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Southern Provinces Order Lockdowns As Covid Cases Surge

Source: Vientiane Times

Taskforces for Covid-19 Prevention and Control in Xekong, Attapeu and Savannakhet provinces have ordered localised lockdowns from July 23 to 29 in a bid to stem the spread of infection as more cases are identified.

Restrictions have been imposed in high-risk areas but people may leave their homes in case of emergency, for work, or for medical reasons.

Educational institutions in these provinces will close but can hold classes online, while local authorities will set up checkpoints and security units will carry out patrols to ensure people do not move around unless essential.

Restrictions will be highest in areas determined to be at high risk of infection, and village authorities will not allow anyone to enter or exit the villages concerned.

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In Xekong province, the taskforce has ordered a lockdown in a village in Lamam district after a person carrying the virus attended an almsgiving ceremony during the Buddhist Lent festival on Sunday.

The Governor of Lamam district, Mr Vongdeuan Chanthaboutxiang, on Monday ordered the immediate lockdown of Phon village where the incident occurred.

The village is now classified as a high-risk area and people will not be allowed to enter or leave.

People who attended the almsgiving ceremony at Phon Temple have been instructed to give their personal details to authorities and self-isolate for seven days while health officials collect samples from them to test for Covid-19.

Restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and other places in Phon village have been ordered to close, while other restrictions will also apply.

In Attapeu province, authorities have ordered the lockdown measures despite no Covid 19 case is reported in the province.

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The move comes after the surge in new cases identified in neighbouring Champassak province and restrictions will be tightened if the number of Covid-19 cases in neighbouring provinces increases. In Savannakhet province, authorities in Songkhone district have placed Thaphae, Nonggnor, Nongmek and Nonsamlan villages under lockdown after a woman in Thaphae village tested positive for Covid-19.

The province’s Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control has instructed local authorities to trace everyone the woman is likely to have come into contact with, so they can also be tested for the virus.

Although the number of infections in Xekong province is low, authorities are taking strict precautions to ensure that case numbers do not rise, especially given their proximity to Champassak, where a relatively large number of infections has been reported.

Provincial authorities have also been instructed to patrol borders to prevent people from entering illegally.