COVID-19: Myanmar to resume issuing tourist e-visas on May 15

Health workers give a first dose of COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine to a woman, part of the 65 years and older tier, at a school being used as a vaccination site in Yangon on Feb 5, 2021. (STR / AFP)

BAKU / SINGAPORE / HANOI / PYONGYANG / NEW DELHI / WELLINGTON / SEOUL / MUMBAI / SYDNEY / YANGON – Myanmar will resume accepting tourist e-visa applications starting on Sunday, more than two years after the country suspended all new e-visa applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our Online e-Visa service will resume with effect from May 15, 2022, for tourist visa applications," the Immigration and Population Ministry said on Thursday.

The move came after the country's resumption of international commercial flight operations on April 17 and the reopening of its borders to international travelers.

The official data released by the Ministry of Health also showed the country's COVID-19 daily positivity rate has been below one percent for more than a month since April 4.

The Southeast Asian country resumed accepting applications for business e-visas on April 1.

Staff check a client at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia on Jan 8, 2022. (MARK BAKER / AP)


Two COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by Australian researchers have started clinical trial with first six participants being safely administered their doses.

The two vaccine candidates, developed by researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) and distinct from existing vaccines, focus the immune response on the tip of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, called the receptor binding domain (RBD).

The two vaccines use different technologies. The Doherty RBD protein vaccine uses part of the virus protein, rather than genetic material or another virus, to elicit an immune response, while the MIPS RBD mRNA vaccine uses the genetic sequence of the tip of the spike, rather than the protein itself.

Researchers recruited 114 eligible Australians to participate in the first-in-human trial, which aims to assess the safety and efficacy of a single dose of both vaccines as a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. All the participants have already received their third dose of an existing vaccine at least three months prior.

According to the press release from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity on Thursday, the six participants were assessed at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and then randomised to receive either the RBD protein vaccine, RBD mRNA vaccine or a placebo.

University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin, also director of the Doherty Institute, said as both vaccines are able to be rapidly modified to target distinct RBD mutations, it may be an important potential tool to combat new variants in the future.

A medical worker displays China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine before the vaccination at a hospital in Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan 18, 2021. (TOFIK BABAYEV / XINHUA)


Azerbaijan has seen a steady decline in daily COVID-19 cases and death rate since March this year, with only 13 new cases reported on Wednesday taking its total to 792,651.

According to the country's Task Force under the Cabinet of Ministers on COVID-19 prevention and control, three more patients were recovered in the past 24 hours taking the total number of recoveries to 782,872.

No related deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.

In April, the country's authorities announced that fully vaccinated people arriving in Azerbaijan would no longer have to take PCR tests, and travel restrictions were also eased for all domestic flights with travelers no longer having to take pre-departure tests.

In this photo provided by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s government, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un speaks during a parliament meeting in Pyongyang, DPRK, Sept 29, 2021. (KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY / KOREA NEWS SERVICE VIA AP)

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, on Thursday urged the public to implement "maximum emergency" prevention measures after the first-ever COVID-19 case in over two years was confirmed, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

According to the report, Kim told an emergency politburo meeting that "the goal was to eliminate the root within the shortest period of time."

The meeting was convened after samples taken from patients sick with fever in Pyongyang on Sunday were "consistent with" the virus' highly transmissible Omicron variant, the report said.

At the meeting, Kim called for tighter border controls and lockdown measures, telling citizens "to completely block the spread of the malicious virus by thoroughly blocking their areas in all cities and counties across the country" and asking officials to prevent transmissions and eliminate the infection source as fast as possible.

The DPRK has taken strict measures to ward off the pandemic by closing its borders soon after the outbreak of the COVID-19 and had not confirmed a single case of the coronavirus until Thursday.


Indian citizens and students traveling abroad are now eligible to take a booster shot as needed, the country's health minister said on Thursday.

"Indian citizens & students traveling overseas can now take the precaution dose as required by the guidelines of the destination country," federal health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Twitter.

India's COVID-19 tally rose to 43,113,413 on Thursday, as 2,827 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, according to the ministry's latest data.

Besides, as many as 24 deaths across the country due to the pandemic since Wednesday morning took the total death toll to 524,181.

New Zealand

New Zealand recorded 9,392 new community cases of COVID-19, the ministry of health said on Thursday.

Among the new community infections, 3,388 were reported in the largest city Auckland, the ministry said in a statement.

In addition, 84 new cases of COVID-19 were detected at the New Zealand border.

A notice warning people not to gather in groups larger than five persons as part of restrictions to hald the spread of the coronavirus is displayed at Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on Jan 4, 2022. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)


Singapore reported 3,890 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total tally to 1,228,914.

Of the new cases, 395 cases were detected through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 3,495 through ART (antigen rapid test) tests, according to statistics released by the ministry of health.

Two more patients have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection, bringing the death toll to 1,358, the ministry said.

South Korea

South Korea reported 35,906 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight Wednesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 17,694,677, the health authorities said Thursday.

The daily caseload was down from 43,925 in the previous day, hovering below 50,000 for the ninth consecutive day, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Passengers wait for transportation outside the arrival hall of Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on March 15, 2022, as Vietnam announced the return of a visa exemption policy for 13 countries in an effort to kickstart its tourism sector. (NHAC NGUYEN / AFP)


Vietnam reported 2,758 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, down 93 from Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Health.

All new infections were domestically transmitted and recorded in 53 provinces and cities.

The Vietnamese capital Hanoi remained the epidemic hotspot with 538 new cases on Wednesday, followed by the central Nghe An province with 178 and the northern Phu Tho province with 159.

The infections brought the total tally to 10,683,972 with 43,060 deaths.