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Myanmar to re-open to international tourists

YANGON (CNA) – Myanmar will resume international passenger flights from April 17, the military said yesterday, lifting a two-year ban on foreign tourists.

The Southeast Asian nation closed its borders to visitors in March 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to prevent rising infections.

Myanmar was further isolated after a coup last year saw huge protests and a bloody military crackdown on dissent, sending its economy – including its tourism industry – into freefall.

“We will open all international flights on April 17, and can fly as regularly,” said the National Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease, citing falling COVID-19 infections.

In a statement, it said the decision was “in order to improve the tourism business sector, and in order to have smooth trip for visitors who come to visit Myanmar”.

Visitors will be required to quarantine for a week – undergoing two PCR tests – and must be fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.

Myanmar’s tourism industry was battered by the pandemic, with the country registering 40,000 daily COVID-19 cases at its peak last year. It has recorded almost 20,000 deaths in total. Spiralling violence following the junta takeover has also dented business, with many international firms pulling out of the nation.

Myanmar, home to the temples of Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will re-open to foreign tourists on April 17. PHOTO: AFP