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UPDATE ON OUR DESTINATIONS 2021

Last Update: 8 October 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 still suspended.

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

Likewise, domestic flights and domestic tourism are still temporarily suspended.

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 in dedicated centers (at the expense of the traveler). The quarantine period is now 14 days, plus one more week of self-isolation at home. However, those entrants with proper certificates to show that they have been fully vaccinated with the last dose given between 14 days and 12 months before arrival, and have tested negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours before arrival, would only need to go under centralized quarantine for 7 days instead of the usual 14 days, plus one more week of self- isolation at home.

Overall for the last two weeks, COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Vietnam, with less than 7,000 new infections reported on average each day. Most of the cases are located in Ho Chi Minh City and its neighbouring province Binh Duong. The Health Ministry confirmed 4,360 local Covid-19 patients on the 5th of October 2021, including 1,491 in Ho Chi Minh City.

On the 30th of September 2021, Ho Chi Minh City’s Chairman signed Directive 18 providing guidance on COVID-19 measures and gradual economic recovery, applied from the 1st of October 2021. The full lockdown has been lifted and people who have received at least one vaccine shot (>14 days) or recovered from COVID-19 (<6 months) are now allowed to move around within the city. A number of economic activities are allowed to reopen, including supermarkets for in-person customers and public transport with a limited capacity. However, citizens are still forbidden to leave the city with some exceptions.

As of the 5th of September 2021, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 815,305 cases of community transmission across 62 provinces (out of 63) since the 27th of April 2021, the date of the 4th wave of the pandemic. However, 721,480 of the affected patients have recovered and been discharged from the hospitals. Total case count for the pandemic in Vietnam is now 818,324 with 19,979 deaths.

The schools remain closed in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City until further notice, and in various other cities around the country as well, in order to control the spread of the virus. All students have online classes around the country.

VACCINES:

On the 30th of September 2021, Australia shipped an additional 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam along with 600,000 medical masks and 40,000 medical gowns.

On the 2nd of October 2021, Vietnam received 1.5 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine donated by the U.S. through COVAX. Also, COVAX executive assures Vietnam will receive much more COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX Facility. 

So far, Vietnam has received 12.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX, including 5 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the U.S.  

As of the 4th of October 2021, Vietnam has administered 45,496,123 vaccines doses, with 10,873,929 people fully vaccinated (the 2nd lowest percentage of the population in Southeast Asia after Myanmar). However, so far around 50% of the adults (18 years old and above) have received at least 1 vaccine dose in the country.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has urged Ho Chi Minh City and the neighboring provinces of Long An, Đồng Nai and Bình Dương to speed up COVID-19 vaccination. Ho Chi Minh City aims to vaccinate every adult (from age 18 and above) by the end of 2021. This is done in several phases, from September to the end of the year.

The country aims to achieve herd immunity by next year through vaccinating 70% of its 96 million population.

 

There is a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases in Thailand. On the 4th of October 2021 there were only about 10,000 cases reported.

Following the decrease of the cases, Thailand further eased COVID-19 restrictions from the 1st of October 2021 and until further notice. Specifically for the 29 dark-red zone provinces, the night-time curfew has been reduced to six hours from 22.00-04.00 Hrs, with more types of business allowed to resume its operations.

Thailand’s colour-coding system for COVID-19 control remains in place for the following provinces:

29 “Maximum and Strict Controlled” Areas or dark-red zone provinces:

Central Region: Bangkok and 28 other provinces: Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri; Eastern Region: Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, and Rayong; Northern Region: Phetchabun and Tak; Northeastern Region: Nakhon Ratchasima, and Southern Region: Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala.

37 “Strict Controlled” Areas or red zone provinces:

Central Region: Chai Nat; Eastern Region: Chanthaburi, Sa Kaeo, and Trat; Northern Region: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, and Uttaradit; Northeastern Region: Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Loei, Maha Sarakham, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Yasothon, and Southern Region: Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Ranong, Satun, and Trang.

11 “Controlled” Areas or orange zone provinces:

Northern Region: Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao, and Phrae; Northeastern Region: Bueng Kan, Mukdahan, and Nakhon Phanom, and Southern Region: Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket, and Surat Thani.

Resumption of businesses and services in dark-red zone provinces:

The following services and venues are allowed to resume its operations.

✓ Opening hours for restaurants and eateries, including those inside shopping malls or similar venues, have been extended for one hour longer or until 21.00 Hrs. Seating for dine-in customers shall be limited at 50% for air-conditioned restaurants and at 75% for the open-air ones. Live music performance is allowed with no more than five performers. However, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages remains prohibited.

✓ Opening hours for convenience stores, fresh markets, and flea markets for food and consumer goods have also been extended for one hour longer or until 21.00 Hrs. All 24-hour shops must close nightly from 21.00-04.00 Hrs.

✓ Public libraries and museums of all types, book houses, art galleries, historical sites, ancient monuments, learning centres, science centres for education, science parks, science and cultural centres, and art galleries can open under strict public health measures and limit the number of visitors at 75% of normal capacity.

✓ Cinemas can open until 21.00 Hrs. Seating shall be limited at 50% under the distancing approach. During showtime, visitors must wear mask at all times, while consumption of food and drinks is not allowed.

✓ Opening hours for hair and beauty salons, as well as tattoo shops have also been extended to 21.00 Hrs. Tattoo shops’ customers must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.

✓ Health massage shops and health spa shops are allowed to resume its operations for all massage services, from previously foot massage only. The duration of service shall be limited to a two-hour session per customer. The opening hours have also been extended to 21.00 Hrs. However, body wrap, sauna, and herbal steam services are still not allowed.

✓ Public parks, sports fields, sports complexes, and outdoor swimming pools can extend the opening hours for one more hour until 21.00 Hrs. Meanwhile, air-conditioned fitness centres are allowed to resume its operations up until 21.00 Hrs., except for the sauna and steam section.

✓ The use of venues or sports fields for competitions must be approved by the Bangkok or Provincial Communicable Disease Control Committee and must be conducted under strict public health measures and limit the number of visitors at 25% of normal capacity. All visitors must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.

✓ Shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments can also extend normal its operations by one hour or until 21.00 Hrs., with limitations on some venues and services.

✓ Theatres and playhouses can open for music performances, cultural shows, folk dances, or similar performance up until 21.00 Hrs., and limit the number of audiences to 50% of the normal capacity.

✓ Educational institutions of all types, nurseries, and child development centres can reopen in accordance with the rules and regulations imposed by the respective authorities.

 What remains open?:

Hospitals, medical facilities, medical clinics, pharmacies, shops, factories, banking and financial services, ATMs, telecommunication services, postage and parcel services, pet food shops, building materials and construction supplies stores, shops selling miscellaneous necessary items, cooking gas stores, petrol stations, and online delivery services continue to open under strict disease control measures.

 Interprovincial Travel:

✓ Travel between dark-red zone provinces and other areas can resume although the government asks that unnecessary travel to be avoided.

✓ Public transport is allowed to operate at 75% of the seating capacity and must apply social distancing measures.

Gatherings of people:

Public and private organizations as well as people are still prohibited to organize any activities prone to the spread of disease, but the number of attendees has been increased for each zone.

Dark-red zone: No gatherings of more than 25 people (from previously 5 people).

Red zone: No gatherings of more than 50 people (from previously 20 people).

Orange zone: No gatherings of more than 100 people (from previously 50 people).

Curfew & Work from Home:

The night-time curfew in the 29 dark-red zone provinces has been reduce to six hours, or between 22.00-04.00 Hrs. Meanwhile, government agencies and private companies are asked to have their employees work from home as much as possible over the next two weeks.

Self-protective measures and distancing efforts:

As usual, people nationwide are asked to continue abiding by the health and safety measures in place; such as, wearing face mask at all times while outside of their residence, regularly washing hands with soap and water/cleaning alcohol, and avoiding unnecessary close contact with others. 

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to remind all travelers to continue with “D-M-H-T-T-A” precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, – Mask wearing, – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application.

Also, the State Railway of Thailand has extended the suspension of 121 train services until further notice.

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 still 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.

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 dayspassport 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.

✓ The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced that the quarantine time for fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in Thailand, including pilot reopening destinations through the Alternative Quarantine (AQ) system, will be reduced from 14 to 7 days, starting from the 1st of October, 2021.

✓ 7-day Quarantine:

For travellers who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) or the World Health Organisation (WHO) no less than 14 days before their travel date, they are required to present the vaccine certificate (either the original or a printed copy) at the point of entry into Thailand. During the quarantine, they are required to undergo two RT-PCR tests – first upon arrival on Day 0-1, and the second before finishing the quarantine period on Day 6-7.

✓ 10-day Quarantine:

Travelers who have not been vaccinated, without a vaccine certificate, or partially vaccinated, and who arrive in Thailand by air will be required to undergo a 10-day quarantine and two RT-PCR tests – first upon arrival on Day 0-1, and the second on Day 8-9. The 10-day quarantine will also be applied to those who arrived by air before 1 October, counting back until 18 September. For example, arrivals during 18-20 September could leave the AQ system on 1 October. Arrivals on 30 September, before 18.00 Hrs, can now leave on 10 October, and those who arrived after 18.00 Hrs. can leave on 11 October.

✓ 14-day Quarantine:

Travelers who have not been vaccinated, without a vaccine certificate, or partially vaccinated, and who arrive in Thailand by land will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine and two RT-PCR tests – first upon arrival on Day 0-1, and the second on Day 12-13.

REOPENING OF THE BORDERS:

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced 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.

The TAT’s reopening roadmap has started and will continue to take place in stages during the 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 Two (Q3), Phuket is the first destination to lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ program. This project has started last 01 July 2021. The Centre for Economic Situation Administration approved the plan submitted by TAT to open Phuket to international visitors who have been fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines and have tested negative upon arriving in the province. There is no quarantine required.

For more information, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Samui Plus Program

The ‘Samui Plus Plan’, similar to the “Phuket Sandbox”, is a new model to allow foreign travelers who are fully vaccinated to enter Thailand without quarantine. Koh Samui, together with Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao, serves as the specified route to travel.

Starting from the 1st of October, 2021, fully vaccinated visitors under the “Sandbox” program to Phuket, Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao), Phang-Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao), and Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai and Railay) are now required to stay within the destination for only 7 days, and afterwards will be able to continue their journey to other parts of Thailand.

VACCINES:

The spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the virus has exacerbated the situation, as Prime Minister seeks to buy vaccines to supplement the modest amounts it has on hand at the moment.

In fact, establishing herd immunity is a significant key to enhance the confidence of the locals and visitors as well as prepare to reopen the country.

Phuket expects to have the local people get fully vaccinated soon.

Meanwhile, Thailand has administered at least 46,023,016 doses of COVID vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have about 33.1% of the country’s population vaccinated.

The government plans to have 100m-dose of vaccine administered to 50 million people by the end of this year.

The 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 operating.

COVID-19 infections are generally decreasing in Cambodia, but daily deaths remain high. The Ministry of Health on the 4th of October 2021 reported only 219 new COVID-19 cases. The ministry also reported 23 new deaths. So far, Cambodia had recorded a total of 113,475 Covid-19 cases with 104,865 recoveries and 2,406 fatalities. 

The pandemic is more in the capital Phnom Penh, Kandal province and Sihanoukville. Phnom Penh municipal Governor Khuong Sreng expressed concerns over the continued high rate of transmission of COVID-19 in the capital during the Pchum Ben festival as the capital’s masses prepare to head to their hometowns for the public holiday. He instructed the Governors of Phnom Penh’s 14 districts to strengthen COVID-19 preventive measures at all points of all the routes leading into and out of the capital.

Despite the general decrease of the cases, authorities reported that there are new COVID-19 infections and death in several provinces recently as the pandemic spreads throughout the country, such as in Svay Rieng, Kampot, Kampong Chhnang, Preah Vihear, Kratie, Stung Treng, Mondulkiri, Kampong Thom, and Prey Veng.

However, the country is doing a strict control with quarantine and Covid-19 tests in the provinces affected by the pandemic in order to curb the outbreak.

Nevertheless, most curfews have been lifted. For example, crossing from one province to the others, reopening to the public of every tourist site like the Angkor Archeological Park. People can cross the country from one town to another. However, every entrance at touristic places or supermarkets has to follow the health condition protocol such as: body temperature monitoring and QR code scanning.

VISAS:

Cambodian authorities have suspended visa exemptions and are not 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. Visa exemptions for business people and "sponsored" persons are no longer 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:

✓ Body 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 13th day 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. 

After more than a year of battling COVID-19 as a global pandemic, the Health Ministry sees light at the end of the tunnel with the high vaccination rate and hopes that the Kingdom can progress to a state of endemic to enter the new normal. This is an optimistic sign that almost all of the population is vaccinated. The immune system of the vaccinated people is high enough to fight the COVID-19 virus. 

So far, Cambodia has vaccinated a total of 13,441,093 of its citizens, including members of the diplomatic corps and expatriates working and living in Cambodia against COVID-19. The country marches on to achieving 91 percent immunity against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the vaccination started for adolescents aged 12 to 17 of whom 1,763,150 have been vaccinated with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, totaling 89.64% of the targeted 1,966,933 of whom more than 1.64 million have been fully vaccinated with both doses.

Likewise, the vaccination started for children aged six to 12 of whom 1,766,125 have been vaccinated with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, totaling 93.08% of the targeted 1,897,382 to be fully vaccinated.

The country is currently the second most vaccinated country in Southeast Asia after Singapore. Also, Cambodia's Phnom Penh capital has become the city having the highest ratio of COVID-19 vaccination in Southeast Asia, enabling the Ministry of Tourism and relevant agencies to design a plan to reopen the country’s borders for fully vaccinated international tourists. However, it remains to be seen exactly when the country will open its borders again. For the time being, this has not yet been determined.

 

Issuance of visas are still 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-19 insurance as well as wearing a health tracking device.

New clusters of COVID-19 infections have triggered rising fears of fresh community outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.

The Lao government has recently announced an extension of COVID-19 restrictive measures for a further two weeks as cases continued to increase. However, the government is making every effort to lower the rate of infection and death in the country.

The COVID-19 restrictive measures in the country will remain in place at least until 15 October 2021. However, the city of Luang Prabang has been placed under total lockdown for 2 weeks, from 08 October until 21 October 2021 as the province experienced an increasing number of Covid-19 cases.

The National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control reported 23 new imported cases and 335 locally transmitted cases on the 30th of September 2021. As of this date, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Laos reached 23,846 with 18 deaths.

Residents in red zones across Vientiane Capital are prohibited from entering other provinces, while those in red zones of other provinces are prohibited from entering Vientiane Capital, except for those authorized by the COVID Taskforce.

The government is concerned about the increasing number of cases occurring in neighbouring countries, which poses a strong threat and a high risk of a major outbreak in Laos. In light of this, the government has extended the ongoing lockdown for another 15 days to help curb COVID-19 infections, with some restrictions continuing and others being lifted.

Under the extended lockdown measures, contact tracing and coordination between local authorities and health officials, as well as testing and vaccinations will continue.

✓ Pubs and bars, karaoke bars, entertainment venues, cinemas, snooker halls, massage parlors, spas, and internet cafes are to remain closed.

✓ Indoor sports centers are to remain closed, while contact sports such as football and martial arts remain prohibited in Vientiane Capital or any province with an outbreak.

✓ All educational institutions in Vientiane Capital or provinces with community spread are to remain closed except for those with boarding facilities.

✓ All factories and handicraft operations in red zones are to close, except for those wherein employees have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, and have dormitories on site, or those producing essential materials.

✓ Gatherings or parties of any kind may not be held at any location.

COVID-19 prevention measures such as temperature checks, social distancing, wearing face masks, and using hand gel remain in place for all retail shops, minimarts, and supermarkets, as well as fresh markets and any areas of risk.

VACCINES:

Laos will receive another 2,434,580 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the Chinese and Australian governments as well as from the private sectors within 2021, a senior government official has said.

The Lao Ministry of Health says it will purchase additional supplies of COVID-19 vaccines in 2022, allowing further free vaccines to be provided to residents. The ministry has asked the government to provide a budget for the purchase of more vaccines because the free vaccines received, as part of the COVAX initiative, will end this year. The government is also hoping to receive financial assistance from members of the public and other donors.

Meanwhile, the health authorities are in discussion with a Chinese drug development company to produce vaccines against COVID-19 in Laos. The project seeks to assist Laos in its battle against the COVID-19 outbreak, with Lao citizens benefiting from easier access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

The vaccination program is currently progressing well, with at least 4,402,770 doses of COVID vaccines have been administered so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have about 30.7% of the country’s population vaccinated. During the last week, Laos reported an average of about 35,340 doses administered each day. At that rate, it will take a further 41 days to administer enough doses for another 10% of the population.

One of the main challenges the Lao government is facing in its battle against the virus is to procure 7.4 million doses of vaccine to immunize 3.7 million people, or 50 percent of the population by the end of 2021, but due to the limited quantity of vaccine available, priority will be given to people in high-risk situations.

 

Borders (land and air) are still closed to non-nationals. The ban on all international flights to Myanmar has been extended until the 31st of October 2021 with the exception of special and cargo flights, certain regional flights and those reserved for medical evacuations.

Issuance of visas remains suspended until the 31st of October 2021 except for diplomatic or special visas.

The Myanmar Army has seized power since 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.

COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Myanmar, with 1,472 new infections reported on average each day.

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

Meanwhile, 110 townships are still placed under “Stay at Home” scheme and/or curfew, including all townships in the Rangoon area. These measures are often immediate and are subject to change without notice. Residents are 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.

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

Due to the political situation in Myanmar, it is currently impossible to know the exact evolution of COVID-19 epidemic. In any case, the wearing of masks and the respect of barrier gestures as well as social distancing are required throughout the country.

VACCINES:

Beijing has sent 4.5 million doses to Myanmar, including 2.5 million donated Sinopharm doses and 2 million Sinovac vaccines purchased by the military. Two million more doses has arrived as the military purchased a total of 4 million Sinovac doses. Moreover, two million doses purchased from Russia will arrive in the coming months and efforts are being made to obtain the remaining vaccines from India. 

Meanwhile, Myanmar has administered at least 10,935,671 doses of COVID vaccines so far, meaning about 10.1% of the country’s population. During the last 2 weeks, Myanmar reported an average of about 181,415 doses administered each day.

Myanmar is aiming to vaccinate 50% of the country’s population against COVID-19 by the end of this year.

 

South Korea is still struggling with COVID-19 virus resurgence (forth wave) despite continued vaccination efforts. Although the number of new cases seems dropping a bit since the end of September 2021, it has increased again on the 5th of October 2021, recording 2,028 new cases.

There have been 323,379 infections and 2,536 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began.

As the majority of daily infections are reported in the greater Seoul area, the health authorities decided to apply enhanced guidelines on virus-prone facilities, such as restaurants, cafes and indoor gyms, in the capital area. Therefore, the level of social distancing in the capital Seoul and neighboring areas (including Incheon and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province) raised to grade 4 until the 17th of October 2021. It’s the highest level in the nation's four-tier social distancing system.

The government has signaled that it will also introduce additional antivirus measures on top of the toughest Level 4 social distancing regulations imposed on the Seoul metropolitan area, as these do not appear to have curtailed the rampant spread of COVID-19 over the past three weeks amid the fourth wave of the pandemic. 

The Level 3 restriction and social distancing in the country's five-tier COVID-19 alert system is applied to all around the country, except Seoul, neighboring areas and Incheon, Jeju, Busan where there is the level 4 restriction until the 17th of October 2021.

The Levels 4 and 3 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.

South Korea has Launched K-ETA, Electronic Travel Authorization

Since the 1st of September 2021, South Korea has launched a Korea Electronic Travel Authorization system, known as K-ETA. It is a new electronic authorization allowing visa-free travelers to visit the country.

Foreign nationals will only be able to enter South Korea without a visa by registering for a K-ETA. Upon acquiring the waiver, visitors will be exempted from submitting arrival cards, enabling them to clear immigration quickly.

It permits eligible travelers to visit South Korea for short stays for tourism, visiting family members, or business activities. In addition, the K-ETA is valid for 2 years, allowing the holder a stay of between 30 to 180 days per entry, depending on the nationality.

Visitors must apply for the K-ETA at least 24 hours before boarding the flight. Those who apply now can also use the visa waiver for future trips to South Korea.

To enter the country for purposes other than those authorized with the K-ETA or for extended consecutive stays, travelers must contact the nearest South Korean Embassy.

How to Get a K-ETA

Application form: Click Here

To complete the online form, applicants need to enter basic information including:

✓ Personal details: name, nationality, date of birth

✓ Contact information: including email address

✓ Passport data: passport number, issue, and expiry date

✓ Health and security information

✓ A recent individual photo

✓ A non-refundable application fee of 10,000 KRW (about 7,5 euros) is paid using a debit or credit card to finalize the request.

On approval, the travel permit is sent to the applicant by email.

Travel Conditions

✓ For a full list of eligible countries, Click Here

✓ All travelers must stay in quarantine for 14 days on arrival in South Korea at designated facilities (at their own expense).

✓ A negative Covid-19 test is required for all passengers no more than 72 hours before departure.

For essential information and further details, Click Here

Visa exemptions (for those who still need to apply for visa), 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:

The government is trying to improve the total vaccination rate. Nine out of 10 South Korean adults have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine, helping the country to get closer to a goal of creating herd immunity. 

A total of 39.7 million people had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, totaling 77.4% of the country's 51.3 million population or 90% of those aged over 18, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The number of fully vaccinated people stood at 27.2 million, or 53% of the total or 61.6% of the adult population.

Health authorities expressed optimism that the country will be able to fully inoculate over 70 percent of the population by the end of October thanks to people's willingness to get vaccinated and smooth vaccine supplies. 

To speed up the inoculation drive, the government said it aims to provide further perks for vaccinated people, such as increasing the number of people for private gatherings.

 

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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