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UPDATE ON OUR DESTINATIONS 2021

Last Update: 9 April 2021

At Phoenix Voyages, we are continuing our crusade through this spatiotemporal rift to tell you about our remarkable stays to offer your clients in the near future. Here is our latest news on the current situation of our destinations.

 

The borders are still closed to non-nationals except holders of highly qualified work permits. Visa exemptions are suspended.

The Ministries of National Defense and Public Securities has strengthened border control by temporarily suspending inbound commercial flights. Only charter flights for special case of diplomats, technical experts, experts, investors and Vietnamese retuning home are still authorized to enter Vietnam.

Domestic flights and domestic tourism have resumed but interstate travel passengers must complete an online health declaration. 

On arrival (for national and non-national with special visas), a negative Covid-19 test is required and a health screening procedure is conducted at the airport. Travelers must stay in quarantine for 14 days in dedicated centers (at the expense of the traveler).

The Vietnamese government has issued measures to prevent Covid 19 from spreading. Foreigners and residents of Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, and Hanoi are required to wear masks in public and may be fined for failure to comply. The Directive also discouraged large gatherings, events, and festivals; and requested that high-risk venues, including supermarkets, transport stations, airports, schools, hospitals, and factories, etc., to be monitored more closely.

VACCINES:

The first batch of 811,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX device arrived in Hanoi on 01 April. It will be administered to people in 63 provinces and cities in April, according to the Ministry of Health. Vietnam is expected to receive 30 million doses from the COVAX facility through early 2022.

In addition, the Viet Nam Vaccine Joint Stock Company (VNVC) has announced that it will import 30 million doses from AstraZeneca Plc in the first half of 2021.

In terms of domestic vaccine research and development, scientists are expected to conduct the third and final phase of human trials of Nano Covax in May and complete it in the third quarter of this year.

Vietnam launched the national inoculation campaign on 08 March, and 49,743 frontline workers have been vaccinated against the virus to date. 

The Prime Minister approved the allocation of VND1.237 trillion ($53.6 million) from the state budget for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines as the country accelerates mass vaccination. The decision comes as the Southeast Asian country aims to obtain about 150 million doses of vaccine to cover 70 percent of its population by 2022.

He also ordered the health, tourism and diplomatic sectors to study and issue a "vaccine passport" mechanism soon to promote trade and investment, during his speech at the regular government meeting last 31 March.

 

The Royal Thai Government has approved the extension of the Emergency Decree nationwide until May 2021, as part of the strengthened measures nationwide to contain the local transmission. 

Following the continued decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, the Thai authorities have decided to gradually relax the restrictive measures that was decided in January to restrain the spread of the epidemic in the country.

However, the government still categorizes the localities into four different groups with varying strictness levels of protocols. 

Bangkok and its four neighbouring provinces of Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Nakhon Pathom, are likely to be declared COVID-19 Red zones, under which stricter measures will be imposed, such as all eateries closing at 12h00 and being banned from consumption or sale of alcohol.

Authorities categorize 14 provinces as high surveillance zones (yellow), the third-strictest category. Schools can open with health rules in place. Food establishments can operate through midnight. 

In all the other provinces, most public facilities, including educational institutions and non-essential businesses, can open without operating hour limits.   

Additionally, local authorities in several locations are enforcing strict controls on top of the governmental measures and require arrivals from high-risk areas to isolate themselves at their residence or a designated facility for 14 days. 

The flight ban is currently in effect but some commercial flights that are operated by specific airlines have resumed. Meanwhile, Thailand has eased some travel measures and foreigners can now transit at local airports since 01 March 2021.

Since 25 December 2020, Thai authorities are allowing travelers from 56 countries to enter the country without visas. Nationals from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Luxembourg are permitted to enter Thailand on a visa exemption scheme for a period of 45 days.Apassport with a validity of more than 6 months and a plane ticket to exit Thailand within 45 days of arrival are requested when applying for the mandatory “Certificate of Entry” (COE) at the Thai Embassy of their home country.  

Conditions to obtain the “Certificate of Entry” (COE) before departure:  

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The requirements to obtain a COE differ according to the countries, but the minimum requirement that one must present are:

Flight confirmation

✓ Health insurance policy which expressly covers treatment and medical expenses in relation to COVID-19, with a minimum coverage of 100,000 USD.

✓ Reservation at an accredited hospitals/hotel for the 14-day Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ), as well as transfers from/to the airport.

Additional documents depending on the countries:

  •       For French nationals:  

✓ A proof of accommodation (hotel reservation or letter of invitation from a property owner with proof of ownership and identification) for at least 7 days following the traveler’s ASQ.

✓ Financial justification (currency in euro) : bank statements for the last three months with a minimum balance of €2,000 per applicant (or €4,000 for a joint account) on each statement. A photocopy of the family record book is requested if the bank statement is not in the name of an applicant who is under 20 years old.

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  •       For Spanish nationals:

✓ Foreigners entering Thailand under the Tourist Visa category must provide proof of adequate funding for the duration of stay in Thailand at the port of entry.

✓ A copy of Accommodation Reservation (after quarantine) in a hotel for the entire duration of stay in Thailand with name, address, and contact details of the hotel/apartment.

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  •       For Swiss nationals:

✓ Foreigners entering Thailand under the Tourist Visa Exemption category must provide proof of adequate funding for the duration of stay in Thailand at the port of entry (i.e., traveler’s cheque or cash equivalent to 20,000 Baht per person and 40,000 Baht per family), proof of onward travel (confirmed air, train, bus or boat tickets) to leave Thailand within 30 days of the arrival date, otherwise a tourist visa must be obtained.

✓ A copy of Accommodation Reservation (after quarantine) in a hotel for at least half of the traveller’s stay in Thailand with name, address, and contact details of the hotel/apartment.

A Letter of Employment signed by the employer or work contract with salary receipt for the past 3 months or business registration for self-employed or student confirmation.

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All non-Thai nationals travelling to Thailand must have the following documents for boarding the plane:

✓ The Certificate of Entry (COE)

✓ Medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected, using RT-PCR testissued no more than 72 hours before departure.

✓ A non-covid medical certificate certified in English by a General Practitioner (depending on the result of the traveller’s RT-PCR test) within 72 hours prior to departure.

✓ A “Fit to Fly” Health Certificate in English only which has been certified or issued no more than 72 hours before departure.

✓ To download the ThailandPlus application (tracing app) and register the 6 digits COE code in the app.

✓ In addition, traveler must complete the T8 form (health questionnaire) and present it upon arrival in Thailand.

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Conditions on arrival: 

✓ Screening procedure by the authorities, a medical form to be filled-up with a travel history. If the screening shows a body temperature of above 37.5 degrees, a PCR test is performed directly at the airport.

✓ From 01 April 2021, the quarantine period will be reduced from 14 days to 7 days only for international arrivals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved and registered with the MoPH or approved by the WHO, no less than 14 days before the travelling date. Vaccinated international arrivals who are unable to present a valid vaccine certificate, an original paper or a print-out of an online vaccine certificate to the International Port Health Control at the port of arrival, will be subjected to no less than a 10-day quarantine. During the 7-day or 10-day quarantine at the accredited hospital/hotel, 2 additional screenings will be carried out.

REOPENING OF THE BORDERS:

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) has approved the TAT’s three-stage roadmap to reopen six major tourist provinces – Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Ko Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai – to vaccinated foreign tourists. This development follows the Royal Thai Government’s latest announcement: Thailand reduces quarantine for international arrivals from 01 April 2021,which includes the reduction of quarantine from 14 days to 7 days for vaccinated international arrivals involving the *11 groups of people currently permitted to enter Thailand.

The TAT’s reopening roadmap will take place in stages in the second, third and fourth quarters of this year, specifically for vaccinated foreign tourists arriving in the six specified provinces, which are Thailand’s major tourist destinations.

✓ Stage One (Q2), from April to June, vaccinated foreign tourists will be allowed to undergo quarantine in government-approved hotels or other facilities under a ‘0+7 nights + designated routes’ model. After completing the first 7 nights, they will be allowed to visit other destinations in Thailand.

✓ State Two (Q3), from July to September, Phuket will be the first destination to lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ programme. However, they will be restricted to travel activities within designated areas in Phuket for 7 days and will then be allowed to visit other Thai destinations.

Stage Three (Q4), from October to December, all five other major tourist destinations will join Phuket in lifting quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists. Same as Phuket, tourists will be restricted to travel activities within designated areas in these destinations for 7 days before they are allowed to visit other Thai destinations.

VACCINES:

Thailand's COVID-19 vaccination program officially started since 01 March 2021. Thailand has approved two vaccines: AstraZeneca and China's Sinovac Biotech. The initial AstraZeneca and Sinovac doses will go to health workers, older people and those medically at risk. In the coming months, another 2 million Sinovac doses will arrive for use in high-risk areas like Samut Sakhon (820,000 doses), Bangkok (800,000) and Tak (160,000), a province bordering Myanmar. A much smaller number of doses will go to eight other provinces.

In Thailand, it’s the all-important tourism sector that has jumped to the head of the COVID-19 vaccination line. Phuket is in a mass inoculation program two months ahead of the rest of the country.

The island of Phuket aims to deliver shots to at least 460,000 people - most of its population - as it gears up for July 1, when vaccinated overseas visitors will no longer be required to quarantine, to bring back tourism revenue in Phuket. 

This recent news about the gradual reopening of the borders in Thailand, despite not enough, is a good hope for the Tourism Industry.

 

Some international flights from South Korea, China and Singapore are allowed. Domestic flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are limited to 1 flight per week, but flights between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville are still operating.

Life in Siem Reap is normal: schools, parks, but for economic reasons, some tourist facilities are closed: hotels, bars, restaurants, spas. The Angkor site remains open. Since an outbreak of local transmissions in late February in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, gyms are closed and large meetings or gatherings, such as festivals or religious gatherings are prohibited until further notice.

VISAS:

Cambodian authorities have suspended visa exemptions and are no longer issuing visas on arrival or e-visas (electronic tourist visa).  Any foreigner wishing to come to Cambodia must first obtain an entry visa at the Cambodian Embassy in their country of residence. Since 12 December 2020, exemptions for business people and "sponsored" persons will no longer be allowed.

The arrival measures remain very strict for the moment.  On arrival, all foreigners must present:

✓ A health certificate recognized by their country of departure, as well as being tested negative of COVID-19, which is done within 72 hours before the departure flight.

✓ A health insurance of at least US$ 50,000 coverage for foreigners (except for diplomats).

✓ In addition, all foreigners arriving in Cambodia are required to deposit US$2,000 at the airport, in cash or by credit card, in order to pay for the cost of testing and possible medical expenses and other quarantine costs. The unused balance of this sum is refunded after the test is done on the fortnight, if it is negative (exempted are holders of A or B visa).

Compulsory procedure on arrival:

✓ Temperature control by thermal camera and medical consultation, if necessary.

✓ Collection of samples for a first Covid-19 test.

✓ Travelers are then taken by bus to designated hotels until test result is obtained (24 to 48 hours) at the expense of the traveler.

✓ If all tests are negative, passengers can proceed to a hotel chosen by the Cambodian authorities and must observe a strict self-quarantine there.  A second test must be done on the 13th day at the Khmer-Soviet Hospital, in order to waive the quarantine.

✓ On the other hand, if a passenger on the plane is tested positive, all the persons traveling with that passenger will stay at the designated hotel for quarantine at their expense. They can only go out of the quarantine area if the second test done on the 13thday turns out to be negative. 

All the costs are at the expense of the traveller.

To find out more about the conditions for entering Cambodia: Please Click Here  

VACCINES:

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said the Southeast Asian country has set a target of providing one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens per month. He said doctors will be sent by the central authorities to help distribute the vaccine in different parts of the country to speed up the vaccination campaign.

The Ministry of Health announced that they have started vaccinating the Cambodian population with the Sinovac vaccine from 01 April after 1.5 million doses purchased by the government arrived in Cambodia from China in late March. This is primarily for hospitals, key ministries and institutions, and primary and secondary schools in Phnom Penh.

The ministry said it aims to inoculate 745,000 people with their first dose of Sinovac vaccine. The priority groups for the campaign are frontline doctors and health workers, members of the National Assembly and Senate and their families, journalists, military and police officers, civil servants at all levels, teachers, staff of Electricity of Cambodia (EDC), national agencies, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the Secretariat of State for Civil Aviation, airport and airline staff, employees of the Royal Group and the Canadia Group, and all garment factory workers.

To date, Cambodia has received three types of vaccine: Sinopharm's initial batch of 600,000 doses, Oxford/AstraZeneca through the Covax initiative of 320,000 doses, and 1.5 million doses of Sinovac purchased from China.

 

Issuance of visas are suspended (except for certain categories of workers). Borders are still closed to non-nationals. 

The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a notice temporarily suspending all humanitarian and charter flights. Laos has extended its Covid-19 prevention measures and now requires travelers entering the country to purchase Covid insurance as well as wearing a health tracking device.

Meanwhile, life is back to normal in Laos, tourist sites have reopened, such as: night markets, shops and restaurants, karaoke bars.  Also, domestic flightshave resumed and interprovincial travel by bus or boat is permittedas well.

VACCINES:

Laos has been allocated 564,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine through the COVAX Facility’s Advance Market Commitment (AMC), whilst the Russian government provided a shipment of its “Sputnik V” Covid-19 vaccine. Laos will receive another 300,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine from China. 

The Lao Ministry of Health issued a statement on 31 March 2021, regarding the launch of Phase 1 of the Lao National Immunization Plan. The plan calls for the vaccination of Lao nationals as well as foreigners residing in the country and included in one of the following categories:

✓ Health personnel,

✓ People over 60 years of age,

✓ People with co-morbidities (respiratory and cardiac diseases, diabetes, obesity...),

✓ Essential workers (civil servants, police, military, employees of the public transport, energy, mining sectors...),

✓ Essential travelers (diplomats, expatriate workers, students abroad...).

A vaccination session took place on 02 and 03 April in Vientiane at the Mittaphab Hospital (Friendship Hospital). The vaccine used on this occasion was the AstraZeneca vaccine recently received through the COVAX facility (132,000 doses received to date in total; vaccination of one person requires two doses).

The Minister of Health, said the country hopes to vaccinate 70 percent of the population by 2023.

 

Borders (land and air) are closed to non-nationals. The ban on all international flights to Myanmar has been extended except for special flights (humanitarian and cargo flights).

Issuance of tourist visas is also suspended except for diplomatic or special visas.

The Burmese army seized power last 01 February 2021 following a coup d'état. Restrictive measures have been adopted and telecommunications and Internet networks were disrupted. A nationwide curfew from 20h00-04h00 is in effect due to the ongoing anti-coup protests. Officials have also closed airports nationwide and suspended all domestic flights through 31 May 2021.

Officials continue to cap gatherings at 30 people nationwide, except for public servants, government-related meetings, food establishments, and essential businesses. Authorities advise people to wear facemasks, practice personal hygiene, and maintain a physical distance of two meters (6.5 feet) in public places. 

Authorities have lifted “stay-at-home” rules in Rakhine State due to lower COVID-19 activity.  But they have extended the "stay-at-home" scheme for some townships in Rangoon region. Residents were requested to limit their travel as much as possible, except for trips to shop or for those seeking medical care. One person per household can go out for shopping. Other areas required the “stay-at-home” order include: 

✓ Ayeyarwady Region

✓ Bago Region

✓ Kachin State

✓ Mandalay Region

✓ Some Townships of Yangon Region.

Foreign nationals are advised not to go to these areas except on essential and humanitarian grounds. 

Authorities in some states and provinces require travelers coming from the other states or provinces (especially areas under a “stay-at-home” order) must do a PCR or antigen test upon departure or on arrival -  they also have to complete a one or two-week quarantine upon arrival.

VACCINES:

Myanmar has purchased 30 million doses of the Covishield / Astra Zeneca vaccine, with the State budget, from India. This is in addition to the 1.5 million doses of Covishield donated by the Indian government in January. Myanmar kicked off its vaccination program since February by inoculating Health workers, volunteers and elders.

 


South Korea is still facing a third wave of coronavirus outbreaks with more than 400 new cases reported per day.

The Level 2 restriction in the country's five-tier COVID-19 alert system is applied to Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi, Jungpyeong, Jeonju, Wanju, Busan, Jinju and Geojehas been extended. Level 1.5 restrictions will remain in effect in Sejong, Daejeon, Chungbuk, Chungnam, Gwangju, Jeonbuk, Jeonnam, Daegu, Gyeongbuk, Ulsan, Gyeongnam, Gangwon and Jeju. Restrictions include: 

✓ The ban on private gatherings of five or more and the restriction on restaurant operations after 22h00.

✓ Bars, nightclubs, indoor gyms, karaoke, academy will be forced to close at 22h00.

✓ People can stay in each café only for 1hr.

✓ Religious gatherings, weddings and funerals will be subject to attendance capacity of 100 people maximum (100 persons per partner each at weddings). Sports events are conducted with spectators but audience must not intake anything except water. And most stores, schools, and public buildings remain open.

International flights, as well as stopovers are authorized in Seoul. However, most flights from the UK remain banned through at least 22 April 2021 due to concerns over new variants of COVID-19. Flights from South Korea to the UK can continue to operate, though service disruptions are likely to happen. 

Visa exemptions are suspended for 90 countries, so it is mandatory to apply for a visa at the Korean Embassy of your home country prior to travelling.  The Korean government will authorize the visa depending on the risk of infection and the country's alert status.

All foreign nationals will be required to provide a “consent for quarantine” as well as a PCR negative confirmation issued within 72 hours of departure.

All passengers on the flight to Korea will undergo fever check at the departure airport. Boarding will be rejected for those who have fever with temperature of over 37.5'C.

All passengers entering Korea on short-term visits are tested on arrival at the airport and will be quarantined at designated facilities (at their own expense) and must download and use the government tracing app. Failure to comply with these measures could result, among other things, in the cancellation of visa or residence permit and the imposition of significant penalties.

Persons transiting through an airport in South Korea for no more than 24 hours are not required to be tested for Covid-19. However, they are subject to temperature control.

VACCINES:

South Korea will allow the use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for people aged 65 and older, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said, a move that will allow the country to ramp up its vaccination campaign. The country has been rolling out the vaccine since the last week of February, starting with the elderly and healthcare workers.

South Korea will begin vaccinating 376,000 patients and staff aged 65 and older in nursing homes and other facilities this month.

An additional seven million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be distributed beginning in the last week of May, and seven million doses of the Pfizer product in June.

South Korea will introduce a digital certification system this month to verify a person's COVID-19 vaccination status through a smartphone app, as part of the government's efforts to boost public participation in the public vaccination program, the Prime Minister said.

Since Feb. 26, when the country launched its vaccination program, more than 850,000 people have received COVID-19 vaccine injections. South Korea aims to vaccinate 12 million people by June, and aims to achieve herd immunity by November.

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As it is so dear to us, the Phoenix Voyages team is at your disposal to prepare for your clients' future trips in Asia.

The Phoenix Voyages Team