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Lockdown Extended But More Restrictions Lifted

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has extended the lockdown for another 15 days until July 4 but has eased some restrictions to alleviate the hardship caused by the Covid-19 outbreak and gradually normalise the situation.

The Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday issued a notice extending virus prevention and control measures.

However, the government will now allow tourist attractions and food resorts in provinces where there is no community outbreak of the virus to reopen, although the sale of alcoholic drinks is prohibited.

Preschools, formal education centres, vocational schools, colleges, and all tertiary-level educational institutions in these provinces can also reopen with approval from the provincial taskforce for Covid-19 prevention and control.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Deputy Head of Office of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mrs Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, told reporters the government has also given the green light for beauty salons outside infection zones (known as red zones) to reopen, although they must strictly apply Covid-19 prevention and control measures.

Ministries, ministry-equivalent organisations, the Vientiane administration and businesses in Vientiane where social distancing can be adhered to in the workplace or whose staff have had two doses of a vaccine, can consider allowing their employees to return to their offices as usual.

Mrs Thipphakone also said the government will continue to allow the drivers of transport trucks and their assistants to drive to destinations in the provinces, and between provinces and Vientiane, without having to unload goods and change trucks. They also do not need to be tested for Covid-19 or spend 14 days in quarantine.

Cross-border transport can also continue as before.

Passenger transport by air, river and road between provinces that have no community outbreak can continue and quarantine is not required. People who have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine may travel to Vientiane or to provinces where there is a community outbreak and will not be required to quarantine.

Travel in areas where there is no community outbreak of the virus can continue as normal.

Fishing is now permitted in river border areas between the hours of 8am and 6pm.

Meetings with no more than 50 attendees may be organised outside red zones but participants must sit one metre apart.

Restaurants and coffee shops outside red zones may continue to allow customers to sit inside for meals, but managers must ensure that people stick to the social distancing rule and remain one metre apart. The sale of alcoholic drinks is prohibited.

Supermarkets, minimarts, and fresh and food markets are also permitted to continue to operate.

In addition, barber shops outside of red zones may remain open, but managers must limit the number of customers to prevent crowding.

Outdoor sports and leisure activities such as walking can continue.

Although more restrictions have been eased, everyone involved is required to strictly comply with Covid-19 prevention and control measures.

Because of continuing challenges in overcoming the virus, Mrs Thipphakone said it was necessary to continue with some restrictions. This means that entertainment venues, karaoke bars, massage parlours, spas, internet cafés and gaming shops must remain closed.

Indoor sports facilities and sporting activities which involve athlete contact also remain banned.

Educational institutions in areas of Vientiane that are still experiencing community outbreaks of the virus must remain closed, except for student dormitories.

Industrial processing factories and handicraft workshops in red zones must also stay closed, except where employees have had two doses of a vaccine.

Entry and exit to and from red zones is also prohibited, except when permitted by the relevant authorities for essential reasons. Social gatherings and parties are also prohibited.