AP

Laos reopens to visitors after 2-year closure to fight virus

May 8, 2022, 1:54 PM | Updated: May 9, 2022, 5:49 pm

FILE - m municipal worker sweeps a pathway along the Mekong River Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Vient...

FILE - m municipal worker sweeps a pathway along the Mekong River Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Vientiane, Laos. The landlocked Southeast Asian nation of Laos reopened to tourists and other visitors on Monday, more than two years after it imposed tight restrictions to fight the coronavirus. (AP Photo /Manish Swarup, File)

(AP Photo /Manish Swarup, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — The landlocked Southeast Asian nation of Laos reopened to tourists and other visitors on Monday, more than two years after it imposed tight restrictions to fight the coronavirus.

Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, head of the government’s agency for controlling COVID-19, announced on Saturday the reopening date, the last in a three-phase plan, state news agency KPL reported. She said vaccination certificates or virus tests will still be required for Lao citizens and foreigners entering the country.

Travelers 12 years of age or older without vaccination certificates must be able to show negative ATK tests taken within 48 hours of departure for Laos.

As part of the easing of restrictions, entertainment venues including karaoke parlors will be able to reopen, but must comply with COVID-19 control regulations. All border crossings were reopened.

The country hosted a record 4.79 million foreign visitors in 2019 before the pandemic began. The number fell to 886,400 in 2020, the latest year for which statistics are available.

The website of the state-controlled Vientiane Times newspaper quoted Deputy Health Minister Snong Thongsna as saying the decision to reopen the country was based on the falling number of COVID-19 cases in Laos and worldwide. It said the average number of new infections reported daily has declined from almost 2,000 in February and March to less than 200 now.

Laos, with an estimated 7.7 million people, is one of Asia’s poorest nations. It has had 208,535 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 749 deaths, since the pandemic began, according to the health ministry.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Early phases of Iran's drone attack against Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)...

Associated Press

The Latest | Iran launches its first direct military attack against Israel

Iran launched its first full-scale military attack against Israel on Saturday, sending drones toward Israel.

17 hours ago

Early phases of Iran's drone attack against Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)...

Associated Press

BREAKING: White House confirms Iran drone attacks towards Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — The White House says it will provide unspecified support for Israel’s defense against an ongoing airborne attack from Iran. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a Saturday statement that “Iran has begun an airborne attack against Israel.” She added: “The United States will stand with the people of Israel and […]

17 hours ago

Image: O.J. Simpson attends his parole hearing at Lovelock Correctional Center July 20, 2017 in Lov...

Associated Press

O.J. Simpson, fallen football hero acquitted of murder in ‘trial of the century,’ dies at 76

O.J. Simpson, the former NFL star and Hollywood actor who was acquitted of charges he killed his ex-wife and her friend has died at 76.

3 days ago

Southwest Airlines boeing...

Associated Press

An engine cover on a Southwest Airlines plane rips off, forcing the flight to return to Denver

A Southwest Airlines jet, a Boeing 737, returned to Denver Sunday morning after the engine cover fell off and struck the wing flap during takeoff.

6 days ago

Image: The late Careaga family....

Associated Press

3 found guilty in 2017 quadruple killing of Washington family

A jury has found three men guilty of killing a family in Washington in 2017, crimes detectives asserted happened over drugs and money.

8 days ago

The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exc...

Associated Press

Boeing’s CEO got compensation worth nearly $33M last year but lost a $3M bonus

Boeing's CEO got around $33 million in compensation, nearly all of it in stock awards, but his stock payout for this year will be cut.

9 days ago

Laos reopens to visitors after 2-year closure to fight virus