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Tonpheung District Locked Down After Two Imported COVID-19 Cases

Source: Vientiane Times

Bokeo province has imposed a lockdown on Tonpheung district after a report informed authorities that two Chinese nationals infected with Covid-19 had travelling from Myanmar to China via the district and Luang Namtha province.

The Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control in the northwestern province, which shares borders with Myanmar and Thailand, issued an order imposing the lockdown in the district, which contains the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone.

The two Chinese nationals recently illegally entered Tonpheung district from Myanmar and continued to Luang Namtha before illegally crossing into China.

The men entered the Boten Special Economic Zone in Luang Namtha on November 29 where they stayed in a hotel, according to a report submitted by the zone management committee to the provincial Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

On December 1, two Lao nationals picked them up and transported them along a back road so the men could enter China illegally. But Chinese police arrested the pair as they tried to cross the border and they tested positive for the virus.

Chinese authorities informed their Lao counterparts about the incident. The Luang Namtha provincial Administrative Office issued a notice asking people in Luang Namtha district and business operators to exercise vigilance and strictly apply Covid-19 prevention and control measures.

The Boten Special Economic Zone management committee said it has imposed restrictions within the zone and suspended entry and exit. In Phongsaly province, authorities have suspended public transport services to Luang Namtha. Users of public transport from Luang Namtha to Phongsaly are required to contact health authorities and passengers are required to undergo quarantine.

With the lockdown now in place in Tonpheung, people are prohibited from entering and leaving the district. The relevant provincial bodies are working with district officials to station officials at the district’s checkpoints.

Travel within the district has also been suspended, except for essential trips such as hospital visits, taking children to school, and shopping for food. However, such trips must be approved by village authorities.

Authorities have also been instructed to round up cargo boats and speedboats and have assigned village security personnel to keep guard in the district, which is situated along the Mekong River.