Laos to Reopen Border to Travelers From China Under Streamlined COVID-19 Rules

Laos is set to fast-track entry for travelers from China beginning Sunday, relaxing controls on a northern border crossing previously tightly shut to prevent the spread of COVID-19, under relaxed quarantine policies that worry some ordinary Laos, sources in the country told RFA.

Under a recent agreement between the two countries, Chinese nationals from COVID-free provinces will now be permitted to enter Laos by the Boten border gate if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and been quarantined for 14 days in China, an official of the Department of Civil Aviation in Laos told RFA this week.

“They will also have to be quarantined for 48 hours in Laos after crossing the border,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to talk to media.

Laos, with ambitions to become the “Battery of Southeast Asia,” has drawn billions of dollars in Chinese investment in hydropower dams and other big-ticket projects under Beijing’s $1.3 trillion Belt and Road Initiative to build infrastructure and support trade.

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RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Richard Finney.