Live: Coronavirus travel and business updates for Yunnan and Kunming

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Updated: Friday, April 3, 1:00PM local time

This article was getting quite long, so we have split it into two: this one with travel and business updates, the other one with official news and health information. We hope this is helpful in finding the information you need.

This article will be updated live — see date and time above — with verified news from trusted and official sources regarding the Coronavirus situation and how it impacts the lives of people living or travelling in Kunming and the rest of Yunnan. A lot of misinformation has been spread through WeChat groups and we hope that this article can provide a stable reference point.

We are working with a small team of news gatherers and verifiers, both foreign and Chinese. We are checking Chinese government information, national and international news sources, social media, academic resources and information from a couple of foreign embassies in China.

Below information is organized by topic which you can quickly access through the menu above. We will update the publishing date and time of this article as it is updated, so you will know how old the information in the article is.

If you have important news please email vera [at] gokunming [dot] com or contact us through the contact form. After verification it will be added to the article if relevant for Kunming and Yunnan residents.

Hotline phone numbers

Friday March 20 update: Foreigners might face more scrutiny from the authorities. Please be sure to carry your documents — passport, registration slip — with you at all times when out and about, wear a mask and comply with their instructions. Carrying your passport was already required by law, but it was rarely checked until now. Please report to us if you are stopped by the police or are refused entry anywhere: via the contact form or email vera [at] gokunming [dot] com. You can also call the phone numbers below if you have any questions.

Kunming has established hotlines in several languages for epidemic response. If there is any confusion about the application of the rules, try contacting them:

Mayor hotline:0871-12345
Kunming Municipal Health Commission:0871-63967196

Foreign language hotlines
English:13668707810 / 18988476143
Thai: 13658875900
Vietnamese:13013307806
Burmese:15911676868
Lao: 15198457760
Cambodian:15587219064

Embassy and Chinese government advice

On Saturday April 4 at 10:00AM a three-minute moment of national mourning will be observed across the country. Please respect this and join in keeping the silence in memory of the deceased.

We are following updates from the US, Dutch and Italian embassies.

Please register with the embassy of your own country for updates.

Most embassies now advise travellers to avoid travel to China, or if they are already here to leave China by their own means if they have no reason to be here (this is up to every individual to decide what that means), and to not travel to Hubei province.

Monday February 3 update: The USA is not accepting visitors from China — also for people who are only transiting in the USA.. USA citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family can still travel to the USA but might be asked to stay quarantined for two weeks upon arrival.

More countries are closing their borders to travelers from China, so please check with your airline, and the IATA link provided in the 'border info' section.

Transportation updates

Traveling within China or within Yunnan: We do not recommend travelling outside of your place of residence, as you may be subjected to two weeks of home quarantine when you return.

Monday March 2 update: Public transport in Kunming is mostly back to the usual schedule

Friday February 21 update: Kunming city buses, subway, and inter-city bus transport will be gradually restored to full service starting tomorrow.

Monday February 17 update: main rail and bus services across Yunnan have resumed, in order to facilitate the return of people who have spent the extended Spring Festival holidays with family and are returning to resume work.

Border countries info

Laos

The border crossing with Laos is still closed and Laos is not issuing visas to travelers coming from China.

Saturday February 8 update: Visas to visitors from China are no longer issued at the Laos border

Vietnam

Flying from Vietnam into Kunming airport is ok — the usual measures for arrivals from abroad, including a temperature check, questions to be answered and forms to be filled out about your travel history. However, crossing the land border and arriving at Hekou is a bit trickier. We have no official info as yet but have received several reports of people being asked to quarantine at a designated hotel. People who have residency in Kunming could eventually continue their train journey to Kunming, but we would discourage tourists to enter overland into China as it is likely they will be stuck in Hekou for 14 days, at their own expenses.

Monday February 3 update: Vietnam has suspended all flights to and from China. (proxy needed). We have no confirmation as yet on the land border. No visas are issued to people who have been to China in the last two weeks.

Thailand

Friday March 27 update: A Thai emergency decree bars all foreigners from entering the country until April 30

Wednesday March 11 update: Thailand cancels visa on arrival for 18 countries and imposes strict quarantine measures for visitors from affected countries. This article has a list of countries which have had their VOA canceled. Please check with your embassy before traveling. Visitors from China will be quarantined in a hotel near Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok. Furthermore a health certificate of no more than three days old is required before boarding a plane to Thailand

Tuesday March 10 update: The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand issues official measures for travelers coming from affected areas (including China) — you need to present a health certificate before flying and will be subject to two weeks home quarantine upon arrival in Thailand. Whether this is in fact enforced once you arrive in Thailand is not clear.

Saturday March 7 update: Thailand partly retracts news regarding compulsory quarantine measures. Please check the latest news before you consider traveling to Thailand. Visitors from the following countries will be subjected to quarantine measures: South Korea, China, Macao, Hong Kong, Italy and Iran.

Friday March 6 update: visitors coming from six countries will have to self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in Thailand. The list includes China. This a compulsory measure.

Saturday February 8 update: Please note that Thailand has as yet not formally restricted travel for visitors from China.

Returning to Kunming

Thursday March 26 update: China suspends all travel of foreigners coming to China per March 28. This includes all foreigners holding a valid visa or a residence permit.

Here is a handy document (proxy needed) with all the info that you will need to fill out when you arrive at the airport.

Wednesday March 18 update:

For travelers planning their return, please bring enough food and water as the processing time at the airport can be longer than usual.

The implementation of the new measures that were issued yesterday are still a bit unclear but from reports we have gathered from returnees who are coming from abroad we can deduct the following. Travelers who have arrived from abroad since March 4 may be asked to quarantine at a designated hotel. However, the implementation of this is down to community level, so may differ across the city. You may be asked to go to the hotel, and then be allowed to go home again, if you have already home quarantined for a while. Again, this is different for everyone, there is no set rule for this.

All travelers who are arriving as of yesterday will be brought to a designated quarantine hotel (see update below). We will update as soon as we know more.

Please note that travelers who withhold or conceal travel history details may be held liable.

Tuesday March 17 update: all arrivals from foreign countries will have to quarantine at a designated location. This goes for foreign as well as Chinese travelers. Quarantine costs will have to be paid by the traveler.

Monday March 16 update: We have received conflicting information from the provicinal government and from Kunming Airport, about which arrivals will be required to quarantine at a designated location. Furthermore, the recent travel history or health check results of other the people on the plane may affect the quarantine measures for everyone on board.

According to the provincial government, people arriving in Kunming from the following countries will be required to quarantine at a designated location and at their own expenses: France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea and the USA.

More countries that may be required to quarantine at a hotel according to Kunming Airport: Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. These lists may be subjected to last-minute changes and will be updated as soon as we receive further information.

Saturday March 14 update: an official notice on measures for people returning from affected areas. Travelers coming from these areas will be quarantined at a designated location at their own expense.

This doesn't include a list of which countries are considered 'affected areas', and furthermore this list may change every day. For now Iran, Italy, Japan and Korea are on an official list but visitors coming from Laos, France and the USA are also quarantined at designated locations.

There is no clear info on the exact cost of the quarantine at a designated location but we have heard reports of prices varying between 150 RMB and 300 RMB per night, with 3000 RMB having to be paid upfront, plus an additional 1200 RMB for Covid-19 testing. We will try and update this as soon as we know more.

Wednesday March 11 update: Everyone traveling to Beijing from abroad — whether it's from an affected area or not — will be requested to subject to observation or may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.As yet this is not the official rule for Yunnan and Kunming, but we have received multiple reports of people coming from areas that are as yet not suffering a major outbreak who have been asked to self-quarantine.

Monday March 9 update: Some returnees — from countries other than Japan, Korea, Iran and Italy — may be asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. There is no official list of countries that currently require home quarantine, but we have received reports from travelers coming from France, Thailand and the USA who have been contacted by the authorities and requested to stay at home for two weeks. As soon as we have official information on this we will share a link.

Saturday March 7 update: People returning from abroad will not have to use the below qr code, as it can not register non-Chinese places of origin. Instead, you are required to fill out paper forms and you might have to answer some questions. This might cause a delay in leaving the airport upon arrival. This has been reported by several returnees and is also the procedure in other airports across China.

Wednesday March 4 update: China has issued new guidelines for travellers who have visited Covid-19 affected countries over the last 14 days — so far the countries mentioned include Japan, Korea, Iran and Italy. Travellers — including those who are asymptomatic — who are returning from these countries will be quarantined in a designated location for 14 days.

People who have been away during the extended Spring Festival holidays are obliged to register with the following WeChat program by scanning this QR code:

Airport and flights

Friday March 27 update: All Chinese and international airlines operating in China have to limit there flights to one route per country and one flight per week

Here is a handy overview of restrictions imposed by countries around the world with regards to travelers from mainland China, by IATA — the International Air Transport Association.

Monday March 9 update: Some airlines have suspended flights to and from China, so please check carefully before you book and again before you fly. There is no current list of airlines that have suspended flights.

Saturday February 22 update: As of today, the subway will be gradually brought back to regular service. This also means that you can now go to and from the airport by subway.

Kunming Airport is open and functioning as usual apart from extra temperature checks. The official advice is to come early and allow time for the extra checks. You can follow the Yunnan Airport Group (YAG) WeChat account for updates — kunmingairport is their WeChat ID.

You can get taxis to and from the airport and there is a limited bus service. The subway line to the airport has been suspended.

Monday February 3 update: These airlines have limited or suspended their flights to and from China. Check with the airline you have booked with or are planning to fly with.

Monday February 3 update: Thai Airways have suspended most flights between Thailand and China until the end of February.. Other airlines — AirAsia for instance — are still offering flights to Thailand.

Official WeChat account of Kunming Airport: kunmingairport

Train

Announced by Kunming Railway: From January 31, some inter-provincial passenger trains from Kunming to Zhengzhou, Nanning, Beihai, Nanjing, Xiamen, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanchang and other regions have taken temporary suspension measures .

On some routes within Yunnan province there will be limited service: trains from Kunming to Dali, Puzhehei, Mengzi, Hekou (Vietnam border), Qujing, Xuanwei and Luoping.

Check before you travel if your train is operating as planned. Allow for extra time at the train station because of extra checks.

Official WeChat account for China Railway: chineserailways. Kunming Railway: kmtl2013

Bus

Some Kunming municipal buslines will be suspended per Thursday, 30 January. Buses running to and from Changshui Airport, Kunming Train Station and Kunming South Railway Station will remain in operation, running every 30 minutes from 6:00AM to 10:00PM.

Long-distance and interprovincial bus routes have been suspended until further notice.

Official WeChat account of Kunming Bus: kmbus_weixin

Subway

Saturday February 22 update: As of today, the subway will be gradually brought back to regular service. This also means that you can now go to and from the airport by subway.

Subway lines 3 and 6 will stop operating as per Thursday, 30 January. Lines 1 and 2 will stay open, with only seven stations in operation: South Kunming railway station, Chunrong Street station, South Bus Station, Erji Lu Station, South Ring Road station, Beichen Station and North Bus Station. The rest of the stations are closed. Operation time is from 06:30AM to 10:30PM, at 30 minute intervals.

Facemasks are now required for entry into the Kunming Metro system

Official WeChat account of Kunming subway: gh_2b8d94a97c82

Roads

Thursday February 13 update: All highway exit closures within Kunming's jurisdiction have been lifted and traffic is resuming as normal..

Many exits to towns and villages further afield in Yunnan are still closed.

Here you find up to date official info from Yunnan province on highway blocks.

Didi

Sunday February 2 update: the hailing of city taxis through Didi has been suspended. All other types of Didi are still available (Express, Select etc).

Didi operates within Kunming's five urban districts. It is not possible to take a Didi from within Kunming outside the Kunming city limits.

The Didi service hotline advises to reserve a Didi ahead of time if you want to go to the airport, as availability might be limited. Anecdotal reports — up until the afternoon of February 1 — tell us that there is no problem in getting a Didi to the airport.

A mask is now required for Didi drivers as well as passengers.

Closed businesses and institutions

The national Spring Festival holiday dates have been extended (Source: The official Weibo account of Yunnan Province).

Government services, utilities, necessities such as supermarkets, food production and delivery services have resumed on Monday, February 3

Visa and residence permit administration

Friday April 3 update: here is a useful link with information about what exemptions could possibly apply to the ban on foreigners entering the country.

Wednesday April 1 update: There is still some confusion around the automatic and free 60 day extension on their current visa. We have received reports of employers or schools giving false information to employees or students and in one case even trying to charge money for this FREE extension. At the end of your current visa you receive an automatic and free extension of 60 days. This is a blanket government policy, and not up to schools or employers to make any decisions on or charge money for. If you are in doubt whether you will get this automatic extension, please call the Entry and Exit Bureau hotline: 63197353. If you feel your employer or school is not being truthful about the free and automatic extension please report to us: vera [at] gokunming [dot] come. Even after the 60 day extension expires you are not required to leave the country, see next paragraph. In all cases the Entry and Exit Bureau will discuss options on an individual basis so please call them if you are not sure what will happen with your visa.

Tuesday March 31 update: Over the last few days a notice has circulated about foreigners having to leave China at the end of the 60 day 'grace period' that gets automatically added after the current visa expires, and not admitted back into China. This notice has caused worry among the foreign community and was quickly taken down. One PSB officer in Shenzhen has written a clarification in order to stem the confusion somewhat. Today we called the Kunming Entry and Exit Bureau. The take-away from this is that everyone who is near the end of their current visa or near the end of the 60 day automatic extension should contact the Entry and Exit Bureau — see hotline phone number below — as cases will be discussed on individual basis.

Monday March 2 update: The Entry and Exit Bureau has reopened, as well as all PSB's.

Important notice: People who are at the end of their visa stay or residence permit validity but who can not leave China because of virus restrictions will automatically get a two-month extension on their residence permit, to allow for extra time to leave the country and go back to their home country or next destination without overstaying their current (and last) residence permit or visa. Please note that this does NOT apply to people who intend to renew their residence permit — they can apply for the extension as per the usual procedure at the Entry and Exit Bureau. If you are not sure, please contact the Entry and Exit Bureau at tel. 63197353.

Thursday February 20 update: The Entry and Exit Bureau service has not resumed.

This is the 24 hour emergency hotline for the Kunming Entry and Exit Bureau: 63197353 and email address: [email protected]

Anyone whose visa stay will expire soon should call this number to report their situation and begin the process of filing an extension.

Latest notice from the Entry and Exit Bureau: Foreigners in Kunming who cannot leave China or apply for extension of their visa/stay/residence due to quarantine or medical observation, permit and registration of the change of items of their residence permit in time should report to the Exit and Entry Administration Bureau through telephone or Wechat in advance and with permission, they can either make an appointment or reapply those formalities afterward.

Your company or school may be contacted by the local authorities and asked to give information about the number of foreign employees or students, whether they are in China or not, potential health issues, plans for returning if they are not in China, etc. Please cooperate if you get asked questions by your employer, your school or the local authorities.

Official WeChat account of Kunming Entry and Exit Bureau: kmgacrj

Schools

March 28 update: the scheduled start for elementary school and non-graduate middle school on March 30 has been postponed. The new start date is pending until notification from the education department..

March 11 update: Schools will gradually resume classes

On March 16, teachers and staff who meet the requirements of returning to school will to work to prepare for teaching and ensure that epidemic prevention and control measures are in place.

On March 23: Zhongsan (中三) junior high third grade and gaosan (高三 ) senior high third grade resume classes.

On March 30: Primary and remaining high school levels resume classes.

Institutions of higher learning and secondary vocational schools start school according to relevant requirements.

About one week after the opening of colleges and universities, kindergartens and special education schools will open.

The specific opening times will be communicated separately and in batches. All schools (including training schools) are not allowed to start school on their own before receiving the formal notice.

Tourist attractions

Parks have reopened, with measures in place to register and control the number of visitors.

Hotels

Friday March 27 update: the following hotels and guesthouses will gladly accept foreigners: Lost Garden Guesthouse, Sofitel Kunming, Cachet Boutique Kunming Artime. We will make a round of phonecalls and add to the list as we go.

Wednesday March 18 update: Travelers coming from abroad or having arrived in Kunming from abroad since March 4, will be taken to designated quarantine hotels.

One hotel has been designated to take guests coming from Hubei: Vienna Hotel (nearby the airport). All other hotels should accept (international) guests as per usual. Most hotels will do temperature checks. Please check with your hotel if they are operating as usual, as some may close or change their policy due to the circumstances.

Entertainment

Friday April 3 update: Live music performances have been suspended for the time being.

Saturday March 28 update: China Film Bureau has ordered all movie theatres to remain closed for now, and all that have reopened to close again.

Thursday March 19 update: As of today all 'social service enterprises' — apart from clubs, KTVs, spa's, beauty salons and swimming pools — may open. Bars, museums, libraries, cinemas, theaters, chess and card rooms can open again, considering they use preventative measures such as 1 meter distance between customers and operate at half capacity.

Please see this article for restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs and museums that are opening again.

Most bars, clubs and cafes in Kunming have closed although some are opening again, sometimes with limited hours. Most of them have closed on their own accord and/or because of Spring Festival. Some have been closed by official order. More info on closing times of Kunming businesses in this article, including updates in the comments below the article.

Shopping

Friday April 3 update: delivery can once again be delivered to your door, and no longer needs to be picked up from the gate of your community.

Supermarkets and shops — and services like water delivery — are open again after Spring Festival closure and generally restocked with fresh produce.

Meituan and other delivery services are operational and are coming into the communities again.

Jingdong Home Delivery (京东到家) can also be used to deliver groceries from Walmart and Carrefour, but the delivery time can be several hours.

Food delivery services have taken preventative measures to avoid spreading contamination

Outside Kunming

Dali and Xizhou

Tourist attractions and hotels are closed. Long distance buses are not going, and less municipal buses are running within Dali as of Friday, January 31. Non-residents are not allowed in from the highway — same goes for surrounding villages: there people entering will have to fill out a form about their previous whereabouts. Some trains have been suspended. Flights are departing and arriving without issue. Supermarkets and pharmacies are open. Foreign residents have been contacted and given a dedicated contact person at the police station and foreign affairs office who they can contact with any issues.

A list of hotline phone numbers for foreigners in Dali

Lijiang

Same as Dali and Xizhou.

Follow these official WeChat news accounts from Lijiang for updates: Ljrbqmt (丽江日报) or ljdb8885566 (丽江读本)

Xishuangbanna

Follow the official Xishuangbanna Radio and TV WeChat account for updates: XSBNRTV

Ruili / Dehong

Local residents who have been traveling have been asked to stay away from Ruili until February 9.. No news on the border, but it's closed to foreigners anyhow.

Shangri-la

Official Shangri-la WeChat:

Thank you

Thank you everyone in the international community in Kunming for sticking together in this difficult time. A special thanks to our Chinese friends who are helping to make Chinese news accessible and therefor being a true bridge between cultures.

In order to stem hearsay and fake news no comments will be open for this article.

If you have important news please email vera [at] gokunming [dot] com or contact us through the contact form. After verification it will be added to the article if relevant for Kunming and Yunnan residents.

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