Residents in Luang Prabang are dissatisfied with the city’s strict lockdown restrictions, which see supermarkets and food delivery services closed.
Under the lockdown restrictions, which went into force early this month, residents of Luang Prabang City are prohibited from leaving their homes except in cases of medical emergencies.
Residents may leave their homes to undertake essential tasks such as purchasing groceries or consumer goods, however, only two trips will be allowed per household per day.
Fresh markets may remain open but must ensure Covid-19 prevention measures remain in place at all times, while supermarkets have been closed and food delivery services have been suspended.
Many have condemned the measures as unreasonably strict, saying they face difficulty obtaining provisions, as well as losing their livelihoods.
One foreign resident staying in Luang Prabang told Laotian Times that he has had difficulty purchasing food, with supermarkets and restaurants closed for over two weeks. He said that he could only purchase goods from a small vegetable stall near his hotel, however, even this stall had now run out of supplies.
“I received food from a store owner who opened her shop for me to purchase food last week. However, because there is no food delivery service, we are rapidly running out of supplies,” said the man.
Another resident of Luang Prabang said this round of lockdown appears to be the strictest yet. He says he feels delivery services should be encouraged rather than shut down during this time as a way to ensure people remain at home.
“Even though I am not as impacted by the restrictions as others, I feel for the restaurants, supermarkets, and grocery stores that are unable to open. They are not creating any revenue, and at the same time this makes it difficult for people to access food,” he said.
A mother of three in Luang Prabang said that fresh markets are allowed to open but must ensure Covid-19 prevention measures, and residents need to go early in the morning.
She said that staying home with three children has been a challenge but her family is managing, although she hopes schools will reopen soon.
“Foreign visitors who have never stayed in the city before may find the lockdown difficult to deal with, as delivery services are prohibited, and all supermarkets and restaurants are closed,” she said.
Meanwhile, hospitals in Luang Prabang have begun charging patients for use of Covid rapid tests when seeking general treatment, according to a notice issued by the General Director of Luang Prabang hospital.
The notice states that all individuals, as well as general patients and their relatives, should be tested for Covid-19 before receiving hospital services.
A rapid test kit will be used to conduct the test at Luang Prabang public hospitals, attracting a fee of LAK 80,000 per test.
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