By Bernie Rosenbloom
Laos has turned back the clock to 2019, and is fully opening its borders to tourists on 9 May 2022, with “relaxed measures”, the Prime Minister’s Office has announced.
According to the translated notice dated 7 May, Laos is opening all international borders to foreigners and Lao nationals.
Visas on arrival are being reinstated at “international borders as available”. Foreigners can also apply for visas at overseas Lao embassies and consulates and e-visas. Citizens of countries granted visa waivers can enter without visa requests.
“Person(s) with a complete [COVID-19] vaccination certificate can enter Lao PDR as usual without requiring COVID-19 testing both at the country of departure and upon entry to Lao PDR.”
Those without a complete vaccination certificate who are more than 12 years old must obtain a rapid (ATK) COVID-19 certificate within 48 hours of departure. Laos will not offer testing at airports or international borders via road or boat.
“Foreigners entering Lao PDR who contract COVID-19 shall be responsible for all treatment costs,” at hospitals or home isolation in line with Ministry of Health (MoH) instructions.
The notice states that the country will “allow use of vehicles to enter-exit Lao PDR as in the pre-COVID period,” with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport responsible for issuing instructions “regarding the use of personal, passenger, and tour vehicles” consistent with previous agreements.
Entertainment venues and karaoke bars can reopen with “strict implementation of COVID-19 preventive measures.”
The country’s COVID-19 Taskforce will collaborate with the MoH in monitoring new outbreaks of any new variant of the virus to “ensure prevention, control, testing, and treatment.” Meanwhile focus will remain on administering vaccines to meet the set targets.
According to the notice, the decision to fully reopen was based on policies implemented by countries around the world, public opinion, and research and a proposal by the COVID-19 Taskforce.