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Lao Airlines Suspends All Domestic Flights

Source: Vientiane Times

Lao Airlines is suspending all domestic flights until May 5 after the government on Wednesday introduced new measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Vientiane.

The order was issued after 28 more people tested positive for the virus.

A Prime Minister’s order prohibits all Vientiane residents from leaving or entering the capital except for people given permission by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

In light of this order, all forms of public transport such as buses and planes between Vientiane and the provinces will be suspended.

“We are suspending all domestic flights based on instructions from the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control and the recent prime minister’s order. As of today, we have cancelled all domestic flights including six flights from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, Luang Namtha, Phongsaly and Oudomxay,” the Director of Lao Airlines’ Commercial Department, Mr Noudeng Chanthaphasouk, told Vientiane Times on Thursday.

The travel industry had begun to pick up after a year of restrictions during the pandemic, with more Lao Airlines flights added over Lao New Year. But the sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Vientiane and the provinces this week has slowed the recovery process.

“In recent weeks domestic flights have been almost fully booked because more people have been wanting to travel and take vacations, but now we have had to suspend flights to all destinations to reduce the risk of spreading the virus,” Mr Noudeng said.

However, Lao Airlines will continue to operate flights from Vientiane to Kunming, China, twice a week as well as humanitarian flights from Vientiane to Incheon in South Korea twice a month.

The total number of Covid-19 cases recorded in Laos has risen to 88. Forty-nine people have recovered while one remains under observation in hospital, according to the Ministry of Health’s Centre of Information and Education for Health on April 21.

The centre also said that more than 143.5 million people worldwide have contracted Covid-19 and nearly 3 million people have died from the virus.