Source: Vientiane Times
Authorities have confirmed that the Lao Bao-Dansavan International Checkpoint between Vietnam and Laos in Savannakhet province is open dismissing false reports of its closure on March 19 as fake news.
Savannakhet provincial officials told Vientiane Times that the border crossing is fully operational and can only close by order of the central government.
The fake news is a misunderstanding of the Prime Ministerial order to temporarily close traditional and local level border crossings around the country to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith gave the order as a result of the government meeting on March 18, noting that the smaller border crossings were not equipped with virus detection tools to scan travellers.
“People need to travel through international borders around the country. They are not closed,” the PM said, adding that were devices to verify COVID-19 cases.
Laos shares borders with the five countries of China, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. There are many types of border crossing such as international, tradition and local to support trade, investment, tourism, people-to-people exchanges in culture and tradition.
So far, Laos has not reported any cases to COVID-19, but according to statistics on March 18, the virus had spread to over 165 countries with about 199,098 people infected, resulting in 7,966 deaths.
Staff at the Lao Bao-Dansavan International Checkpoint told Vientiane Times there had been a noticeable drop off in the number of travellers crossing the border this week and a steady decline since the end of last year when the virus first emerged in China.
The Laos-Vietnam border crossing is becoming a vital route to boost investment, trade and tourism between the two nations and region. It has operated a one-stop service since early 2015 which has reduced the time it takes vehicles to cross the border.
The single window service means vehicles entering Laos from Vietnam are not checked at the Vietnamese border but only at the Lao border while vehicles from Laos entering Vietnam only have to present their documents on the Vietnamese side.
It now takes only 15 minutes for trucks to complete customs declarations at the Lao Bao-Dansavan border crossing between Vietnam and Laos.