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Hello Everyone:

The COVID-19 virus has taken us all on an intense ride these past few months. Some are still experiencing increasing cases and stay-at-home orders, while for others, the dark clouds brought on by the virus are starting to clear. In many of our program countries, the virus is well under control with the number of new cases at or near zero, and societies reopening, which is amazing news, and hard to imagine given how bad things looked barely one month ago. More good news is that demand for English teachers is still high across all of our program countries.

We wanted to give an update on what governments are doing currently in our program countries and our best estimates for when our program countries will open up to foreign travel. We expect that by July, borders will reopen and international travel will resume in most, if not all, of our program countries, but it will look different than it did pre-COVID-19. 

We expect that by July, borders will reopen and international travel will resume in most, if not all, of our program countries, but it will look different than it did pre-COVID-19. 

Please note that governments have been focusing on opening up their countries’ domestic environments and have not said much yet on how they plan to open up to international travelers. With this in mind, following our discussion of the current situation in each of our program countries, we briefly comment on some options that governments may adopt as they prepare to welcome back international travelers.

Thailand

  • Cases nearly zero and country slowly but methodically opening-up
  • Emergency decree until May 31, which covers curfew, limited internal movements, venue closures, and air travel
  • Domestic airline travel has resumed
  • No news yet on strategy or timeline for easing international travel restrictions
  • Likely to reopen to international travel by July
  • Schools opening July 1 for in-person classes

Myanmar

  • Cases nearly zero and country planning to return to normal business
  • Announcement planned for May 15 on school opening
  • Border still largely closed to international travelers with a quarantine in place. May 15 further announcement on international travel restrictions
  • Likely to reopen to international travel by July

Vietnam

  • Cases nearly zero and country back to normal with social distancing
  • Schools are back in operation in face-to-face learning
  • Domestic air travel has resumed
  • Currently closed to international travelers
  • No news yet on strategy or timeline for easing international travel restrictions
  • Likely to reopen to international travel by early July

South Korea

  • Praised around the world for handling of COVID-19
  • New cases are down to near zero but a recent spike in cases has the country a bit on edge centered around an ex-pat nightlife district in Seoul, but the government is aggressively conducting testing and contact tracing
  • Borders are open with mandatory two-week quarantine in place in either a private residence or government facility
  • We are currently placing people in Korea and participants can fly now to and start teaching

Costa Rica

  • New cases are down to single digits 
  • Borders are closed until at least June 15 (by recent announcement)
  • No news yet on strategy or timeline for easing international travel restrictions. Likely to reopen by July
  • Mounting pressure to reopen borders as the economy relies heavily on tourism
  • Government developing their own test for COVID-19 possibly to help reopen borders sooner

Japan

  • A nationwide state of emergency in place until May 31
  • Saw a delayed, spike in cases but now looks to be under control
  • The country is closed to foreign travel at the moment
  • Likely to reopen to international air travel by the end of July

Some Options for Reopening Travel

Countries will likely select from a number of different options or combinations of options as they open up to international travel. This may include rapid COVID-19 tests upon arrival, short or extended quarantines, and even the new concept of Travel Bubbles, whereby two or more countries with near-zero or zero cases open up travel among those countries without quarantine or testing requirements. 

We are preparing for all possible options and have the capacity to support participants from our offices in every program country, on-the-ground staff, and logistics resources to make the transition as smooth as possible.

If you have any questions about traveling abroad or our programs, please do not hesitate to contact us at jon@xploreasia.org

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