. 

Trade Measures:

1) Waive import licensing and FDA approval process as long as a foreign FDA has approved the products; expedite and facilitate importation processes for medical supplies required for COVID-19 response

2) Promote trade financing by establishing MMK 100 billion fund to designated commercial banks.

Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
1353220 23538 1270243
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Current Status:

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the extension of the second strictest quarantine level in Metro Manila and nearby Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal provinces, Malacañang said until the middle of May. President Duterte said the NCR Plus area will stay under MECQ until May 14. The following localities will be under quarantine: Apayao, Baguio City, Benget, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Tacloban, Iligan, Davao City, Lanao del Sur.

From December 1-30: The National Capital Region (Manila), the provinces of Batangas and Lanao del Sur as well as the cities of Iloilo City, Bacolod, Iligan and Tacloban City will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ).

The rest of the country will remain under modified GCQ

Known Closures:

At present, many parts of the country are already under MGCQ. Apart from Metro Manila, other areas under GCQ until the end of the month are Bulacan, Batangas and Tacloban City.

Meanwhile, those under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine are Lanao del Sur, Bacolod City and Iligan.

President Duterte is expected to announce the updated quarantine classifications before Oct. 1. The government has agreed to implement quarantine classifications for one month instead of two weeks to ensure continuity in the enforcement of safety protocols.

All HUCs of the National Capital Region (NCR) and the Municipality of Pateros under GCQ. Under GCQ until 15: for Luzon: Baguio City, Pangasinan, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vezcaya, Quirino, Santiago City, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueve Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Angeles City, Olongapo City, Cavite, Laguna, Batancas, Rizal, Quezon, Lucena City and Albacy. Visayas: Iloilo City, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City. Mindanao: Zamboanga City, Davao City.

Cross Border Issues:

Baguio City and Boracay to Partially Reopen for Domestic and Foreign Tourists.

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Additional Information:

The PEZA issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-0019 (Rev 1) and directed the continued online validation of electronic import permits (eIP) and online endorsement of validated eIP to the Bureau of Customs Manila International Container Port, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and Port of Manila.

Joint Administrative Order No. 1 was released adopting processes for expedited release of refrigerated containers and dry vans during the ECQ.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued Memorandum Circular 02-14 listing down allowed movement of goods and personnel for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies and export enterprises, and their service providers during the ECQ.

The DTI issued Memorandum Circular 20-17 for the extension of expiring Philippine Standard (PS) licenses until July 31. However, extension is still subject to the licensee’s submission of application for renewal. PS licenses are issued for wiring devices, cement, steel, plastic pipes and conduits, sanitary wares, ceramics, etc.

The Philippine Ports Authority issued 8,000 IATF IDs to ensure movement of cargo. 

The IATF approved a prototype of a Supply Chain Analysis dashboard application to address bottlenecks in supply, distribution, and movement of goods.

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

From 1 August, foreign nationals with existing long-term visas are allowed to enter the Philippines, subject to certain conditions:

The visa must be existing at the time of entry – no new entry visas will be accepted. Visas must fall under one of the following categories:

  • A non-immigrant visa issued under Section 13 of the Immigration act (Section 13 series visa: a,b,c,d,e,g)
  • Anyone who acquired resident status under Republic Act 7919 or Alien Social Integration Act (RA 7919 visa)
  • Anyone who falls under Executive Order 324 or Alien Legalization Program (EO 324 visa) Native-born foreign nationals (Native-born visa)

Starting January 3, The Philippines has officially included the United States in the list of countries covered by a travel ban amid the emergence of the new variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, Filipino citizens coming from the US, or those who have been to the US within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, including those arriving January 3, 2021, shall be allowed into the country. 

Starting November 1, the government has reopened the country’s doors for certain foreigners, particularly those with investor visas.

Foreigners allowed to enter the country must still abide by certain conditions set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF):

Having valid and existing visas as well as a pre-booked quarantine facility. Among the foreign nationals allowed are those with visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration pursuant to Executive Order No. 226, the Omnibus Investments Code, as amended, and Republic Act. No. 8756 also known as the investor’s visa.

Also allowed entry to the Philippines are foreigners with the 47(a)(2) visas issued by the Department of Justice as well as those visas issued by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. The ordinary tourist visa holders are not yet allowed to enter.

Starting Nov. 1, Filipinos traveling abroad will no longer be required to undertake antigen testing 24 hours before departure. However, it is expected that travelers still secure a negative diagnostic test if required by the country of destination or the airline.

  1. All passengers, Filipinos or foreigners alike, merely transiting through any of the countries covered by the Memorandum of the Executive Secretary, dated 29 December 2020, and other succeeding memos, shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to that country, provided the passengers stayed in the airport the whole time and they were not cleared for entry by the immigration authorities of the said country covered by the Philippine’s travel restrictions.
  2. The abovementioned passengers (in 1) who arrive in the Philippines are not required to complete a 14-day facility-based quarantine and may be allowed home quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test result at point of entry.  
  3. Transiting foreign passengers who left the airport or were cleared for entry into the country covered by our travel restrictions shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines. 
  4. Transiting Filipino citizens who left the airport or were cleared for entry into the country covered by our travel restrictions shall be allowed to enter the Philippines.  However, they shall be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if they obtain a negative RT-PCR test result.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 to open for international flights on July 8 for the following airlines: Nippon Airways, Air Asia Berhad, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Royal Dutch Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Turkish Airlines. Terminal 2 will continue to service international arrival flights from Philippine Airlines (PAL), while Terminal 1 will continue to service international departures for (PAL).

Restricted Location:

Please see note on “Restriction in movement of goods”

Accommodation business can operate under CATEGORY II sectors with 50% to 100% operations for  BOTH ECQ and GCQ but limited to guests who have existing bookings for foreigners as of May 1 (for areas outside Luzon), guests who have existing long-term bookings, distressed or repatriated OFWs, stranded foreign nationals, non-OFWs who are required to undergo a mandatory facility-based quarantine, and healthcare workers and other employees from exempted establishments approved by the national government.

Baguio City will start to receive visitors starting October 1. However, only tourists from Region 1 will be allowed to visit the city and a capacity of 200 visitors per day will be issued by the Local Government Unit (LGU).

Following the COVID-19 protocols, open-air tourism will be the concentration for most of these places. This includes Paoay Sand Dunes and Pagudpud white sand beaches in Ilocos Norte, the outdoor museum and heritage houses in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, surfing areas in La Union, and the pilgrimage sites in Pangasinan for Boracay area. Moreover, Major airlines are resuming daily to twice daily flights between Manila and Caticlan to cater to Boracay-bound tourists

On August 17, Philippine President Duterte approved the recommendation of Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to place the following areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from August 19 to August 31:

Luzon – National Capital Region (Metro Manila), and provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, and Quezon

Visayas – Cities of Iloilo, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay; and Cebu Province: Municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion

The rest of the country is under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Gatherings of People:

Prohibited to operate under ECQ and GCQ: Gyms and sports facilities; entertainment-related mass gatherings such as theaters, cinemas; concerts; business-related mass gatherings such as trade shows, conferences, conventions; politically-related mass gatherings; sports-related mass gatherings; libraries/museums; gambling and betting activities; travel agencies, tour operators, reservation services; activities of membership organizations and religious mass gatherings. Those ages below 21 those 60 and above may not enter commercial areas except to obtain essential goods and services.

Religious gatherings up to 10% capacity in GCQ zones will be permitted beginning on July 10. Religious gatherings at 50% capacity in MGCQ zones had previously been permitted in June.

September 1: Duterte kept partial restrictions in the capital region for a month starting Tuesday (09/01). Other areas under GCQ include:  Bulacan, Batangas, Tacloban City in Eastern Visayas and Bacolod City in Western Visayas. He also placed Iligan City in Northern Mindanao under modified enhanced community quarantine. The rest of the country, meanwhile, would remain under modified GCQ—the most relaxed form of community quarantine.

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Philippines team for more information.

Known Exceptions:

Overseas travel will be limited to Overseas Filipino Workers, permanent residents, student visa holders, and foreign nationals.

Security/Safety Issues:

Local government units implementing varying regulations are confusing to businesses and people. Government agencies may contradict each other in issuing policies. There are varying responses of police in enforcing the ECQ policies (different penalties). There are reported instances of violent dispersals.

There are issues at checkpoints regarding passes being required by different LGUs. Government and private sector are developing a RapidPass system for easy passage of at checkpoints.

Government opted to place Metro Manila and other urban areas under general community quarantine until end-September.

Additional Information:

Government, together with volunteers from private sector, launched FASSSTER, a user-friendly tool for modeling disease spreads in the Philippines to aid in disease surveillance efforts.

RapidPass went live. It will allow frontliners and cargo to pass through checkpoints faster with the use of a QR code.

The DTI issued Memorandum Circular 02-14 listing down allowed movement of goods and personel for BPOs, export enterprises, and their service providers during the ECQ.

Health professionals who have existing contracts abroad can be leave the country. This comes after a deployment ban which prevented doctors and nurses from leaving the country.

Current Efforts:

(August 24) The House of Representatives ratifies Bayanihan 2 which aims to align national budget to further support government fund for COVID-19 relief. P165 billion is expected to be allotted primarily to help badly hit sectors recover, while allotting also funds for other vital pandemic measures like contact tracing and quarantine facilities. The bill provides for a 60-day moratorium for paying debts, including salary loans, business loans and insurance premium. As for water and power bills, house rental or lease for business space, a 30-day reprieve will be provided for those in areas covered by ECQ and MECQ. The Bayanihan 2 will be in effect until December 19, 2020.

Bayanihan 2 has been signed by President Duterte on September 11.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will begin hiring today, September 14, 50,000 more contact tracers after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bayanihan 2 law. As of now, 25,767 contact tracing teams and 227,648 contact tracers.

As of September 1, Philippines reported that it’s inflation has climbed up 2.7%  in July, faster than the 2.5 percent in June and 2.4 percent in the same month last year. But despite the uptick, the July inflation remained within Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ forecast range of 2.2 percent to 3.0 percent.

Tax measures:

Emergency legislation empowers president to direct all financial institutions to implement a minimum of a thirty (30)-day grace period for the payment of all loans and to move the statutory deadlines for filing and submissions of documents, payment of taxes, fees and charges

Imported donations of medical supplies shall be exempt from donor’s tax, VAT, excise and other fees

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) released RR 07-2020 implementing the extension of statutory deadlines and timelines for the filing and submission of any documents and the payment of taxes (including refunds)

BIR released RR 08-2020 implementing the directive unto banks, quasi-banks, financing companies, lending companies, and financial institutions to implement a minimum 30-day grace period for payment of all loands, including salary, personal housing, motor vehicle loans, credit card payments falling due within the ECQ

BIR further extended filing of income tax returns until May 30 under RR 10-2020.

BIR extended tax returns until June 14 under RR 48-2020

The BIR issued RR 11-2020 on the extension of statutory deadlines for the submission and/or filing of documents and/or returns as well as payment of taxes.

The government is looking to implement an enhanced net operating loss carryover of five years.

Financial measures:

(March 20) Monetary Board decided to cut the interest rate on the Central Bank’s overnight reverse repurchase facility by 50 basis points to 3.25%

(April 6) The President directed the Finance Minister to implement measures in order to generate more funding

Central Bank’s Monetary Board granted of regulatory and rediscounting relief measures for financial institutions.

Central Bank purchased Php300 billion worth government securities in a repurchase agreement to inject cash.

The Central Bank trimmed the minimum liquidity ratio (MLR) requirement of smaller lenders until the year’s end.

It was reported that the Finance Department is eyeing to borrow US$6 billion. The World Bank approved of a $500 million loan.

The Central Bank is eyeing to cut interest rates further.

The ADB signed a $1.5-billion loan for its COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support program. It also approved a $200 million loan.

May 5: The Monetary Board approved measures to assist the MSME including (a) temporary reduction in the credit risk weights of loans granted to MSMEs that are current in status, and (b) assignment of a lower risk weight for MSME exposures that are covered by guarantees.

Central Bank will keep interest rates steady at 2.75% in case crisis worsens.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approved a US$750 million loan.

Trade measures:

Entry of imported donations of medical supplies will be excise exempt.

Ensuring enough supply of rice for 14 days; Coordination between national government and local to allow unhampered movement of essential goods; Price freeze for essential goods.

According to the President’s April 6 report, the National Economic Development Authority is creating a national supply chain plan for essential products

Government Resources:

Intelligence & Analysis

Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
62403 34 62023
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Current Status:

The city-state is open to the flow of essential goods and services. “Circuit breaker” rules are in place and most workplaces are shut down. The Circuit breaker period has been extended to June 1. Food manufacturers, hairdressers, specified food retail outlets and laundry services have been permitted to resume operations starting Tuesday, May 12.

Singapore is currently in phase 1 reopening, with certain conditions. For businesses, the following can begin to reopen: Most manufacturing and production facilities, eg. semiconductors and medical technology; and most businesses with employees working in offices and setting that do not require interactions with large groups of people, eg. finance & insurance, and IT & info services. Tele-commuting must be adopted to the maximum extent in businesses that re-open. Most retail outlets will not reopen, dining at F&B outlets is not allowed, hairdressers and barbers can resume operations, home-based businesses with delivery services can resume.

Singapore will begin Phase 2 reopening on June 19. The following activities and businesses are permitted to reopen with safe distancing measures: retail outlets, dine-in at food and beverage outlets, personal health and wellness activities, home-based services, tuition and private enrichment activities, sports, parks and other public facilities, registered clubs and societies, all healthcare services.

Known Closures:

Prohibited activities: use of condominium facilities including pools and gyms, public sports facilities, dining in, socializing in group settings, alternative medicine such as Indian traditional medicine and chiropractic care, and any activity leading to congregating in groups.

Prohibited activities: religious congregations, large cultural venues such as museums and libraries, large-scale events and venues such as conferences, concerts and trade fairs, entertainment venues such as bars, nightclubs, karaoke outlets, cinemas, theatres, as well as indoor and outdoor attractions.

Cross Border Issues:

(March 25) There is the Enhanced Movement Control Order of Malaysia until April 14 which affects the Malaysia-Singapore border crossing.

Singapore and Malaysia will establish the Periodic Commuting Arrangement and Reciprocal Green Lane to allow some cross-border travel for certain groups of cross-border travelers. Exact date for implementation of these measures has not been announced.

Singapore and Malaysia will resume limited cross-border travel on Aug. 10. Singapore residents and Malaysia residents who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country may enter that country for work. They may return to their home country for short-term home leave after three consecutive months in their country of work, and thereafter re-enter their country of work to continue work for at least another three consecutive months

Known Exceptions:

Exempt from work closure/suspension: those necessary to support the daily living needs of the population. From May 5, these activities shall be allowed: Acupuncture for pain management, sale of retail products by traditional Chinese medicine halls, exercise within common areas of strata-titled residential buildings. From May 12, these activities shall be allowed: Manufacturing and onsite preparation of all food, retail food outlets for take away and delivery, home-based food businesses for delivery or collection, laundry services, salons for haircuts, retail of pet supplies. From May 19, schools may conduct lessons face-to-face or informal sessions with graduating batches given priority. Student attendance will not be compulsory.

Additional Information:

For workplaces that are allowed to remain open, they have to operate with minimal staff on premises, implement strict safe-distancing measures, employees to avoid social interactions. Firms may be required to suspend operations if staff get infected. There are challenges in maintaining trade flow due to the shocks in global supply chain. There is a priority on diversifying food supply sources.

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

From 23 March 2020, 2359 hours, all short-term visitors (from anywhere in the world) will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or to transit through Singapore. Singapore has also ceased port calls for all cruise vessels. From 9 April 2020, 2359 hours, all Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Pass holders entering Singapore will be – required to serve a 14-day self-isolation at dedicated Stay-Home Notice (SHN) facilities. From 27 March 2020, 0900 hours, returnees will also be required to submit a health declaration via the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) e-Service, before proceeding with immigration clearance. The public is advised to defer all travel.

(March 25) Returnees from the UK and US will serve their 14-day SHN in dedicated facilities (under pain of fine and/or imprisonment for violations).

Work pass holders and their dependents will be allowed to return to Singapore only if they work in sectors that provide essential services and apply entry through the Ministry of Manpower.

No short term travelers allowed.

Changi Airport is now permitting limited transit of foreign travelers through the airport. Only travelers flying Singapore Airlines (SIA) from select cities in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand may transit through Changi Airport to any destination in the SIA group network.

Restricted Locations:

Prohibited activities: use of condominium facilities including pools and gyms, public sports facilities, dining in, socializing in group settings, alternative medicine such as Indian traditional medicine and chiropractic care, and any activity leading to congregating in groups.

Gatherings of People:

People are to stay home and are only to go out of their houses for essential services. Any group seen gathering in public will immediately be issued a written warning under circuit breaker measures. Second-time offenders will be fined and third time offenders will be charged in court.

Beginning in Phase 2, group gatherings with up to five people are permitted, with safe-distancing measures. The following gatherings are permitted with restrictions: weddings as solemnizations at home, and at ROM or ROMM, may take place with up to ten people, excluding the solemnizer. At other venues, they may take place with up to twenty people, excluding the solemnizer. Wakes and funerals may have twenty people present at any one time. For schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), students will return to school daily from 29 June 2020. IHLs will gradually increase the number of students back on campus for face-to-face learning

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Singapore team for more information.

Known Exceptions:

From May 5, these activities shall be allowed: Acupuncture for pain management, sale of retail products by traditional Chinese medicine halls, exercise within common areas of strata-titled residential buildings. From May 12, these activities shall be allowed: Manufacturing and onsite preparation of all food, retail food outlets for take away and delivery, home-based food businesses for delivery or collection, laundry services, salons for haircuts, retail of pet supplies. From May 19, schools may conduct lessons face-to-face or informal sessions with graduating batches given priority. Student attendance will not be compulsory.

Security/Safety Issues:

Singapore is in the midst of election preparations and the threat of the virus poses safety issues.

It is mandatory for everyone to wear a mask when they step out. Those who do not risk a $300 fine for first-time offenders.

Cases in foreign dormitories are increasing exponentially.

Additional Information:

The TraceTogether app was rolled out by the government whereby people in SIngapore who opt into the app can record other app users within the vicinity for the last 21 days. This is to help in contact tracing.

February 18 – National Budget 2020 included measures worth over S$6.4 billion in response to covid-19. March 26 – a Resiliency Fund was introduced with an additional S$48 billion. On April 6, it announced its third stimulus package S$5.1billion (US$3.55 billion).

Singapore passed a Temporary Measures Act to grant relief for parties unable to meet contractual obligations during the pandemic.

Fiscal spending:

The support to businesses shall be in the form of 3C’s: cash flow, cost, and credit. Support to workers and businesses in the form of the the Jobs Support Scheme, Wage Credit Scheme, Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme, Self-Employed Person Training Support Scheme

Support to workers and businesses in the form of the the Jobs Support Scheme, Wage Credit Scheme, Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme, Self-Employed Person Training Support Scheme, Temporary Bridging Loan Programme, Enterprise Financing Scheme – Working Capital Loan, and Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan

SGUnited Jobs initiative to create 10,000 jobs over the next year, SGUnited Traineeships, and the advance use of SkillsFuture Credit top-ups beginning April 2020.

There are additional targeted support for the following sectors: aviation, tourism, food services, land transport, maritime, arts & culture.

Tax measures:

Property tax rebates (up to 100% for non-residential; 60%-100% for affected sectors)

Automatic deferment of income tax payments for companies and self-employed persons for three months

Corporate income tax rebate of 25% of tax payable, capped at $15,000 for Year of Assessment 2020.

There is a freeze on all government fees and charges from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021; all student loan repayment and interest charges shall be suspended for one year from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021;all late payment charges on HDB mortgage arrears shall be suspended for three months

Wage support extended until May during the Circuit breaker period

Financial measures:

On March 26, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced it would begin utilizing its $60 billion dollar bilateral swap line with the US Federal Reserve to provide additional US dollar funding to banks in Singapore.

Banks and finance companies may apply for low-cost funding through a new MAS SGD Facility.

SMEs may opt to defer principal payments on their secured term loans up to 31 December 2020

Individuals with unsecured credit facilities from banks or other credit card issuers may apply to their respective lender to convert their outstanding balances to term loans at a reduced rate of interest, capped at 8%.

Cash flow shall be supported by increasing the maximum loan quantum (up to S$1 million, USD695K) under Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan

Wage credit scheme: Over 95,000 employers in Singapore will receive over $450 million in payouts by June 30, 2020. The Government will co-fund 20% of qualifying wage increases given in 2019, 2018 and 2017 to more than 800,000 Singaporean employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to $5,000

Trade measures:

Initiated a Joint Ministerial Statement with like-minded countries that affirms commitment to keeping supply chains open and connected. Also includes commitment to work to identify trade disruptions and keep trade flows open amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Reaffirmed commitment with China to maintain supply chain connectivity between both countries for the flow of goods

Intelligence & Analysis

Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
214449 1609 26873
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Current Status:

Since July 1, Thailand has entered the fifth phase of lockdown easing. Meanwhile, the Emergency Decree has been extended until March 31, 2021.

Effective from 1 February 2021, the government has classified Thailand’s 77 provinces into five areas with specific measures in place depending on the level of risk. The classifications are Maximum Controlled areas (Samut Sakhon Province), High Controlled areas (4 provinces), Controlled areas (20 provinces), High Surveillance areas (17 provinces), and Surveillance areas (35 provinces).

The recent cluster outbreak at the Pornpat market in the Pathum Thani province, with 182 total confirmed cases, prompted a temporary closure order.  However, the virus caseload appears to be slowing, and the death toll currently stands at 83; with over 24,000 recovered cases, the caseload stands at 1,165 as of February 18.

Known Closures:

Thailand moved to the fifth phase of lockdown easing on July 1. Under the fifth phase, nearly all business activities have been allowed to reopen. Entertainment venues and nightlife services including pubs, bars, and massage parlors have been authorized to resume their operations under some disease control guidelines.

The sixth phase of lockdown easing is expected to begin in late July or early August.

Cross Border Issues:

Borders are open for the movement of goods and services.

Known Exceptions:

Thailand has opened four ports along the Mekong River to resume trade with China. Operation in the four ports will be limited to three days a week, and travelers are prohibited for the time being.

Additional Information:

On May 1, the Royal Gazette published an announcement allowing for the sale of alcohol starting on May 3, but consumption of alcohol in restaurants will still be banned. 

On June 3, Energy Minister, Sonthirat Sonthijirawong, announced that the electricity discount from March to May has ended and not been renewed.

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

Thailand is open to international travel, however a medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected, using the RT-PCR method, issued no more than 72 hours before departure, is required.

The government reinstated the 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, effective from May 1, 2021, until further notice.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the Ministry of Interior provided the information requesting people who reside in 23 provinces to refrain from going outside their residences during the following periods: Northern provinces: Prae (11.00 PM – 03.00 AM) , and Uthaithani (11.00 PM – 04.00 AM) Central and Eastern provinces: Chai Nat, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Petchaburi, Ratchaburi, Suphanburi, Samut Sakhon (11.00 PM – 04.00 AM). Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan (09.00 PM – 04.00 AM) Northeastern provinces: Chaiyaphum, Bueng Kan, Yasothon, Nong Khai and Ubon Ratchathani (11.00 PM – 04.00 A.M Southern provinces: Trang (10.00PM – 03.00 AM) , Phatthalung (Midnight – 03.00 AM), Yala, Ranong, Songkla and Surathani (10.00 PM – 04.00 AM)

As of April 29, 2021 Bangkok and all 76 other provinces have made it compulsory for everyone to wear a face mask when they are outdoors. Offenders are liable to a fine up to 20,000 Baht.

Restricted Locations:

As of April 29, 2021, in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and four other provinces in the worst tier, restaurants are only allowed to provide takeout service and must close by 9 p.m. All gyms, fitness centers and other indoor sports venues must close. No spectators are allowed at sporting competitions and residents are strongly discouraged, though not banned, from traveling outside the zone.

In middle-tier provinces, restaurants can stay open until 11 p.m. but dining in is only allowed until 9 p.m. In the small number of provinces qualifying for the best tier, restaurants can serve customers inside until 11 p.m., but in all three zones, serving alcohol is not allowed.

Gatherings of People:

As of June 15, group exercise in public parks is allowed for gatherings of up to 50 people. Film, television, and video shoots have been allowed with crew members not exceeding 150 and spectators not exceeding 50.

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Thailand team for more information.

Known Exceptions:

The temporary travel ban does not affect work permit holders, shippers, diplomats, drivers, pilots and others permitted by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Every person must possess a Medical Certificate to enter the Kingdom. Exceptions to the curfew include medical and banking personnel, logistic workers handling essential goods, individuals working normal nigh shifts.

Security/Safety Issues:

As of April 29, 2021 Bangkok and all 76 other provinces have made it compulsory for everyone to wear a face mask when they are outdoors. Offenders are liable to a fine up to 20,000 Baht.

Additional Information:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 2 Travel Health Notice for Thailand due to COVID-19.  Thailand’s borders are still closed for all foreign nationals with few exceptions. Thailand has resumed domestic transportation options, (including airport operations) and business operations (including day cares and schools).

Fiscal Spending:

US$ 12.7 billion stimulus package, announced on March 12, aimed at assisting all sectors of the economy. There is THB 5,000 handout to each self-employed person affected by the economic challenges. Up to now 21 million people have applied to this scheme. On April 7, Thai cabinet approved a third $58 billion stimulus package that includes US$18.4 billion in support for affected workers and the self-employed, an extension of US$153 monthly payouts to 9 million workers until September, and US$12.2 billion for infrastructure investment and creation of local jobs.

On January 19, Thailand’s cabinet approved a 210 billion baht (approximately US$7 billion) cash transfer program as a stimulus measure. The program seeks to provide direct cash transfers of up to 7,000 baht per beneficiary for an estimated 31.1 million people, a majority of whom are low-income earners. The government also approved a co-payment program which will enable 1.34 million people to register for an additional 3,500 baht subsidy.

Tax Measures:

Withholding taxes for businesses have been reduced to 1.5%. Personal income tax deadline has been moved to August 31.

On January 26, 2021, the Royal Thai Government issued an updated tax relief package that includes a reduction in the land and building tax, property transaction fees, in addition to an extension in the tax filing deadline for personal income tax (PIT), value-added tax (VAT), and withholding tax (WHT).

Financial Measures:

Soft loans will enable commercial banks to lend at 2%. The third package includes plans for Bank of Thailand to divert US$15.3 billion in soft loans toward mid-sized firms, BoT will also establish the Corporate Bond Liquidity Stabilization Fund, which will add US$12.2 billion to the corporate bond market. Interest rates have been cut to 0.5% since mid-2020.

Trade Measures:

N/A

Intelligence & Analysis

Confirmed Cases Total Deaths Recoveries
12620 64 4788
January 16, 2021 7:05 am

National Responses

Current Status:

On April 29, the first locally transmitted case, breaking a 35-day record, was detected in Ha Nam province and Ho Chi Minh city after incoming travelers tested positive after clearing quarantine. On May 5, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has extended the quarantine period for anyone arriving in the country to three weeks from two.

On January 27, Vietnam confirmed two local transmission cases, the first since November 30, with one case in Hai Duong province and another in Quang Ninh province. Since then, the outbreak has spread to other localities, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Quang Ninh, Gia Lai, Binh Duong, Bac Ninh, Dien Bien, Hoa Binh, Hai Phong, Bac Giang, Ha Giang. On February 12, the Ministry of Health said that the situation has been under control after aggressive contact tracing and testing operation, and the expected confirmed case in the next few days will be within the quarantined locations.

On November 30, Vietnam confirmed the first community transmission case in Ho Chi Minh City since the second wave in late July. Since then, only four local community transmission cases were confirmed. The city has gone 15 days without any new local cases as of December 17. The Ho Chi Minh City Center for Diseases Control and the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has declared the outbreak contained.

In late July 2020, Vietnam confirmed the first new local transmission case, starting an outbreak originating in Da Nang. The outbreak was contained and on September 24, Da Nang People’s Committee issued a legal document announcing the successful control of COVID-19 outbreak in the city and the city’s return to normal, the last city in this outbreak wave to do so.

April 24, 2020: Prime Minister’s Directive 19 on Continued COVID-19 Prevention and Control, lifted lockdown

April 1, 2020: Prime Minister’s Decision 447/QD-TTg 2020: Declaration of COVID-19 epidemic.

Known Closures:

N/A

Cross Border Issues:

Vietnam has approved the reopening of sub-border gates and border crossings in Lang Son and Quang Ninh provinces connecting with China to ease trade between the two countries.

Known Exceptions:

Inter-province and intra-province transportation can resume operations under the Ministry of Transport’s instructions and with safety precautions. Domestic air transportation is to follow special procedures to ensure public health safety.

Additional Information:

On April 16, the National Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced different schemes for social distancing for each localities, based on risk factors. Localities other than “High-risk” (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Ninh Binh, Quang Nam, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Tay Ninh, and Ha Tinh) are to follow Directive 15 and 16 to April 22. Some manufacturing and business activites are allowed to resume after April 15 on the condition that epidemiological safety measures are taken.

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

Land borders with Laos and Cambodia are strictly closed for human movement. Domestic flights have been returned to pre-pandemic schedule. Land borders with Laos and Cambodia are strictly closed for human movement. International commercial flights have been suspended following the first community transmission confirmed case on November 30. In January 2021, the government will restricted inbound flights to “truly necessary” approved on a case-by-case basis by five ministries ahead of the Tet holiday season in February. After the holiday ends, the the Ministry of Transport should study the resumption of regular commercial flights as per the Government’s instructions. Vietnam has also suspended flights from countries and territories that reported new variants of the SARS-CoV-2, initially including the UK and South Africa.

Restricted Locations:

Following the latest outbreak in late April, 2021, the Da Nang Municipal People’s Committee announced that starting May 4, Da Nang will suspend all activities related to gyms, festivals and sporting events which tend to attract large crowds. In addition, businesses that are not considered essential will also be shut down, including beauty parlors, bars, clubs, karaoke, massage parlors, gaming cafes, pedestrian streets and night markets. Only restaurants and food service businesses are allowed as they are considered as essentials. Relevant government bodies will continue to patrol and people and businesses who do not adhere to these rules will be punished and banned respectively. In Hanoi, it was announced on May 3 that all schools will be switched to online learning due to the surge of cases.

 

On April 16, 2020, the National Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced different schemes for social distancing for each localities, based on risk factors. On April 22, the Committee revised the category as followed: “At-risk” localities: Thuong Tin area of Hanoi; “High-risk” localities: Ho Chi Minh City, Bac Ninh, Ha Giang; “Low-risk” localities: the remaining provinces. At-risk location is to continue Directive 16 on limited lockdown.

 

For “at-risk” localities: Production sites and logistics operations are exempted but employers have to make sure that their employees follow all government-mandated hygienic protocols, including site disinfection, 2-m distance and wearing masks. Travel from virus-hit areas to other places is only exempted for emergency government duty, food and other essentials, commute by workers and engineers to and from work. Everyone is only allowed to go out on essential business such as to get food and medicine, to be hospitalized and to go to work in production sites and stores that are essential business. Each local government shall determine the list of the essential services and products which will remain open.

Gatherings of People:

For “at-risk” localities: Groups of over 2 people each are banned in public and outside of offices, schools and hospitals. Each room shall have no more than 20 people at the same time. 2m social distancing strictly enforced in all places. Schools are closed.

Groups of over 20 people (for high-risk) or over 30 people (for low-risk) each are banned in public and outside of offices, schools and hospitals. Each room shall have no more than 20 people at the same time. 1-m social distancing strictly enforced in all places. Schools are open at reduced capacity and alternate schedule.

Procedures for Exemption:

Please contact the US-ABC Vietnam team.

Known Exceptions:

On May 4, in Da Nang feasts with large gatherings, including weddings and funerals, are allowed but limited to 30 participants maximum.

Operation of commercial services such as retails, lotteries, hotel and lodging, restaurants, sport centers, heritage sites, and tourist attractions are allowed to resume as long as safety precautions are in places, including providing personal protective gears for staff, taking body temperature of guests, and installing public hand sanitizers. Inter-province and intra-province transportation can resume operations under the Ministry of Transport’s instructions and with safety precautions. Air transportation is to follow special procedures to ensure public health safety. Schools are to also disinfect facility and combine online learning to protect the students’ health. Factories and manufacturing facilities are to continue operations under safety precautions for employees and workers. As of May 7, non-essential businesses including bars, pubs, clubs and discos, beauty salons, massage parlors, karaoke lounges, barbers, and hairdresser have been allowed to resume under safety precautions. Religious activities in Vietnam were allowed to resume from May 8 but with preventive measures for large gatherings.

For incoming travelers, exemptions are made for diplomats, government officials and high-skilled corporate employees traveling on official business but they have to be quarantined for 14 days in their home, hotel or premise.

On September 23, the Ministry of Health has issued a temporary guidance (Document No 4995/BYT-DP) for incoming travelers including foreigners holding diplomatic passports, official passports, investors, highly skilled workers, business managers, international students and foreign relatives of Vietnamese citizens from countries where the pandemic is under control. The document outlines the procedure for incoming travelers to take to ensure their safety and control of the pandemic.

On September 1, Vietnam has lifted the 14-day quarantine requirement for incoming travelers listed above. However, they are to comply with safety guidelines and procedures, including taking a COVID-19 test.

Security/Safety Issues:

Punitive measures for non-compliance are not specified. Burden is on local government to enforce.

Additional Information:

All new arrivals at port of entry who are allowed in will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and sent to quarantine for 14 days or the hospital for treatment. Returning Vietnamese nationals shall be quarantined for 14 days in government-run facilities. People arrived in the country since March 8 but have not been quarantined will be screened for medical condition and tested.

Vietnam’s Immigration Department has announced that it will extend temporary residence permits for those that have entered before March 1 until the end of June 30. Foreigners that have entered on visa-free policies, e-visas, or tourist visas since March 1 will also be entitled to the same automatic extension program until June 30.

As of May 7, Vietnamese domestic carriers are allowed to remove social distancing restrictions on aircraft and limitations on the number of passengers from May 7. Passengers on planes are no longer required to sit one seat apart, but they still have to keep a distance of one meter from each other while going through procedures at airports until boarding.

Fiscal spending:

The government is preparing a second stimulus package.

On May 29, the government issued Resolution 84 unveiling a number of incentives for businesses affected by the pandemic, including reduction of certain fees and easing of various regulations related to trade, industries, and foreign employees.

On April 9, the Government approved a US$2.66 billion social welfare package for people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on removing difficulties in production and businesses and accelerating the disbursement of public investment. Of the seven groups subject to the package, six will benefit from the State budget while the remaining group – businesses – will be allowed to access bank loans with a zero percent interest rate to support their workers.

Tax measures:

Tax deferment is being proposed for VAT, CIT and PIT to Q3 & Q4, for a total of $3.5 bn. On March 10, MOF released a draft decree on the extension of Value-added tax (VAT), personal income tax (PIT) and land rental fee for affected industries, including agriculture, forestry, fishery; manufacturing and processing food; weaving; costumes; shoes; products from rubber; electronic products, computers; transportation; accommodation and catering; activities of travel agents, tour operators and support services related to tourism promotion and organization. The deadline for payment of VAT will be extended to December 15, 2020 for individuals and business households in the listed affected industries and will be extended by 5 months for companies declaring VAT on a quarterly basis (Q1-Q2) or on a monthly basis (March-June). The deadline for the first payment of 2020 for those who directly lease land from the State, those who pay land rental fee on an annual basis, or in the listed affected industries, will be extended by 5 months. On April 3, the Ministry of Finance submitted a new proposal increasing the total value of tax deferment to US$7.82 billion and added new eligible sectors.

April 9, 2020: Prime Minister approved Decree No 41/2020/NĐ-CP: extending deadlines for tax and land use fee payments to support businesses suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of USD 7.8 Billion The decree took effect immediately. The extension would be five months from the deadline for payments. 1. Agro-forestry-fishery 2. Food processing, Textile, garment, Construction industry 3. Transportation, Warehouse, Accommodation and catering, Education, Medical services 4. Part-supply industry 5. Small and micro – sized enterprises and credit institutions and branches of foreign banks which provided support to their customers who were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic following the requirements of the State Bank of Việt Nam.

Financial measures:

Following the new cases of COVID-19, on August 5, the State Bank of Vietnam announced its decision to cut the interest rate it pays on commercial banks’ reserves by 0.2-0.5 percentage points as part of its efforts to help the economy weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 13, the government has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Industry and Trade to decrease the retail price of electricity by 10 per cent over the course of three months, in April, May, and June. On February 24, SBV ordered commercial banks to eliminate, cut, or delay interest payments on loans to companies facing losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 13, SBV issued Circular No. 01/2020/TT-NHNN directing the credit institutions, the foreign bank branches to restructure the repayment periods, waive and reduce the interest and fees, maintain the debt classifications in order to support those customers affected by COVID-19 epidemic (Circular 01).

Trade measures:

On February 28, the Government issued Resolution 20/NQ-CP on applying the export licensing regime on medical masks amid COVID-19 prevention and control. Pursuant to the Resolution, the MOH issued Decision 868/QD-BYT dated March 11 to apply the regime and only allows exports of medical masks for international aid and assistance purposes granted by the Vietnam Government (maximum of 25 percent of the output for exports and 75 percent for domestic use).

On March 24, Vietnam Customs has stopped issuing clearance for rice shipments to ensure food security, under the Prime Minister’s instruction as part of the wider COVID-19 response. The Prime Minister said the ban would be in place until March 28 as the government review the national stockpile and ensure domestic supplies can cope with the pandemic. As of March 30, the ban is still in place.

Intelligence & Analysis

Case data from WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC and DXY. Compiled by JHU CSSE