Laos to Punish Opportunists who Stockpile Goods under New Covid-19 Measures

Laos to Punish Opportunists who Stockpile Goods under New Covid-19 Measures (Photo: Nora Chanthalanouvat)
Empty shelves at a local supermarket (Photo: Nora Chanthalanouvat)

Laos is to take “strict action” against any opportunist who withholds or stockpiles goods, especially basic necessities, in an effort to tackle social disturbances during the global Covid-19 outbreak.

Basic necessities include facemasks, hand sanitiser, medications and medical equipment, among others.

In addition, “stringent measures” will be imposed against those who create social disturbances or cause misunderstandings, such as releasing fake news via social media platforms and other channels, Vientiane Times reported.

It is unclear what action or measures would be taken against those who defy.

The move is part of new measures proposed by the Lao government to prevent a virus outbreak in the county.

The Lao government on March 20 briefed diplomats and representatives of international organizations about the current situation in Laos, along with existing and proposed measures.

Other proposed measures, quoted by Vientiane Times article, are as follow:

1. Close all “local” and “customary” border checkpoints across the country. As for international border checkpoints, only those that are fully equipped with the necessary equipment and staff for standardized screening and detecting suspected infected persons will be allowed to open.

2. Suspend the issuance of all kinds of visa on arrival, including E-Visa and tourist visas for all nationals for the next 30 days. For those who already have obtained an entry visa to Laos, they must also attach a health certificate and a historical record of his\her activities over the past 14 days before entering Laos. As for visa exemption countries, the government has decided to temporarily suspend such exemptions until further notice, except those who hold diplomatic and official passports.

3. Avoid traveling abroad in this period, especially by air and mass transportation.

4. People traveling from a country with an outbreak must self-quarantine for at least 14 days and self-monitor their symptoms as a duty to wider society. In case of a fever, it is advisable to notify doctors and relevant authorities immediately.

5. Avoid large gatherings of people, such as traditional and customary festivals and events, trade shows, sporting events, weddings, various activities in celebration of the Lao New Year and others.

6. Close all entertainment venues, karaoke and massage services. Other businesses may operate as usual but must take the necessary precautionary and preventive measures such as using temperature scanners and hand-sanitizers for customers to protect themselves and others.

7. Temporarily close all nurseries, pre-schools, primary schools and all academic and educational institutions (public and private) across the country until further notice. In the meantime, there must be coordination with all schools to promote teaching and learning through online, television, radio, newspapers and other means.

8. Designate a 14-day quarantine area for inbound travelers from high-risk countries, including Lao workers and students returning home for the Lao New Year festival. (There will be separate instructions for Lao migrant workers).

9. Advise all Lao nationals currently staying abroad to postpone their return home, until the global pandemic situation is under control.

Photo: Nora Chanthalanouvat