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Govt Extends Covid Controls But Keen To Open Schools, Factories

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has in general extended Covid-19 control measures for another 15 days but has lifted some restrictions in order to ease the economic impacts, such as the reopening of more schools and factories.

Most of the existing measures will remain in force from October 31 to November 14, Government Spokesperson Mrs Thippakone Chanthavongsa told reporters on Saturday.

“Although Covid control measures have broadly been enforced in the past, the number of locally-transmitted cases continues to rise and the virus has spread to almost every province,” she said.

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“On average, almost 500 Covid cases were reported each day in October, an increase of 27.6 percent compared to September. Therefore, the government has decided to further extend several existing restrictions.”

However, it is essential to balance public health measures with efforts to revive the economy and enable people to continue their livelihoods.

Eased Measures
Retail shops, supermarkets, minimarts and fresh markets may remain open but vendors and shoppers must comply with government guidelines on the wearing of face masks, use of hand sanitiser, and physical distancing of at least one metre. All markets and retail shops must close by 9pm.

Beauty salons, barber shops and massage parlours can remain open in non-red zone areas but staff and customers must be fully vaccinated and strictly comply with all Covid control measures. These businesses must close no later than 7pm.

Restaurants and cafes in areas that are virus-free may remain open and provide dine-in services but tables must be placed at least 1 metre apart and staff and customers must be fully inoculated. Restaurants located in red zones may only offer takeaway services.

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Factories and businesses outside of red zones may reopen but employees must not come from red zone villages. Factories are encouraged to house their staff on site to prevent the spread of the virus.

Conferences may take place in virus-free areas but attendees must comply with all Covid control measures. The organisers of meetings in the provinces must first obtain authorisation from the local Covid taskforce.

Foreigners who travel to Laos and wish to travel to another province must submit their travel documents and a 14-day quarantine certificate to the Covid taskforce to seek authorisation to travel, but will not have to undergo further quarantine in their destination province.

However, foreigners who live in Laos or have been in Laos for some time will be subject to the same conditions as Lao citizens.

The Ministry of Education and Sports has been urged to consider reopening schools across the country, but must first determine the requirements of such a move and examine the readiness of schools to reopen.

Restrictions to remain in place
Local and international border crossings will remain closed and no tourist visas will be issued. Parties, gatherings and social events of all kinds are forbidden at any location.

Road traffic in Vientiane and provinces with community outbreaks of the virus is prohibited between the hours of 11pm and 5am, except in the case of freight transport and vehicles authorised by the Covid taskforce.