Laos is expected to launch a fast-track immigration program this week that will allow Chinese nationals to enter the country with shorter quarantine times.
Vice-Chairman of the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control and Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Phouthone Meuangpak, said on Wednesday that several new measures will be employed to facilitate travel for Chinese nationals while continuing to ensure protection against the coronavirus.
The length of the quarantine period remains under discussion with the taskforce meeting to make a decision this week.
According to the Vientiane Times, authorities are also considering the use of electronic devices that would monitor the location of incomers around-the-clock.
“One option is that they (new arrivals) quarantine at home and take their temperature every morning and evening,” Dr. Phouthone said at a press conference.
Under the current regulations, arrivals must be tested for Covid-19 72 hours prior to their departure for Laos. Those with negative results are eligible to enter the country. Upon their arrival, travelers are required to take another test.
Authorities are studying the possibility of a shorter quarantine period in line with guidance from the WHO.
“If the virus is not detected, people can quarantine at home,” the deputy minister said, saying that a shorter quarantine period would mean that new arrivals could begin work sooner.
The fast-track immigration program could be expanded to nationals of any country with no recent community outbreaks, according to the deputy minister.
“We will not take any risks,” said Dr. Phouthone.
He reiterated that the government’s aim was to safely re-open the country to reduce the economic impact, while at the same time ensuring strict measures to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19.