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Festivals Postponed Amid Covid Fears

Source: Vientiane Times

Authorities have ordered the postponement of many popular festivals and their related activities scheduled to take place in the provinces in a recent move to prevent a potential Covid-19 outbreak in Laos.

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism issued a notice in Wednesday, postponing the Vangvieng Music Festival – the popular annual event held annually in the resort district of Vangvieng in Vientiane province.

The event had been scheduled for December 18-19 and preparation already took place. The organisers have set up stages and several performance zones. Tickets went on sale on December 7 and many people had bought tickets and booked hotel rooms.

The festival event organisers said they would comply with the ministry’s instructions and would announce the date of the next festival as soon as possible. They will refund ticket purchases and inform people of the dates and places where refunds will be available

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For those vendors who had booked stalls to sell food and drinks are unable to attend the rescheduled festival, the organisers will return the money they paid

Elsewhere, authorities in northwestern Xayaboury province has announced that they would downsize the famous annual Elephant Festival scheduled to take place in February. The number of activities will be limited. The festival, which has been gaining in popularity every year since it first took place in 2007, normally features a baci – a ritual ceremony for the elephants, a beautiful elephant contest, and a demonstration of how elephants are trained to perform circus routines.

In Luang Prabang, Laos’ world heritage town, authorities have called for local residents to celebrate the New Year simply and quietly, and that ethnic festivals to celebrate the event must be restricted to small family gatherings.

Laos keeps vigilant as the country still risks internal outbreak as the pandemic is still raging in many countries in the region and around the world, authorities said.

Laos has recorded 41 confirmed cases including five being treated in a Vientiane hospital. Most cases occurring among people who had recently travelled to Laos from other countries. There are no deaths.