Covid-19 Restrictions Could be Eased to Minimize Economic Impact

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at Monthly Cabinet Meeting

Authorities have said that after 11 consecutive days without a new case of Covid-19 in Laos, some lockdown restrictions could potentially be eased.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith spoke at the monthly cabinet meeting, urging authorities to continue strict enforcement of measures to prevent and control the spread of the coronavirus.

He praised efforts by the Party and Government in the containment of the disease, saying the lack of new cases is a good sign, but noted that some countries had experienced a second wave of infections.

The PM asked the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control to determine areas that are low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk for the virus, and to create a corresponding color-code scheme of red, yellow, and green zones.

Each zone will have differing degrees of restrictions and measures in place, depending on the level of risk.

In order to mitigate negative economic effects, the government has agreed upon the easing of restrictions for industry, so that production can resume.

The government has laid out policies and measures to reduce and defer the payment of tax, customs, and other administrative fees during the coronavirus outbreak, and lowering the basic interest rate charged by the Bank of the Lao PDR.

Commercial banks will be asked to extend the time required to repay loans and are to reduce interest rates charged to businesses.

The National Taskforce Committee in charge of economic affairs will begin mulling medium and longterm measures to stimulate the economy and boost the private sector as well.

A proposal was made at the cabinet meeting to reduce value-added tax on electricity and water utilities during the crisis period to reduce fees for consumers, however, the motion was not passed as it was decided the move would affect revenue collection.