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

Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
350,223
Partially Vaccinated
404,070
R-naught
0.93

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:

N/A

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

As of mid-October, the Brunei government has extended the COVID-19 night curfew for another two weeks until October 31, with harsher punishments imposed on individuals and employers who flout the directive. The decision to prolong the 8pm-4am movement restrictions was taken after Brunei’s daily coronavirus infections showed no signs of abating. YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, who is also the second minister of finance and economy, said the effectiveness of public health control measures can only be seen after at least four weeks. Residents are banned from leaving their homes except for emergencies or essential work under the night curbs. In the mid-October COVID-19 briefing, the Brunei Ministry of Health authorised the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for teenagers aged 12 to 17 to help reach its 80 percent vaccination goal by the end of this year. During the COVID-19 press briefing, the health minister said the Pfizer vaccine was approved for adolescents after analyzing research findings on its safety and efficacy.

Restricted Locations:

N/A

Gatherings of People:

On August 21, Brunei extended its partial lockdown for another two weeks (until September 4, 2021). Most mass gatherings are banned. Schools, mosques and most non-essential businesses have been closed. The following facilities have also been ordered to close: gyms, fitness centers, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, leisure centers, cinemas, internet cafes, playgrounds, driving schools, museums, libraries, galleries, beauty salons and barber shops. Dining in restaurants is not allowed.

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Security/Safety Issues:

Masks are mandated in all public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Companies have been urged to implement a work-from-home policy, allowing only essential workers into the office.

Additional Information:

Contract tracing has been increased. MoH urges the public to consistently use the BruHealth app when going in and out of public places, and to activate the Blutooth function in public areas.

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

Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
13,414,877
Partially Vaccinated
14,159,169
R-naught
0.77

National Responses

Current Status:

Movement of goods and people are restricted based on the classification of the area as a Red, Dark Yellow or Yellow Zone. People living in areas classified as Red Zones are restricted from leaving their residence, and aid will be delivered by the government in these areas.

Known Closures:

No known closures at this time, since the country fully reopened on November 1.

Cross Border Issues:

On August 13, Banteay Meanchey reopened its border with Thailand, while the temporary ban on the entry and exit of Vietanamese workers was on August 20.

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Additional Information:

N/A

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

On November 1, Cambodia fully reopened the country in all sectors. Starting November 15, all international travelers, both nationals and foreigners, are no longer required to quarantine provided they are: (i) fully vaccinated; (ii) tested negative 72 hours prior to arrival; and (iii) tested negative for COVID-19 upon arrival using a rapid test. Meanwhile, unvaccinated travelers are still required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. In October, the ban on flights from Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines was also lifted. Cambodia also re-opened e-visa services for tourists and investors on the same month. However, visa-upon-arrival services remain suspended.

Restricted Locations:

No known closures at this time, since the country fully reopened on November 1.

Gatherings of People:

Weddings of up to 200 guests are allowed, but nightclubs and KTVs are still prohibited.

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Cambodia team.

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Security/Safety Issues:

Except in Red Zones and other designated areas, while there are generally no intercity or inter-state travel, travelers may encounter checkpoints and screening procedures.

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 millionn 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. In June, the World Bank approved a US$200 million International Development Association (IDA) credit for Cambodia’s Relief, Recovery and Resilience Development Policy Financing Project. 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 December 31, 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. The NBC also also allowed the restructuring of loans of clients in areas cordoned off due to Covid-19 without any limitations (i.e., for unlimited number of times). Financial institutions are also encouraged to reduce or waive fees or penalties in a case-by-case scenario.

Tax Policy

Tax relief measures are granted to the garment, tourism, airline and transportation and logistics sectors. Workers in the garment and tourism sectors can receive $40 per day until September 2021. All payments of the contribution for Social Security Schemes on Occupational Risk and Health Care to the National Security Fund (NSSF) are also waived during the business suspension or cessation. The implementation of Social Security on Pension Scheme is also suspended for six month until December 2021. For hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and tourist agencies registered with the GDT and operating in Phnom Penh, Bavet, Poipet, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kep, and Kampot are also exempted from payment of monthly taxes until September 2021. Airline companies registered in Cambodia are also exempted from paying Minimum Tax a until September 2021. Civil aviation fees are also suspended until September 2021, and all debts can be repaid in states after the extension period. Industries in the transportation and logistics sector are also exempt from custom license fees for 2021 to 2022, subject to an assessment of the actual socio-economic condition of the country.

Trade Policy

Cambodia continues to maintain managed floating system.

Government Resources:

  • http://www.cdcmoh.gov.kh/

Intelligence & Analysis

Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
98,623,618
Partially Vaccinated
142,030,970
R-naught
0.87

National Responses

Current Status:

After a surge of third wave in July 2021, Indonesia is slowly going through a recovery phase and continues to have decline in confirmed cases and hospitalization rates.

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:

1) The Indonesian government has prohibited foreign visitors from transiting and traveling to Indonesian Territory unless they are in possession of a valid residence permit or certain classes of visa (KITAS, KITAP or certain types of Indonesian visas). Visa-free and visa-on-arrival entry for all foreign travelers, including U.S. citizens, remains suspended. The government has not indicated a timeline for when the restrictions on international visitors will expire.

2) Anyone arriving in Indonesia must undertake a mandatory 5-day quarantine at designated facilities conducted by the Indonesian government. Two PCR tests will be administered. If you test positive, you will be transferred to a different facility not of your own choosing and required to isolate for 14 to 32 days at your own expense.

3) International travelers entering Indonesia will be required to show proof (a physical or digital vaccination card) of full vaccination against COVID-19, except children under 12 years of age accompanied by parents.

4) Travelers are required to have COVID-19 test (PCR or serology) 72 hours before departure. Domestic flight passengers are required to present the following prior to departure:

  • Personal identification
  • Health certificate showing no flu-like symptions/a negative RT-PCR result/ health certificate proving non-reactive Covid 19 Rapid Test Results. Additional testing requirements have been added for travel to, from and within the islands of Java and Bali, and there is always a possibility of additional locations being added to this list. Domestic flights will require a PCR test conducted 48 hours (2-days) before departure. For travelers to Bali, a negative PCR test conducted two days before travel and containing a QR code from a recognized laboratory is required.
  • 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.

NOTE: These restrictions can change frequently, and travelers should regularly consult with respective airlines and travel providers regarding more details.

Restricted Locations:

There is no curfew in placed, although local cities may implement movement restrictions and these restrictions can be greater at night.

Gatherings of People:

Essential services are available and public activities (including offices, religious activities, social and cultural gatherings, and public transportation) continue to be very limited to maintain social distancing. It is mandatory to wear a face mask in public. Fines and other penalties may apply for violations of the restrictions. On November 9, Indonesia extended ongoing public activity restrictions at levels 1 through 4 outside Java and Bali until November 22.

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.

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:

  • In September, the Ministry of Health has confirmed that foreign residents are also eligible for vaccination. Receiving the vaccinations are subject to residency, availability, and location. Foreign residents of Indonesia generally need to provide their KTP or NIK (national ID number) to receive a vaccine. As of November, the Indonesian Health Ministry on November 8 announced that booster shots will be administered once 50 percent of the population is vaccinated. Indonesia has also authorized Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine. It is the first country to authorize the use of this vaccine.
  • Schools in Jakarta has resumed face-to-face learning starting end of August. The face-to- face learning option is being undertaken with a maximum 50% capacity in regions that are categorized in PPKM level 3, in accordance with the Instruction of the Minister of Home Affairs. As of November, the government announced that it will cooperate with schools to provide Covid-19 vaccine shots to children aged 6 to 11.
  • Transportation: International flights continue to operate from Jakarta including transit points. This also applies to public transportation locally.
  • The government has reopened the provinces of Bali and Riau Islands to foreign tourists starting October 14, 2021. The nation has decided to allow entry to nationals from 19 countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), New Zealand, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, and Norway.  the Bali provincial government said it has created a guidebook for tourists on vacationing in the province amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidebook will be handed to tourists during the self-isolation period and provides information on arrival protocols at the I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport and the health protocols that need to be implemented while traveling. Once they arrive in Bali, foreign tourists need to undergo a five-day self-quarantine at one of the 35 hotels designated by the government.
  • Malaysia and Singapore on November 10 has announced a quarantine-free travel lane with Indonesia for fully vaccinated travelers, set to open on November 29. 
  • Indonesia has also announced that it is ready to host international events under strict health protocols. Every member involved in the event, will undergo PCR testing in their countries, upon arrival in Indonesia, and after being isolated for three days.

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 reccession 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.

The Ministry of Finance reported the completion of the National Economic Recovery Program (PEN) on 20 August 2021, reaching IDR 326.16 trillion or 43.8% of the total budget ceiling of IDR 744.75 trillion, through the 2021 State Revenue and Expenditure Budget (APBN). The government currently projects a deficit range of 4.51% to 4.85% for 2022. As of late August, the government has increased its relief budget to over $51 billion, extending cash transfers, electricity discounts and tax breaks. It also cut its 2021 GDP growth outlook to 3.7%-4.5% from 4.5%-5.3%. President Jokowi on August 16 proposed a US$188 billion budget for 2022 with a narrowing fiscal deficit and higher growth targets.

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 October 2021, Bank Indonesia’s (BI)’s seven-day repurchase rate will remain as 3.5% until the third quarter of next year, increasing by 50 basis points in the last quarter of 2022 to 4%. This has been the same rate since December 2020. 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

Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
3,099,003
Partially Vaccinated
3,744,740
R-naught
1.05

National Responses

Current Status:

As of November 14, Laos has had 50,977 coronavirus cases and 93 deaths. Laos has continued to maintain its existing lockdown and quarantine measures.

(March 26) Imports of consumer goods remains normal. 

Known Closures:

On October 15, the Prime Minister’s Office of Laos released a notice extending virus control measures until further notice. Entertainment venues, tourist sights, night markets, food gardens, theatres massage and spa services, internet cafes and gaming shops have all been prohibited. Wholesale and retail shops, supermarkets, mini marts and fresh markets have been permitted to remain open. Beauty salons and barbershops outside of red zones have been allowed to remain open providing the service providers are fully vaccinated. Restaurants and cafes have been allowed to remain open in areas without a COVID-19 outbreak. Factories may continue to operate so long as their employees are fully vaccinated and do not live in a red zone.

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 further notice.

.

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

Travel out of the Vientiane Capital district is prohibited until until further notice. Travel into the Vientiane Capital district is permitted only for returning residents, individuals who work in the capital, and those who have obtained special permission from the COVID-19 Task Force. A curfew remains in place between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM in the Vientiane Capital district and any province with community spread. Entry into local neighborhoods that have reported cases of community transmission remains prohibited. Inter-provincial transportation via land, water, or air between provinces where community transmission has not been reported is permitted. Mask wearing is required. Temperature checks are in operation in some locations.

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. All border crossings remain closed to the general public. The issuance of new visas to foreigners continues to be suspended; diplomats, staff of international organizations, experts, and foreign investors wishing to work in Laos can apply to the COVID-19 Task Force for permission to enter and reside within Laos. All individuals entering Laos must provide a negative COVID-19 test from no more than 72 hours before departure and undergo a health screening procedure upon entry. All arrivals testing negative for COVID-19 will be required to undergo a 14 day quarantine. 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:

N/A

Gatherings of People:

Meetings, training courses, and other activities including ritual and traditional events involving more than 20 people are prohibited. In essential cases, permission must be given by the COVID-19 Task Force before the event can be organized. Any kind of party or gathering in any location is also prohibited.

Procedures for Exemptions:

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

Known Exceptions:

N/A

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:

N/A

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
Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
25,420,679
Partially Vaccinated
25,846,528
R-naught
0.97

National Responses

Current Status:

Unloading activities at premises, factories and port are permitted in states under Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

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 relaxed some regulatory requirements for tourism operators licensed under the Tourism Industry Act 1992 (Act 482) until December 31, 2021. The relaxed regulations include allowing the rental of business premises as a co-shared office, permission to carry on other businesses in the tour operators’ premises, and issuance of tour operator licenses without inspection. As of November 15, there are no states under Phases 1 and 2 of the NRP, while states under Phase 3 include Kelantan and Sarawak. Lastly, states under Phase 4 include Perlis, Perak, Pulau Pinang, Kedah, Pahang, Terengganu, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Sabah and Labuan.

Additional Information:

N/A

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

Cross state travel is allowed for fully vaccinated individuals, upon showing proof of vaccination. Malaysian citizens can also travel out of the country. Citizens and foreign travelers who have residence in Malaysia must still quarantine upon arrival and will be issued a Home Surveillance and Observation Order (HSO), subject to evaluation risks (such as presentation of negative COVID-19 test 3 days prior to departure; certificate showing full vaccination; no symptoms during health screening at the National International Gateway; and suitable place of residence to quarantine). Fully vaccinated travelers can quarantine at home for 7 days and given Digital Home Surveillance Orders. Unvaccinated travelers should quarantine at designated centers for 10 days. All travelers are also required to undergo RT-PCR testing upon arrival at the airport. Malaysia will also start reopening its borders to international travelers on January 1, at the latest.

Restricted Locations:

Other than the SOPs, no reported restrictions at this time.

Gatherings of People:

For states under Phase 3 of the NRP, face-to-face meetings for fully vaccinated individuals are allowed, but only up to 50% capacity of the meeting room space. Sports and recreational activities or exercises with or without physical contact performed in groups in a controlled manner is subject to 50% capacity, but in no case exceeding 250 people. Attendance to sports and recreation venues is allowed for fully vaccinated people 18 years old and above, subject to 30% capacity or 10,000 people, whichever is lower. Lastly, the capacity of employees’ attendance for each business, including manufacturing establishments, is allowed at 100% capacity, if 80% to 100% of their employees are vaccinated; or at 80% capacity, if less than 80% of its employees are vaccinated. For states under Phase 4 of the NRP, 100% attendance capacity is allowed for both the private and public sectors. For the manufacturing, construction, mining and quarrying sectors, they are allowed to operate at 100% capacity, if 80% to 100% of their employees are fully vaccinated, while it will only be allowed to operate at 80% capacity if less than 80% of its employees are vaccinated. Sports and recreational activities performed in groups is subject to the capacity of the area, but in no case exceeding 1,000 people, while spectators in sports venues are allowed up to 50% capacity or 20,000, whichever is lower. Common rules for states under Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the NRP include: (i) cruise ships can also start operating at 50% capacity, provided that all crew and passengers are fully vaccinated; and (ii) business operations of spas, wellness centres, and health massages are allowed to visitors and operators who are fully vaccinated, but walk-ins are not allowed.

Procedures for Exemptions:

Please contact the US-ABC Malaysia team.

Known Exceptions:

Cross-sate movement is allowed for fully-vaccinated individuals. Individuals are allowed to bring children under 18 and under by adhering to general health protocols. For states under Phase 3 of the NRP, individuals who have not received a complete vaccine are only allowed to have 3 household members to go out to obtain supplies for food, medicines and other basic necessities. The number of passengers in taxis and e-hailing will depend on vehicle capacity. The allowable capacity of vehicles carrying goods is based on the vehicle registration license. Public transports are allowed to operate at full capacity. For states under Phase 4 of the NRP, individual movement, freight and public transport of all type of vehicles are allowed based on the total vehicle capacity and registration license vehicles.

Security/Safety Issues:

Workers must present an employee pass or employer confirmation letter to move across the state.

Additional Information:

N/A

Current efforts:

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia has unveiled seven stimulus packages, such as the PRIHATIN Economic Stimulus Package, PRIHATIN SME Economic Stimulus Package, PERMAI, PEMERKASA, PEMERKASA Plus and PEMULIH. The latest economic stimulus, PEMULIH, was announced on June 28, following the extension of the lockdown in the country. To date, Malaysia has extended approximately $91 billion in economic stimulus package.

Fiscal spending:

PEMULIH stimulus package (RM150 billion (US$36 billion) includes: 1. RM10 billion direct fiscal injection to be disbursed in cash aids, unemployment assistance and wage subsidies to citizens until the end of the year; 2. RM30 billion for distribution to holders of state pension fund Employees Provident Fund; 3. RM1.1 billion loan facility for micro-enterprises; and 4. RM2 billion in financial support for MSMEs. Malaysia’s 2021 budget includes: 1. RM150 million in grants for supporting SME digitization and automatization; 2. RM2 billion in targeted aid and help with recovery under Bank Negara for SMEs; 3. RM510 million to finance Bumiputera SMEs and micro SMEs through TEKUN Nasional and PUNB (Perbadanan Ushawan Nasional Berhad); 4. RM50 million for the retraining programs for 8,000 airline staff; 5. RM50 million for the maintenance and restoration of tourism facilities; and 6. RM35 million for the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council.

Price Ceilings:

Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance has set price ceilings for petrolem products on various dates in 2021. It has also set ceiling prices for COVID-19 self-test kits.

Tax measures:

Tax measures include:

1. A special income tax deduction is granted to landlords that provided reduced rent of at least 30% to SMEs and non-SME tenants until December 31;

2. Exemption from stamp duty for home buyers until December 31;

3. Sales tax exemption for motor vehicles extended until December 31;

4. Special tax relief of up to RM2,500 on the purchase of mobile phones, computers and tablets is effective until the end of 2021;

5. Tax exemption of RM1,000 for any medical treatments with vaccination involved, RM500 for health screenings, RM5,000 for treatments of serious diseases, and RM5,000 – RM8,000 for the medical treatment and care of parents;

6. Income tax refunds of up to RM20,000 for three years for businesses set up between July 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021;

7. Exemption from tax for 10 years for foreign businesses with an investment between RM300 million and RM500 million invested within the three year period;

8. 100% investment tax allowance for 5 years for companies that currently operate in Malaysia that relocate their overseas facilities in the country;

9. Service tax exemption for hotels and other accommodation operators until December 31; and

10. Personal income tax relief of up to RM1,000 for domestic tourism expenses until December 31, 2021.

Financial measures:

On June 28, the Malaysian government announced a loan repayment relief to qualified individuals and SMEs for six months starting July 2021. Under this program, qualified borrowers may either choose to defer payment for six months, or to pay only half of their monthly loan repayment for six months. Unlike the loan relief program implemented in 2020, applicants do not need to prove lost or reduction of income in to order to avail of the benefits of the loan relief program. Despite the surge in Covid cases in recent months, Malaysia is expected to maintain its key interest rate.

Trade measures:

N/A

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

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Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
11,615,096
Partially Vaccinated
16,485,315
R-naught
0.83

National Responses

Current Status:

No restrictions on goods and services.

Known Closures:

Entry of people from foreign countries have been temporarily banned, with known exceptions. (See below)

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 anytime without notice. The current COVID-19 positivity rate in Myanmar is around 4 percent as of mid-November.

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on November 1 that it will extend the temporary entry restrictions for tourists from all over the world to Myanmar until November 30.

1) Precautionary restriction measures:

  • Temporary suspension of issuance of visa-on-arrival and e-Visa.
  • Temporary suspension of all international flights operating to Myanmar. The statement, however said, in case of urgent official missions or compelling reasons, foreign nationals including diplomats and United Nations officials, who wish to travel to Myanmar by available relief or special flights, may contact the nearest Myanmar mission for possible exception with regard to certain visa restrictions.

2) 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 designated government facility for 7 days. Travelers are also required to present a proof of negative COVID-19 test issues within 72 hours before boarding.

3) As of June 1, 2021, Burmese authorities require that all airlines provide final manifests for international flights to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs no later than five days in advance. All international air travelers, including U.S. citizens, must book their tickets at least six days before the flight.

4) In terms of repatriation flights back to Myanmar, Myanmar Airways International (MAI) and Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) continue to operate flights to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Seoul.

5) Domestic flight passengers have to show COVID-19 clearance certificate conducted within 36 hours before their flight. When buying air tickets, there is no need to show COVID-19 clearance certificate but passengers will need to show the certificate when boarding a plane.

Restricted Locations:

A nationwide curfew from 8:00 P.M. until 4:00 A.M. that supersedes previous COVID-19 policies. Recently, the curfew in Yangon was shortened to 10:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M.                                                                                                

Gatherings of People:

The military regime has instituted a ban on gatherings of five or more people.

Procedures for Exemptions:

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

Known Exceptions:

1) Authorities announced stay-at-home orders for most townships in Yangon Region, on July 12, and some of them were lifted on September 12, 2021. Over 17 additional townships in 7 regions have been excluded from stay-at-home orders on November 12, 2021.

2) Advanced approval from your ward administrator is required for any reason not mentioned above. Authorities have set up checkpoints in Yangon and possibly elsewhere to verify travelers are on the road for one of these reasons.

Security/Safety Issues:

N/A

Additional Information:

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. Starting August 2021, the COVID-19 vaccination processes are slowly carried out by military government and through some private programs. On November 6, the MOHS received 4 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine purchased from China. The current COVID-19 positivity rate in Myanmar is around 4 percent as of mid-November. On October 4, more than 11 million people out of 55 million people have been vaccinated in Myanmar. 4.57 million people had received both doses of the vaccine, and 6.64 million had received one dose. The regime-led MOHS has started vaccinating middle and high school students on October 12. With decreasing Covid-19 cases across Myanmar, public schools, private schools and monastic education schools in all the townships except 46 in nine regions and states close to border areas were reopened on November. Myanmar’s junta-led Ministry of Hotels and Tourism announced that it is finalizing procedures for reopening of tourism sector for foreigns in early 2022. This will firstly target visitors from Southeast Asia.

Current Efforts:

Due to the combined impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the military coup, Myanmar’s economy is projected to contract by 18 percent during 2021 fiscal year, according to the World Bank. While the World Bank’s forecast in December stated that the economy would start recovering from the pandemic by March 2021, the new report states that the 18 percent contraction would lead the economy 30 percent smaller compared to the economy without the pandemic and the coup. The International Labor Organization also reported that 1.2 million jobs were lost in the second quarter following the coup and the World Bank estimated that by the beginning of 2022, a share of Myanmar’s population in poverty is likely to double, face 1 million job losses and experience a decline in wages. These losses are likely to heighten health and food security risks, hitting harder the poorest and the most vulnerable. On October 19, the junta’s Working Committee, led by U Aung Naing Oo, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations has been discussing the issues relating to loans under COVID-19 Recovery to Fund, including the support for fishery and livestock sector, by providing concessional loans, updates to launch Myanmar Economic Recovery Plan (MERP).

Fiscal Spending:

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:

The dollar rate has been strong against Myanmar kyat since the start of February 1 military coup reaching a record high of Kyats 1,760 on August 16. This is the first time the dollar rate against Myanmar Kyat has exceeded almost Kyats 1,800 within the six months after the coup compared to Kyats 1,328 per US dollar back on January 31st, 2021. On August 16, the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) was seen not publishing the exchange rates for the first time since the coup began. Myanmar’s banking system has been struggling – dealing with intermittent bank closures, cash shortage problems with limited amount of withdrawals for people as the banks are unable to provide cash. This has caused Myanmar Kyats to lose value due to lower customer confidence in the banking system pushing people to buy either dollar or gold instead of keeping money at the banks.

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.

Intelligence & Analysis

Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
37,334,887
Partially Vaccinated
40,517,967
R-naught
0.68

National Responses

Current Status:

The Philippine government is piloting a new framework which establishes a “granular lockdown” and alert level system. The new framework places the National Capital Region (NCR) under Alert Level 4 beginning September 16. For more information on the new framework, please visit the Philippine Presidential Communication Operations Office website and Guidelines on the Pilot Implementation of Alert Levels System. The Philippine government has mandated that everyone must wear full-coverage face shields together with face masks while in public places. Local governments continue to implement additional requirements to slow the virus’ spread. For information about public health protocols, please visit the Philippine Department of Health’s website.

Known Closures:

The rest of the country will remain under modified GCQ. 

Cross Border Issues:

On October 8, the IATF announced a further resolution regarding the testing and quarantine protocols for passengers arriving internationally. According to IATF Resolution 142, fully vaccinated passengers travelling to the Philippines from “Green” List and “Yellow” List countries/territories/jurisdictions need to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of the negative result of their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test taken on their fifth day in the country. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals, as well as those with unverified vaccination status are required to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of the negative result of their RT-PCR test taken on their seventh day in the country. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque further added that the national digital certificate of the foreign government which accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement or BOQ-issued ICV for non-OFWs and foreigners fully vaccinated abroad would likewise be accepted.

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:

The following shall NOT be allowed entry: All passengers coming from or who have been to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates within the 14 days preceding their arrival in the Philippines. Transit passengers arriving from these destinations who did not exit the airport may be allowed entry, as determined by BI upon arrival. Passengers with EEDs issued by the DFA before February 8, 2021; EEDs issued by the National Task Force for COVID-19.

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

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.

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 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.

 

Current Efforts:

On September 19 and 20, the United States delivered 2,582,190 additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines through COVAX. In addition to these vaccines, the Philippines Department of Finance has begun negotiating with multilateral financing institutions to procure additional COVID-19 vaccine doses next year, as well as negotiating with multiple vaccine manufacturers for the supply of 90 million vaccine doses early next year.

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

Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
5,012,181
Partially Vaccinated
5,071,148
R-naught
0.75

National Responses

Current Status:

The city-state is open to flow of essential goods and services.

The Government of Singapore reduced the duration of the Stay-Home Notice (quarantine or “SHN”) at dedicated facilities from 14 days to 10 days or fewer for travelers arriving from most countries starting October 13, 2021. Singapore entered a “stabilization phase”of its reopening plan starting from September 27. Singapore will require vaccination, or regular testing in lieu, for selected sectors of the workforce. Unvaccinated persons will be required to undergo regular testing to pick up possible infections early so that they can be treated early. This “vaccinate or regular test” regime will be introduced in the following settings:

  • First for those working in the healthcare sector, eldercare sector and settings with children 12 years and below. This protects vulnerable segments of the population such as the elderly, children and sick.
  • Second, for individuals working in sectors that interact with customers in higher-risk mask-off settings, and at our borders or COVID-19 frontline work. These sectors include F&B establishments, gyms and fitness studios, and personal care services.
  • Finally, the Public Service will take the lead in introducing this requirement for public officers, including the uniformed services. Singapore will give some time for individuals to get vaccinated, thus the requirement will take effect from 1 October 2021.

Beyond that, any unvaccinated persons from the above sectors will have to be tested with an ART kit twice a week. For the small group that remains medically ineligible for vaccines, the Government will subsidise their tests

Known Closures:

Prohibited activities: cross-deployment

Migrant Workers: 

Starting on 3 December 2021, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will further ease restrictions for migrant workers residing in dormitories by expanding the community visit programme from 3,000 migrant workers per week to 3,000 vaccinated migrant workers per day to visit any location within the community, for up to eight hours per visit. The necessary safeguards such as additional pre-event ART, i.e., before they leave their dormitories, remain in place as an added precaution.

Cross Border Issues:

N/A

Known Exceptions:

Singapore will start off with selected MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), spectator sports and live performance events, where capacity limits and zoning requirements will be eased in a calibrated manner. The pilots kicked off today with the Milken Institute Asia Summit (15-16 November 2021), and will also apply to the Bloomberg New Economy Forum (16-19 November 2021), and Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific 2021 (22-24 November 2021). JJ Lin’s two-day charity live concert “After the Rain” (27-28 November 2021), and a ONE Championship martial arts event in the coming months will also be included.Sin

Additional Information:

As of Nov. 8, for coffeeshops, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has similarly been engaging the operators and will provide them with the option of putting in place a system to control access and check the status of their patrons, which will allow them to enjoy the concession for individuals from the same household to dine in groups of five. For dine-in of up to five individuals from the same household, we will expand the list of acceptable documents to check for proof of residence, from NRIC and SingPass, to the following approved Government digital apps: myICA and SGWorkPass. Otherwise, the prevailing group size of two will apply. Work from home will return to being the default for all employees who are able to work from home. During the stabilisation phase, the 10-day snap Work from Home regime will be suspended. For employees who need to return to the work place, employers are expected to continue to implement flexible working hours and to stagger start times.

Known travel restrictions on entry/exit:

Effective November 8, 2021, all non-immigrant, non-U.S. citizen air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States. U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) who are eligible to travel but are not fully vaccinated will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test one (1) day before their flight. U.S. citizens and LPRs who are fully vaccinated will need to present airlines with proof of vaccination and of a negative COVID-19 test three (3) days before their flight.The Government of Singapore has implemented a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) programme for travellers from Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, allowing fully vaccinated travellers to apply for quaruntine-free entry into Singapore. Travellers from South Korea will be elligable for the VTL starting from November 14 2021, 23:59. For travellers not entering Singapore via the VTL programme, there are four categories of travel resetrictions. Travellers entering Singapore from Category I countries need only take a PCR test on arrival and quaruntine until they recieve a negative result; travelers from Category II countries must take PCR tests less than 48 hours before arrival, on arrival, and after quarantining in Singapore for 7 days; travelers from Category III must undergo the same PCR testing regime as those from Category II countries, but quarantine for 10 days rather than 7, and take antigen tests on days 3 and 7 of their quarantine; and travelers from Category IV countries must undergo all the same testing as travelers from Category III countries, only they are not allowed to quarantine in accommodation of their choice if fully vaccinated. Only Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and travelers under the Death and Critical Illness Emergency Visits Lane are allowed entry from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. As of Nov 8, Singapore will continue reconnecting Singapore with the rest of the world in a safe way, by extending Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) to include India, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

As part of the regular review of the COVID-19 situation in countries/ regions, the government has updated the list of countries/ regions in the various categories. Details are in Annex B. These will be effective for arrivals from 18 November 2021, 2359 hours.

Travel (VTLs):

To-date, the government has launched VTLs with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States; and we will be launching VTLs with Malaysia, Finland, and Sweden from 29 November 2021. Travellers under the VTLs are not subject to Stay-Home Notice (SHN) on arrival. Instead, they will be required to produce a negative Pre-Departure Test taken within two days prior to departure and undergo an on-arrival PCR test. We intend to launch VTLs with India and Indonesia from 29 November 2021 and with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 6 December 2021. Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) applications for Short-Term Visitors and Long-Term Pass Holders will commence on 22 November 2021 for travellers from India and Indonesia; and 29 November for travellers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.

Restricted Locations:

Prohibited activities: barbeque pits and campsites (in parks, HDB estates, condominiums, and country clubs), cross-deployment. 

Gatherings of People:

In the stabilization phase, group gatherings with up to two people are permitted, with a maximum of one gathering per day. The following gatherings are permitted with restrictions: MICE events, spectator and participatory sports events, attractions, cruises, cinemas, F&B establishments, Home Based Businesses (HBBs), Hotels, In-person tuition and enrichment classes, massage establishments, hairdresser salons, shopping malls, showrooms, sports/exercise activities, classes provided by gyms/fitness studios, and tour groups, weddings, and funerals. Some events will allow no more than 500 vaccinated attendees and up to 50 unvaccinated attendees. From 19 August, some events will allow up to 1,000 attendees if all vaccinated; up to 50 attendees if unvaccinated. On 8 November, Singapore is also progressively rolling out more stringent implementation of Vaccination Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) in hawker centres and coffee shops, in consultation with the operators, to allow up to five fully vaccinated individuals from the same household to dine-in together after being checked-in via SafeEntry. Pilots imposing more stringent entry conditions, e.g.

Procedures for Exemptions:

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

Known Exceptions:

N/A

Security/Safety Issues:

N/A

Returning to the US:

If you are overseas and your passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021.

Additional Information:

On October 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Singapore due to COVID-19.

Current Efforts: 

Februrary 16, 2021: Singapore’s government issued a $8.3 billion COVID-19 Resilience Package to continue existing schemes to help businesses and workers (from providing subsidized wages to supporting specific industries) * The government is expected to draw $40.6 billion from its reserves for 2021 as it looks to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

Fiscal spending:

The Singapore government is expected to draw $40.6 billion from its reserve for this year as well as $18.1 billion over the next three years to assist businesses in their transition to a post-pandemic world. Singapore is expected to record a deficit of $8.3 billion in 2021. From this, $3.6 billion will be allocated for safe reopening measures, such as free vaccinations, contact tracing, and testing strategies.

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

Schemes extended from the government’s 2021 national budget (announced on Februrary 16, 2021): 1. temporary bridging loan program (TBLP) – eligible enterprises can borrow up to $2.27 million till September 30, 2021.

Financial measures:

The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) has been further extended for 6 months, from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, with the parameters listed on website. The interest rate for the temporary bridging loan program (TBLP) is capped at 5%, and until September 30, 2021, the government’s risk share of the loan is 70%.

1. The interest rate for the temporary bridging loan program (TBLP) is capped at 5%, and until September 30, 2021, the government’s risk share of the loan is 70%.

2. The enterprise financing scheme – project loan (EFS-PL) enables Singaporean companies to access financing throughout their various stages of growth. The maximum loan quantum for domestic projects is $22.7 million.

3. Extension of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) program – to provide wage support for employers to retain their employees during this period of economic uncertainty. Tier 1 sectors (tourism, aerospace, and aviation) will receive 10% for wages paid till September, 2021. Tier 2 sectors (arts and entertainment, marine and offshore, retail, and food services) will receive 10% till June, 2021.

Trade measures:

The enterprise financing scheme – trade loan (EFS-TL) – support a company’s trade financing needs with a maximum loan quantum of $7.5 million until September 30, 2021. The government’s risk-share of loans will be 70% till September 30, 2021.

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

Intelligence & Analysis

Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
41,732,668
Partially Vaccinated
48,525,815
R-naught
0.92

National Responses

Current Status:

Since September 1, Thailand has begun to ease lockdown measures as the country transitions to a new strategy focused on keeping the number of COVID-19 infections within the capacity of the country’s healthcare system. Meanwhile, the Emergency Decree has been extended until November 30, 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 classfications are Maximum Controlled areas (29 provinces), High Controlled areas (37 provinces), Controlled areas (11 provinces), High Surveillance areas (no provinces), and Surveillance areas (no provinces).

Known Closures:

Entertainment venues and nightlife services including pubs, bars, and massage parlors will be allowed to reopen as of December 1. Alcohol sales will also be allowed to resume as of the same date. Tutorial schools, cinemas, water parks and amusement parks, swimming pools, fitness centres, and gaming centres, as well as banquet and meeting activities continue to be prohibited from operating.

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. On November 1, Thailand began allowing fully vaccinated travellers from 63 countries, including the US, will be allowed to enter Thailand without undergoing quaruntine. 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:

On September 1, lockdown measures regarding retail spaces and restaurants were relaxed in 29 provinces. Businesses in open spaces such as hawker stalls and street vendors are permitted to operate at 75% capacity, and air-conditioned restaurants are allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Public parks, sports fields, sports complexes, and outdoor swimming pools are allowed to resume operation up until 8 PM. No spectators are allowed at sporting competitions and residents are strongly discouraged, though not banned, from traveling outside the zone.

Gatherings of People:

As of September 1 gatherings of 25 or fewer people in Maximum Controlled areas, of 50 or fewer people in High Controlled areas, and of 100 or fewer people in Controlled areas are permitted. 

Procedures for Exemptions:

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

Known Exceptions:

N/A

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 3 Travel Health Notice for Thailand due to COVID-19. Thailand has resumed domestic transportation options (including airport operations) at 75% capacity and with social distancing measures in place.

Fiscal Spending:

The most recent stimulus package, valued at US$ 1.3 billion, was issued July 16. The package provides financial assistance to businesses and residents located in Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, and Songkhla. US$ 902 million has been allocated for cash handouts, with the rest allocated to electricity and water subsidies. Financial aid will be given to employers and employees in the construction industry; Hotel and food services; Arts, entertainment and recreation; Auto retail and repair services; Cargo transport; Management and support activities; science and academic activities; News and information and communication; and other types of service businesses. A US$ 12.7 billion stimulus package, was 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 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%. The reduced VAT rate of 7% has been extended until September 30, 2023. The deadline for filing half-year personal income tax returns has been postponed to December 30, 2021. On January 26, 2021, the Royal Thai Government issued an update 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%. 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. Thailand will also increase its debt-to-GDP limit from 60% to 70%, a measure that will become effective once it has been notified in the Royal Gazette.

Trade Measures:

N/A

Intelligence & Analysis

Active Cases
0
Confirmed Cases
0
Total Deaths
0
Recoveries
0
Fully Vaccinated
53,224,169
Partially Vaccinated
72,632,858
R-naught
1.15

National Responses

Current Status:

September 23: Ba Ria-Vung Tau province authorities will relax social distancing measures and move to Directive 15. Wet markets will also be allowed to reopen to sell essential goods. September 21: Hanoi eased restrictions, allowing several non-essential businesses to resume (barbershops, cosmetic stores, traditional markets, shopping malls). Businesses may resume at 50% capacity. October 1: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City relaxed social distancing measures on September 21 and October 1 respectively. Residents Ho Chi Minh City must receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and obtain a QR code through the mandated health apps for movement within the city. October 5: Ho Chi Minh City has allowed buses, taxis, and contract cars (ride-hailing) under nine seats to resume operations with limited capacity. October 14: Hanoi allowed the resumption of on-site dining, taxis, and hotels, with pandemic prevention measures. Restaurants would be allowed on-site dining at half capacity except for businesses that sell alcohol. October 16: Authorities in Khanh Hoa and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces reopened public beaches and restaurants in Nha Trang and Vung Tau respectively with restrictions. Da Nang will resume most activities including dine-in services.

Vietnam’s Immigration Department announced automatic visa extensions until October 31, 2021, for foreigners that entered the country on visa waiver programs, e-visas, or tourist visas since March 1. The measure applies to those who entered Vietnam since March 1, allowing them to leave the country without any penalty or paperwork until October 31, 2021. (source: Vietnam Briefing)

Known Closures:

As of July 19 Hanoi has ordered all non-essential businesses to close, with only several being allowed to resume as of September 21.

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:

Vietnam is piloting a ‘vaccine passport program’ in which fully vaccinated personnel can travel to Vietnam once they have produced a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure, as well as completed the required quarantine upon arrival. 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. Domestic flights have resumed on October 1 under a four-phase plan.

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:

Vietnam has cut the centralized quarantine period for fully vaccinated foreign arrivals to 7 days from the previous 14. Arrivals must also produce a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before arrival and would then be required to self-monitor for another 7 days after the quarantine period. In addition, those infected with COVID-19 and have certificates that they have recovered from the virus within six months would also have their quarantine period reduced. The government is yet to provide further details and date for implementation. March 22, 2020: Vietnam has suspended the entry of all foreigners until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19. The measure will not apply to diplomats, officials, foreign investors, experts, and skilled workers.

Restricted Locations:

With the exception of the recent openings in HCMC and Hanoi on September 20, all non-essential businesses are closed. On June 1, Ba Ria-Vung Tau has closed all beaches and initiated a swimming ban.

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:

Vietnam has not allowed anyone to leave their homes/discouraged social gatherings since August 20. As of July 19, Hanoi has not allowed gatherings of more than five people since non-essential businesses have closed. 

Procedures for Exemption:

Please contact the US-ABC Vietnam team.

Known Exceptions:

As of September 16, people in HCMC are allowed to leave the house for essential services, not allowing more than groups of two to be together in public. 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 21 days in their home, hotel or premise.

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:

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:

The government issued Decree 52/2020/ND-CP for the extension of deadlines for tax payments for the 2021 tax year effective April 19, 2021. Businesses eligible include: publishing activities and music; crude oil and natural gas; manufacture of beverages, printing, copying, motorbike manufacturing, prefabricated material, chemical production; drainage and water treatment; radio and TV, computer programming and consulting; and mining activities.

Financial measures:

On July 7 the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 23/2021/QD-TTg for COVID-19 relief, including reduced contribution rate for labour accident and occupational disease insurance, suspending payments to the retirement and survivorship fund for six months, providing financial support for vocational training for employees, and providing loans with a 0% interest rae when used to pay job-cessation and recovery related salaries in specific sectors (transportation, travel, hospitality). On July 1, the government approved Resolution No. 68/NQ-CP which unveils several policies to support employers and their employees impacted by the pandemic. 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 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.

Trade measures:

On June 24, Circular No. 47/2021/TT-BTC was issued for stipulate the period of time to reduce some industrial property fees from 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2021.

Intelligence & Analysis

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