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UPDATE ON OUR DESTINATIONS 2021

Last Update: 8 July 2021

At Phoenix Voyages, we are continuing our crusade through this spatiotemporal rift to tell you about our remarkable stays to offer your clients in the near future. Here is our latest news on the current situation of our destinations.

 

The borders are still closed to non-nationals except holders of highly qualified work permits. Visa exemptions are suspended.

The Ministries of National Defense and Public Securities has strengthened border control by temporarily suspending inbound commercial flights. Only charter flights for special case of diplomats, technical experts, experts, investors and Vietnamese returning home are still authorized to enter Vietnam.

On arrival (for national and non-national with special visas), a negative Covid-19 test is required and a health screening procedure is conducted at the airport. Travelers must stay in quarantine in dedicated centers (at the expense of the traveler). The Vietnamese Government decided to extend the quarantine period from 14 days to 21 days, plus one more week of self-isolation at home. This new regulation took effect from 05 May 2021 and aims to “protect the community from the spread of coronavirus” amid cases found positive following the completion of 14-day quarantine.

The Vietnamese government confirmed the trial vaccine passports from 01 to 31 July in Quang Ninh province applicable only for Vietnamese repatriates, foreign experts, diplomats, investors, and highly-skilled workers, who have been fully vaccinated, and tested negative from coronavirus upon arrival. They will have to undergo a seven-day centralized quarantine period instead of the usual 21 days. However, they will have to self-quarantine for another 7 days after the initial 7-day centralized quarantine. But this does not apply to people who entered the country for trips lasting less than 14 days.

Most of the COVID-19 cases are located in Ho Chi Minh City. The Health Ministry confirmed 277 local Covid-19 patients on 06 July, including 230 in Ho Chi Minh City. Of the cases in Ho Chi Minh City, 186 are already in quarantined zones and areas under lockdown and 44 have unknown transmission sources. The remaining cases confirmed are in six other localities.

Due to high number of cases in Ho Chi Minh City recently, medical forces have rushed to collect five million samples in 10 days to detect any possible community Covid cases. This coronavirus testing campaign around the city started on 30 June 2021. 

Over two months into the new wave, Vietnam has recorded 17,820 community infections in 55 of its 63 cities and provinces. Of the cases, Ho Chi Minh City has the highest number of infections, at 6,905, followed by Bac Giang with 5,668.

The schools have closed in Hanoi from 04 May, Ho Chi Minh City from 10 May, and in various other cities around the country as well in order to control the spread of the virus.

Also, in order to fight against the Covid-19, several cities in the country, such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Yen Bai have banned recreational activities and public gatherings. The face masks are also mandatory in all the public places, and those who do not respect this law have to pay a fine.

VACCINES:

Vietnam has received almost 4.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine via the Covax mechanism, contracts and donations.

The country is carrying out its biggest vaccination campaign in history, and aims to procure 150 million doses of vaccines to cover 70 percent of its 96-million population this year.

However, the current biggest challenge is to acquire more vaccines. It would be ideal to have vaccines made in Vietnam. The Ministry of Health reported the progress of research and testing results of vaccines in the country. In particular, the third vaccine in Vietnam, called Covinvac of VABIOTECH, will be approved after a clinical trial period in July 2021.

Meanwhile, more than 3.9 million of Vietnam's 96-million population have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, including more than 172,000 who have got two shots.

 

There is a recent increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Thailand. Indeed, the average number of new infections reported in the country each day reaches a new height: now more than 5,500 daily.

The Thai government announced new COVID-19 restrictions which are to be enforced in Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla from the 28th of June 2021, due to the high number of cases in these regions.

 The following new measures are implemented for 30 days:

✓ All construction sites are closed in Bangkok and its vicinities, all construction works must be halted and movement of construction workers is banned for at least 30 days.

✓ Takeaway service only for eateries in and outside shopping malls, including those in hotels, convenience stores and street vendors.

✓ Shopping centres can open until 9 p.m. Theatres, cinemas, water parks, dining areas must close.

✓ Hotels, exhibition and convention centres can open, but no meetings, seminars or banquets allowed.

✓ No activities involving more than 20 people in person, unless permission is granted by communicable disease officials.

✓ Provincial governors can order the closure of venues and/or communities, if a cluster of infections is found.

✓ No social gatherings or parties in highest-control and restricted areas for 30 days, unless it is for the holding of a traditional ceremony.

The Thai government also informed that Bangkok and all 76 other provinces have made it compulsory for everyone to wear a face mask when they are outdoors. Offenders are liable to a fine up to 20,000 Baht. The face masks should be worn at all times as a precaution against spreading COVID-19.

Currently, 26 provinces across Thailand have imposed night-time restrictions, urging everyone to avoid going out at night unless utmost necessary, with immediate effect until further notice.

Additional four provinces, (Nakhon Ratchasima, Krabi and Pattani, as well as Buri Ram) were asked to remain inside their residence all day.

Also, the State Railway of Thailand suspended certain train services from 30 April until further notice, as part of the nationwide efforts to contain the new spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, local authorities in several locations are enforcing strict controls on top of the governmental measures and require arrivals from high-risk areas to isolate themselves at their residence or a designated facility for 14 days. 

The flight ban is currently in effect but some commercial flights that are operated by specific airlines have resumed. Meanwhile, Thailand has eased some travel measures and foreigners can now transit at local airports since 01 March 2021.

Since 25 December 2020, Thai authorities are allowing travelers from 56 countries to enter the country without visas. Nationals from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Luxembourg are permitted to enter Thailand on a visa exemption scheme for a period of 45 dayspassport with a validity of more than 6 months and a plane ticket to exit Thailand within 45 days of arrival are requested when applying for the mandatory “Certificate of Entry” (COE) at the Thai Embassy of their home country.  

Conditions to obtain the “Certificate of Entry” (COE) before departure:  

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The requirements to obtain a COE differ according to the countries, but the minimum requirement that one must present are:

✓ Flight confirmation

✓ Health insurance policy which expressly covers treatment and medical expenses in relation to COVID-19, with a minimum coverage of 100,000 USD.

✓ Reservation at an accredited hospitals/hotel for the 14-day Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ), as well as transfers from/to the airport.

Additional documents depending on the countries:

  •       For French nationals:  

✓ A proof of accommodation (hotel reservation or letter of invitation from a property owner with proof of ownership and identification) for at least 7 days following the traveler’s ASQ.

✓ Financial justification (currency in euro): bank statements for the last three months with a minimum balance of €2,000 per applicant (or €4,000 for a joint account) on each statement. A photocopy of the family record book is requested if the bank statement is not in the name of an applicant who is under 20 years old.

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  •      For Spanish nationals:  

✓ Foreigners entering Thailand under the Tourist Visa category must provide proof of adequate funding for the duration of stay in Thailand at the port of entry.

✓ A copy of Accommodation Reservation (after quarantine) in a hotel for the entire duration of stay in Thailand with name, address, and contact details of the hotel/apartment.

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  •       For Swiss nationals:

✓ Foreigners entering Thailand under the Tourist Visa Exemption category must provide proof of adequate funding for the duration of stay in Thailand at the port of entry (i.e., traveler’s cheque or cash equivalent to 20,000 Baht per person and 40,000 Baht per family), proof of onward travel (confirmed air, train, bus or boat tickets) to leave Thailand within 30 days of the arrival date, otherwise a tourist visa must be obtained.

✓ A copy of Accommodation Reservation (after quarantine) in a hotel for at least half of the traveller’s stay in Thailand with name, address, and contact details of the hotel/apartment.

✓ A Letter of Employment signed by the employer or work contract with salary receipt for the past 3 months or business registration for self-employed or student confirmation.

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  •       All non-Thai nationals travelling to Thailand must have the following documents for boarding the plane:

✓ The Certificate of Entry (COE)

✓ Medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected, using RT-PCR test, issued no more than 72 hours before departure.

✓ A non-covid medical certificate certified in English by a General Practitioner (depending on the result of the traveller’s RT-PCR test) within 72 hours prior to departure.

✓ A “Fit to Fly” Health Certificate in English only which has been certified or issued no more than 72 hours before departure.

✓ To download the ThailandPlus application (tracing app) and register the 6 digits COE code in the app.

✓ In addition, travelers must complete the T8 form (health questionnaire) and present it upon arrival in Thailand.

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Conditions on arrival:

✓ Screening procedure by the authorities, a medical form to be filled-up with a travel history. If the screening shows a body temperature of above 37.5 degrees, a PCR test is performed directly at the airport.

✓ Thailand reinstates a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals and strengthens COVID-19 restrictions nationwide. Effective from 01 May, 2021, until further notice, Thailand’s latest restrictions to curb the new spread of COVID-19 infections are introduced as the country is executing the mass vaccination programme that started in June 2021.

REOPENING OF THE BORDERS:

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced that the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) has approved the TAT’s three-stage roadmap to reopen six major tourist provinces – Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Ko Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai – to vaccinated foreign tourists.

The TAT’s reopening roadmap has started and will continue to take place in stages during the third and fourth quarters of this year, specifically for vaccinated foreign tourists arriving in the six specified provinces, which are Thailand’s major tourist destinations.

✓ Stage Two (Q3), from July to September, Phuket is the first destination to lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ programme. This project has started last 01 July 2021. The Centre for Economic Situation Administration approved the plan submitted by TAT to open Phuket to international visitors who have been fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines and have tested negative upon arriving in the province. The approved plan stipulates that there is no quarantine needed for international visitors who must remain in Phuket for at least 14 days before travelling elsewhere.  

For more information, please visit: Click Here

Stage Three (Q4), from October to December, all five other major tourist destinations will join Phuket in lifting quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists. Same as Phuket, tourists will be restricted to travel activities within designated areas in these destinations for 14 days before they are allowed to visit other Thai destinations. 

VACCINES:

Thailand has already procured 63 million doses of vaccine (61 million doses from AstraZeneca and two million doses from Sinovac) and will procure 37 million more doses from other suppliers.

Establishing herd immunity is a significant key to enhance the confidence of the locals and visitors as well as to prepare for the reopening of the country.

Since February, the country has started vaccination rollouts for priority groups including seniors, frontline staff, and people in the tourism industry.

As of 06 July 2021, Phuket’s vaccination programme has reached more than 70% of the population, mostly among locals and non-residents.

Thailand has administered at least 10,670,897 doses of COVID vaccines, meaning that about 7.7% of the country’s population have been vaccinated so far.

The news about the gradual reopening of the borders in Thailand, despite not enough, is a good hope for the Tourism Industry.

 

Some international flights from South Korea, China and Singapore are allowed. Domestic flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are limited to 1 flight per week, but flights between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville are still operating.

Recently, there are more cases of Covid-19 in Cambodia, and all the cases are connected to the February 20th  Community Event. The total number of COVID cases in Cambodia is now 55,187 cases – a far cry from before the February 20th incident when Cambodia had only 500 cases. This constant growth in daily figures is a rising cause for concern to authorities who are now facing mounting daily cases, imported cases, deaths and active cases.

The pandemic is especially in the capital Phnom Penh, Kandal province and Sihanoukville. Plus, this outbreak is getting mostly into the garment factory workers.

Moreover, the ‘market outbreak’ continues in Phnom Penh – despite widespread vaccination in the capital - with another 154 cases being reported at the Olympic Market on 05 July 2021.

However, most curfews have been lifted. For example, crossing from one province to the others, reopening to the public of every tourist site like Angkor Archeological Park. But, every entrance at touristic places or supermarkets has to follow the health condition protocol such as: body temperature monitoring and QR code scanning.

VISAS:

Cambodian authorities have suspended visa exemptions and are no longer issuing visas on arrival or e-visas (electronic tourist visa). Any foreigner wishing to come to Cambodia must first obtain an entry visa at the Cambodian Embassy in their country of residence. Since 12 December 2020, exemptions for business people and "sponsored" persons are no longer allowed.

The arrival measures remain very strict for the moment. On arrival, all foreigners must present:

✓ A health certificate recognized by their country of departure, as well as being tested negative of COVID-19, which is done within 72 hours before the departure flight.

✓ A health insurance of at least US$ 50,000 coverage for foreigners (except for diplomats).

✓ In addition, all foreigners arriving in Cambodia are required to deposit US$2,000 at the airport, in cash or by credit card, in order to pay for the cost of testing and possible medical expenses and other quarantine costs. The unused balance of this sum is refunded after the test is done on the fortnight, if it is negative (exempted are holders of A or B visa).

Compulsory procedure on arrival:

 Body temperature control by thermal camera and medical consultation, if necessary.

✓ Collection of samples for a first Covid-19 test.

✓ Travelers are then taken by bus to designated hotels until test result is obtained (24 to 48 hours) at the expense of the traveler.

✓ If all tests are negative, passengers can proceed to a hotel chosen by the Cambodian authorities and must observe a strict self-quarantine there.  A second test must be done on the 13th day at the Khmer-Soviet Hospital, in order to waive the quarantine.

✓ On the other hand, if a passenger on the plane is tested positive, all the persons traveling with that passenger will stay at the designated hotel for quarantine at their expense. They can only go out of the quarantine area if the second test done on the 13th day turns out to be negative. 

All the costs are at the expense of the traveler.

To find out more about the conditions for entering Cambodia: Please Click Here

VACCINES:

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said the Southeast Asian country has set a target of providing one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens per month. He said doctors will be sent by the central authorities to help distribute the vaccine in different parts of the country to speed up the vaccination campaign.

Cambodia is ranked second, after Singapore, in its vaccination rollout among the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations countries after securing about 11 million doses of Sinopharm and Sinovac from China.

It says a total of 20 million doses will be secured by August, while funding from Australia and the United States has enabled access to the COVAX-facility and AstraZenica vaccinations.

Almost 18% of Cambodia’s population of 16.5 million people have been fully vaccinated with two doses, while a quarter of its population have received a single dose. Cambodia hopes to reach herd immunity with 10 million people vaccinated by the end of the year as they want to reopen its tourism industry in the fourth quarter of the year to fully vaccinated tourists.

 

Issuance of visas are suspended (except for certain categories of workers). Borders are still closed to non-nationals. 

The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a notice temporarily suspending all humanitarian and charter flights. Laos has extended its Covid-19 prevention measures and now requires travelers entering the country to purchase Covid insurance as well as wearing a health tracking device.

Although the number of new community-acquired cases of Covid-19 has declined over the past few weeks, new clusters continue to occur around the country. The government is concerned about the increasing number of cases occurring in neighbouring countries, which poses a strong threat and a high risk of a major outbreak in Laos. In light of this, the government has extended the lockdown for another 15 days until 19 July, with some restrictions continuing and others being lifted.

Under the extended lockdown measures, contact tracing and coordination between local authorities and health officials, as well as testing and vaccinations will continue.

✓ Pubs and bars, karaoke bars, entertainment venues, cinemas, snooker halls, massage parlors, spas, and internet cafes are to remain closed.

Indoor sports centers are to remain closed, while contact sports such as football and martial arts remain prohibited in Vientiane Capital or any province with an outbreak.

✓ All educational institutions in Vientiane Capital or provinces with community spread are to remain closed except for those with boarding facilities.

✓ All factories and handicraft operations in red zones are to close, except for those wherein employees have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, and have dormitories on site, or those producing essential materials.

✓ Gatherings or parties of any kind are prohibited at any location.

Covid-19 prevention measures such as body temperature checks, social distancing, wearing face masks, and using hand gel will remain in place for all retail shops, minimarts, and supermarkets, as well as fresh markets and any areas of risk.

As of 05 July 2021, the total number of cases in Laos stands at 2,300, with 225 active cases.

VACCINES:

Lao health officials will roll out the third round of COVID-19 vaccination program when the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines arrive in July. Indeed, a shipment of 132,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine is scheduled to arrive in the Lao capital Vientiane in July. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is also set to arrive in the country next month but the quantity to be shipped has not been confirmed. The vaccines will be provided by the COVAX Facility.

One of the main challenges the Lao government is facing in its battle against the virus is to procure 7.4 million doses of vaccine to immunize 3.7 million people, or 50 percent of the population by the end of 2021.

To-date, 11.6 percent of the Lao population has received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 6.7 percent people have been given a second dose. 

 

Borders (land and air) are closed to non-nationals. The ban on all international flights to Myanmar has been extended until the 31st of July 2021 except for special flights (humanitarian and cargo flights).

Issuance of visas is also suspended until the 31st of July 2021 except for diplomatic or special visas.

The Burmese army seized power last 01 February 2021 following a coup d'état. Restrictive measures have been adopted and telecommunications and Internet networks were disrupted. A nationwide curfew from 20h00-04h00 is in effect due to the ongoing anti-coup protests.

Officials continue to cap gatherings at 30 people nationwide, except for public servants, government-related meetings, food establishments, and essential businesses. Authorities advise people to wear face masks, practice personal hygiene, and maintain a physical distance of two meters (6.5 feet) in public places. 

Authorities have lifted “stay-at-home” rules in Rakhine State due to lower COVID-19 activity. But they have extended the "stay-at-home" scheme for some townships in Rangoon region. Residents were requested to limit their travel as much as possible, except for trips to shop or for those seeking medical care. One person per household can go out for shopping. Other areas required the “stay-at-home” order include: 

✓ Ayeyarwady Region

✓ Bago Region

✓ Kachin State

✓ Mandalay Region

✓ Some Townships of Yangon Region

Foreign nationals are advised not to go to these areas except on essential and humanitarian grounds. 

Authorities in some states and provinces require travelers coming from the other states or provinces (especially areas under a “stay-at-home” order) must do a PCR or antigen test upon departure or on arrival -  they also have to complete a one or two-week quarantine upon arrival.

Due to the political situation in Myanmar, it is currently impossible to know the exact evolution of Covid-19 epidemic. In any case, the wearing of masks and the respect of barrier gestures as well as social distancing are required throughout the country.

However, reported infections have jumped this month, raising concern of a much bigger wave. Many of the new infections have been reported from near the border with India.

VACCINES:

Myanmar has purchased 30 million doses of the Covishield / Astra Zeneca vaccine, with the State budget, from India. This is in addition to the 1.5 million doses of Covishield donated by the Indian government in January. Likewise,Myanmar is negotiating to buy seven million doses of Russia's Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine, the head of its junta said, as authorities in the Southeast Asian country try to tackle a new wave of coronavirus infections. Meanwhile, Myanmar has administered at least 3,368,042 doses of COVID vaccines so far, meaning about 3.1% of the country’s population.

 


South Korea struggles with another virus resurgence (forth wave) despite continued vaccination efforts. Indeed, the country's daily new virus cases spiked to the highest as a series of cluster infections were reported in the wider Seoul area amid jitters over growing COVID-19 variant cases.

The country reported more than 1,212 new COVID-19 cases throughout 06 July 2021, 1,168 (990 from great Seoul area) locally transmitted and 44 imported from overseas, raising the cumulative total to 162,753, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

As 84.3% of daily infections are reported in the greater Seoul area, the health authorities decided to apply enhanced guidelines on virus-prone facilities, such as restaurants, cafes and indoor gyms, in the capital area for two weeks till 14 July 2021.

The Level 2 restriction in the country's five-tier COVID-19 alert system applied to Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi, Jungpyeong, Jeonju, Wanju, Busan, Jinju and Geojehas been extended. Level 1.5 restrictions will remain in effect in Sejong, Daejeon, Chungbuk, Chungnam, Gwangju, Jeonbuk, Jeonnam, Daegu, Gyeongbuk, Ulsan, Gyeongnam, Gangwon and Jeju. Restrictions include: 

✓ The ban on private gatherings of five or more and the restriction on restaurant operations after 22h00.

✓ Bars, nightclubs, indoor gyms, karaoke, academy will be forced to close at 22h00.

✓ People can stay in each café only for 1hr.

✓ Religious gatherings, weddings and funerals will be subject to attendance capacity of 100 people maximum (100 persons per partner each at weddings). Sports events are conducted with spectators but the audience must not intake anything except water. And most stores, schools, and public buildings remain open.

Visa exemptions are suspended for 90 countries, so it is mandatory to apply for a visa at the Korean Embassy of your home country prior to travelling. The Korean government will authorize the visa depending on the risk of infection and the country's alert status.

All foreign nationals will be required to provide a “consent for quarantine” as well as a PCR negative confirmation issued within 72 hours of departure.

All passengers on the flight to Korea will undergo a fever check at the departure airport. Boarding will be rejected for those who have a fever with a temperature of over 37.5'C.

All passengers entering Korea on short-term visits are tested on arrival at the airport and will be quarantined at designated facilities (at their own expense) and must download and use the government tracing app. Failure to comply with these measures could result, among other things, in the cancellation of visa or residence permit and the imposition of significant penalties.

Persons transiting through an airport in South Korea for no more than 24 hours are not required to be tested for Covid-19. However, they are subject to temperature control.

VACCINES:

A total of 15.32 million people, or 29.8 percent of the country's 51.34 million population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines since the country started its vaccination program on 26 February 2021. There are 4.90 million people who have been fully vaccinated, taking up 9.5 percent of the overall population. 

South Korea is trying to inoculate 36 million people by September to achieve herd immunity in November, but it hopes it can reach the goal earlier than expected with the increased vaccine rollout.

The country currently uses vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen.

 

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As it is so dear to us, the Phoenix Voyages team is at your disposal to prepare for your clients' future trips in Asia.

The Phoenix Voyages Team