BusinessCoronavirus / covid-19GovernmentHealthLao EconomyLatest News

Covid-19 Rules Updated, Some Strengthened, Others Eased

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has intensified Covid-19 prevention and control restrictions, while easing some where appropriate, as it extends measures to contain the outbreak for another 15 days until June 4.

New restrictions include the closure of beauty salons, barber shops, tourist attractions, food gardens, casinos, and gaming shops.

The new measures come into effect on Friday (May 21) and replace the previous ones, which included a lockdown until May 20.

Processing plants and handicraft production sites located in red-zone villages (infected areas) must also close, except those that have on-site dormitories for employees.     

Similar exception is also extended to factories that produce consumer goods, medicines, medical equipment, and personal protective equipment for use by medical staff. However, their operations must strictly comply with the measures laid down by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.  

Although businesses may be closed, managers have been told to comply with social welfare policies relating to their employees.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, the government’s spokesperson Mrs Thipphakone Chanthavongsa said it was necessary to extend virus prevention measures, especially those named in Prime Minister’s Order No. 15.

While the number of infections in some provinces appears to be declining, the virus is spreading in communities including in Vientiane, which is posing a challenge for prevention and control efforts, she added.

In addition, the strengthened measures prohibit entry and exit in infected areas (red zones) and at-risk areas (yellow zones), except for people who have permission from local authorities to make essential trips such as to buy food, transport food and goods, or go to a hospital.

Meetings, gatherings and activities that involve more than 10 people are also prohibited.

If an event is considered to be essential, permission must be granted by a Covid-19 taskforce and virus prevention and control measures complied with, such as temperature checks, social distancing, wearing face masks and handwashing.

Any party or festive gathering in red and yellow zones is strictly prohibited, Ms Thipphakone said.

The government has also ordered the tougher enforcement of virus prevention and control measures at minimarts and supermarkets, including temperature checks, social distancing, wearing face masks and handwashing.

The total number of recorded Covid-19 cases rose to 1,751 on May 20, including 740 people who were discharged from hospitals.

Two people have died from the virus.

In places where the number of infections has fallen, the government has given the green light for restrictions to be eased.

Places that have no known community outbreak can normalise entry and exit as well as travel within neighbourhoods.

The government is also allowing passenger land transport between provinces where there is no community outbreak.

Restaurants and coffee shops can offer take-away or delivery services but people cannot sit inside.

Educational institutions in places that have had no community outbreak for the past 14 days may reopen.

Open-air sports such as golf, football and walking are now allowed as long as facility managers submit a virus prevention and control plan to and obtain permission from the local Covid-19 taskforce and local authorities.

Drivers of trucks carrying goods as well as transport staff may freely enter and exit provinces to deliver goods without having to unload them. Drivers and their assistants do not need to get a Covid-19 test or spend 14 days in quarantine in their destination province.

If any changes are made to these plans, the government will notify the public accordingly, Ms Thipphakone said.