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Laos re-opens international border in north

IENTIANE (XINHUA) – Lao citizens, foreigners and stateless people now can enter Laos through the international border checkpoint in northern Laos’ Bokeo province but must continue to comply with COVID-19 prevention measures after arriving in the country.

Northern Laos’ Bokeo province is a travel hub in China, Myanmar and Thailand.

Bokeo province issued a notice about the re-opening of the border on Tuesday, following a notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on May 7.

The notice stated that citizens of countries that have signed a bilateral or unilateral visa waiver agreement with Laos can enter Bokeo province, about 350 kilometres northwest of Lao capital Vientiane, without applying for a visa, while citizens of countries that have not signed visa waiver agreements with Laos can apply for a visa at a Lao embassy or consulate in another country.

Visitors can also apply for a visa online or on arrival at the border crossing in Bokeo province.

Vehicles will be allowed to enter and exit as normal, the same as before the pandemic.

People who have not been fully vaccinated are required to take a COVID-19 ATK test within 48 hours of their departure for Laos but are not required to have a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Bokeo province.

The notice also stated that Bokeo provincial health officials would monitor the possibility of an outbreak of a new COVID-19 variant, to develop appropriate responses.

According to the Lao Ministry of Health, the average number of new infections reported in Laos each day has plummeted tenfold, from almost 2,000 a day in February and March this year to less than 200 a day at present.

As of Wednesday, Laos recorded 51 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections to 209,553.