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Govt Lifts More Restrictions On Road To ‘New Normal’

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has lifted more of the restrictions put in place to curb the Covid-19 outbreak, enabling people to gradually return to a ‘new normal’ based on Laos’ good track record in keeping the virus at bay.

The Prime Minister’s Office on Friday issued an announcement detailing the restrictions that will be lifted during the period of June 2-30.

Preschools, kindergartens, and the remaining classes of primary and secondary schools (whose final-year classes resumed earlier) – will reopen on Tuesday (June 2).

Final-year classes at technical colleges, pedagogy colleges and universities can also reopen on Tuesday. But their remaining classes are instructed to reopen on June 15.

Restrictions have been further relaxed given that there have been no new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Laos for 49 consecutive days as of Sunday. Sixteen of the 19 people who contracted the virus and were hospitalised have been discharged while three remain in hospital.

The transport of goods across international borders will return to normal.

The government will permit the organisation of all forms of sport competitions, but no spectators will be allowed to attend.

Night markets and cinemas can reopen, while investment projects, factories and businesses can resume operations as normal.

Although restrictions have been eased, everyone is instructed to continue to take precautions. These include maintaining a distance of at least one metre from other people, frequently washing hands with alcohol-based hand gel or soap, wearing a face mask, and regularly checking one’s temperature.

Other restrictions imposed under Prime Minister’s Order No. 6 issued on March 29 will continue as follows:

  • Closure of entertainment venues, karaoke bars, gaming shops, and casinos.
  • Ban on unofficial gatherings, parties and traditional events that cannot ensure 1-metre distancing among participants. Weddings should involve only a simple baci ceremony and marriage 2 registration rather than large celebrations.
  • Closure of all local and traditional border crossings except those permitted by the government for the transport of goods. International border crossings remain closed to the general public except for essential trips by both Lao and foreign nationals that are permitted by the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.
  • Suspension of tourist and visitors’ visas for people travelling from or transiting via Covid-19 outbreak countries. Foreign diplomats, staff of international organisations, experts, technical staff and general workers can apply for an entry visa via the taskforce committee. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will issue guidance in this regard.

    The Prime Minister’s Office said the easing of restrictions was temporary and that if further cases of Covid-19 were found, the rules would be reimposed in the province where the infection was detected.
    If clusters of infections occur in two or more provinces, the lockdown that was imposed under the Prime Minister’s Order will be reintroduced nationwide.