Vientiane Authorities Ground Boats Along Mekong River

Boats grounded in Vientiane Capital following Covid fears

Authorities in Vientiane Capital are stepping up efforts to closely monitor illegal border crossings along the Mekong River and have prohibited the use of boats in multiple districts.

According to a notice issued by the Vientiane Capital Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control yesterday, authorities are redoubling efforts to patrol the Mekong River, which serves as a border with neighbouring Thailand in many districts.

A surge in cases of Covid-19 imported into the country by illegal entrants from Thailand has prompted the new action.

The notice states that authorities in Pakngeum, Sisattanak, Hatsayfong, Sikhottabong, and Sangthong districts in the capital are to coordinate with police and local authorities along the Mekong River in Thailand to monitor and prevent those illegally entering Laos from Thailand.

The use of boats in the Mekong River in these districts is now prohibited, and village authorities have been instructed to maintain a list of all rivercraft and boats in their village. The boats must be recorded and then locked away.

Lao migrant workers in Thailand who wish to return to Vientiane must register at the first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge and undergo quarantine at a state quarantine center. At this time, no workers are permitted to travel to Thailand.

If an offender is discovered unlawfully transporting people into and out of the country, the vessel will be confiscated and its owner, as well as those who illegally enter, will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

Local authorities are also to cooperate in locating those who harbor illegal entrants at their homes.