Source: Vientiane Times
Authorities have ordered a full lockdown of Vientiane following new clusters of locally-transmitted cases of Covid in several factories.
The government has approved a lockdown from midnight on September 19 until midnight on September 30, as proposed by Vientiane authorities, amid fears of a major outbreak in Laos.
The move is one of the most stringent in the country since the pandemic began last year and sees authorities stepping up the battle against Covid.
The lockdown is linked to new clusters of cases reported in several factories, with most being identified as the Delta variant of Covid-19.
More than 430 cases were reported at a garment factory in Nongtha Neua village, Chanthabouly district, over the weekend.
Vientiane’s Mayor has banned everyone, including Lao citizens, expatriates and stateless individuals, from leaving home except to buy essential goods including medicine and to carry out tasks authorised by the government.
Residents are prohibited from leaving the capital or infected areas unless authorised by a Covid taskforce. All passenger transport services will be suspended.
Violators of the rules will be subject to fines, with an individual to be fined 3 million kip per offence and an entity such as a business fined 10 million kip for each offence.
Soldiers and police officers will be stationed around the capital to carry out health checks and inspect the documents of people entering and arriving from other provinces.
Meanwhile, people resident in provinces where there is a virus outbreak are banned from entering Vientiane, unless given permission by a Covid taskforce. However, persons entering the capital must spend 14 days in quarantine and pay for any costs incurred while self-isolating.
Vientiane residents currently travelling in the provinces may return home but must quarantine for 14 days upon their return.
State officials in Vientiane have been asked to work from home using online platforms and to take turns to work in their offices to carry out essential duties.
Meetings, gatherings, parties and all other activities including cultural events, weddings and religious gatherings are forbidden.
Funerals are permitted but those attending must comply with all Covid control guidelines.
Local and international border crossings will be closed to everyone, except for those authorised to travel by a Covid taskforce.
All places of entertainment, including casinos, karaoke bars, snooker clubs, gaming shops and cinemas, will be closed, in addition to internet cafés, massage and spa facilities, barber shops, beauty salons, night markets, food gardens, tourist attractions, guesthouses, resorts and refreshment shops.
Exercise in public places including the That Luang esplanade and Chao Anouvong Park is prohibited, along with all indoor sports.
Garment factories, other large manufacturing plants and places that are prone to Covid infection must close.
Vendors are prohibited from hoarding goods or raising the price of essential items needed for virus control such as face masks and hand sanitiser, as well as medicines, other medical supplies, rice and other food, water and other items.
On Saturday, Laos recorded 466 new Covid cases, with 264 locally-transmitted cases reported in Vientiane.
On Sunday, 371 new cases were confirmed countrywide, bringing the total number to date to 19,185.
Vientiane recorded the highest number of locally-transmitted cases (225), followed by Khammuan (27), Champassak (26), Luang Prabang (14), Bokeo (8) and Savannakhet (3).