Source: Vientiane Times
Laos’ main border crossing at the first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge linking Vientiane to Nong Khai province in Thailand has reopened after being closed for more than two years to curb the spread of Covid-19.
It comes after the government announced it would fully reopen the country, starting on May 9.
Lao Airlines – the national flag carrier – plans to increase flights between Laos and Thailand from two to three a week beginning later this month. Head of the First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge International Checkpoint, Dr Khamphone Thepphavong, said on Monday the bridge had opened today (May 9) following a notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on May 7 stating that all borders could now reopen.
With travel restrictions lifted, foreign nationals and stateless people can enter and exit Laos freely, he said.
On Monday morning, at least 100 people crossed the bridge into Thailand, while almost 300 people entered Laos. Director of Lao Airlines’ Commercial Department, Mr Noudeng Chanthaphasouk, said the airline would increase flights from two to three a week between Vientiane and Bangkok, starting on May 22. The airline has been operating two flights a week to Bangkok since early this year.
With the full reopening of Laos, citizens of countries that have signed a bilateral or unilateral visa waiver agreement with Laos can enter without applying for a visa. Citizens of countries that have not signed visa waiver agreements with Laos can apply for a visa at a Lao embassy or consulate in a foreign country. Visitors can also apply for a visa online or on arrival at border crossings where such service is available.
Lao and foreign nationals and stateless people aged 12 and older who have not been fully vaccinated are required to take a Covid-19 ATK test within 48 hours of their departure for Laos. However, they are no longer required to have a Covid test upon arrival. People who have a certificate indicating full Covid vaccination can enter Laos without needing to have a Covid test in either their departing country or upon arrival in Laos.
Visitors who contract Covid during their stay in Laos are responsible for all expenses involved if treatment is needed. Treatment can be obtained at state and private hospitals, while self-isolation and self-care is another option.
Vehicles will be allowed to enter and exit as normal, the same as before the pandemic was declared. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport will issue instructions concerning the changes in this regard.
The government has called on state departments, business operators and all sectors of society to be ready to welcome and offer warm hospitality to tourists