Domestic flights in Myanmar have resumed on 16 December 2020, as announced by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. This is in line with instructions from the National-Level Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19. Passengers will have to pass the health screening in order to board the flights. While the international flights are still banned, the resumption of domestic flights is expected to help stimulate economic activity in rural areas. In addition, the de facto head of government, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, has stated in her national address on 11 December that plans are underway for the reopening of international flights.
The first phase of the China-Laos Expressway has officially opened on 20 December 2020. This portion of the expressway runs from Laos capital Vientiane to Vangvieng, one of the most famous tourist cities in Laos. The Vientiane-Vangvieng Expressway is jointly developed by China-based Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding Group and the Laos government. This first smart expressway is built by China-based Huawei Technologies Company Limited (“Huawei”), who worked with its partner, Yunnan Huayuan Electronics Company Limited, to build a stable, secure, and intelligent information and communication technology platform for the expressway. Huawei’s data communication and transmission equipment will be deployed to facilitate in big data analysis, with other technical means being utilised to implement all-scenario solutions like real-time intelligent monitoring, intelligence charging and emergency response. The 5G network to be built in Laos next year will also be integrated with the smart expressway, which will facilitate Laos’ infrastructure development. Moreover, the landmark development will reduce travelling time from two-and-a-half hours to one hour, improve transportation efficiency, promotes economic and tourism development.
The Thai Cabinet announced that travellers from all countries can stay in Thailand for up to 90 days with the Special Tourist Visa (“STV”). Previously only available to visitors from low-risk countries, the STV costs THB2,000 and can be extended twice, with each extension costing an additional THB2,000. The extension allows tourists to stay in Thailand for up to nine months. Travellers under the STV can enter Thailand until 30 September 2021. To qualify, travellers will need to submit proof of their long-term accommodation in Thailand such as hotel reservation, rental contract or condominium ownership documents. Additionally, a proof of medical and travel insurance with coverage for COVID-19 medical treatment for the entire period of stay in Thailand should be submitted. Travellers must also present a negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”) test result 72 hours before arrival, followed by another PCR test on landing. Upon arrival in Thailand, there will be a mandatory 14-day quarantine at an “alternative state quarantine” hotel. Through the STV, the Thai Cabinet aims to revive Thailand’s tourism industry, which contributes to around 20% of the country’s GDP.
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