COVID-19 Coronavirus: Situation Changing Daily in Many Countries

With the spread of respiratory illness caused by the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) that is occurring globally, many countries are instituting severe travel restrictions and even country-wide lockdowns in an effort to contain the virus. The situation is changing by the hour. What does this mean for the cruising community?

Published 4 years ago

a floating pontoon stretching away from the viewer with many gangways coming down onto it and many boats stern-to the dock

On February 12, 2020. Noonsite began publishing a list of COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions being placed at ports of entry around the world. Just one month on, restrictions being implemented have escalated to the point where many countries are severely restricting travel and in some cases going into complete lockdown.

Bear in mind that these restrictions are announced on an hourly basis, with no warning and of course with no consideration for cruising boats on passage. Many boats have reported arriving at their next destination only to discover there are documents that need to be completed and e-mailed prior to being permitted to enter. Others arrive facing an obligatory 14 day quarantine period at anchor, not being able to go ashore after a long passage behind them. 

Compiling information from our worldwide contacts it would seem that the safest course of action for transient cruising boats is to stay where you are for the time being if you are able and follow the WHO guidelines. Don’t cast off until you know for sure you can safely arrive prepared at your next destination, entry will be permitted and safe havens en-route can offer the same.

Contact your local embassy, consulate or marina to determine your best course of action.

As much as we are able we are continuing to update the list of countries implementing restrictions, and the Noonsite country biosecurity information, but also recommend you follow cruiser Facebook groups for the region you are cruising to get real-time updates and use the links we provide to gather as much information as possible.

A brief example of the steps countries are taking include:

Panama: The current news is that boats arriving into Panama need to self quarantine at anchor for two weeks before being allowed into a marina. Canal transits for small boats are becoming more restricted. 

Galapagos: The Government of Ecuador has just closed all entries to the country, by land, sea, and the airports and are turning away any new arrivals.

Cook Islands:There is a temporary ban on all yacht arrivals from March 16 and at this stage through to 30 June 2020.

Spain: Spain has declared a “state of emergency”. Recreational sailing is now banned and it is not recommended to cross/enter any border. 

The Azores, Madeira and El Salvador, plus nearly all central America countries and many South Pacific islands, have closed their ports completely to all foreign yacht arrivals.

If the borders aren’t closed, remaining countries are imposing a 14-day self-quarantine on arrival and in a few cases just health screening. As the situation escalates even further more countries will follow suit.

The safest course of action for transient cruising boats is to stay where you are for the time being if you are able and research carefully your next country of call should you need to re-locate due to seasonal weather changes.

Please share your own experiences in relation to COVID-19 restrictions with the cruising community by e-mailing: [email protected] or by posting a comment at the bottom of this report.

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  1. March 20, 2020 at 2:54 PM
    marischwarz says:

    Hi folks,

    We arrived at USVIs yesterday, no issues to get in – despite the fact that they are asking for no more than 5 people in the Customs’ office – and asking where have we been in the last 14 days. Although they are not allowing people with Schengen area passports to clear in the island. We have Brazilian passports and were only at BVIs before.

  2. March 19, 2020 at 3:02 PM
    annemiek says:

    wanted to share that bonaire is closed until 7 april till now. This is for all pleasure vessels in Bonaire territorial waters not registered in Bonaire.

  3. March 18, 2020 at 1:31 PM
    profile photo
    kookaburra says:

    Updated BVI measures; #6 Cabinet endorsed that entry into the British Virgin Islands by sea or air be prohibited with effect from Thursday, 19th March, 2020 for all passengers, who are not nationals, Belongers, Work Permit Holders or persons ordinarily resident in the Territory, or their dependents. The travel restriction will not apply to flight crews, diplomats or freight, cargo or courier craft or vessels;

    Official statement

  4. March 18, 2020 at 1:01 PM
    karena says:

    Here’s a long explanation of THE MATH and why you should assume the CorVid19 is everywhere, so you should self quarentine on your boat:
    Cases are typically only discovered when someone gets sick enough to seek medical attention. This is important as it typically takes ~5 days to START showing ANY symptoms. Here’s the math: For every known case there are approximately 50 unknown cases. This is because if I become sick, I infect several people today, and they infect a few people each tomorrow (as do I), and the total count of infected people doubles every 3 days until I get so sick I get hospitalized or get tested and become a “known case”. But in the time it takes me to figure out I am sick 50 others downline from me now have the virus. So every third day the infection rate doubles until I get so sick that I realize I have the virus an am hospitalized or otherwise tested. Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital estimate that there are 50x more infections than known infections as reported (citation below). The implication of this is that the virus is already “everywhere” and spreading regardless if your city has zero, few or many reported cases. So instead of the 1573 reported known cases today there are likely 78,650 cases, at least, in the United States. Which will double to 157,300 by this Sunday. And this will double to 314,600 cases by this coming Wednesday. So in less than 1 week the number of total infected in the United States will quadruple. This is the nature of exponential math. It’s actually unfortunate that we are publishing the figures for known cases as it diverts attention away from more important numbers (like the range of estimated actual cases).

  5. March 17, 2020 at 6:11 PM
    marischwarz says:

    We got a 15 days extension for staying at BVIs today (the maximum time they are giving to cruisers). I asked if it would be possible to ask for another 15 days, but the officer explained they are still monitoring the amount of non residents in the island in order to decide it.

    I can’t tell about boats checking in.

  6. March 17, 2020 at 5:18 PM
    pdq36 says:

    Here is the official document on the “lock down” in Puerto Rico. It specifies ports are still open. However, marinas are supposed to be closed including Puerto del Rey, Ponce and Puerto Real Marina Pescaderia.

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