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Laos to drop COVID entry curbs for vaccinated arrivals

Laos to drop COVID entry curbs for vaccinated arrivals

LAOS: Laos will drop COVID-19 entry restrictions for fully vaccinated tourists from Monday (May 9) after the country reported falling coronavirus cases and deaths, senior officials said. It was also said that pubs and karaoke bars could reopen in the country.

COVID-19Coronavirustransporttourism
By Bangkok Post

Sunday 8 May 2022, 05:20PM


Visitors take photos at the Patuxai (Victory Gate) in Vientiane in 2019 before Laos closed the border due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Dusida Worrachaddejchai / Bangkok Post

Visitors take photos at the Patuxai (Victory Gate) in Vientiane in 2019 before Laos closed the border due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Dusida Worrachaddejchai / Bangkok Post

 The neighbouring country saw an 80% downturn in international traveller numbers in 2020 4.7 million foreign tourists visited the previous year, reports Bangkok Post.

From January travellers had been required to complete seven days of quarantine, present a negative COVID-19 test, and were limited to travelling within certain areas with officially sanctioned tour groups.

Deputy Minister and Deputy Head of the Prime Minister’s Office Thipphakone Chanthavongsa said on Saturday (May 7) that a task force’s recommendations that "measures for entering Laos PDR and relaxation for locals" had been approved.

"The Government sees it is time to develop the economy," she said.

The relaxed measures will see international checkpoints re-opened for Laotian citizens and foreigners, provided they are fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated visitors must produce a Rapid Antigen Test (ATK) issued within 48 hours of leaving their origin country. Tourists will also have to pay for their own medical treatment should they become COVID-19 positive.

BORDER CHECKPOINTS GETTING READY

Thai authorities are now preparing for border reopening with Laos. Nong Khai governor Monsit Paisalthanawat on Sunday (May 8) signed an order to allow all vehicles to enter from Laos at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge and Tha Sadej pier by the Mekong River in Muang district, starting on the date of publication of the order which is one day before Laos reopening.

Nong Khai sealed the frontier with the neighbouring country in March 2020 at the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand. The province has allowed people and only lorries loaded with goods to cross the border since May 1, when the Thai government eased most entry restrictions on visitors.

Internal - Phuket News TV

The first friendship bridge in Nong Khai is the main gateway linking the two countries. Boats at Tha Sadej pier shuttle only Thais and Lao nationals.

Nakhon Phanom will open only the third friendship bridge and a ferry pier, both linking Muang district in the province with Khammouane province in Laos. Other temporary crossings in Muang, Tha Uthen and That Phanom districts remain shut until authorities of the two countries agree to open the gates.

Nakhon Phanom immigration chief Pol Col Somkiat Somjai said the province had prepared for the reopening since May 1 and was waiting only for the Lao decision to lift travel restrictions.

In Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai, district chief Wiroon Sitthiwong said talks with Lao authorities in Huayxay province were needed to confirm the reopening of the border at the international bridge, according to Thairath Online.

The fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Chiang Khong connects to a road from northern Laos to southern China.

Other key Thai border outlets to Laos are in Mukdahan and Ubon Ratchathani provinces.

All entrants from Laos though land border checkpoints need to follow the new Thai entry measures.

 

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