Laos has announced it will resume domestic flights, begin to reopen schools, and ease other lockdown restrictions starting 18 May.
The National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control announced at a press conference held today nine measures that will be eased, and four restrictions that will remain in place, effective from 18 May.
Government and private sector offices may now open and resume operations as usual, but prevention measures and guidelines issued by the taskforce must be strictly implemented.
Interprovincial travel is now permitted for all people throughout the country but prevention measures and guidelines issued by the taskforce must be strictly followed.
Interprovincial transportation via land, water, or air is now permitted but prevention measures and guidelines issued by the taskforce must be followed
Meetings, seminars, and training sessions may be held within the country, however, parties or social events remain prohibited, and all gatherings must implement social distancing and other guidelines issued by the taskforce.
The Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Public Security have been authorized to reopen schools on 18 May, but only grade levels primary 5, secondary 4, and secondary 7. All other levels including kindergarten, colleges, universities, and other educational institutions are authorized to reopen on 2 June. Social distancing and other measures must be strictly adhered to.
Certain indoor and outdoor sports or physical exercise activities are now permitted but prevention measures and guidelines issued by the taskforce must be followed.
Restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, massage parlors and spas, fresh markets, beauty salons, barbershops, shopping centers and malls, and tourism sites, are permitted to open but prevention measures and guidelines issued by the taskforce must be strictly implemented.
Construction projects, plants, and factories may resume operations but must follow the guidelines issued by the taskforce.
Lao nationals who are employed outside of Laos may now return to their place of work abroad, provided that the host country permits it, while foreign nationals who are employed in Laos may return to their home country.
Restrictions that remain in place:
Night markets, beer shops, nightclubs, online game shops, karaoke venues, cinemas, casinos, team sports tournaments are not yet authorized to reopen.
Unofficial or informal gatherings or other large events remain prohibited, while cultural festivals and weddings with more than 50 attendees are also prohibited. Gatherings must follow social distancing and other virus prevention measures.
Local, traditional, and international border checkpoints remain closed. People are forbidden from entering and exiting the country, except for drivers of cargo vehicles or those with prior authorization.
Entry visas will not be issued to visitors who come from or pass through countries that have experienced a Covid-19 outbreak, except for special cases whereby prior authorization has been issued.
The easing of restrictions remains temporary. If an infected case is confirmed in a particular province, then stricter measures will be enacted in that province. The provincial taskforce will announce all confirmed cases and measures. If a cluster of cases is found in two or more provinces, then the country may revert to stricter lockdown measures stipulated under Prime Ministerial Order No. 6/PM.