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Govt To Take Stronger Action To Contain Spread of Covid-19

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has vowed to take stronger action to contain the spread of Covid-19 and to tackle economic difficulties created by the pandemic.

A three-day open government meeting, which wrapped up in Vientiane on Thursday, approved several important documents that were mainly related to Covid-19 and economic recovery.

The virtual meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh and attended by cabinet members, the mayor of Vientiane, provincial governors, and representatives of the Party and state agencies.

The meeting also agreed on drawing plans to respond to natural disasters.

Though the number of new community-acquired Covid-19 cases has declined across Laos, the country remains at high risk of a major outbreak due to the surge in new infections in neighbouring countries.

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“More and more Lao workers want to return from Thailand, and they could bring the virus with them,” the government spokesperson and Deputy Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mrs Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, told a news conference on Thursday.

Government sectors and local authorities have been directed to intensify border patrolling to prevent anyone illegally entering Laos. Officials noted it was essential to facilitate the return of people through the legal process at official border checkpoints.

The government advised authorities to mobilise the public to act as responsible citizens and to comply with all preventive measures imposed to keep the Coronavirus in check.

Laos is still struggling to contain the spread of Covid-19 since a second wave of infections erupted across the country in mid-April.

The Covid-19 crisis has disrupted economic activity and impacted foreign investment and the tourism sector in Laos.

In order to cope with natural disasters, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare will work with concerned sectors to prepare personnel, relief supplies and crop seeds to deal with any extreme weather events.

Such preparations will enable the government to help people displaced by any natural disasters, carry out rescue operations and deliver relief supplies to victims.

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During the meeting, the government reviewed progress in implementing the national socio-economic development plan over the past six months and drew up a plan for the rest of the year.

For the next six months, the government advised relevant sectors to push ahead with the construction of mega-projects to boost growth. These include the Laos-China railway project, the Lao-Thai railway phase II project and other infrastructure development schemes. The meeting agreed to prepare for enacting and amending laws in 2021 in association with the two national agendas related to the resolution of economic and financial difficulties and drug abuse.

The two national agendas were adopted by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party’s central committee at its extraordinary plenary session, which was held in Vientiane during June 21-25.

The government stressed the need to stabilise the macro-economy and address economic challenges. To achieve this goal, authorities decided it is vital to encourage austerity, improve investment mechanisms, modernise revenue collection, manage expenditure and stabilise exchange rates