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Covid Restrictions Extended, Some Lifted To Ease Economic Impacts

Source: Vientiane Times

The surge in imported cases of Covid-19 has prompted the government to extend the virus control measures outlined in Prime Ministerial Order No. 15 for another 15 days until August 3.

However, some restrictions have been lifted to minimise the impacts on the economy and people’s livelihoods.

A severe Covid outbreak and job losses in Thailand have forced many Lao nationals working there to return home, with at least 15 percent of returnees testing positive for the virus.

“Although the number of community-acquired cases in Laos is falling, we must remain alert and prepare to accommodate Lao workers returning from neighbouring countries,” Deputy Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mrs Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, told a press briefing on Monday.

“We have to encourage them to enter Laos legally to keep the virus in check. What we fear is that people are entering illegally, which could result in a major community outbreak.”

Newly eased restrictions
Indoor and outdoor sports facilities in Vientiane and provinces where is no ongoing virus outbreak may reopen, but must be legally registered businesses. Sports centres must not serve alcohol and must comply with all virus prevention measures.

Massage parlours and spas in Vientiane and provinces where there is no ongoing virus outbreak may also reopen but managers and staff must have had two doses of a Covid vaccine and services must end at 8pm.

Vocational schools, teacher training colleges and other higher education centres in Vientiane may reopen but must strictly comply with all virus prevention measures.

Measures to remain in place
Authorities will continue tracing people known to be carrying the virus after testing and expedite the rollout of the vaccination programme.

Pubs and bars, karaoke bars, other entertainment venues, cinemas, snooker halls, and internet cafes will remain closed.

Contact sports including football and martial arts remain prohibited in any province with a virus outbreak.

Factories and handicraft units in red zones (infected villages) will remain closed, except where employees have received two doses of a Covid vaccine and there are on-site dormitories.

Entering or exiting red zones is banned, unless permission is given by authorities.

Parties of all kinds remain banned. Members of the public are urged to comply with all virus prevention measures such as temperature checks, social distancing of at least one metre, wearing face masks, and using hand sanitiser.

Previously eased restrictions
Shopping malls, retail shops, supermarkets, minimarts, night markets and fresh markets will remain open.

Barber shops and beauty salons that are not located in red zones can remain open but social distancing must be observed.

Restaurants, cafes, tourist sites, and food gardens in provinces without a community outbreak can offer dine-in service, but customers must comply with all virus control measures.

People may take out boats to fish in rivers through which international borders run, between the hours of 8am and 6pm, but authorities must specify the number of fishing boats that can use the river each day.