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Myanmar reopening to international tourists

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People wear facemasks amid concerns over the spread of Covid-19 at Yangon international airport in Yangon on Friday. AFP

Myanmar reopening to international tourists

Myanmar will resume international passenger flights from April 17, the military said on March 19, lifting a two-year ban on foreign tourists.

The Southeast Asian nation closed its borders to visitors in March 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to prevent rising infections.

Myanmar was further isolated after the dissolution of the civilian administration last year over alleged irregulariries in the 2020 general election, sending its economy – including its tourism industry – into freefall.

“We will open all international flights on 17 April, and can fly as regularly,” said the National Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease, citing falling Covid-19 infections.

In a statement it said the decision was “in order to improve the tourism business sector, and in order to have smooth trip for visitors who come to visit Myanmar”.

Visitors will be required to quarantine for a week – undergoing two PCR tests – and must be fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry.

Myanmar’s tourism industry was battered by the pandemic, with the country registering 40,000 daily Covid-19 cases at its peak last year. It has recorded almost 20,000 deaths in total.

Spiralling violence following the military takeover has also dented business, with many international firms pulling out of the nation.

The ruling State Administration Council indicated late last year that it was moving to reopen to international visitors in 2022, hoping to take advantage of the slew of local traditional holidays.

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