If then but not however

Travelling through the current state of disaster on April 5 may just be too risky.

That’s the main message I can gather from an advisor at the NZ High Commission in Malaysia, no less. His continued rapid email responses have been invaluable to me over the last few days. My frustration leaking through this post’s title is in now way a criticism of the advisor.

His emailed responses to my bolded questions are below.

Hi Duncan,
Thank you for your email.
My reply to your questions as below.
1) what is the worst that can happen in Malaysia? If that happens, what if any support is available?

As previously advised, the current “Movement Control Order” implemented by the Malaysian Government, which is effective from 18 March to 31 March, would not allow foreigners to enter Malaysia.
While you are allowed to transit, you can only do so if you arrive at and departing from the same airport and terminal. At this stage, we are not sure what will happen after 31 March but there are some indication that the Malaysian government might extend the “Movement Control Order” for another week or two, depending on the situation. If one of your flights (Kuala Lumpur to Sydney OR Sydney to NZ) has been cancelled and the Malaysian government extends the Movement Control Order beyond 31 March, our advise is for you not to travel to Malaysia as you will not be allowed entry and you might be stuck at the airport with very limited facilities. The consular assistance that can be provided by us at the New Zealand High Commission Kuala Lumpur can be very limited given the restrictions.

2) what is your advice regarding the issue above with transit in Australia? Should I be applying NOW for a transit Visa? ( I have tried contacting airlines, but their advised response times is more than 2 weeks )

We are not able to advise on matters for the Australian authorities. We would advise you to continue to check with the airline. You might also want to try to contact the Australian Embassy in Viet Nam to see if you are able to obtain any information.

3) Do you have any general advice? ( e.g. ‘do NOT board the plane to Malaysia ‘ )? I have taken the advice re registering with safe travel. I am monitoring the airlines sites for travel cancellations.

​As advised above, if any of your flights is cancelled and if Malaysia is extending the “Movement Control Order” then my advice is for you not to travel to Malaysia as you will be stuck at the airport with limited facilities. You may want to stay where you are and follow the advice in my previous email.

Alternatively, you might want to look at available flight options now and travel as soon as possible. It might be easier to work through a (licensed) travel agent as they will be able to advise you on the available flights and the restrictions of those countries that you have to transit through.

Whatever your decision or plan is, make sure that you prepare for the worst case scenario as the situation is too fluid at the moment and things can change very quickly. Please keep your family and friends informed regarding the plans that you have. Update your details on SafeTravel especially when you have travelled from one place to another so that we are able to contact you in the event of an emergency.

You can visit https://covid19.govt.nz/​ for official information and advice from NZ Government regarding COVID-19.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Best regards,

Zhong Yan Tan
Consular Adviser

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