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[Laos] Covid-19 control measures extended


The Lao government has extended Covid-19 prevention and control measures until September 30, expanding a night-time travel ban to provinces hit by a community outbreak.

People are prohibited from travelling from 10 pm to 5 am in the capital of Vientiane and provinces affected by outbreaks.

In its last update, which is issued every 15 days, the travel ban was imposed only in the capital.

Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday, the Vice Chairperson of the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, Mrs Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, said the community outbreak was increasingly spreading, requiring the tightening of the measures. 

The outbreak in the capital of Vientiane and the provinces of Champassak, Khammuan and Savannakhet has spread wider compare to other provinces.

“Although imported cases in these areas have declined, community outbreak is spreading wider,” Mrs Thipphakone said.

Authorities have blamed the worsening community outbreak on people continuing to travel to and from localities.

In light of this issue, some provinces recently imposed travel bans to and from communities affected by outbreaks.

In its latest update on the prevention and control measures, the government decided to expand the night-time travel ban to some provinces. Exceptions have been made for transporting goods and emergency trips, including the movement of rescue vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances.

Other measures that will remain in place under the extension include:

- The closure of entertainment venues, cinemas, spa services, karaoke halls, drinking shops, internet cafés, snooker clubs, casinos and gaming shops across the country.

-  Massage services, beauty salons, night markets, food gardens and tourist sites in areas affected by community outbreaks are prohibited.

- Travel to and from red zones is not allowed, except in cases permitted by the relevant taskforce.

- All indoor and outdoor sports, including sport competitions and sporting activities in parks in red zones are prohibited.

- Any kind of party or gathering in any location is prohibited.

- School classes at all levels will be closed and entrance examinations to tertiary education institutions in Vientiane and the provinces affected by community outbreaks will be suspended. Exceptions will be made for dormitory schools if permission is granted by the provincial taskforce.

-  The issuance of visas for foreign visitors will remain suspended. Diplomats, staff of international organisations, experts and investors can apply for permission from the taskforce. In this regard, foreign ambassadors and heads of international organisations are permitted to undergo quarantine at their residence, while the rest are required to undergo quarantine at designated hotels.

- All border checkpoints will continue to be closed for ordinary citizens.

- Meetings and other activities, including traditional events and ritual involving more than 20 people, are prohibited. In essential cases, permission must be given by a Covid-19 taskforce before such events are organised.

However, the government is allowing some businesses to remain open as long as they strictly observe Covid-19 prevention and control measures.

These businesses include wholesale and retail shops, supermarkets, minimarts, and fresh markets.

Barber shops and beauty salons outside of red zones may open if service providers are fully vaccinated.

Restaurants and coffee shops in communities without outbreak may continue to open. Factories may continue to operate if employees are fully vaccinated and do not live in a red zone.

Meetings outside red zones can be convened.

Classes may be held at schools given permission by the taskforce of the provinces or the capital of Vientiane.

Published : September 19, 2021