The Novel Coronavirus now officially renamed COVID-19 as it was discovered in 2019, has been wreaking havoc on global travel since about mid January of this year. And as cases keep spreading and mortality and new instances counts keep rising, there’s no reason to assume that things will change in the short-term. So the new realities of travel across Asia have become a very strange process.
Currently China has enforced a no travel quarantine on about 60 million people, but it’s great cities like Beijing and Shanghai still remain near ghost towns as people tele-commute for work or simply can’t make it back to their jobs as they are stuck in their hometowns with travel restrictions.
The US, EU, Canada and many more countries have put varying travel restrictions on Chinese nationals or anyone who has been to China in the last 14 days, while most carriers have now suspended their flights to the mainland until about the end of March.
Across Asia from Japan to Thailand, Vietnam to Singapore, officials and travel organizations are prepping for a long, tough time.
Our teams crisscross the globe and recently flew in and out of Changi Airport in Singapore. To say it was strange is the understatement of the year.
Last year they had 68.3 million passenger movements but arriving and departing these days you’d never know. Changi seemed deserted.
Check in desks, customs and security areas and lounges were all very empty.
One the plus side this meant for even better service than usual and no line ups for food.
On board the Singapore Airlines flight it was also very empty. Still the excellent SQ crew kept the service levels up to their normal standards.
The new realities of travel across Asia mean that flying is not easy or as much fun as normal, but it is possible. There are many who travel for business who want to press on with their normal routines. With some planning, a good supply of facemarks and alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer, this is currently still possible to most places outside of China.