Source: Vientiane Times
The government looks set to keep some strict measures in place as part of its bold policy to control the spread of COVID-19, following a high-level meeting in Vientiane.
According to a government media release, the Prime Minister-Deputy Prime Minister Meeting on April 28 agreed in principle that some strict measures under the PM Order No. 06 would remain active after its expiration.
The government enacted and extended the PM order until May 3, which demands people not leave their homes except for essential reasons as part of efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
The Lao government has witnessed great success in enforcing the lockdown as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has not increased for approaching three weeks.
The expiration of the lockdown policy means people will be allowed to leave their homes while government and business offices, as well as major development projects and religious events, will be permitted to operate.
During the meeting, the participants, including members of the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, adopted the principle that some strict measures of the PM order would remain active to ensure the country can control the spread of the coronavirus.
This includes continued suspension of public and business activities which pose a high risk of spreading the virus.
On top of that, the meeting agreed a relaxation of the COVID-19 control policy would be divided into two scenarios; namely, Laos seeing no increase in confirmed virus infections and another where the country finds new cases.
The participants agreed the post lockdown policy details must be clear and practical as the relevant authorities would find it easier to enforce the new rules.
Apart from debating the post PM No. 06 order measures, the meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, discussed details of the economic assistance package for individuals and businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic.
The proposed measures include aid for labourers who have lost their jobs due to the out-break, a reduction in water and electricity tariffs, and assistance to distribute goods across the country and exports to international markets.
Support for agricultural development, aid for the tourism industry, and plans to address public debt and SME promotion were also discussed at the meeting.
The participants congratulated the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and relevant authorities for performing a vital role in helping the government keep the spread of the virus under control.