Any talk of reopening borders to international tourists in much of Southeast Asia has stopped as countries struggle to contain ongoing outbreaks of Covid-19.
Main picture Mui Ne, Vietnam credit Arvydas Arnasius on Unsplash
Vietnam has today recorded an additional 67 cases of the virus. To many this may seem very low, but Vietnam has done better than most countries in preventing Covid outbreaks. The current outbreak has now added more than 1,500 new cases, around a third of the total cases throughout the pandemic.
One of the principles of the controls in Vietnam has been the closure of borders and local lockdowns and quarantine arrangements.
The vaccination programme in the country is in its infancy and there is a long way to go before a significant proportion of the population has been inoculated.
There had been hopes that small numbers of vaccinated tourist could return to the country soon. The return of international tourists now seems unlikely until the current outbreak has been controlled and greater numbers have been vaccinated.
Yesterday Malaysia recorded its highest ever daily number of new Covid-19 cases, 5,728, as they also struggle to contain the pandemic.
The country recently announced a tightening of lockdown measures and officials are now discussing introducing the strictest national measures since the initial lockdown in March 2020. It is possible that a new lockdown could start as soon as this Friday.
Any chance of an announcement of the return of foreign tourists seems a long way off.
Singapore has tightened measures but have so far resisted entering a new “circuit breaker” (lockdown).
Earlier this week the country announced the delay of the Hong Kong travel bubble due to the number of cases in Singapore.
The relatively high vaccination rates have been credited with avoiding a circuit break so far but it is thought that the measure is not off the table. Singapore has so seen around 30% of the population receive at least the first inoculation.
Singapore has always been one of the destinations most enthusiastic about the early return of foreign tourists but in a controlled and manageable way.
Expect work to resume on allowing travellers from low-risk destinations to resume once the current outbreak is under control.
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