Laos has extended lockdown measures until 3 August after confirming a further 114 cases of Covid-19 today.
Dr. Sanong Thongsana, Deputy Minister of Health, led the announcement by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control today.
Dr. Phonepaseuth Xayamoungkhoun announced that the country had confirmed a total of 3,540 after 114 new cases were confirmed today.
The new cases, all imported, were revealed following 1,296 tests conducted over the past 24 hours as 1,296 people entered the country.
Vientiane Capital recorded three cases, Champasack saw 43 cases, Savannakhet recorded 65 cases, Khammouane saw two cases, while Bolikhamxay recorded one case.
No community spread was recorded in Laos today.
The country now has 1,224 active cases, while the death toll remains at five, with 6,030 people in quarantine.
Government Spokesperson and Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Madame Thippakone Chanthavongsa, spoke during the announcement today regarding the extension of lockdown measures.
She said that despite controlling the community spread of the virus well within Laos, the situation in neighboring countries remains unstable, with large numbers of migrant workers returning home to Laos each day.
Therefore, the lockdown order, Prime Ministerial Order 15/PM, will be extended until midnight, 3 August.
Measures to Remain in Place
Under the extended lockdown measures, contact tracing and coordination between local authorities and health officials, as well as testing and vaccinations will continue.
Pubs and bars, karaoke bars, entertainment venues, cinemas, snooker halls, and internet cafes are to remain closed.
Contact sports such as football and martial arts remain prohibited in any province with an outbreak.
All factories and handicraft operations in red zones are to close, except for those wherein employees have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, and have dormitories on site, or those producing essential materials.
Entry into red zones will remain prohibited, except for persons authorized by the Taskforce or local authorities.
Gatherings or parties of any kind may not be held at any location.
Covid-19 prevention measures such as temperature checks, social distancing of at least one meter, wearing facemasks, and using hand gel will remain in place.
Newly Eased Measures
Indoor and outdoor fitness centers and stadiums in Vientiane Capital and provinces without community spread are now authorized to reopen, however, these must be legally registered businesses. Such businesses may not serve alcohol at their premises and must comply with all Covid-19 prevention measures.
Massage parlors and spas may reopen in Vientiane Capital and provinces without community spread, however, patrons and service providers must be fully vaccinated with two doses Covid-19 vaccine. All massage parlors must close at 8 pm.
Vocational education, teacher training, and the final year of study for all educational institutions in Vientiane Capital may resume, however Covid-19 prevention measures must be strictly followed.
Previous Measures That Have Been Eased
Shopping malls, retail shops, supermarkets, minimarts, night markets, and fresh markets that comply with Covid-19 prevention measures may remain open.
Hairdressers and barbershops that are not in a red zone may open for business, however, they must ensure social distancing can be maintained and must comply with all Covid-19 prevention measures.
Restaurants, cafes, tourist sites, and food gardens may continue to provide dine-in services in provinces without community spread, however, tables must be organized at least one meter apart, while service of alcohol is prohibited. Restaurants must strictly comply with all Covid-19 prevention measures.
Conferences or meetings may be held in areas that are not red zones but social distancing and other Covid-19 prevention measures must be strictly enforced.
Boats may be used for fishing activities in rivers that act as borders with neighboring countries between 8 am and 6 pm only, while local authorities are tasked with strictly monitoring and reporting all boat activities.
Travel within localities that have not experienced an outbreak may continue as usual.
Land, water, and air transportation may resume between provinces that do not have community spread of Covid-19 without a quarantine requirement.
Foreign citizens who travel to the Lao PDR and intend to travel to another province must submit a travel itinerary, evidence of 14-day quarantine, and authorization from the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control to relevant officials without having to undertake quarantine at the destination province.
Foreigners who reside in Laos or have been in Laos for some time will be allowed to travel under the same conditions as Lao citizens.
Passengers entering or exiting Vientiane Capital or a province with community spread must ensure they have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine and will not be required to request travel authorization from their destination province, and will not be required to quarantine. However, airline or transportation employees and passengers must ensure to check their temperatures, wear a facemask, wash hands regularly or use hand gel.
Provincial authorities in central and southern provinces with community spread and large volumes of returning migrant workers must determine strict measures regarding travel within the province and regarding travel in and out of the province.
Drivers of interprovincial freight transportation vehicles may deliver their cargo to their destination without unloading their cargo during the trip. Drivers will no longer be required to undertake Covid-19 tests or quarantine at their destination province but must comply with Covid-19 measures outlined by the Taskforce
International freight and cargo transportation will be required to comply with previous Covid-19 prevention measures as determined by the Taskforce and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
Government offices and businesses in Vientiane Capital may consider allowing their personnel and employees to return to work as normal but must comply with Covid-19 prevention measures such as providing hand gel, wearing facemasks, and ensuring social distancing.
Classes may resume at educational institutions including pre-school, general education (primary schools and secondary schools), universities, and vocational colleges in provinces with no community spread of Covid-19.