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Ban On Charter Flights Extended To Keep Covid-19 In Check

Source: Vientiane Times

The government is continuing the suspension of charter flights as of Wednesday, aiming to prevent people bringing the coronavirus into Laos.

The announcement came as rates of infection are rising in some countries alongside the discovery of new variants of the virus.
Minister of Health, Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong, announced that charter flights from countries with outbreaks of the virus would not be allowed to land in Laos.

The ban runs from December 23 until January 31, 2021.An exception will be made for humanitarian flights that are deemed necessary but all passengers must be thoroughly screened.

The Covid-19 pandemic remains a grave threaten to the world and to Laos and is not subsiding, the minister said.

Some countries have reported new variants of the virus, which have a faster rate of transmission.“Scientists around the world have discovered that the virus has mutated and that its transmission is faster and more complex than the original strain,” Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong said.

Most infections are asymptomatic, further complicating prevention and control of the virus.

The government is urging everyone to be more vigilant and careful than they are at present.No tourist visas will be issued to foreigners, as has been the case since March.

However, diplomats, staff of international organisations, experts, and investors are permitted to enter Laos to carry out essential work.

Prior to travel, permission to enter Laos must be obtained from the NationalTaskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, and people travelling to Laos must adhere to strict preventive measures.

A certificate proving that a passenger has tested negative for Covid-19 must be obtained 72 hours prior to departure, with the transporting airline responsible for checking the certificate.

Upon arrival in Laos, travellers will again be tested for Covid-19 and quarantined at a government-designated centre or hotel for 14 days.

Land border crossings around the country will continue to remain closed to the general public and transportation vehicles. Certain border crossings as authorised by the government may be used by haulage trucks, but vehicles must be properly disinfected.

Lao citizens and foreigners who urgently need to enter or leave Laos may do so after obtaining permission from the virus control taskforce.

Concerts and parties are not allowed and International New Year celebrations should be limited to private events held at home.

All social gatherings, including wedding parties, should be limited and strictly comply with Covid-19 prevention measures to prevent the spread of the virus.