Laos to drop Covid-19 entry curbs for vaccinated tourists

Kuang Si Falls in Laos. The South-east Asian nation said it would drop Covid-19 entry restrictions for fully vaccinated tourists from May 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: FABIAN KOH

BANGKOK (AFP) - 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.

The small South-east Asian nation saw an 80 per cent downturn in international traveller numbers in 2020 - 4.7 million foreign tourists visited the previous year.

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 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 reopened for Laotian citizens and foreigners, provided they are fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated visitors must produce a rapid antigen test 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.

Laos officials added that pubs and karaoke bars could reopen.

The country has reported 663,533 coronavirus cases and 16,509 deaths.

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