Laos Updates Covid-19 Prevention Measures, Grounds Charter Flights

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Charter Flights Grounded under Updated Covid-19 Prevention Measures

The government of Laos released an update on Covid-19 prevention measures yesterday, extending current measures and instituting a ban on international charter flights.

Covid-19 prevention measures in place since July will continue until 31 August, including the closure of entertainment venues such as karaoke bars, nightclubs, and internet cafes.

The issuance of tourist visas for foreign visitors remains suspended, however in an additional step, the government has announced it will suspend charter flights.

Vice-Chairman of the National Task Force Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, Associate Prof. Dr. Bounkong Syhavong stated in a press conference yesterday that the suspension of charter flights will be in place until the end of August, after which measures will be reviewed.

While local transmission has not been detected within Laos for some time, imported cases of Covid-19 remain a significant concern.

A 32-year-old Korean national traveling from Japan was confirmed as the 20th case of Covid-19 in Laos after the country enjoyed more than a hundred days without any new cases.

Meanwhile, thirty-four Chinese nationals were deported from Laos last week after being found to have entered the country illegally.

“If we fail to properly manage entry into our country, the risk of imported cases by foreign travelers remains high, as was the case in July,” Dr. Bounkong said during the press conference.

He said that if clusters of locally transmitted infections occur in two or more provinces, lockdown measures will be immediately re-imposed.

It is unclear how the ban on international charter flights will affect evacuation flights for foreigners wishing to return home, such as those arranged by embassies and consulates to the Lao PDR.

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